Days: it’s a blog thing

Since August, 2001. Surely it can’t last…

Tuesday, January 14, 2003 ↓


I missed this gem when it was published, but thanks to an ace graphic designer buddy, I can point you to this article in The Guardian media section, concerning a study made of the FTSE100 companies’ web sites.

Amongst other things:

The report also found that more than a third of the sites were difficult to read using software other than Microsoft internet browsers. One in 10 of FTSE 100 company websites could not be viewed using other browsers. A further 28% of sites had "significant problems" when displaying pages using non-Microsoft browsers.

"It is in our view indefensible that so many sites have not been constructed to the standards which people rightly expect from our top companies," said Adrian Porter, author of the research.

You said it, Adrian. You also said in the report that 72 of the 100 sites "vary from needing some substantial attention in one area or another, to needing a lot of urgent attention, to being irredeemably bad and in a state where they should be thrown away". Quite.

Posted at 12:07 AM

Monday, January 13, 2003 ↓


If, like me, you’re a bit of a typography nut, you’ll know that Matthew Carter is a leading type designer who was responsible, amongst other things, for two of Microsoft’s core fonts for the web: Verdana and Georgia.

FontHaus’ x-height magazine has an interview with the man himself, in which he gives his own short history of twentieth century American typography.

Posted at 11:54 PM

Sunday, January 12, 2003 ↓


I wish when Ev is frigging around with things at Blogger Pro, he would make it more obvious. I haven’t been able to post anything for three days, until just a short while ago I found a note hidden behind a link saying that they are testing some code fixes. Code fixes that, apparently, broke my ability to post. Why not do testing on another server, instead of the bloody main, live Pro server? Grrrr…

Posted at 1:43 AM


Ask Bjørn Hansen, creator of Organica which regularly crawls this blog, has also built Metamark, a service for shortening long URLs. It’s not the first, of course, but it has a few tricks that perhaps the others don’t. And Ask provides a handy little Bookmarklet for making it just a click away.

Here’s a piece of recursion: Ask’s own example of a long URL shortened by Metamark, linked by a URL shortened by Metamark:!

Posted at 1:07 AM


In the same way that I was thinking it would be useful if Safari had a CSS parsing error that could be exploited to hide CSS from it until it is in a better state of compliance, so too has Mark Pilgrim: Should safari be intentionally buggy? and, much work later (what a guy): How to hide CSS from Safari. After all that work, though, there doesn’t seem to be a simple way of hiding CSS from Safari that doesn’t affect other browsers.

While Dave Hyatt’s reluctance to build a bug into Safari deliberately is understandable and admirable from the point of view of a good software engineer, I feel that from a practical standpoint, it’s highly desirable. And as Mark says, no-one is suggesting that a bug be introduced into Safari’s CSS rendering, but rather its parsing.

Ask Bjørn Hansen says:

Maybe I am missing something, but isn’t the obvious solution to make a valid syntax that will say “Only read this if you are browser X”?

Except that Javascript can be disabled, is there a reason to not just do that in Javascript?

Actually, that’s precisely the reason why not to do it in JavaScript. I’ve developed an overpowering resistance to using JavaScript for anything that will detrimentally affect the functioning or accessibility of the page if JavaScript is disabled or simply not available. And we have all got so tired of building (often error-prone) browser-sniffing code into our pages to cope with flaky browsers.

I think there is a good, simple solution; and it doesn’t involve using scripts, ugly hacks or invalid code. The parsing error most commonly exploited by web developers is probably that related to the @import rule. Importing a style sheet by placing something like
<style type="text/css">@import "style.css";</style>
in the HEAD of the document will successfully hide the stylesheet altogether from the atrocious Netscape 4, and the “pre-version 5” variants of the most common browsers — so they can be delivered a completely unstyled but perfectly readable version of the page. Perhaps Apple might consider deliberately building this same parsing error into Safari until such time as its level of CSS compliance is comparable with that exhibited today by, say, Mozilla. At that time, the parsing error could be fixed (or perhaps that should be “un-un-fixed”), and in the meantime, web builders wouldn’t have to go through extraordinary hoops to prevent their pages being trashed by a significant new browser.

Posted at 1:01 AM

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