I wiped the CSS for the site by accident and now I have to rebuild the mod for Skidoo back up from memory.


So if you’re wondering why the site looks a bit odd, now you know.

One Shots

A small bonus for those who actually read this thing on occasion. I’m putting together a layout that I plan on using in a production environment. As I develop this (and other) layouts I like to work with just one flat file with an embedded stylesheet. That way making changes to the layout can be done fairly rapidly. When I’m ready to go live with the layout I’ll spend time cleaning out the CSS, commenting up any hacks, etc..

The layout in question is Gargoyles 01. I think it’s got a lot of potential. Its a bit more styled than my usual templates, but the trademark boxy-ness is still there. I’m still working on it, in fact I’ll be editing that very file that I’ve linked to as I work on it so you may pop in and view it in mid-tweak, meaning you’ll find all sorts of odd looks to it.

It’s something I think a few people might find interesting. As I type this, it’s got fairly good compatibility. I haven’t checked IE 5.0, and version 4 browsers definately won’t work. In fact, I bet it crashes NN4. That’s why, if you were to try and use this layout yourself, you’d want to keep the stylesheet separate and import it in a manner that NN4 won’t see. That’s what I’ll be doing when I’m ready to use this.

The layout is geared torwards higher-res users. 640×480 does not work well at all. I’m going to look at maybe reducing the gutterspace a bit to get a better fit on 800×600 browsers.

The upper-left box is a placeholder. Remove that border and put an image with a transparent background in its place.

The any number of left-column boxes could be put in place. Likewise the width of the content area (the container with 2 columns) could be shortened to provide yet one more column in the “grey” area.

Colors are kept greyscale so I can focus on layout. I’ll deal with colors later. But I intend dark colors for this layout… which can be quite problematic… at least for me.


CSS Jungle

I threw in a quick fix for IE/Win into the skidoo and lean layouts last friday. Of course that triggered a bug in Safari for the Mac which made the left and right columns unusable. So I’ve since wrapped the all-encompasing position: relative IE fix inside an IE-targeted CSS selector using the * html hack. That’s fixed Safari and things are back to ‘normal’.

The IE Blog. Run by the people developing IE. When I read the title, “I Love This Browser!”, I at first through the guy was talking about FireFox, but it turns out he actually means Internet Explorer. Apparently the guy(s) over at MS don’t develop CSS-based websites. Nor will they anytime soon, from the looks of things. This “blog” *cough*lame attempt to reach out to the alienated community*cough* is focused on the lost users who switched to a better browser because of security issues. Well that’s all well and dandy, but buddies, there’s a lot more to the story than just security. And that’s why IE will continue to lose market share, they don’t see the whole picture.

Tim Berners-Lee got knighted a couple weeks ago. Who? Probably the same thing the Queen was thinking. He’s, essentially, the guy who created what most people term as the “Internet” but what in reality is a small (but significant) portion of it called the “World Wide Web”. It’s probably better if you read the press release rather than me try to summarize what he’s done. What do you suppose is the bigger thrill: being knighted, or being mentioned in Lain? Tough one.

XHTML 2: Building upon Berner-Lee’s … er, Sir Berner-Lee’s original vision of universally accessible information, it takes XHTML several steps further in stripping the presentation logic from the data itself. The idea is that the structure and content of the data should be completely separate from the presentation. Presentation is created with CSS or XSLT.

XHTML 2 looks pretty interesting, but it will probably be several more years before the full adoption of the new markup over the old (and keep in mind this is still in draft form). I’ll be most interested in seeing how the use of the href attribute, now available to any element, will be adopted. It’s a novel approach, any element can be ‘clickable’ now, but is that going to lead to some confusion between what the src and href attributes do? We shall see.

The server hosting the layouts and stuff has been acting ‘odd’ since a power failur last week. So expect intermittent connectivity (and other) issues for a week or two more. I got nothing to do with administering that box, so don’t look at me. Blame the kittens.

80% Lean

I’ve put together what I’m calling Skidoo (Lean) which is a stripped-down version of the original skidoo layout. I put that together, as well as a rewrite of the explanation of the layout’s structure, after reading a comment on an ALA article about negative margin layouts.

I actively seek out comments on these layouts, especially criticism. I want to know what’s wrong because I want to provide as hassle-free a layout as possible. I don’t even think I should call it a layout… it’s more of a layout template. The nitty-gritty CSS crap that is needed to get the basic layout working, that’s what I provide. It’s up to you to make it look pretty.

Back to the feedback thing… I find there are more comments about Skidoo outside of this blog and the e-mails I receive. So every so often I hit Google in search of sites that might have a comment or two somewhere about the layout. All this feedback helps me and it helps everyone else using the site. There’s bound to be a ton of questions about how certain aspects of the layout work, or how to get something to work with it. I just can’t think up of them all… I see things one color and need help from everyone else to see the rainbow.

Well.. that was a little too pretentious. So I’ll quit now. Cheers.

Glorified Bookmark Page

I don’t want to lose these links, and at the same time I think others might be interested in checking them out, if they haven’t already.

First up is Molly Holzschlag’s article on long-term CSS hack management. Basic idea is keep your browser-specific CSS hacks separate from the rest of your CSS. That way you can drop browser support pretty easily when the time comes for such a thing.

This leads to Tantek’s Mid Pass Filter which allows you to present a stylesheet seen only by IE5/Win browsers.

Which leads to this article on Stopdesign on how to target IE5/Mac. There’s even a detailed article on how exactly that particular hack works.

Which leads to the CSS hack reference I use on a daily basis.

Andy Budd has an article on validation and tackles the debate on whether validation is a tool, or a must. I have a bit of a rant on this myself, sitting in the comments of the skidoo base.css stylesheet. My perspective: validation is a tool, not an absolute law. As long as you understand the rules you’re breaking, and the effects of breaking those rules, then it’s perfectly fine.

In browsing several website design sites I’ve decided I need to work on developing some cooler designs. But do I keep doing demos with addon-on stylesheets or do I need to start moving past skidoo?

Your thoughts?

Tools of the Trade

First I’d like to thank the people who’ve e-mailed me in the past couple of days about the layouts offering kind words and samples, or at least discussion, of development that’s been done using one of the layouts. I really enjoy hearing from people, especially about modfications you’ve made, so keep it coming.

Been reading a bit today about Solaris 10 and the new key features such as DTrace and zones and so I decided to get a copy and try it out for myself. I’ve only got the basic install done right now.. I hope to play around with Solaris over the new couple weeks, especially with DTrace.. but first I need to figure out how to install a web browser, and increase the color depth beyond 256. :)

Tools of the trade.

I use Crimson Editor for everything. I code with it, I create web pages with it, and I do all my CSS layout development with it. It’s lightweight, can handle large (100mb) files, and it’s free.

It seems every time a co-worker takes a peek over my shoulder and sees Crimson Editor they can’t believe how easy it is to use, the nifty syntax coloring, and that it’s free. And that barely scratches the surface of all its features.

I do a lot of Cold Fusion development and I use CE for that as well while my copy of Dreamweaver MX collects dust.

Perhaps a glorified text editor isn’t exactly the most efficient way to develop websites or webapps, but at the end of the day, I certainly know every minute detail that goes into whatever it is I’m working on, and that helps me sleep better at night.

Perhaps Dreamweaver deserves some time on my screen. A few weeks ago I was given a reason to start it up and develop a quick webapp with it. It was pretty nifty. The help docs that come with it provide some really solid demos on how to quickly get things done with Dreamweaver. Now I’m almost ready to believe the demo I saw at a Macromedia conference last year in which the presentor developed a dynamic, db-driven website from scratch inside of 10 minutes.

So what I’m trying to do here is acknowledge that Dreamweaver is probably very useful, and that I should probably try using it more, but my copy of Crimson Editor isn’t going to be uninstalled anytime soon. It’s like those old-school UNIX gurus who couldn’t think of using anything else than vi.

I think I’ve pimped CE enough.


Just a quick response to Webmedic’s question he posted to the previous entry.

<snip>… you mentioned that you would be updating the templates to fix the one issue with needing an extra div, have you already done this?

Yup. All the (now) needless empty DIV elements have been removed from all the templates within the skidoo site. There’s still one left that I need for Netscape 4, but I hope to eventually find a way around that as well.

Also since I’m developing on top of your layouts for my own themes, if I come up with extra css sheets for it to do other things would you like those for your demo pages?

Absolutely. Anybody who is developing with any of the layouts, that’s willing to share their CSS, I’d love to get a copy of to include as a demo for that layout. Either by linking directly to the site or by providing a templated version of the layout with the additional stylesheet(s). I think it’d be really interesting to see what others do with the layouts, and it might help yet others find new ways to approach the design of their own layouts.

So if you’re willing to share, please e-mail me with either a copy of the stylesheet(s) or a link to your site. And if your mods include modifications to the markup of the template, send along the HTML page as well.

Thanks for offering!

Le Bugs Le Gone

First, a couple new demos up, here and here.

I’ve also fixed the IE ghost text and ghost element bugs. I got a hint from this article on PiE which suggests that comments and display:none elements will trigger the ghost-text bug. On that tip I found some elements that, when moved around or handled slightly differently in the CSS, it works. So that’s patched.

Also found that vert padding on the .inside elements for the left and right columns was triggering ghost elements to appear. moving that vert padding to the parent column block fixes the bug.