Re: [WSG] css/html snippets

2006-02-02 Thread John Allsopp

Pete,


Joshua wrote   http://webpatterns.org/

*checks it out*

ok, so the term patterns is potentially a too far advanced term for
what i'm thinking of. all that microformat and machine readable data
stuff is certainly interesting (Allsopp - i can hear you screaming
about it from here ;-) but...

I *think* what i'm talking about it different. i'm just thinking more
along the lines of a library of cut'n'paste chunks of re-usable code..

maybe i'm trying to jump to the result of what the web-patternists
are aiming to investigate.


Probably the biggest problem with web patterns is the term  
patttern. Most of us think about persian carpets or something when  
we here the term. But it has a precise technical meaning in this  
context, so I decided to go with it, despite the potential for  
confusion.


Originally, when I was first thinking about this whole issue (years  
ago now), I was thinking in terms of templates. Reusable chunks,  
much like you outlined in your earlier email. This is something which  
Doug Bowman and I chatted about a lot in the aftermath of WE04, and  
more recently Russ and I spoke more about, which took me more in the  
direction of patterns over templates.


The drawback with shared templates is while these are immediately  
useful, they are also trivial. In the sense that they can be  
unthinkingly used, and by using them, no one gets anything other than  
the short term benefit of a shortcut to a quicker page. Btu in real  
world situations, while little reusable chunks are very useful, the  
whole idea does not scale up well. One you reach even major page  
fragments, they tend to become limiting, so people would bend them to  
suit their needs, and all of a sudden you don't actually get the  
benefits of reusable chunks anymore.


How do patterns differ? Well, a pattern (such as login box)  
certainly should include an example implementation, even a  
canonical one, but more importantly, would also outline the


typical use cases for the pattern
other patterns which work well with this pattern
patterns which this pattern plays a part in
when NOT to use the pattern (simple example, radio buttons and  
checkboxes are often used interchangeably - but they are separate  
patterns, radio buttons should not be used when you want to choose  
more than one option out of three)
Semantics - the pieces of the pattern all have usable semantic names  
- in the login example, the whole chunk itself would have a name,  
then each of the individual pieces may have names - so you get common  
semantics for free - that way you can all of a sudden reuse CSS as  
well as HTML. Cool eh?


So along with resuable code, you a whole wealth of knowledge which  
has ben acquired by developers over time (an important thing about  
patterns is that they aren't novel inventions, rather, they capture  
and formalize well established current practice - they pave the  
cowpaths)


Hope this helps make more sense of the aim of web patterns - at  
http://webpatterns.org and with the patternquiz there, I started in a  
top down way - but the bottom up way would work well too.


I invite anyone vaguely interested to visit webpatterns.org, and ion  
particular share their thoughts via the patternQuiz (there are two  
parts now)


http://webpatterns.org/wordpress/?cat=3

thanks

john

John Allsopp

style master :: css editor :: http://westciv.com/style_master
blog :: dog or higher :: http://blogs.westciv.com/dog_or_higher

Web Essentials web development conference :: http://we05.com

WebPatterns :: http://webpatterns.org


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Re: [WSG] webpatterns and patternquiz

2005-12-20 Thread John Allsopp

Richard,


I think you're right on both counts...
Yes, in order for this to be effective the more professionals who  
contribute, the better it will be.
And yes, absolutely, it's not about stating this is the ONLY way  
you can do this but presenting a set of choices.


I look forward to seeing the next stage  ;o)


it's begun already! Get along to

http://webpatterns.org/wordpress/?p=4

and start adding some patterns :-)!

everyone is welcome, and its easy

john

John Allsopp

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Re: [WSG] webpatterns and patternquiz

2005-12-19 Thread John Allsopp

Richard,

Martijn van Welie's been hacking away at something like this for a  
bit - check it out  :o)

http://www.welie.com/patterns/index.html


indeed he has. I devote some space in the original webpatterns  
article to discussing the strengths and weaknesses of what Martijn  
has done.


There are three shortcomings I see

1. its not collaborative and I feel the domain is too big, with too  
many specialties for one person to be able to develop a pattern  
language in this way
2. There is no real organizing principle - essentially it's a  
catalogue not a language. I'll be posting my outline for the  
structure of the webpattern language soon - its structured and  
hierarchical
3. It's not generative - it doesn't capture the interrelationships  
between patterns (complex patterns like sites are made up of others  
like pages, which in turn are made up page sub parts and so on).


I do detail this in the original article,

http://westciv.typepad.com/dog_or_higher/2005/11/webpatterns_and.html

thanks

john

John Allsopp

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Re: [WSG] webpatterns and patternquiz

2005-12-19 Thread John Allsopp

Richard,

Actually, it would be great if we could have something like this  
which would form a 'toolkit' of sorts where we can take 'developer- 
authorised' code snippets and put them in our pages. Such as  
finally having a collection of code so we don't have to ask:  
What's the most semantic and valid way of marking up addresses?  
and such.


that's certainly one of the aims of the project - but it is important  
to distinguish patterns from templates - a template is a one size  
fits all, use this bit of code to solve this problem approach that  
is often too inflexible to provide real world solutions.


But, a standardised reusable semantics would be a great benefit to  
all which could come from this. I discuss this in my original article


http://westciv.typepad.com/dog_or_higher/2005/11/webpatterns_and.html

This would save a lot of time, especially for CSS learners / new-to- 
standards folk.


Semantically marked up Photo Gallery? Go to the Photo Gallery  
section and choose from sevral layouts, all given the thumbs up by  
CSS Samurais and such out there.


Best way to do breadcrumbs (once and for all)? Sure check out the  
Navigation section.


It would be very useful if it really captured the problem, and  
suggested solutions to aspects, along with a discussion of those  
solutions. Yes, people probably just want the code to paste in, and  
there would be examples which they could use in that way, but for  
more complex problems, as I have mentioned earlier, itss just not  
flexible enough,


thanks for the thoughts,

john



etc...

What do you think?
R

- Original Message - From: John Allsopp [EMAIL PROTECTED]
To: wsg@webstandardsgroup.org
Sent: Monday, December 19, 2005 2:34 PM
Subject: [WSG] webpatterns and patternquiz


Hi all,

Some of you might have read my recent article, WebPatterns and
WebSemantics

http://westciv.typepad.com/dog_or_higher/2005/11/webpatterns_and.html

In a nutshell, a pattern is a a problem which occurs over and over
again … and … the core of the solution to that problem. When we
build sites, unconsciously we use patterns all the time - it's just
very little work has been done trying to capture and document them.
That's what I've started http://webpatterns.org to do.

The first big step here is the PatternQuiz

http://webpatterns.org/wordpress/?p=4

the aim of which is to explore existing patterns in web development.
I've started with site level patterns.

I'm really interested in the thoughts of all developers about the
patterns which we use, so if you have a moment please come along, and
contribute your thoughts and experience

john

John Allsopp

style master :: css editor :: http://westciv.com/style_master
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John Allsopp

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Re: [WSG] webpatterns and patternquiz

2005-12-19 Thread John Allsopp

Paul,


Love the idea.


thanks


I don't think it should be a replacement for many things
which are best learnt through hard expereince, but rather a 7 steps to
success guide for building a standards-based website.


things should not be hard simply for the sake of it. We need to  
distinguish the set of skills and knowledge that professional  
developers really need as a foundation to the discipline of web  
development from stuff that just happens to be hard because we  
haven't worked it out yet.



Sure, you could include best practice code samples, particularly for
off-page techniques etc. But I don't think providing baby steps for  
every
eventuality is the answer. That, in itself, has the potential for  
creating

lazy beginners.


Its not so much a matter of baby steps as a detailed understanding of  
the problems we find ourselves solving over and over again, coupled  
with suggested solutions. In order to use this effectively,  
developers will still need to have a great deal of understanding of  
what they are doing in technical and architectural domains. The fact  
that patterns are widely used in computer science and originated in  
Architecture suggests that they certainly don't make solving complex  
problems trivial, rather they help make the process more efficient,  
and hopefully give rise to better solutions in future


Thanks again,

john

John Allsopp

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Re: [WSG] webpatterns and patternquiz

2005-12-19 Thread John Allsopp

Samuel,

I think you'll find their are too many variables in a website to do  
this easily. Plus you'll never convince designers to stick to those  
set layouts :D


of course, it's not all or nothing. The more people who help build  
this body of knowledge, the better it will be, and the more people  
who use it, the better web solutions in general will be


Also, it really isn't about layouts - much more about page  
architecture and data models than presentation. The outline language  
I'll post soon makes this much clearer (also, the word patterns is  
somewhat misleading, because we initially think of visual design)


thanks

john


John Allsopp

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Re: [WSG] webpatterns and patternquiz

2005-12-19 Thread John Allsopp

Richard,


I don't know, Sam...

I mean, we're not forcing someone to use these patterns. But let's  
face it, they're patterns because lots of people use them.




exactly. These patterns exist already. Its not about saying you  
should do these things in this way rather over time, when solving  
this kind of problem, the following conventions have emerged



For example:

previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next

look familiar?
Google and almost every multi-page set of results uses this. I'd  
call it a convention. We're using the word 'pattern'.



very nice example - there are actually two patterns here - a  
navigation strategy (how to allow users to conceive of and move  
around a set of information) and apage architecture pattern, how to  
present that strategy to the users. There might even be an  
interaction pattern lurking in there too if you look closely enough.



What's the best way to mark this up?
Well, I'd hazard a quess that this was an ordered list.
But then there's those two at the beginning and end
How are they best semantically marked up?
And what CSS is best used to effectively display them?


at this point, we get into suggested solutions. There is often going  
to be more than one common solution, (note again this is about  
capturing current practice, rather than dictating the one true  
way). The pattern captures these solutions, and discusses the pros  
and cons of using them. The developer still needs to make a choice in  
the context of their project, and then implement the pattern.




What I'm saying is that instead of:
a. trying to figure it out for yourself (which at the VERY best is  
time consuming), or

b. Cut'n'pasting someone else's dodgey table-based code

... you could go to this site and, knowing that this is the Best  
Practice method, use that bit of code.


I'd just pluralize Best Practices, and I think you've got  agreat  
example here


Hang on! Oh yeah, the standards community has already started doing  
something like this with hCard via MicroFormats, right?

Thing is, I think the idea could be applied to more patterns.


Yes, microformats are certainly patterns - what I term (for now) data  
patterns, by and large. WebPatterns are more general than µf, in part  
because the µf crew have specifically decided to focus on one aspect  
of patterns, at least for now.


You never know, it might end continually re-occurring debates on  
mailing lists (like those I mentioned in my first post).


or at least move them to a wiki :-)

Thanks for the great ideas

j





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Re: [WSG] webpatterns and patternquiz

2005-12-19 Thread John Allsopp

Kevin,


dosnt ted drakes standardista rollyo search thingy sorta do this?


I'd suggest rollyo is a great example of a framework, which of course  
uses existing search, page and page content patterns.


john

John Allsopp

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Re: [WSG] webpatterns and patternquiz

2005-12-19 Thread John Allsopp

Kat,

Keep in mind I am just a student,


of course then we'll discount everything you have to say by 40% :-)

but isn't something that describes it at site level more a  
framework rather than a pattern?


I'd say that the difference between a framework and a pattern is that  
a framework is a fully worked, reusable solution to a problem (or at  
least the foundations of one). As you'll know, but perhaps some of  
the readers of the list might not, the term is commonly used in  
object oriented programming to refer to a class library that can be  
used to build applications. Rails (of Ruby on Rails) is a framework  
for working with Ruby (a programming language). If we were to use the  
term framework, we'd be overloading the term in ways that are very  
confusing.


From Wikipedia A design pattern isn't a finished design that can  
be transformed directly into code http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ 
Code_%28computer_programming%29; it is a description or template  
for how to solve a problem that can be used in many different  
situations. .

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Design_pattern_%28computer_science%29

Isn't a pattern usually a description of how to solve generic  
complex issues, such as dynamic binding?


In the context of OOAD, yes.

But suppose your problem is to have a frequently updated set of  
discrete messages, which users can subscribe to, to inform them of  
changes to the status of their account. It seems that while this is  
quite different from kottke.org, it fits the pattern of a blog. We  
coould legitimately call this a description or template for how to  
solve a problem that can be used in many different situations. BTW,  
I think the term template here is very tricky, overloading the  
concept of reusable code chunks, like DreamWeaver (or Style Master)  
templates. I recommend avoiding it like the plague in the discussion  
of patterns to avoid people understanding patterns in the same, very  
limited, sense.


But an academic course page can't be used in a e-commerce store.  
It's quite specific for a particular area.



So you have two patterns. But both of them might fall within a class  
of patterns, which in this case I call site patterns (that's  
because any pattern within the set shares some common aspects). There  
are other classes of pattern, and importantly types of patttern -  
architectural, navigation strategy, data and more.


Again from Wikipedia, a Framework can be considered as the  
processes and technologies used to solve a complex issue. It is the  
skeleton upon which various objects are integrated for a given  
solution.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Framework
http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Software+framework


The problem is that this leaves out the aspect of frameworks that  
these processes and technologies are implemented in a programming  
language, typically as class libraries, top form the basis of new  
applications




So the description for the academic course page is more skeleton  
like which allowed integration with other various objects, and thus  
more framelike?


Point out to me where I have gone wrong.


If you get the chance, follow up some of the articles in my original  
post about patterns. I feel that after some not inconsiderable time  
thinking about this problem domain, the pattern paradigm is  
appropriate, and could potentially be very important as web  
development matures into a fully fledged discipline.


Thanks for the excellent thought provoking post. Straight to the top  
of the class :-)



john

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[WSG] webpatterns and patternquiz

2005-12-18 Thread John Allsopp

Hi all,

Some of you might have read my recent article, WebPatterns and  
WebSemantics


http://westciv.typepad.com/dog_or_higher/2005/11/webpatterns_and.html

In a nutshell, a pattern is a a problem which occurs over and over  
again … and … the core of the solution to that problem. When we  
build sites, unconsciously we use patterns all the time - it's just  
very little work has been done trying to capture and document them.  
That's what I've started http://webpatterns.org to do.


The first big step here is the PatternQuiz

http://webpatterns.org/wordpress/?p=4

the aim of which is to explore existing patterns in web development.  
I've started with site level patterns.


I'm really interested in the thoughts of all developers about the  
patterns which we use, so if you have a moment please come along, and  
contribute your thoughts and experience


john

John Allsopp

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[WSG] Webpatterns and WebSemantics

2005-11-17 Thread John Allsopp

Hi all,

I've just published this

http://westciv.typepad.com/dog_or_higher/2005/11/webpatterns_and.html

There has been some discussion recently about what makes something a  
profession (or a discipline), in the context of our industry/ 
profession/discipline


http://www.molly.com/2005/11/14/web-standards-and-the-new- 
professionalism/


In the article I quote Brad Appleton, who makes the observation that

Fundamental to any science or engineering discipline is a common  
vocabulary for expressing its concepts, and a language for relating  
them together


WebPatterns is a project to help collaboratively develop this common  
vocabulary for expressing its concepts, and a language for relating  
them together, in short a pattern language for the web.


I've also setup http://webpatterns.org, to help foster and develop  
the idea and the conversation. It's a little like microformats.org,  
but with a focus more on site architecture than just data.


Very interested in people's thoughts,

thanks for your time,

john

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[WSG] The Age (and smh) redesign

2005-10-29 Thread John Allsopp

Hi,

last week http;//theage.com.au launched a redesign, and early next  
week, it appears http://smh.com.au will also get a fairly similar   
makeover.


I thought I might run my recent survey methodology over it, to see  
how the old and new designs compare.


Its just been published as an article

http://westciv.typepad.com/dog_or_higher/

john

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[WSG] Current practices in Australian web development

2005-10-27 Thread John Allsopp

Hi all,

Those of you who came to WE05 or who listened to the podCasts might  
have seen/heard my presentation on a recent survey I did on how well  
major Australian sites are adhering to best practices in web  
development (valid HTML/XHTML, CSS, Semantic and Structural use of  
HTML, Accessibility).


I've just published the whole thing as an article, with all the  
results (what errors people are making, results for each site  
surveyed, results by sector).


Its available here

http://westciv.com/style_master/house/good_oil/best_practices/

Hope people might find it interesting/useful

john

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Re: [WSG] Keep all content to a single page using CSS for printing?

2005-10-11 Thread John Allsopp

Is it possible to keep all content to a single page using CSS for
printing?


body {font-size: 1px}

in a print style sheet ought to do it most of the time :-)

john

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Re: [WSG] Meta Keywords?

2005-10-06 Thread John Allsopp

Martin,


However, I have just received a document from a client who has been
advised by a search engine optimisation specialist [hitwise] to add
specific Meta Keywords to pages in their site.



Get them to ask Hitwise to justify the recommendation, based on  
anything other than handwaving and superstition.


I'd be interested in their response :-)

John Allsopp

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Re: [WSG] FW: Killersites.com Newsletter - Not another nerd newsletter!

2005-09-26 Thread John Allsopp

Ignore it,

its a troll

john
On 26/09/2005, at 7:44 PM, Craig Rippon wrote:


Just got this from a Killersites.com, what do you think of the article

The Web Standards Lie: How the Web Standards movement has gone too  
far. ?


From: Stefan Mischook [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]
Sent: Monday, 26 September 2005 7:37 PM
To: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Subject: Killersites.com Newsletter - Not another nerd newsletter!


Welcome to the Killersites.com newsletter.
Hello everyone!

I've been on a roll lately - I guess I don't have much else to do?

:)

Before I go on, if you're a beginner (in web design,) you should do  
my tutorial:


http://www.how-to-build-websites.com/

- -

For you 'old pros', I've written my most controversial article in a  
couple of years! This one is going to tick off nerds all over the  
world!


Check it out:

The Web Standards Lie: How the Web Standards movement has gone too  
far.



URL: http://www.killersites.com/blog/2005/silly-nerds-the-web- 
standards-are-for-browsers/


CIAO,

Stefan

ARTICLE ARCHIVE

This is an archive of my past articles and newsletters - there's a  
lot of stuff for you to learn from.


http://www.killersites.com/articles/articlesHome.htm#web_design05


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BEGINNERS TUTORIAL ON WEB DESIGN

I created this website for total beginners:

http://www.how-to-build-websites.com/


WEB DESIGN FORUMS

We have a very active community of people ready to answer questions.

http://www.killersites.com/mvnforum/mvnforum/index


That's it for now.

Thanks,

Stefan Mischook

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Re: [WSG] CSS Validator Bug

2005-09-22 Thread John Allsopp

Andy,

It would seem that the CSS validator has a bug in its handling of  
number values.


I've been doing a lot of checking with the validator of late (results  
next week at WE05)


The last few days or so they clearly made some big changes to the  
validator, and there appear to be some significant issues.


Might be worth reporting this to the validator people

HTH

john

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Re: [WSG] Educate the educators (was) Barclays standards redesign

2005-09-08 Thread John Allsopp

Hi all,

Now we are getting to the core of it! What we need is ISO  
standardisation
for web development! Something like the famous ISO 9000. Quality  
Control!


I an hoping that is an ironic exclamation mark.

If you want to be a Quality Accredited web development business,  
you need to
follow a strict line of internationally recognised standards. Of  
course you
can go off track and do the usual shabby invalid HTML crap, but for  
the

serious people an ISO is the perfect solution.


for very wealthy organisations ISO9000 is a ludicrous amount of  
paperwork required to pick up certain government contracts and so on,  
excluding many smaller providers. It's the last thing the web needs IMO.

BTW, there is an ISO version of HTML if you really want to use it.

The beauty of the web is its bottom up nature

You can largely do automated testing for quality - valid CSS, HTML,  
WAI compliance - using open source tools, for free.


All I can say is, based on a lot of recent auditing, quality of this  
nature is exceedingly rare in major Australian sites.


You'll hear more about that at WE045

john

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Re: [WSG] Tables and divs and soon

2005-09-07 Thread John Allsopp



Dead Table Sketch

The cast:
 MR. PRALINE
  John Cleese
 SHOP OWNER
  Michael Palin


The sketch:
 A customer enters a web development shop.
 Mr. Praline: 'Ello, I wish to register a complaint.
 (The owner does not respond.)
 Mr. Praline: 'Ello, Miss?
 Owner: What do you mean miss?
 Mr. Praline: I'm sorry, I have a cold. I wish to make a complaint!
 Owner: We're closin' for lunch.
 Mr. Praline: Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about  
this table what I purchased not half an hour ago from this very  
boutique.
 Owner: Oh yes, the, uh, the Norwegian Blue...What's,uh...What's  
wrong with it?
 Mr. Praline: I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. 'E's  
dead, that's what's wrong with it!

 Owner: No, no, 'e's uh,...he's resting.
 Mr. Praline: Look, matey, I know a dead table when I see one,  
and I'm looking at one right now.
 Owner: No no he's not dead, he's, he's restin'! Remarkable  
table, the Norwegian Blue, idn'it, ay? Beautiful background!

 Mr. Praline: The background don't enter into it. It's stone dead.
 Owner: Nononono, no, no! 'E's resting!
 Mr. Praline: All right then, if he's restin', I'll wake him up!  
(shouting at the cage) 'Ello, Mister Valid Table! I've got a lovely  
fresh border for you if you

 show...
 (owner hits the cage)
 Owner: There, he moved!
 Mr. Praline: No, he didn't, that was you hitting the cage!
 Owner: I never!!
 Mr. Praline: Yes, you did!
 Owner: I never, never did anything...
 Mr. Praline: (yelling and hitting the cage repeatedly) 'ELLO  
POLLY! Testing! Testing! Testing! Testing! This is your nine  
o'clock alarm call!
 (Takes parrot out of the cage and thumps its head on the  
counter. Throws it up in the air and watches it plummet to the floor.)

 Mr. Praline: Now that's what I call a dead table.
 Owner: No, no.No, 'e's stunned!
 Mr. Praline: STUNNED?!?
 Owner: Yeah! You stunned him, just as he was wakin' up!  
Norwegian Blues stun easily, major.
 Mr. Praline: Um...now look...now look, mate, I've definitely  
'ad enough of this. That table is definitely deceased, and when I  
purchased it not 'alf an hour
 ago, you assured me that its total lack of movement was due to  
it bein' tired and shagged out following a prolonged rendering.

 Owner: Well, he's...he's, ah...probably pining for Netscape 3.5.
 Mr. Praline: PININ' for Netscape 3.5?!?!?!? What kind of talk  
is that?, look, why did he fall flat on his back the moment I got 'im  
home?
 Owner: The Norwegian Blue prefers keepin' on it's back!  
Remarkable construct, id'nit, squire? Lovely background!
 Mr. Praline: Look, I took the liberty of examining that table  
when I got it home, and I discovered the only reason that it had been  
sitting on the left margin in the

 first place was that it had been NAILED there.
 (pause)
 Owner: Well, o'course it was nailed there! If I hadn't nailed  
that table down, it would have nuzzled up to those links, bent 'em  
apart with its beak, and

 VOOM! Feeweeweewee!
 Mr. Praline: VOOM?!? Mate, this table wouldn't voom if you  
put four million volts through it! 'E's bleedin' demised!

 Owner: No no! 'E's pining!
 Mr. Praline: 'E's not pinin'! 'E's passed on! This tabe is no  
more! He has ceased to be! 'E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker!  
'E's a stiff! Bereft of life, 'e
 rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed 'im to the page 'e'd be  
pushing up the daisies! 'Is metabolic processes are now 'istory! 'E's  
off the twig! 'E's kicked the
 bucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain  
and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile!! THIS IS AN EX-TABLE!!

 (pause)
 Owner: Well, I'd better replace it, then. (he takes a quick  
peek behind the counter) Sorry squire, I've had a look 'round the  
back of the shop, and uh,

 we're right out of Tables.
 Mr. Praline: I see. I see, I get the picture.
 Owner: I got a list.
 (pause)
 Mr. Praline: Pray, does it talk?
 Owner: Nnnnot really.
 Mr. Praline: WELL IT'S HARDLY A BLOODY REPLACEMENT, IS IT?!!???!!?
 Owner: N-no, I guess not. (gets ashamed, looks at his feet)
 
 
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Re: [WSG] Tables and divs and soon

2005-09-07 Thread John Allsopp

Paul,

Hang on now.  There's nothing about the use of table markup per se  
that leads one to err more frequently.


on the contrary, actual research suggests very strongly that there is.

I have found a very high correlation between malformed documents and  
the use of tables (with the errors occurring in direct association  
with table code).


I guess that's what is one of the many annoying things about this  
debate. Its very subjective. This particular thread started when I  
reported a strong factual correlation between tabled based pages and  
invalid pages in research I am doing. From then on its been largely  
handwaving and opinions.


The simple fact remains, that in my research into some of the biggest  
and most popular Australian web sites, not a single site out of about  
100 I have surveyed, which is table based has been valid. And the  
errors in table based sites have been almost invariably associated  
with the table markup.


The correlation is strong.

john

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Re: [WSG] Tables and divs and soon

2005-09-07 Thread John Allsopp

Bert,


It's a working draft, not a recommendation or a standard


Oh come on. This is precisely MS's ludicrous argument for not  
supporting CSS2.1 (a subset of 2.0)


and you're right. I used to work as a QA Auditor (ISO9001).  In  
standards parlance, should not has a different meaning than must  
not or shall not.  Still, if you want to use that document


Well what else. The current standards as quoted (that the draft of  
the next version is STRICTER than the existing would suggest the  
intent and the direction they are heading in).




*Generally*, display technologies such as [CSS2] http:// 
www.w3.org/TR/2005/WD-WCAG20-HTML-TECHS-20050630/#CSS2 can achieve  
the desired layout effect with improved accessibility.
Generally?  Meaning there are exceptions?


Yes. We cannot foresee every circumstance, or we have to account for  
one contributors particular obsession so we buy him or her off with  
generally./




However, *when it is necessary to use a table for layout*, the  
table must linearize in a readable order.   So there are times  
when it is *necessary* to use a table for layout?
Keep reading...   http://www.w3.org/TR/2005/WD-WCAG20-HTML- 
TECHS-20050630/#layouttables-avoid


No, they are considering it may be unavoidable in some circumstances.



It is *recommended* that authors not use the |table| element for  
layout purposes *unless the desired effect absolutely cannot be  
achieved using CSS*.


I rest my case.


Look, you can find all the justification you want in the fine print  
of the standards. But their intent is very very clear. Finding  
justification for the use of Tables for layout in the standards is  
essentially an act of desperation.


This really is flat earth stuff. It is time to let it go

john

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Re: [WSG] Tables and divs and soon

2005-09-07 Thread John Allsopp

Al,

With all due respect, that is not very good logic. So, someone  
inexperienced enough to make an invalid table layout is going to  
float right through the process of making a CSS-positioned layout?  
That's quite a spin, John :-)


This is based on research into the web sites of dozens of the biggest  
companies, govt depts and no for profits in Australia.


I am talking about the correlation of invalid HTML and table based  
designs.


N ot one of the table based designs validates. Very few of the others  
do either, but not a ingle table based on does.


I'm not evangelizing table-based layouts, although for real-world  
clients they sometimes are the right choice.


I have yet to be convinced that clearly breaking the spirit and  
letter of a number of web standards, and all the attendant other  
costs associated with Table based designs is justified by anything  
other than a designers penchant for that technique.


john

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Re: [WSG] Tables and divs and soon

2005-09-07 Thread John Allsopp

Bert,

OK, you found a strong correlation, but are you drawing the right  
conclusion?

1. How many were generated with a WYSIWYG editor?


Why would that matter. Not even the tools can get tables right?


2. How many were generated by some sort of server side script?


So script writers can;t get tables right either?


3. How recently had they been updated?


Why would that be in any way relevant?


4. Were they nested tables rule! types (which I hate too)?


Some. So now some tables based layouts are good and some not? Which  
ones are they? Why?


It's a bit like statistics - they can be used to prove almost  
anything, depending on how you interpret them :-)


Or rhetoric, which can be used to convince oneself of just about  
anything.



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Re: [WSG] Tables and divs and soon

2005-09-07 Thread John Allsopp
 to as the software crisis) as increasingly  
complex languages and methodologies failed to solve complex  
computational challenges. The most famous example, to which I have  
alluded, is the mistaken ; for : in a fortran program which caused an  
unmanned moonshot to miss the moon.


The conclusion reached was that complex approaches to a problem are  
inherently more error prone than simpler ones.


Which leads me to me theory.
The HTML of Table based layouts is inherently more complex than the  
HTML of CSS based layouts. So it follows that there will be an  
increase in the likelihood of validation errors in table based  
layouts over other layouts.


So we set out to do an experiment. Find a heterogeneous set of HTML  
documents, which include table and non table based layouts. Determine  
the % of each which are valid.


My theory would predict that the table based layouts are more likely  
to be invalid.


And so it is.

I even stack the odds in favor of table based layouts by choosing  
sites for very well resourced public entities. If anyone was going to  
be getting their table based layouts right, it would be these entities.


The point of all this yabbering, is that in all the discussion of  
table versus non table based layouts I have seen over a very very  
very long time, this point has never been raised.


The sad fact is, yes, it probably is a religious thing. I see  
absolutely no good reason to use tables for layout. The only real  
argument I have seen, that there are some layouts for which you can't  
use CSS strikes me a little like the objection that there are some  
irreducibly complex organs that evolution can't possibly account for,  
and so they must have been created by god, er, sorry, an intelligent  
designer.


I've actually never seen of of these fabulous beasties.

Then of course there are the overwhelming number of cogent arguments  
in favor of using CSS for layout, that I won't bore anyone with now.


I guess I'll finish on a practical note. IM reasonably well informed  
O, if you want to be a successful web developer in the long run,  
you'll not be using tables for layout for your whole career.


So if not now, when?

john

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Re: [WSG] Tables and divs and soon

2005-09-07 Thread John Allsopp

Joshua,

thank you for the link, I have been looking for this article for  
several years (having read it all those years ago)


John



If you still believe this semantic paradigm is something new, take a
look at this article written in 1997. Yes, 1997.
http://www.xml.com/pub/a/w3j/s1.people.html


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Re: [WSG] Tables and divs and soon

2005-09-07 Thread John Allsopp

Stephen,

I like this list in that people are so willing to debate the  
issues, as that is how we learn and understand what is best, but I  
think we should not blindly use CSS. We must use it wisely and  
examine how we are using it so we don't make new mistakes.


using CSS is not a blind or unreasoned choice.

It is a technology expressly designed for this purpose.
That simply isn't true of using tables.

I guess what keeps me coming back back to this pointless and  
frustrating discussion is certainly not for my sake. I could care  
less that people choose to continue using tables for layout. But when  
people advocate it as a sensible, reasonable alternative to CSS in  
any circumstance, then I feel it my weary duty for the sake of people  
who might be mislead by this to take up the cudgels.


Statements like its horses for courses (in terms of whether to use  
tables for layout or CS for layout), perpetuate the erroneous idea  
that there is some equivalence between the two techniques.


There is not.

To be clear, one is an entirely outmoded hack that was necessary to  
create certain types of layout coming up on a decade ago. It has  
persisted because as much as anything, people continue to build these  
kinds of layouts, and because developers are in many ways sensibly  
reluctant to abandon the skills they have acquired.


On the other hand, CSS is an entire technology, developed over more  
than a decade, by very smart sensible people, with much peer review  
and collaboration, to solve precisely problems of layout in a much  
more sophisticated, systematic and general way, also taking into  
account issues of accessibility as fundamental aspects of the  
technology.


to afford the two equal footing when it comes to choosing a valid  
layout technology is literally absurd.


john

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Re: [WSG] Barclays standards redesign

2005-09-07 Thread John Allsopp



 Exactly. I was actually thinking the other day, browsers
 should be more like compilers... they should refuse to
 parse incorrect code. Then the enforcement would be
 on the output end, too.

It would be nice, but would only work if -every- browser did it.   
Otherwise the general opinion would be This new 'Standards  
Compliant' browser is broken!  Luckilly IE still works.


If you have XHTML, and serve it as application/xml. then in modern  
browsers you'll get your wish :-)


Of course, you'll have problems with IE as well, regardless of  
whether it is valid or not. :-/


john

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Re: [WSG] Educate the educators (was) Barclays standards redesign

2005-09-07 Thread John Allsopp

Then again,

I used to teach at Northern Sydney IT - they aren't all lucky enough  
to get you Lisa :-)


john
On 08/09/2005, at 9:48 AM, Herrod, Lisa wrote:

There are actually a few excellent teachers at Sydney Institute  
(ultimo
TAFE) who understand and teach web site design and development with  
a real
focus on web standards. Their knowledge is extremely current and  
while the

old addage of


'Those that can, do. Those that can't, teach.'



is sometimes true, it isn't always. and defineitely not in this case.

Lisa



-Original Message-
From: Seona Bellamy [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]
Sent: Thursday, 8 September 2005 9:36 AM
To: wsg@webstandardsgroup.org
Subject: Re: [WSG] Educate the educators (was) Barclays standards
redesign


On 08/09/2005, at 9:14 AM, Nick Gleitzman wrote:



On 8 Sep 2005, at 8:59 AM, Craig Rippon wrote:




by-the-by:  I am a web development student at Yeronga TAFE college
in Brisbane, Australia. One of my instructors has never heard of
DOCTYPE, refuses to put tags in lowercase and also refuses to
close p, 'cause they don't need to be closed.




Which just goes to prove the (cynical) old saw: 'Those that can,
do. Those that can't, teach.'

Seriously, this is a good example of how important it is that
tertiary education the world over keeps its curriculum up to speed
with what's happening in the real world. Difficult, I know, given
the administrative behemoths that are responsible for govt-run
education - but as a student, if your course is not up to scratch,
you should complain - in writing - to the highest power that you
can. Maybe your local MP? It may take years for change to come
about, and probably won't help you, but it may help the students
down the line...




And in the meantime, you've got us to help you learn to do it right!
*grin*

Seriously, though, when I did my uni course we had a subject on
usability and accessibility and it touched briefly (very briefly) on
CSS. Pity none of the tutors really understood it. *sigh* I ended up
taking one of the tutes myself, because I was the only one in the
class who knew what the lecturer was getting at.

Might have considered getting into teaching myself, except that it
would mean I had to deal with students...


Cheers,

Seona.
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[WSG] Tables and divs and soon

2005-09-06 Thread John Allsopp

Might I add two cents?

My thoughts on this issue are probably reasonably well known.

But a slightly different angle.

I've recently been undertaking some serious research into current  
practices by major companies, government departments, and so on when  
it comes to web development. I'm in the processing of surveying well  
over a hundred sites.


Some related lessons.

Table based layouts are still very very common.
So are malfomed documents. Unclosed elements, missing end tags,  
missing start start, overlapping elements, containment rules broken.  
You name it.
And the location of the overwhelming percentage of these  
malformations is in and around tables.


So the use of tables appears to be associated strongly with invalid  
documents (and not only through poorly formed documents, but also  
through the use of invalid attributes associated with td and tr  
elements).


In short, using tables is a very good way of raising the risk of  
invalid documents.


BTW, I'm presenting these findings at WE05, and hope to have a  
detailed article online soon,


john

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Re: [WSG] Tables and divs and soon

2005-09-06 Thread John Allsopp

Andreas,


I don't think using tables is a very good way of raising the risk of
invalid documents as John suggested, but rather people that use  
tables have

got an old-fashioned mindset.


Whatever the reason, if you see a table based design, the chances of  
it being invalid are raised monumentally.


And we are talking about companies and organizations with billion  
dollar turnovers, multi billion dollar market caps.


I think in part you are right that it is mindset. But I'd also argue  
that the simple use of tables increases the complexity of code, and  
with it the chances of error. This is a lesson hard learned in  
Software Engineering - complex languages and constructs, and  
syntactic complexity raise the chances of error among all developers.  
The last 30 years of development of programming languages and  
software engineering approaches has been one of simplifying, and  
managing complexity (you might argue that it hasn't worked all that  
well, at least in the wild)


Moonshots famously missed the moon due to the complexity of fortran.  
These were smart people, smarter than I ever was or will be.



We tend to learn these lessons in web development slowly, painfully  
and fitfully if at all.


So not only is it *who* is using the technique, it is the technique  
itself which is problematic.


john

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Re: [WSG] Tables and divs and soon

2005-09-06 Thread John Allsopp

Al,

Peter wrote,

Presumably, in this case, the right choice is the choice that  
limits the up-front cost and training required to get to market?  
Surely promoting a questionable technique because it's easier to  
learn and gives almost instant gratification is a dubious one?




Al wrote

A questionable technique? Would that be because people who make  
their livings (or try to make a living) evangelizing standards have  
deemed table layouts dubious. Hmm :-)


 This is called the web standards group. I imagine that those here  
essentially adhere to the value of web standards, and discuss things  
in this context.


The World Wide Web is the province of the World Wide Web Consortium.  
Like it or not.
It does not so much as try to make a living evangelizing standards  
as lead[s] the web to its full potential And it is founded and run  
by the guy who quite literally invented the World Wide Web.
One of its many initiatives (along with, you know, simple stuff like  
PNG, HTML, XHTML, CSS, SVG) is the Web Accessibility Guidelines


3.3. of which says: Use style sheets to control layout and presentation.
5.3 of which says: Do not use tables for layout unless the table  
makes sense when linearized


A bit like deciding that micro-surgery classes at medical school  
are a waste of time because once you've got a handle on amputation  
it'll solve most problems far quicker and under budget! Why bother  
getting bogged down and stressed with the finer points?




Ah. So web design is elevated to science. And all this time I  
thought it was a skilled trade. Sheesh.


No, it is a science, at its fundamental level. It is part of computer  
science/informatics, which teaches us many lessons from history and  
theory. Most of which we seem very slow to pick up.


It is quite evident to me that this type of cut-and-paste  
technique is just as ubiquitous in the CSS positioning arena - if  
not more so. We too teach CSS layout - but keep it non-religious.  
We have tens of thousands of customers and a massive support burden  
in fixing pages that were built from poorly devised or overly  
complex tutorials and articles popular in the standards ring of  
blogs and online magazines. We don't get a fee for that, sadly.


The CSS is religious thing is a straw man. In what way is adhering  
to best practices as recommended by tremendously experienced (and not  
just in web page development, but in many related branches of  
computer science) and thoughtful people in a peer reviewed  
environment religious? Sure I wrote an article called A dao of web  
design once, but I was hardly arguing that by developing for the web  
in that way you'll become a daoist :-)


It's far easier to try to get to grips with a page of mark-up with  
everything in one convenient HTML page than to have to understand  
the abstraction of separating the content from the presentation.  
Hey presto! A lovely table-based web page that IE in quirks mode  
renders as intended! Welcome to inner sanctum of web development.


I think perhaps who are mistaken. A table-layout can be just as  
valid, usable, and accessible as anything else.


You can validate pages that use tables for layout. Based on my pretty  
extensive research it will take more effort than non table based  
layouts.
They can probably be as usable, but according to people who have done  
an awful lot of work on the issue they won't be as accessible.


The key is what is optimal for the project. Using tables on the  
rare occasion is not a hall pass to skip knowing how to mark up a  
table - or understand the structure.


The problem, in my opinion, is that the same people who devised  
ridiculous nested table constructs to make web pages look like  
magazine pages are the very same people who are now condemning  
tables. Perhaps if they'd taught folks how to make clean table  
layouts, we wouldn't be having this discussion.


This is simply ridiculous. Dave Segal? Tod Farhner? I don't see too  
many articles by them of late :-)
The people who have been strong advocates for table free design are  
in my reasonably well informed opinion a new generation, starting  
with people like Eric Meyer, and typified perhaps by young bloods  
like Dave Shea and Douglas Bowman.


From the get go the tables for layout approach was a hack - the use  
of a technology for a purpose for which it was not intended because  
it works in some narrowly defined set of circumstances. History  
teaches us that such things, regardless of their present usefulness,  
we usually come to regret.


Y2K anyone?

john

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Re: [WSG] Online Resources for HTML Beginners

2005-08-28 Thread John Allsopp

John

make sure they never use the term tag incorrectly :-)



Not quite sure what you mean by that! Do you mean how people always  
refer to Alt tags? Or something else?


yeah, they do that

And they refer to tags when they mean elements.

Now, it might seem pedantic, but we are dealing with computers, so  
precision is important.


an example of when it makes a significant difference is illustrated  
by the following


Which of these is correct

the caption element comes directly after the table tag
the caption element comes directly after the table element

john
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Re: [WSG] Online Resources for HTML Beginners

2005-08-28 Thread John Allsopp

Gene,


Since someone might wish to refer to the tag as written in
the page coding or to refer to the paragraph element itself
both possibilities seem open. IMO a lack of precision is
likely to result from allowing only one referential mode.



I agree

p is a tag (start tag)
/p is a tag (end tag)

p/p is an element

Also, the distinction is between the syntax of HTML (tags) and the  
structural aspects of the document (elements)


This distinction, though is some senses subtle, is important to  
understand, and should be introduced as early as possible when  
teaching HTML (IMHO)


john

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Re: [WSG] Online Resources for HTML Beginners

2005-08-28 Thread John Allsopp

John,

you are probably lucky you got one :-)

Just to note that we've got fourteen posts and only three  
recommendations of online resources...


there are loads of me too sites, I guess the one I'd really recommend is

http://www.htmlhelp.com/

Like many of he best sites, an oldie but a real goodie. It has  
spawned many imitators.


j

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Re: [WSG] Semantic Calendar

2005-08-17 Thread John Allsopp

Hi,

Check out the hcalendar microformat

http://microformats.org/wiki/hcalendar

It's based on the widely used iCalender format from the IEEE.

Two of the founders of Microformats, Tantek Celik and Eric Meyer are  
speaking at Web Essentials in Sydney at the end of September.


http://we05.com

Tantek in particular will be looking a the issues of semantics in detail

john

On 18/08/2005, at 1:20 PM, Scott Swabey ((Lafinboy Productions)) wrote:


G'day all

I have been tinkering with a calendar generation script (PHP if  
relevant),
and have developed two versions. One uses a semantically correct  
table for
layout, the other uses ordered lists to hold and layout the day  
names and
month dates. After working on this for a while and thinking about  
it for
wa too long I am faced with the quandary - which of the two  
versions is

_more_ semantically correct? Does a calendar (single month) qualify as
tabular data, are ordered lists a better fit, or should I be  
looking at

another option?

Any feedback/opinions would be appreciated.

Regards

Scott Swabey
Lafinboy Productions
www.lafinboy.com

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Re: [WSG] New front page for http://abc.net.au/

2005-08-03 Thread John Allsopp

Frederic,

I want to convince people not to have drop down on some of our  
sites at work...


I am looking for some good reasons not to have them...

We have some on our current site and it looks like (from the web
stats) that people are actually using them a lot


Thanks for the opportunity for letting me sound off on one of my  
favourite subject - Russ is now running for the corner (a quick  
aside, Russ and I just gave a series of workshops round Australia,  
and this came up once or twice, My firm views were noted. I have lots  
of firm views.).


OK, let's start with the basic UI principles. A menu is a set of  
verbs, for doing actions. Navigation menus are a set of nouns for  
choosing content. So its akin to using a radio button in place of a  
checkbox  they are designed for two different uses.


Secondly - while menus on the OSs are designed so that traversing  
diagonally to a submenu will not close that submenu, JS submenus (and  
CSS ones too) almost invariably close unless you enter directly from  
the entry in the main menu relevant to them - this is why they are  
difficult for most users and essentially impossible for users without  
really good fine motor skills to access.


So,

1. they break the UI guidelines on all platforms that have been in  
pace for over two decades for menus

2. they have serious usability issues
3. they have serious accessiiblity issues

A further Usability issue is that by using them, we tend to hide  
contextual information about where we are in a site - we tend to know  
which major section we are in, but not the subsection within that  
section. In non trivial sites, this a major issue.


Why do people use them then?

I think their popularity is a symptom of style over substance, which  
drives a lot of web design - The image replacement techniques, misuse  
of flash (rarely is it used well, and even when it is used well, it  
tends to be used for everything (text and still graphics as well as  
interactive stuff) rather than jsut for what it does well).


Just my not so humble appearance.

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Re: [WSG] New front page for http://abc.net.au/

2005-08-03 Thread John Allsopp

Frederic,


how would you rate http://www.ourbrisbane.com/ which is using a mix of
drop down menu and apparent second level navigation.

It could be seen as a solution to make everyone happy!?


Its probably straying a little from Web standards directly, onto  
usability issues, but still within best practices. I would like to  
see all such menus as dead and buried as the blink element.


I have not done extensive user testing on these kinds of menus.  
However, since the beginning of time, in app development, the  
recommendation has always been to use submenus carefully and  
sparingly, if in doubt, don't. While these are superficially  
analogous to main menus, I think in reality they are more like sub  
menus, so this well tested observation is worth keeping in mind.


In the case of this site, I'd be inclined to ditch the drop downs,  
and have their contents on the pages you visit when you click What's  
on, and so on. Which is what actually happens, but confusingly, when  
you get to these pages, you get both.


What happens if a user does a find (cmd-f) for some text that is in  
one of the drop downs? I note that in your site a lot of it is   
repeated, but otherwise, bnothing shows up. Users often use this  
technique for finding something - another good reason to avoid Image  
Replacement techniques also.


Has anyone done any user testing on drop downs? Tania maybe?

I'd be interested to know wether users use these, or avoid them like  
the plague - or don;t even notice them, afterall, how are we supposed  
to know they are flyout or dropdown menus?


HTH

john

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Re: [WSG] New front page for http://abc.net.au/

2005-08-03 Thread John Allsopp
Thanks for the insight Donna. Nothing like actual testing as opposed  
to my usual hand waving!


Although I still avoid them (I think they are often used as a  
crutch for poor information
architecture), there are some advantages to using them. They do  
allow people to gain
a better understanding of what is in a section, beyond what can be  
described in a word
or two. This reduces the need for a lot of forward and backward  
clicking and the

resulting frustration.


We use them a little like this at our store

https://order.kagi.com/cgi-bin/store.cgi?storeID=WC4;

The links at the top right (for those not using screen readers,  
otherwise links under the heading FAQ) when rolled over show furthewr  
info below. This is precisly because once someone has got to the part  
where they buy, the last thin you want them to do is go anywhere if  
they have a question :-)


But it isn't for navigation!

john

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Re: [WSG] New front page for http://abc.net.au/

2005-08-03 Thread John Allsopp

Craig,

. I'm confused.  Is it drop downs or flyouts that are the  
problem (or both)?


the way I read Donna's post was (editorializing, not Donnas words)

1. flyouts dire, avoid at all cost
2. drop downs don;' have quite the same usability concerns, or at  
least not tot eh same extent, but be very careful.


As a web development student, what resources are available for me  
to read to

help me better understand this issue?


I'v not read anything in great detail, but others certainly may have

HTH a little

john

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Re: [WSG] CSS List Separator

2005-06-15 Thread John Allsopp

Bert,

Or what about simple normal every-day headings?  We can go up to 6  
levels deep with them...


I guess it all depends on the application.


I think using headings is a very good suggestion.

In legislation, the numbered entries we are talking about are indeed  
headings for sections, sub sections and so on


Whether 6 deep is enough I am not entirely sure though, they can get  
very complex!


john

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Re: [WSG] CSS List Separator

2005-06-15 Thread John Allsopp

Bert, Patrick and all.

The issue of semantics, presentation and accessibility for  
legislation is a really good example of the genuine social importance  
of what people like members of WSG do.
The law is central to our society. We probably all know the maxim  
ignorance of the law is no defence. So if any documents need to be  
made accessible to all, it is legal ones.
There is also a considerable tradition of people with visual  
disabilities achieving to the highest level in the law. For instance,  
The present Dean of the University of Sydney law school, Ron  
McCallum, is blind.


It definitely pays to stop and think about accessibility when we come  
to consider even what may appear quit straightforward aspects of what  
we do.


Very good question Richard,

john

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Re: [WSG] CSS List Separator

2005-06-14 Thread John Allsopp

Richard,


Wondering how we can get CSS to specifity the spearator used in  
ordered lists (ie: the thing between the list item number and the  
value of the list item). For example...


1.
a)
1 -
a:

I need this ability to replicate government legislation and  
apparently it has to be an EXACT duplicate. As far as I can tell,  
this isn't in the spec. Has anyone found a solution? Some fancy CSS  
hack or DOM scripting that will get around this?



I know its not remotely answering your question, but there are many  
who believe that numbering is a very important part of the content of  
some documents (particularly legislation) and so should be in the  
content of the HTML, not styled using CSS.
This aids web searching, local searching, and may indeed be a  
requirement for publication of legislation.


Hope that's of some use (oh, and its much less of a fuss than using  
CSS counters and content which won't work completely anyway)


john

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[WSG] a elements and what they can contain

2005-05-26 Thread John Allsopp
I believe that, and all my reading leads me to believe that a  
elements may only contain other inline elements (not including a  
elements.


Can anyone point me to the definitive part of the HTML spec that says  
this?


Thanks,

john

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Re: [WSG] a elements and what they can contain

2005-05-26 Thread John Allsopp

Lea,

that would be this bit yes?

!ELEMENT A - - (%inline;)* -(A)   -- anchor --

j


On 26/05/2005, at 4:47 PM, Lea de Groot wrote:


On Thu, 26 May 2005 16:30:30 +1000, John Allsopp wrote:

Can anyone point me to the definitive part of the HTML spec that  
says this?




http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/struct/links.html#edef-A
is one place :)

Lea
~ sits back to see if she got in first ;)
--
Lea de Groot
Elysian Systems - I Understand the Internet http:// 
elysiansystems.com/

Search Engine Optimisation, Usability, Information Architecture, Web
Design
Brisbane, Australia
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Re: [WSG] a elements and what they can contain

2005-05-26 Thread John Allsopp

Pabhath,


Was going through the specs when Lea responded, but surprisingly,
there's no specific phrase that says you can't wrap block level
elements inside an anchor.

I guess it's implied that no inline element can contain a block level
element, and there's no need to specifically mention this with regard
to anchors.


I'd say so too.

I've known this for years, but in preparing something quite  
technical, I needed to satisfy myself it was 100% the case.


thanks

j

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Re: [WSG] a elements and what they can contain

2005-05-26 Thread John Allsopp

Thanks Lea,

all sorted now,

john
On 26/05/2005, at 5:20 PM, Lea de Groot wrote:


Yep, as Ingo says, the '%inline;' means 'only inline elements in here'
and the '-(A)' means 'except that exciting one, the anchor'.



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Re: [WSG] a elements and what they can contain

2005-05-26 Thread John Allsopp

Peter,


re: a elements may only contain other inline elements

hang on,
so if i have an anchor tag wrapped around an image (display:inline by
default), its deemed fine by the validator, but if I make that image
display:block via the css, (for design purposes, which must be a
pretty common practice on many, many sites - including many i've
designed) would that practice be frowned upon if the validator could
validate your markup *and* the corresponding css at the same time?


No, the two models are similar but different.

In HTML, an element's display type does not change even if you use  
the display property of CSS - that's simply how the element is  
rendered. In terms of the document tree, and as far as a validator is  
concerned its still a block or inline element as defined by the DTD.



possibly some bigger questions there - one being, why shouldnt you be
able to wrap a anchor around a block level element?


Cause you can't :-)
This is a legacy of SGML. For whatever reason, way back when, certain  
containment constraints on elements were decided upon, and they stay  
with us still.


Similarly, p elements can't contain other p elements. (though I  
reckon that's a legacy of tag soup days when people did this pa  
paragraph p a new paragraph so much that paragraphs implicitly  
closed themselves when they met a new opening p element )



i know the
difference between inline and block, and the fact that block elements
cant be inside inline elements - but this particular anchor question
seems a bit shakey


Yes, though in practical terms I've never found it an issue ('til I  
started playing round with Microformats, particularly hCard). That's  
why I really really wanted to be sure. But that's for a whole nutha post


j

p.s. any rugby fan WSG members whole live near Bondi, I'll be at the  
beach road hotel to watch the Super 12 final (I only say this cause  
Peter lives in Bondi too, though he probably quite sensibly hates  
rugby :-)


john

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Re: [WSG] best way to approach markup of an address

2005-05-25 Thread John Allsopp

Andrew and all

sorry about jeopardy quoting. I'm leaving the below in for context

This is the ideal situation for a microformat, an emerging and  
exciting way of adding richer semantics to HTML within the existing  
standard


http://developers.technorati.com/wiki/MicroFormats

The hCard (based on the IETF vCard format) may well suit your purposes.

Based on my experience at South by Southwest, and the recent WWW2005  
where I was involved in the Microformats Developer Day, I believe  
this is going to be significant.


Tantek Çelik, formerly at Microsoft (IE5 for Mac), now at Technorati,  
is one of the drivers of microformats, along with Eric Meyer. Both  
will be speaking at Web Essentials later in the year, and I've little  
doubt Microformats will be on the agenda there.


John


On 26/05/2005, at 1:32 PM, Andrew Krespanis wrote:


On 5/24/05, Ben Curtis [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:



dl class=postalAddress
dtCanada/dt
dd class=companyIn The Game, Inc./dd
dd class=divisionCustomer Service/dd
dd class=street1135 West Beaver Creek Road Box #604/dd
dd class=cityRichmond Hill/dd
dd class=stateON/dd
dd class=postalCodeL4B 1C0/dd
/dl



picky type=semantics
I think that one would have to qualify as improper use of a dl.
The method I use to decide on the appropriate use of dl is to say
'equals' in between the dt and each dd.

Now let's apply that to your use:
'Canada equals In The Game, Inc'   ...no it doesn't
'Canada equals Customer Service'   ...no it doesn't
'Canada equals ON'   ...ummm, the other way around, perhaps.

and so on.
/picky


Andrew.
---
http://leftjustified.net/
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Re: [WSG] Best way to train someone in css and web standards

2005-05-23 Thread John Allsopp
Hi, I have the opportunity to hire two people in the next few weeks to help me with my one-man-band web development business. Problem is, these two know only the most basic aspects of HTML and don't know anything about CSS or web standards. Problem also is that I can't afford to hire anyone currently proficient at these two disciplines. Learning CSS was a painfully slow process for me (as I never had time to concentrate on it, or standards coding, because I was always doing everything else as well). To this day, I still wouldn't consider myself anywhere near expert level: The moans and groans and "geez, why did that happen" is pretty much behind me, but I'm no expert. Since I'll still be too busy to sit with them for hours at a time teaching them the little that I know, I'd like to have some opinions on the best way to bring two absolute newbies up to CSS/Web Standards proficiency without me having to be at their elbow every step along the way. By proficiency, I mean that I can give them a Photoshop design comp, and they will be able to create an XHTML code foundation as well as a CSS style and positioning spec without too much whining and head-scratching. My plan is to get them completely compeletely trained in these areas before letting them dive into any real project development. All comments welcome and greatly appreciated.Two things come to mind. If you are in Australia, keep an eye on this list for an announcement soon about standards development workshops by the people who bring you Web Essentials (including the founders of WSG). Keep July clear if you are interested people :-) Also, at the risk of shilling, check out these courses, that are very highly regarded, have been done by thousands of people around the world, and were developed in Australia by people who have been involved with Web Standards since the very beginning(oh yeah, that includes me)http://westciv.com/courses/index.htmlWe also have a lot of very useful free training resources too,http://westciv.com/style_master/house/index.htmlthanksjohn John Allsopp  style master :: css editor :: http://www.westciv.com/style_master support forum ::  http://support.westciv.com blog :: dog or higher :: http://westciv.typepad.com/dog_or_higher  

Re: [WSG] zindex

2005-04-15 Thread John Allsopp
Hi,I've been playing around with positioning and z-index and I'm wondering if it is possible to give a containing box higher z-index that it's children.   Would need testing, but as a gut feeling I'd say you can only do it if you remove the child from the normal document flow by positioning it absolutely. you can do it even without absolute positioning.First you need to give the element a position of relative. You'll also need to do this for the children. That way they can stay in the flow (because their top and left are 0 unless you change them)Now, give the children a negative z-index, and the parent a positive one (or 0)That ought to do it,John John Allsopp  style master :: css editor :: http://www.westciv.com/style_master support forum ::  http://support.westciv.com blog :: dog or higher :: http://westciv.typepad.com/dog_or_higher  

Re: [WSG] flash and accessabilty

2005-04-09 Thread John Allsopp
I imagine something has got in a loop.
I know Peter F is busy tonight, and I'm not going to call him to ruin 
his night off, I will call Russ.

In the meantime, if everyone can be a little patient while the problem 
is solved, that will be best.

John
On 09/04/2005, at 6:36 PM, Ryan wrote:
Yeah, I received dozens of copies of the message, what's wrong?
On 4/9/05 12:23 AM, Gizax Studios [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
what happened? I've received more responses like this
- Original Message -
From: scott parsons [EMAIL PROTECTED]
To: wsg@webstandardsgroup.org; IMB Recipient 1
[EMAIL PROTECTED]
Sent: Saturday, April 09, 2005 9:16 AM
Subject: Re: [WSG] flash and accessabilty


Patrick Lauke wrote:
In and of itself, flash will never be accessible to everybody, as it
requires a plugin; it's not a web native technology.
A plugin huh?, I've always wondered what the difference was between 
having
to have the flash plugin and having to have a web browser? it is 
very hard
to see any html css website without the correct plugin (that is a
browser), so why does it suddenly become so much worse when flash is
required? Sorry but I have just never understood this argument, 
would you
mind explaining?

Older screenreaders
can't access its content at all. So, it's important to provide 
accessible
fallback mechanisms.
Yeah but my fallback positions for older browsers, like say netscape 
2 are
pretty hazy, theoretically they could understand the plain html, 
ignoring
more modern tags but I haven't really tested it recently.

However, for the percentage of users that *can* use
flash (have the plugin, have assistive technology that works 
correctly
with it, etc), you should then ensure that the flash itself follows
sensible, accessibility-related norms and conventions.

I'd suggest having a look at Bob Regan's recent post on Flash
Accessibility
http://www.markme.com/accessibility/archives/007003.cfm
and the interesting WCAG 1.0 Techniques for Flash
http://www.markme.com/accessibility/archives/007344.cfm
(just to clarify: WCAG itself does not necessarily cover Flash, as 
it's
not
an official W3C technology...so this document makes recommendations 
that
are similar / in sympathy with what WCAG tries to achieve, but in a 
Flash
context).


These links are really useful as I work in advertising and it is a
constant battle to get any kind of adherence to accessibility
requirements. But also because there are many flash designers out 
there
who would like to learn but haven't found good resources.
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John Allsopp
style master

Re: [WSG] Centre DIV Vertically? Any compliant methods?

2005-02-22 Thread John Allsopp
John,
What I want is the ability to align the content of a DIV, for 
instance, or any block element, vertically, and I'm asking why it 
wasn't included in CSS-1.

I can't think of any policy-type reason why it wasn't, that's all, and 
I don't see vertical alignment as being directly related to table-cell 
display either.
I can't speak for Hakon Lie or Bert Bos  but...
The original proposal was taking shape in 95/95, really before the 
abomination of tables for layout had ruined the web :-)

So I'm guessing that it simply wasn't something everyone wanted to do, 
like it is now.

Ditto multi column layout f'rinstance.
Maybe Bert will have an answer :-)
John
John Allsopp
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Re: [WSG] WSG thoghts on XUL

2005-02-21 Thread John Allsopp
Dean,
I don't think it's beyond the scope of the W3C. We're constantly 
looking
at technologies like XUL. Do people see the need for standardisation
in this area?
Sure.
I think the real benefit of standardisation and standards bodies is not 
necessarily the standards they develop (in a sense, it's not even 
necessary, and arguably not even advisable they develop those 
standards, at least not from top to bottom) but that by anointing 
technology it becomes a common good. The alternative is industry  
standards that is winner takes all proprietary technologies, which are 
the property and strategic asset of their creator.

XUL/XAML is a very good example of this. XUL was developed at Mozilla, 
whose implementation was a great proof of concept. It's a shame that 
early on in its development Mozilla didn't take it to WC and say, look 
here is this really cool technology that works, would you guys like to 
work with us to standardize this?
Or maybe they did and I don't know about it.

Unfortunately now we have two competing technologies that are similar, 
leading to years if not decades in the delay of the adoption of XUL 
like solutions.

Just as an aside why
circle and not solid class=whatever
.whatever {shape: circle}
?
j
John Allsopp
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[WSG] Javascript guru: volunteer some skills to a relevant charity

2005-02-20 Thread John Allsopp
Hi,
[I've run this by moderators to ok it]
The Brain Injury Resource Foundation
http://www.birf.info/index.shtml
Is a charity very relevant to the ideals of this list (and to Russ and 
Peter's recent article regarding accessibility and cognitive 
impairment)

Presently they are redoing their site to be standards based and 
accessible as possible. They've run into some Javascript issues they 
are having difficulty solving. If any of you fine JS gurus out there 
have a little bit of time to help them solve this (I really don't think 
it is much from what I can tell) could you drop me a line offlist and 
I'll put you in touch with them.

Thanks in advance,
john
John Allsopp
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Re: [WSG] IE7 may ship ahead of Longhorn

2005-02-15 Thread John Allsopp
Chris,

http://news.com.com/Reversal+Next+IE+update+divorced+from+Windows/2100-1032_3-5577263.html

Good news for web standards?


Being the eternal naysayer that I am, I'll say, um, nay.

Why?

>From the article linked, this quote from a ms spokesperson

Microsoft's Nash declined to shed any light on the question of features in the IE update, restricting his comments to planned security enhancements such as better defenses against phishing scams and improved spyware protection.
Right now, the focus is security, Nash said. There may be other things that are in there, but the goal is on security.

IE 6 buggy rendering engine it is then.
Sigh

john

p.s. developers everywhere are excited by this, checkout Slashdot, etc ad nauseam. Why? Cause no one RTFAs. The fineprint is that this is IE6 SP2 all over again.

If I were a cynic, I'd say this were directed at precisely that group (developers), who, um, are precisely the single greatest adopters of Firefox.
I'd go so far as to say it a tactical strike to attempt to stem the flow of developers to using Firefox as their main browser.

But that would be cynical, and MS are of course never cynical.

John Allsopp

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Re: [WSG] GMail... Terrible!

2005-02-14 Thread John Allsopp
Francesco,
It seems like we are making the world less free by forcing
companies/corporations/individuals to conform to equality laws.
at the risk of sounding terribly cynical, corporations in particular 
are by their very nature selfish. They exist to generate shareholder 
profit. To the extent they are permitted by law, they will by and large 
pollute, gouge their customers, and trample of people's rights.

So we have limits on corporations behavior, to ensure that society 
isn't a total disaster.

Many people  on this list have spent many  frustrating year dealing 
with the fact that clients, or employers really don't care about issues 
like accessibility. Hey, they generally don't even care about 
usability, notwithstanding that can effect your bottom line overnight.

 Isn't
this just another form of conformity and regulation?
Just like standards in television, radio, cinema, telecommunications, 
food production, pollution control...

Sure.
But the fact you can listen to the same CD on every player you stick it 
in, but can barely visit the same site with two different browsers 
should tell us that standards and conformity are not always bad things.

Right now, everyone on the web is working to implement standard based 
browsers except one. Who is it and why?

John
oh, and before anyone accuses me of being a raving communist, I run a 
business, am a director of two, and try to be as ethical as possible in 
all my business dealings. Its public corporations that I am referring 
to here.

j
John Allsopp
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Re: [WSG] web standards training course/events in Sydney?

2005-02-13 Thread John Allsopp
Cade,
Anybody know of any good training course or events that are being held 
in
Sydney (or the other capital cities) this year on web standards/best
practice web design/usability etc - other than the regular wsg 
meetings?

(For budgetary purposes, I need to identify any that I want to attend 
now,
rather than later.)
Web Essentials will definitely be on again. Russ, Peter Maxine and I 
are working hard to put together an even better event this year.

There will be an announcement reasonably soon, but if you thought last 
year was good...

Same time frame as last year too, Toward the end of September.
john
John Allsopp
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Re: [WSG] web standards training course/events in Sydney?

2005-02-13 Thread John Allsopp
Leslie,
I'm wishing we could have something like that in my neck of the 
woods...
SxSW is on soon, and two of the organizers of Web Essentials are 
speaking. I'd recommend getting down and organize quickly if you are 
going to, because hotels fill up!)

Maxine Sherrin is speaking with Molly Holzschlag and Eric Meyer on 
Women on the Web, while I (John Allsopp) am organizing a panel with 
Dave Shea, Doug Bowman, Jon Hicks and Eris Free on Web design and 
development in 2010.

As to Neerav's comment about price, WE and SxSW are two quite radically 
different events.

SxSW content is largely discussion panels, where several speakers cover 
a particular subject. Speakers are largely not paid, and people tend to 
go as much for the networking and socializing as for the content.
Web Essentials is all about the content. We focus on bringing out the 
best speakers in the World, and making sure that the content is 
focussed, and we want every second to be as valuable, and enjoyable, as 
possible.

I guess its a bit like the big day out being cheaper than seeing U2 
(music analogy, sorry for non Aussies). both have their place

I'm really looking forward to SxSW, but see it as being a very 
different thing from Web Essentials and other such conferences.

Hope this helps,
john
John Allsopp
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Re: [WSG] Default state of radio buttons. (Maybe OT?)

2005-02-02 Thread John Allsopp

I reckon this discussion is relevant here too.
The one I'm struggling with at the moment is a form with Select Gender 
M /
F. It's a government web site so I'm trying to be careful.

Checkboxes are inappropriate. I could use a select with M and F but 
then
what for unspecified or don't want to answer or I just ignored 
that
question? Also, whatever is chosen takes 2 clicks. Unchecked radio 
buttons
are a very usable choice, you hit one or the other or neither and move 
on.
Mike said ...it is sometimes invalid communications/user interface to 
have
one and only one 'checked' item at all times.   I said, and still hold 
to
the view, that sometimes a form has to be presented with none of the 
radio
buttons 'checked'. I agree.
What happens in this scenario
I check a radio button
Then I think, no, I don't want to check any of them
How do I uncheck the radio button checked without setting one of the 
others in the same group?

Reset the whole form?
So now, by supposedly giving me the option of not making a choice, you 
force me to make a choice.

Radio button groups exist for precisely the situation where there is 
one and only one option that must be chosen. That's how they have 
always worked.
The web has enough trouble with people inventing their own buttons, 
styling scrollbars with Microsoft's CSS like scrollbar style 
abominations, inventing their own scrollbars (why does every flash site 
have to do that?).

The UI conventions of the desktop have been around for a generation 
now. They represent the baseline of user expectations about how an 
interface should look, and work. Their appearance and behavior are 
burned deep into the unconscious of all computer users. Let's not keep 
reinventing the wheel.

HTML and the platforms on which our browsers run provide perfectly good 
UI widgets and behaviours that users are used to.

Now to try to be useful
In this scenario
The one I'm struggling with at the moment is a form with Select Gender 
M /
F. It's a government web site so I'm trying to be careful.

Checkboxes are inappropriate. I could use a select with M and F but 
then
what for unspecified or don't want to answer or I just ignored 
that
question? Also, whatever is chosen takes 2 clicks.
Yes, checkboxes are not appropriate, as there should be at most one 
answer. Two checkboxes could allow 2 answers.

What is wrong with a popup menu, the initial option being No answer 
and the other options Male and Female?

The UI itself tells them they need not answer. If you had radio 
buttons, you'd need a label that said you do not have to answer this 
question and then you have to hope the user sees it (whereas in the 
popup menu case, they see it while making the choice.)

And we also avoid the problem of them checking a radio button then not 
being able to uncheck it.

They also need only click once.
So it seems that in this case the popup menu is superior to misusing 
radio buttons.

John


-Original Message-
From: [EMAIL PROTECTED] [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] On
Behalf Of John Horner
Sent: Wednesday, 2 February 2005 5:25 p.m.
To: wsg@webstandardsgroup.org
Subject: Re: [WSG] Default state of radio buttons. (Maybe OT?)
That's the relevance to standards - i.e. that if it's only standard if
there is a default radio button and never valid if none of them are
'checked' then the standard is wrong and ought to be changed.
I heartily agree, Mike.

Have You Validated Your Code?
John Horner(+612 / 02) 9333 3488
Senior Developer, ABC Online  http://www.abc.net.au/

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Re: [WSG] Default state of radio buttons. (Maybe OT?)

2005-02-01 Thread John Allsopp
John,
If you want to get good data from your form, and you have two radio 
buttons, then neither should be checked by default. Your CGI script or 
whatever should do the checking and return the form with you must 
select a button to proceed.
the difference between a radio button set and checkboxes is (going way 
back to Mac UI guidelines in the 80s) is that a radio button group 
always has a value, and the values are mutually exclusive (you can't 
check two radio buttons in the same group), whereas checkboxes in a 
group can all be on, all be off, or any combination of on and off. It's 
a long time since I have done some intensive forms work, but IIRC, 
browsers generally managed this for you if you set up your radio button 
sets properly.

I know, its strictly off topic, but its about conventions, which are a 
kind of standard

john
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Re: [WSG] Default state of radio buttons. (Maybe OT?)

2005-02-01 Thread John Allsopp
John,
[snip -- I did know the difference between checkboxes and radio 
buttons!]
I was almost certain you did :-)
If you're saying that a set of radio two or more buttons must always 
be shown with at least one pre-selected, i.e. as soon as the page 
loads, one is already selected, then there are only two options for 
the original poster to get good information from their form:
Well, by convention, that is what radio buttons should do.
 1) Three radio buttons, one of them pre-selected for the value 
nothing or incorrect input -- the user is encouraged to select one 
of the other two and an error given by the script if they don't

 2) A select menu, with one option pre-selected for nothing as above.
If there are 4 or fewer responses, that is where radio buttons have 
traditionally been recommended. For more, popup menus.

I'd suggest a radio button with no response or some such, which is 
selected, and then the other two

The first seems kind of illogical to me, and the users will be more 
used to the second.
Given this limitation of radio buttons, I wonder why it has not turned 
up in UI discussion much. I've never seen it as an issue before 
(althoough I do see it as one in this instance)

j
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[WSG] pop quiz: calculating specificity of group selectors

2004-12-14 Thread John Allsopp
Perhaps someone has seen, or has a definitive answer to this question
which has the higher specificity
h1 {}
or
h1, h2 {}
(don't worry about the order in the style sheet, just in an absolute 
sense)

Relevant part of the CSS specification is here
http://www.w3.org/TR/CSS21/cascade.html#specificity
FWIW, I think it is ambiguous. But strictly thinking,
count the number of element names and pseudo-elements in the selector
I interpret to mean that the group is of specificity 2, and so higher 
than the type selector, of specificity 1
Or do they both have a specificity of 1?

Thanks, interested in people's thoughts,
john
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Re: [WSG] New Windows

2004-12-06 Thread John Allsopp
Ben,
John has just posted an interesting piece about this...
http://westciv.typepad.com/standards/2004/11/another_way_of_.html
Actually it was Maxine :-) And it is a good little discussion of the 
practical issues

John
John Allsopp
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Re: [WSG] Font-size issue on Mac

2004-11-10 Thread John Allsopp

My guess is her IE font display Prefs have been changed (Preferences - 
Language/Fonts - Fonts and Size). If I reduce mine from the 16 pt 
default to 12 pt, the main nav menu type becomes too small to read.
And there is lies the danger of all this trying to get pages to all 
look the same in different browsers.

http://westciv.com/style_master/house/good_oil/dao/index.html
http://westciv.com/style_master/house/good_oil/not_paper/index.html
john
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Re: [WSG] Ten questions for John Allsopp

2004-11-08 Thread John Allsopp
John,
Included in the more, by the way? This little nugget, dropped 
casually into an anecdote about rat's milk, the Simpsons and 
backpackers in internet cafes:

   So when I came to naming my blog, Sara, who by the time people read
   this will be my wife ...
is it off-topic to say congratulations?
I guess it is, but can I just point out that it hasn't quite happened 
yet, as the interview went out earlier than anticipated.

Which is off topic, 'cept for the fact it is in a WSG interview with me 
;-)

Thanks,
john
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Re: [WSG] Ten questions for John Allsopp

2004-11-08 Thread John Allsopp
Cam,
Trust soft Australian journalists not to ask the tough
questions, such as how much drug consumption was going
on backstage at WE04 prior to the WWWF smackdown.
We had fantales, minties and water for all the speakers :-)
I think the overseas speakers we bemused by the first two
J
John Allsopp
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[WSG] westciv templates competition results

2004-11-02 Thread John Allsopp
Hi all,
just a quick note on our templates competition.
We've announced our winners, please take a look
http://www.westciv.com/style_master/templates/index.html
We had almost 50 entries, many of considerable quality. Good to see how 
far CSS based design has come in the last few years.

John
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Re: [WSG] westciv templates competition results

2004-11-02 Thread John Allsopp
Sam,
Don't mean to be ignorant, but the winners doesn't work correctly in Ie
6.0.2
- there's a step on the right above the links !
I'd be happy to answer this but I really think it is OT.
Suffice to say a lot of effort and time went into the judging, by a 
number of people who are across a lot of the issues (including Russ) 
and we came out with the results we did.

Thanks,
john
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[WSG] Firefox and web development

2004-10-29 Thread John Allsopp
Hi all,
[a side note, I cleared this with the list moderators just in case it 
might be considered OT, always a good idea]

I am writing something on Firefox as a web development tool, and I am 
interested in how people here use Firefox's features and extensions to 
build valid, standards based sites.

Simple things like using text-sizing, things like plug ins, if it is 
part of your development and test regime, I'd love to hear about it.

Please email me directly, [EMAIL PROTECTED], and I'll let the list know 
about the results.

Thanks in advance,
John
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Re: [WSG] Mac Tools Kit for Web Standards Developer

2004-10-08 Thread John Allsopp

From: Andy Budd
Not forgetting Style Master http://www.westciv.com/style_master/
Andy Budd
Yeah, I was waiting for that one to come up.

Thanks Andy and Geoff
Review comparing Mac CSS Editors at the bible MacWorld here
http://www.macworld.com/2004/07/reviews/cascadingstylesheeteditors/? 
lsrc=mwweek-0719

John
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Re: [WSG] WSG Melbourne: Meet Doug Bowman and Dave Shea

2004-10-03 Thread John Allsopp
Aaron,
I live in the inner south east (caulfield area) of melbourne, so i'm 
hoping it
will be reasonably close.
these guys crossed the globe. I reckon crossing town is no super 
hardship :-)

john
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Re: [WSG] Brisbane meeting tonight

2004-09-07 Thread John Allsopp
Thanks Lea,
Miss the meeting and you miss meeting John Allsopp - you don't want to
miss that opportunity, surely! ;)
but if there is a low turn out, I'll take it personally people :-)
See you tonight,
John
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Re: [WSG] Brisbane Meeting, Wednesday

2004-09-06 Thread John Allsopp
Thanks Gary,
I think the train is winning, and I am staying right near one of the 
city stops

See you weds,
John
Taxi - or the train (they call it Airtrain - just because it comes
from the Airport).
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Re: [WSG] Brisbane Meeting, Wednesday

2004-09-05 Thread John Allsopp
Lea,
can I just say I am very much looking forward to being there.
But just one slightly off topic question for any who lives in Brisbane 
or travel there frequently (please answer offlist)

What's the best way to get from the airport to the CBD. Taxi? Bus? 
Other?

Thanks, and see you in Brisbane Weds night,
John
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Re: [WSG] NYTimes.com Article: Microsoft Quits a U.N. Standards Group

2004-08-24 Thread John Allsopp
Gary,
If I was involved with this group and was required to warrant
something I placed into an Open Source project which I then had little
control over how it would be used, I'd be pulling out too.
the issue of IP and standards is a tricky one. There are many standards 
bodies, the ones we know best are probably the W3C and the ISO.

Here is the issue. Due to our current IP laws, (particularly patents) 
almost every idea under the sun is essentially owned by someone. 
Obviously standards are based on existing ideas, and so in essence, to 
have a standard, you are using someone's IP. This is not a theoretical 
problem. Microsoft have been granted patents that would apply to 
cascading style sheets. So potentially any browser, or software that 
uses style sheets may infringe MS's patent. You can see perhaps why I 
think this is an important issue.

Now, if you as a company contribute IP to a standard, in effect you 
have the standards body over a barrel. In order for anyone to adopt the 
standard, they need to license your IP. Once a standard is in place, 
what is to stop you discriminating between different companies, 
essentially driving some if not all of your competitors out of the 
space in which the standard operates?

So, in order for a standard to work as it should (levelling the playing 
field for all players), this needs to be addressed.

Originally the W3C policy was that all IP had to be offered to anyone 
using the standard under a Reasonable and non discriminatory license 
(RAND). This caused an outcry. Suppose MS charged $200K to use CSS. 
This doesn;t discriminate, as all are charged the same. But whereas 
Apple or Opera might have no real trouble with that, what about open 
source projects like Mozilla? Or guys like us (westciv, developers or 
Style Master)? So the W3C policy now is, royalty free license. You 
don't lose your IP, you just can't charge for it if it is used in the 
context of the standard.

The issue of what happens if a company changes its mind is interesting, 
and differs between standards bodies. I won't bore people with the 
details here, except to say that the license is not enforceable. If I 
contribute IP to a w3c standard, I can withdraw that even after a 
standard is published, and the W3C has no way of enforcing the license 
(this is according to a patent attorney who spoke on this issue at a 
recent conference I attended)

The W3C does have a policy regarding what it will do in these 
circumstances, bu see here for details

http://www.w3.org/IPR/
Sol in essence, there has to be a trade off. You can't be allowed to 
use IP as a trojan horse to control standards and so a whole industry.

At the bottom of this is our really problematic use of Real Property 
concepts and laws as a basis for IP laws. They are  a bad fit for many 
reasons. Which is not to say we should not have IP laws, but to say 
that they should be framed in rational ways, for general benefit. At 
present IP laws are essentially being written by large US companies for 
their own exclusive benefit. Then countries like australia stupidly 
adopt them via trojan horses like the recent so called free so called 
trade so called agreement between the US and Australia, which claim to 
harmonize IP laws between the US and Australia by *Australia adopting 
US laws in toto*.

Anyway, this is way off topic in some respects, but right on topic in 
others.

john
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Re: [WSG] Table-Free Design

2004-08-16 Thread John Allsopp
John,
If I want to find solid building blocks for a table-free layout, where 
should I start?

I mean, I know there are hundreds of websites, but the recommendations 
of this group ought to be particularly useful.

The thing is, I want a lot! In terms of the page, I'm simply looking 
for

 * banner
 * three-column flexible layout for the main content
 * footer
but I'm hoping that the page doesn't exhibit any strange behaviours 
when the page gets too small/content gets too bit, like DIVs 
overlapping each other or disappearing to the bottom of the page, and 
I'm even hoping that the layout can be content-first, nav-second in 
the source.
You can definitely do some of that, but there are trade offs. sooner or 
later all such layouts will overlap or break.

I was also hoping that the CSS can be relatively straightforward and 
not consist of 147 nested @import statements full of 
high-pass/low-pass filters and box model hack code etc.
it's not all that necessary. I find the Tantek BM hack is really only 
necessary when you are obsessed with widths, down to the pixel level.

Am I asking too much? I won't be trying to support Netscape 4, if that 
helps...
Heaps ;-)
I'm sure others will point out some great resources like
http://positioniseverything.net/
http://www.bluerobot.com/ (getting long in tooth)
and many others.
Try Style master though. It's got a multi column layout wizard, and a 
fair number of two and three column layout templates you can reuse 
royalty and attribution free.

http://www.westciv.com/style_master/
HTH
john
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Re: [WSG] guide to CSS inheritance

2004-08-10 Thread John Allsopp
John,
Seeing this email reminded me of something.
Yes, some CSS properties are inherited and some aren't.
Inheritance depends on *specificity*, which can be reduced to a 
mathematical formula, as in this quote from the definitive O'Reilly 
book by Eric Meyer, where it says:

  H1 {color: red;}/* specificity = 1 */
  P EM {color: purple;}   /* specificity = 2 */
  .grape {color: purple;} /* specificity = 10 */
  P.bright {color: yellow;}   /* specificity = 11 */
  P.bright EM.dark {color: brown;}/* specificity = 22 */
  #id216 {color: blue;}   /* specificity = 100 */
which makes sense.
However, I know I've read an article also by Eric, which says that 
those nice numbers which make so much sense at first glance are not in 
base ten.

I'm sure it was in his own personal website, but I can't seem to find 
it. I remember being puzzled by it at the time. If not base 10, then 
what? Hex? So a specificity of 11 is actually seventeen? And 17 is 
actually 23? Maybe I misinterpreted something?

I'd appreciate any light members could shed on this,
The numbers have no base at all (well, some very large one that may 
change in future and is not really relevant)

See the specification for exact details
http://www.w3.org/TR/CSS21/cascade.html#specificity
But in a nutshell, you calculate the specificity like this
Get the following four values
A: is it in a style attribute or not (A=1 in the former, A=0 in the 
latter)

B =count the number of id attributes in the selector (note this  is 
only those of form #, not [id=somidvalue])

C = count the number o other attributes and pseudo classes in the 
selector

D = count he number of  element names and pseudo elements in the 
selector

Then Concatenate (don't add) A, B , C, D
So, if A=1, then we might have B=0, C=0, D=0 and the number would be 
1000

and so on.
In essence, it doesn't really matter, because
1. if it is in a style attribute,  (eg p style=...) then it will 
certainly be more specific than anything else

2. if it contains an id, (p#anID) it will be more specific than any 
selector without an id, and so on.

hope this helps a bit,
john
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Re: [WSG] guide to CSS inheritance

2004-08-08 Thread John Allsopp
Neerav,
Does anyone know of a definitive guide to CSS inheritance, hopefully 
including which tags inherit properties from other tags eg: p 
inherits from body
its an interaction of HTML and CSS.
Some properties in CSS are inherited, others are not.
See the spec, or westciv's guide as to whether a specific property is 
inherited.

Why are some not inherited? Imagine for a moment that margin was 
inherited.

Say body had a 1em margin. Then all the children of the body would have 
a 1em margin, all the children of those children, and so on ad 
infinitum.

You can however, specify that a property be inherited in CSS, for any 
CSS property (if memory series me correctly, but there may be a small 
number of exceptions to that)

As far as I am aware, the children of an element inherit all its 
inheritable properties. The proviso would be that where a property is 
restricted to say only block level elements, then its inline children 
would not inherit such properties.

This bit is just unchecked conjecture.
HTH,
john
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Re: [WSG] HTML CSS references

2004-08-06 Thread John Allsopp
Hi,
Westciv's Complete CSS Guide on CD is pretty useful, I believe its 
inexpensive (I got if for free as a door prize from a web essentials 
promo night)
it's also free online here
http://www.westciv.com/style_master/house/index.html
along with many tutorials, articles, compatibility guides, and so on.
Or you can purchase an enhanced version, and it comes free with Style 
Master.

Plus come to the Web Essentials Free Education and Government Briefing
http://we04.com/education.cfm
Where you might win it as a door prize.
'nuff plugging :-)
John
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[WSG] something for your managers and clients

2004-06-23 Thread John Allsopp
Hi all,
if you'd like a taste of the kind of thing your boss or client will  
hear at the briefing next week

http://we04.com/briefing.cfm
then I've just posted 5 things you should ask your web development  
team

http://www.westciv.com/style_master/house/good_oil/5_questions/ 
index.html

John
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Re: [WSG] web standards related rss feeds?

2004-06-23 Thread John Allsopp
Neerav,
I have recently become a fan of RSS feeds as an efficient way to trawl 
the net for interesting news and articles, and would appreciate 
knowing which web standards related rss feeds you read
I agree 110%. RSS will change the way you use the web.
Dog Or Higher is
http://westciv.typepad.com/dog_or_higher/index.rdf
Maxine at westciv does Redemption Through Standards
http://westciv.typepad.com/standards/index.rdf
and you'll find a swag of great web development blogs in her blog roll
john
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Re: [WSG] Ten Questions for whomever

2004-06-01 Thread John Allsopp
Cam and Russ,
Can we do one of those interviews where I punch the
camera, then you chase me to my car?
As Russ will tell you that is likely to be my interview at present :-)
John
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Re: [WSG] Tables are bad because...

2004-05-19 Thread John Allsopp
Mark,
On the whole it's a good read  I agree with a lot of what you are
saying bit this section:
But unfortunately an article like yours is not read by them in the
spirit in which you intended, it is read as a vindication of their
position. See, Andy Budd agrees with me.
So rather than seeing something like at times, it may be necessary to
use a non standards based approach to achieve an outcome within 
certain
constraints, and that is ok they see all those standards zealots
really don't know about the real world so everything they say can
safely be ignored.

Then Dave Shea, and Nick Bradbury and others weigh in nominally
agreeing, making it all like its all so reasonable and realistic and
essentially you reinforce the context of the discussion about web
standards.
..kind of scared me a little.
Could what you are saying be distilled into Don't raise controversial
 complicated issues in public because they might be misinterpreted by
fools and used contrary to their original meaning? That's how I'm
reading it.
There is an irony there that I am not entirely at liberty to discuss 
unfortunately.

Probably the most important part of my response, certainly as I see it 
now is

don't buy into the bogus notion of the web standards community being 
beset with holier than thou attitudes, and zealotry.

One of Andy's 10 questions answers reinforced this by the use of words 
like fascist (a fascist is a pretty nasty thing BTW) to describe some 
people (easily misunderstood as everyone) in the web standards 
community who might be overly zealous about whether or not a site 
validates. Not that I think even these creatures abound, and are 
certainly not part of the hard core of the web standards community.

Andy, Dave  Nick's comments will most likely be misunderstood or
misrepresented by some, but I imagine they are going to help others.
Regardless of whether people agree or disagree its about getting
people to think about the issue and that has to be a good thing.
The problem is that all three, along with an increasing number of 
people who responded and replied to and wrote about the article used 
terms like reasonable and balanced and objective about it.
But the article and its followups have rarely been any of these. It 
uses a lot of  judgmental language (words like zealot, purist, 
demonize).

However even this is beside the point. Andy has expressed an opinion,
anyone and everyone is more than welcome to debate the ideas he's
raised (as I know you have), but I thinks its rude to criticise the
fact that he expressed the opinion in the first place. Argue the
points but, please don't stifle the conversation itself.

I think we all have a responsibility to consider the consequences of 
our actions and words. Andy has opened a can of worms with this 
article. Was it worth opening? The can is not so much people using or 
not tables, frankly that is pretty much irrelevant. Some people will, 
increasingly others won't. In 5 years time or less this will be as 
controversial as whether font tags should be deprecated. The can of 
worms for me is this growing meme that standards advocates and 
developers are zealots, purists, live in ivory towers, etc. etc. etc

I think it is unwise for people of significant standing in the web 
development community to fuel those kinds of sentiments, even 
unwittingly.

I'm not trying to pick a fight - I mean the above in the most 
respectful way.
Mark, I guess I come across quite strongly, I tend not to beat about 
the bush.  I certainly wasn't looking for a fight, but at the same time 
I was a bit cross with the subtext of the article.
There are enough people out there waiting to beat up on standards 
advocates and the community. Let's not do it to ourselves.

John
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[WSG] And now for something completely different :-)

2004-05-19 Thread John Allsopp
Ok,
something completely different but standards related.
It's a rethink on about half of the presentation  gave the the Sydney 
WSG meeting just before Christmas, and then at the first Melbourne WSG 
meeting a few weeks ago,

http://westciv.typepad.com/dog_or_higher/2004/05/plus_ca_change.html
Hope people find it interesting, and feel free to spread the word :-)
john
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Re: [WSG] And now for something completely different :-)

2004-05-19 Thread John Allsopp
Hugh,
Anyone at Apple reading this? I'd imagine that if the web engine is 
already installed on Windows computers with iTunes (like all HP 
machines from June this year), all that would be needed would be a 
tiny download of a Safari GUI. (I imagine this because I'm not a 
programmer!)
you are largely right it would be a small download, with the engine 
already installed
this is probably getting a little OT :-/ but iTunes actually implements 
a lot of the Mac OS X UI on windows.

If they were being strategic about this my guess is that they would 
wait until there were say 50 million installed iTunes, then go for it 
with that large installed user base.

I am sure they have thought about it, just not sure what they do think 
about it.

I am pretty sure what MS might think about it :-)
john
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Re: [WSG] 'It Works in Gecko Browsers ...'

2004-05-18 Thread John Allsopp
Mike,
I may suggest you tip that on it's head.
Dead serious. I build in IE then ensure I adjust accordingly. I know 
ahat
will happen in the Geckos.
Here is why that might not be an ideal solution.
Unless you are exceedingly careful, you may well have something that 
works in IE because of bugs in IE you have consciously or 
unconsciously utilised.
It can be a serious nightmare putting that back on track.

Keep in mind too, that almost all the differences between and more 
standards compliant browsers are bugs in IE. Bugs get fixed. So you are 
guaranteeing that your code will break in the future.

HTH
John
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[WSG] Tables redux

2004-05-17 Thread John Allsopp
Hi all,
just posted a response to this whole table thingy going on right now on 
my blog.

http://westciv.typepad.com/dog_or_higher/2004/05/the_right_tool_.html
It's a parable.
Thanks,
john
John Allsopp
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[WSG] APC magazine anti standards article

2004-05-14 Thread John Allsopp
Hi all,

anyone got a link to or can send me the text of that recent anti 
standards article mentioned here at APC?

Thanks,

John

John Allsopp

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Re: [WSG] Tables are bad because...

2004-05-14 Thread John Allsopp
Mike et al.
Sorry but there isnt a place for font tags.  font has been 
deprecated and
sooner or later it'll cease working.
Go to Andy's article, and try replacing the words table and table 
layout with font tag.

Works a treat,

Sigh,

John

John Allsopp

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Re: [WSG] Tables are bad because...

2004-05-14 Thread John Allsopp
 fight,

john

John Allsopp

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:: webessentials Sept 30 - October 1 2004 Sydney Australia


Re: [WSG] XHTML/HTML

2004-05-14 Thread John Allsopp
Tina,

So does that mean if I put XHTML 1.0 Transitional that any code that 
is of either HTML 4.0 or XHTML 1.0 will be accepted by validators?
forgive me if some of this is a little introductory.

A document  type or DTD defines the syntax for an application of SGML 
(in the case of HTML, which is an application of SGML) or XML (xhtml is 
an application of XML).

What does that mean? it means that a DTD defines what elements are part 
of the language, what attributes those elements can take, and some more 
arcane issues that aren't all that relevant here.

xhtml 1.0 transitional was designed to include many of the aspects of 
HTML 4 that were planned to be phased out (these are referred to as 
deprecated elements or attributes). xhtml 1.0 strict does not include 
those attributes and elements.
The idea was that it would be relatively easy to transition from HTML 4 
to xhtml 1.0, because you would not need to remove deprecated elements 
and attribute from your code, merely transform your code into XML 
syntax (empty elements closed with a / not a , such as img elements, 
style elements and so on), element names in lower case, attribute 
values quoted, all optionally closed elements like p and li in HTML 
explicitly closed with /p or /li and some other stuff that you may 
not have to worry about.

I see my validator is presently set at HTML 4.0 Transitional so I 
assume that means that the validator will accept anything between HTML 
3.2 (which I believe is the version just prior to 4.0) or 4.0.
Not quite. What it will accept is documents marked up in accordance 
with the HTML 4.0 Transitional doctype rules. These do not entirely 
conform to HTML 3.2

Hope this is in some ways useful

John

John Allsopp

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[WSG] Informal Bondi/Eastern Suburbs meetup

2004-05-01 Thread John Allsopp
Hi all,
anyone interested in an informal meetup of wsg and similar people in 
Bondi/Eastern Suburbs of Sydney this coming tuesday - short notice I 
know, but ... please email me offlist and I'll let you know the 
details,

thanks
John
John Allsopp
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Re: [WSG] New CSS site

2004-03-11 Thread John Allsopp
Peter,

Now THIS is why I love CS - I've just increased the contrast a little. 
Easss 
now you are getting it :-)

john

John Allsopp

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Re: [WSG] He said she said :-) FIR and other such techniques

2004-03-07 Thread John Allsopp
Scott,

sorry for the late reply. Been off at the NSW surf lifesaving 
championships.

But is an image of this text in a pretty font or whatever even 
content? Isn't it just presentation and therefore the perfect thing 
for the stylesheet to represent?
It's not a bad question. What is content?

I would suggest that is it is something that the viewer reads it is 
content.

The content is still there, but we are presenting it differently. I 
see no difference between this and setting a font colour (ok a small 
difference but I am trying to make a point).
The difference is that the content is still available if the decoration 
is not. But if the image is not available there is no content.

john

John Allsopp

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Re: [WSG] Ways to minimise CSS file

2004-03-03 Thread John Allsopp
Jaime,

x-tad-biggerI have been thinking if there are any ways to minimise CSS files as my css files are growing bigger and bigger.There are so many different ways to write the CSS codes but which way is the most efficient way so to save space but still looks neat./x-tad-bigger
x-tad-bigger /x-tad-bigger
x-tad-biggerI haven't been able to find a writeup on this in the net. Anyone has any suggestion?
/x-tad-bigger
I guess its a matter of taste.

Because whitespace is in essence ignored, you can add formatting as you please.

A couple of very common formats are

p {
color: red;
font-size: 1em;
}

p {
color: red;
font-size: 1em;
}


p {color: red;
font-size: 1em;}

I kind of like the properties on separate lines, and even tabbing them in to make them more obvious

Now, at the risk of sounding promotional, Style Master, which I am one of the developers of (by the way, it is Australian, for what it's worth, don't let the .com address fool you :-) has a Format Style Sheet feature.

You simply format a dummy rule in the options/preferences window, then you can apply this to any style sheet. Style aster will automatically format your style sheets as you go, when you use its editors.

BTW, we've just upgraded Style Master to 3.5. It's for Mac and Windows, and you can get more information here.

http://www.westciv.com/style_master/

And even though my partner at westciv, Maxine, will kill me (don't tell her ok) for WSG members here is a little special offer.

Get Style Master for US$49.99 instead of $59.99, but only here

https://order.kagi.com/cgi-bin/store.cgi?storeID=WC3

and only for a limited time (until Maxine finds out :-)

thanks,

john

John Allsopp

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Re: [WSG] He said she said :-) FIR and other such techniques

2004-03-03 Thread John Allsopp
Thanks Peter,

I'm here John! Really, I'm not the anti-accessibility guy you think I 
am  ... I just believe in good design, and good design has to 
communicate. In most cases that gels exactly with your own philosophy. 
:)
Yeah, I know :-)  But I do know the value you place on typography (a 
thing of beauty don't get me wrong)

Congrats on StyleMaster BTW!
many thanks,

John

John Allsopp

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Re: [WSG] XHTML Basic 1.0

2004-02-25 Thread John Allsopp
Peter,

In looking for some other stuff on W3, I stumbled across this page http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml-basic/ 
 
The DTD is  -//W3C//DTD XHTML Basic 1.0//EN
 
Anyone had anything to do with this? I hadn't heard of it at all (maybe I'm ignorant and should spend more time trawling the W3 site).

We have supported it in Style Master since 2000 :-)

One of the beauties of XHTML was/is that it was modularised

As with CSS from 3 on, rather than being a monolithic standard XHTML was broken into smaller subsets, so that each could be developed independently of other chunks.

XHTML Basic, as you are probably no aware, is a subset of XHTML, devised particularly for lightweight devices.

I believe XHTML Basic + CSS Mobile Profile (a small subset of CSS) were supposed to be astandards basd way of replacing WAPML (or whatever WAPs htmlish markup language was)

HTH,

john

John Allsopp

:: westciv ::
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