Archive for May, 2003

Quick Bits

When I switched over to using titles on my entries here, rather than just a date, I lost the ability to post quick links to places where a long description wasn’t necessary. I miss posting just links to things that are interesting, funny or that speak for themselves, so I added a Kottke-esque “Quick Bits” area to the right column.

Here there’ll be just quick hits to stuff that I’ve found noteworthy. I still need to fix up the archive page for this, but the separate RSS feed should be working fine.

It still uses SimplePost — I just duplicated the whole thing and told it to deal with a single file, rather than multiple months.

More Props for CSS

Yikes, it seems there’s been some anti-CSS talk recently. Simon Willison defends it in an intelligent way. Key points that I agree with are below:

Less Code. It’s easy to understand that a CSS layout takes far fewer lines of code than a nested table one. CSS is read once and then cached (which can be annoying at times). Less code means, faster downloads and a smaller footprint. It saves money, people. Just ask ESPN.com, who recently went CSS on their homepage, saving a gazillion terrabytes or something in bandwidth (I’m too lazy to dig up the link where this is quoted), or what we’ve just done with Fast Company — where page load has proven to decrease dramatically.

Accessibility. It’s a fact that coding with structure in mind will make the content of pages more accessible. People can easily read in text and speech readers as well as all browsers. They might not get the design details — but they will be able to read the darn thing. And isn’t that what counts the most?

CSS isn’t all that hard. It’s true. Too many are giving up because CSS doesn’t solve all of their problems easily. All it takes is a little reading. Just like it did to learn HTML — and the payoff is much greater. A lot of the anti-CSS rants I’ve been reading sound like they come from someone that does not really want to give much effort into learning it. Sure there are browser quirks. But getting around those quirks isn’t impossible.

Tables are not evil. Yes, you read correctly. Tables are perfectly fine — it’s about separating presentational markup from structural markup. When you separate, you get all sorts of benefits. Use tables for what they were designed for. Heck use them to layout a basic framework, then use CSS to handle the rest. It doesn’t have to be one way or the other. In fact, use what’s best depending on the project. Just don’t bash a technology that can improve things for everyone.

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12 oz. Just Ain’t Enough

A 12 oz. can of soda, juice, beer or any other beverage just doesn’t cut it. This is especially true when drinking the beverage with lunch. I should clarify that 12 oz. is just barely not enough. A 16 oz. bottle is a ridiculously large amount of liquid. Too much, in fact.

So. I’m proposing that someone starts marketing 14 oz. cans. It’s gotta be a can, and it’s gotta have that 2 more extra oz. It’ll be just enough to take that last sip after you’ve polished off that BLT.

Validation and the target Attribute

So the target attribute is not allowed within hyperlinks in XHTML 1.0 Strict. There’s a workaround using DOM and JavaScript (via a post on What Do I Know).

It’s stuff like this (throwing out a perfectly fine attribute, that is both dead-simple and easy to implement) that keeps me away from Strict. Using target to open links in a new (or named) window is sometimes necessary — even if you don’t believe it should ever be done from a user’s perspective. Content management systems and other web-based tools often depend on this, and complicating an elementary task such as this one will just keep more developers from adopting the Strict document type. My two cents.