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> Opening a Can of Worms...maybe?, General Discussion of HTML & CSS with request for guidance
WRAVE
post Sep 13 2006, 09:29 AM
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OK, I want to introduce myself and then I'd like to ask for some suggestions. I've been building HTML pages since about 1990. Most of these pages have been static and the few dynamic pages I have created relied mostly on Perl to provide indexes for user contributed MS Word documents. Not what I'd have preferred to do since I've been writing almost every document in HTML since I first started and believe it is THE format for ALL written text. The versatility of HTML makes it the choice for electronic documentation.

I believe that "Content is King" as opposed to stylistic devices however, one look at the CSS Zen Garden site made me want to learn CSS and I have spent the last two years struggling with the inconsistent implementation of the two browsers NS and IE. Makes me want to pull my hair out!!! So I've reached a point where I'll mix anything in a page to get a semi-consistent look on these two browsers.

Since last February I've been working on two sites for my county conservation offices. Don't know how they validate and don't much care. I do know that I had struggles getting IE and NS to render them approximately the same and they finally do...at least for the browser versions I've checked them out with. I can tell you that before I started one of the sites was all graphics. I am not sure which WYSIWYG HTML editor was used but everything was gif files. The text was gif, the white space was gif files and of course the images were gif images. As a result, the pages took a long time to load into a browser. My redesigns have sped up the download time by better than 60% and I managed to keep the site appearances close to what they were originally. Of course, one of the board members did not like my choice for fonts since the original "looked so much better" but I had employed a bit of CSS and was able to change to a different font that is acceptable and with little effort.

So, to quit rambling, let me just say that I write all of my pages by hand, I'll use tables if necessary (forget all this tableless CSS hype) and while I am convinced of the value of CSS, I easily become frustrated when I have to spend days researching the browser bugs I've encountered. I'm not a newbie and I am a proponent of HTML electronic documentation.

My question(s) is (or are), for those of you that have been doing this professionally, where (how) have you learned to deal with the eccentricities of these poorly implemented browsers (MS mostly)? And how many of you are doing graphics design along with page design and construction (i.e. you do it all, one [wo]man shop) and am I so far behind the times since I prefer to code by hand?

I'd appreciate any comments any one might have on these questions and concepts.

Here are some sites I've built...

Allen Co. Partnership for Water Quality
Allen Co. SWCD

My personal page...
Rocky Fields

Thanks to any who take the time to check any of these out and offer comments.
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Darin McGrew
post Sep 13 2006, 05:13 PM
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QUOTE(WRAVE @ Sep 13 2006, 07:29 AM) *
My question(s) is (or are), for those of you that have been doing this professionally, where (how) have you learned to deal with the eccentricities of these poorly implemented browsers (MS mostly)?
A recommendation I've heard frequently is to get the design working in standards-oriented browsers (e.g., Firefox, Opera, Safari), and then do what you need to do to get acceptable results from MSIE.

Also:
  • KISS
  • Use a doctype declaration that triggers standards mode
  • fix the errors reported by the validators first


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jimlongo
post Sep 13 2006, 05:25 PM
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I've often thought that one could use the reverse of that perverse old adage . . .

THIS WEBSITE IS BEST NOT VIEWED WITH INTERNET EXPLORER

just kidding . . . ohmy.gif


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Christian J
post Sep 13 2006, 06:13 PM
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QUOTE(Darin McGrew @ Sep 14 2006, 12:13 AM) *

A recommendation I've heard frequently is to get the design working in standards-oriented browsers (e.g., Firefox, Opera, Safari),


I test in MSIE from the start (because it's the most common browser), and of course also in Firefox and Opera because they are closer to the W3C recommendation (I don't test in Safari much, though I should). I simply avoid using things that MSIE doesn't support, unless I can find a W3C-compliant workaround (which happens surprisingly often).

QUOTE
and then do what you need to do to get acceptable results from MSIE.


If you don't test in MSIE from the beginning you'll easily add things that MSIE doesn't support. That in turn forces you to add MSIE-specific hacks later on, which can be fragile or at least complicated to maintain.





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Darin McGrew
post Sep 13 2006, 11:37 PM
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QUOTE(Christian J @ Sep 13 2006, 04:13 PM) *
I simply avoid using things that MSIE doesn't support
That might be considered a variant of KISS...


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WRAVE
post Sep 18 2006, 11:21 AM
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Thanks for your suggestions. It would sure be nice to NOT have to deal with Microsoft IE but unfortunately there's no way around it. I made the mistake of just using NS early on and after I had published a number of pages, checked them on my home machine running MSIE 5.x and couldn't believe how poorly they were rendered. So I did find some fixes and now I think they look OK in MSIE.

I appreciate the idea of using MSIE from the get go. It might save me a bunch of repairs. Actually, since discovering my early discrepancies I've been cross checking the design pretty regularly.

Live and learn, huh?
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