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 [Article] Streamlining with Web Standards
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adam
Forum Moderator & Developer



Joined: 26 Jul 2002
Posts: 704
Location: UK

PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2003 4:23 pm (14 years, 1 month ago) Reply with QuoteBack to Top

I thought I'd start out in my new role as "Forum Developer" with something about my favorite topic, Web Standards. So, here goes...

Webmonkey wrote:
In the beginning, all we had were hacks.

To lay out webpages the way our clients wanted, with pull quotes, text wrapping, multi-colored table cells with space between the rows (but not the columns), then we had to hack, hack, and hack some more.

...

Well, the kind souls at the World Wide Web Consortium have taken pity on you, poor Web developer, and in their infinite wisdom have formulated a solution thatís so beautiful in its simplicity, so beneficial for all parties involved (developer, client/boss, user), that youíll break down and weep like Tammy Faye on a Sunday when you realize how much easier things are about to get for you.

Read Full Article


This article/tutorial serves as a good introduction for those who are new to web standards; specifically those who aren't sure they can follow in the steps of wired.com and completely throw out their table-based design but still want to use modern versions of (X)HTML.

Further Reading
If you're interested in this kind of thing, you might also want to check out Web Standards for Hard Times.

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Daniel
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Posts: 2564

PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2003 4:31 pm (14 years, 1 month ago) Reply with QuoteBack to Top

I've been growing increasingly depressed recently as I've been trying to put together attractive tableless layouts. I've run into nothing but problems as I discover limitations of CSS 1/2 everywhere. Also every browser has its own way of displaying things, and you can't spend your life using hacks to make everything look the same (or at least similar) in all browsers Sad (and if you do you're going down the wrong road again aren't you?). What we really need is to start afresh with new "perfect" browsers Very Happy. But I know that's not going to happen... Crying or Very sad

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adam
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2003 4:39 pm (14 years, 1 month ago) Reply with QuoteBack to Top

in my experience, the only browser that displays things differently to the rest of them is IE. Since IE is so popular, that poses an interesting problem. Do you use strictly complient code that IE will mess up (primarily because it doesn't support CSS2), or do you cater to Microsoft's mistakes? I personally choose the first option.

IMO, mozilla and the various browsers based on it are the closest thing to perfect you'll find.

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Daniel
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2003 4:43 pm (14 years, 1 month ago) Reply with QuoteBack to Top

Mozilla may be the closest thing to perfect but even it has its own problems (admittedly they're fixed pretty fast but you can't count on users upgrading all the time), and most non techy users don't use it very much. Also Opera which is probably less used by techies has its own set of bugs... Sad

As to messing IE up, I won't go that way because I'm ashamed to say I still use IE Embarassed. Yes I know I shouldn't but since I run Windows it's still the fastest and easiest way to go (I've got loads of browsers on my PC but I've never been able to go all the way to making the switch).

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adam
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2003 4:54 pm (14 years, 1 month ago) Reply with QuoteBack to Top

all software has its problems, and you're right, since mozilla is open source its bugs get fixed quickly. that's one of the biggest advantages to open source software.

as for users not upgrading, as I see it if they use an outdated version of their browser it's their own fault if your site doesn't display correctly (assuming your code is standards complient Wink)

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Daniel
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2003 5:05 pm (14 years, 1 month ago) Reply with QuoteBack to Top

Odhinn wrote:
as for users not upgrading, as I see it if they use an outdated version of their browser it's their own fault if your site doesn't display correctly (assuming your code is standards complient Wink)


Ah but there's the whole problem: you can't design a website just for people using the latest version of their browser (unfortunately!). Although I'm now in favour of dropping support for NS 4.x (!), I won't drop support IE 5, NS 6, Opera 6, etc...

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Justin
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2003 7:47 pm (14 years, 1 month ago) Reply with QuoteBack to Top

You develop for your users, thats the way I always have, and always do, as the majority of my users use IE, whats the point in coding in standards complient code that doesn't work right in IE if thats what most of your users use.

To be honest, sure we should code in standards complient code, but if it's going to alientate your users in the process, what is the point? It's just going to cause them trouble.

Though saying that I normally try to get things looking right in Mozilla/Firebird or whatever I'm running as my alternative browser as well, as long as it doesn't mess everything up in Internet Explorer.

Opera is so buggy, that I don't bother with it.
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adam
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2003 8:02 pm (14 years, 1 month ago) Reply with QuoteBack to Top

as a matter of principal I won't write anything specifically to be compatable with IE - in my mind that would just be perpetuating Microsoft's monopoly. That's why I love standards, they're not specific to any one organisation or company.

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Daniel
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2003 8:30 pm (14 years, 1 month ago) Reply with QuoteBack to Top

I generally code pages which work in IE and which validate, and make sure they work OK in Mozilla & Opera afterwards. However that's when I'm not working on tableless layouts... Tableless layouts are much harder, as I said before, since you can't get layouts to work in all browsers without wasting your time with hundreds of hacks Sad (if you do actually get everything to work!).

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adam
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2003 8:37 pm (14 years, 1 month ago) Reply with QuoteBack to Top

I've never found it to be the case that hacks are required to get tableless designs to work. but then again, I've never done anything complex with them - since I'm generally concentrating on working in C rather than doing web-based stuff right now.

[after-thought]I usually concentrate on content rather than design, since it's making the content I'm interested in.[/after-though]

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Daniel
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2003 8:44 pm (14 years, 1 month ago) Reply with QuoteBack to Top

Yes, your designs generally aren't very complex Wink. Tableless layouts are fine if you don't start trying to have things floating around Smile. If you stick to one "column" everything works (more or less). It's when you want to position things that bugs are most obvious. And I don't think it's reasonable to have to use such a limited layout just for the sake of getting rid of tables. If "the powers that be" can make CSS more user friendly maybe it'll take off as an alternative to tables...

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adam
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2003 8:55 pm (14 years, 1 month ago) Reply with QuoteBack to Top

indeed, it would be quite cool if CSS was extended to allow for easier page layout, maybe something like:
Code:
body{
columns: 3;
}

div#col1{
width: 200px;
column: 1;
}
...etc.

then the browser could be left to layout the page as it wants. that would be easier than the current method of using absolute positioning.

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Robert Wellock
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2003 9:17 am (14 years, 1 month ago) Reply with QuoteBack to Top

Part of the idea behind CSS-3 was to make it easier to create columns and CSS-P layouts with CSS but perhaps we will have to wait until 2010 before there is any chance of that technology hitting the road.

Then again, I am now in the business of migrating to XHTML served as 'xhtml+xml' thus the CSS should perform in a more constant manner, but I agree M$ is far behind Mozilla and the quirky Opera with the CSS rendering and unfortunately M$ does have the market share.

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