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Episode 10

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18th August 2002


Home again, home again (jiggedy-jig). Where were we? Lots of getting-things-up-to-date being done behind the scenes. The homepage was updated for the first time in a long time, with a focus on modern standards — I should have done that ages ago. Being a birth-place of wide-eyed beginners, I feel it's my duty to usher as many people as I can into using proper markup; hopefully they'll go along with it. New in August:

  • Unbeknownst to me, I had left Form Validation unfinished before I left, but it's complete now.
  • XHTML Explained has been expanded to include details of making the conversion, along with a goddamned cornucopia of external resources.
  • Finally, the gloriously error-filled 'HTML 4 Tables' has been etched in under its new title, Advanced Data Tables, having been made ridiculously complicated in the process. Hooray for progress.

I've seen a large rise in visitors and a proportional rise in email over the last month.  Keep it coming, your questions and suggestions are very helpful in deciding where I'm going next with all of this.

My side project for the last few days has been a standards-compliant redesign of » OverClocked Remix, a really cool game-music site. You can see my version, and the design document I've made up to outline my goals etc. Will I ever put my toil to use and send this to the webmaster? Who knows...

30th August 2002

Finally broke down and spent multiple hours trying to get this whole site to validate. See, when I redesigned to XHTML I did my best to re-code as much of the content as I could, but damn if it was ever tedious. But I spent a yonk doing it today — of special note were all the </li> tags that I never used — and think I've got most things up to a good level. This is where you come in. I can't be checking every page on the site for compliance, but since a fair amount of you seem to enjoy putting HTMLSource through its paces in the » HTML and » accessibility validators anyway, you may as well  report to me when you find something rocking the boat. So grab your validation bookmarklets and get huntin'. And, you know; add in some comments and a few hilariously impractical suggestions while you're at it. Two birds, one stone, and all that lark.

I've done more tweaking and editing behind the scenes recently than you'd believe. I need to start getting paid for this...

31st August 2002

Day 2 of the Great Source cleanup kicked off today. I've found HTML Help's » HTML Validator to be incredibly useful, since it can follow links and validate up to a hundred pages in one swoop. Terrific. There were, ahem, a few more errors than I was expecting to uncover too.

Also, I've gathered the few proper redesigns that I've finished together into a section of this site. It's less about giving 'mad props' to my own apparent design skills as it is about letting you see the kind of decisions I make whilst designing something, which is extra-useful since you'll be able to compare the original designs with ones which, I feel, are improved versions. I'm sure there's something you can learn from it. And hey, if it spurs you into having a crack at redesigning a site to further your own experience, then that's just dandy.

4th September 2002

After reading the HTML » Table spec I had a change of heart and have just completed Tables Accessibility, formerly Advanced Data Tables, formerly HTML 4 Tables. Oh man. Still, this new version makes a pair with another good tutorial, Forms Accessibility. Too bad there'll never be a Frames Accessibility...

I've been toying with the idea of offering multiple » alternate stylesheets or 'skins' for the site. It'd be nice to have a change from the royal purple every once in a while. What I've come up with so far hasn't been good enough though, so this may be something I never actually implement. Writing a new CSS file for a design as complicated as the one I have here is incredibly difficult. Besides, I'm loathe to undermine the strength (and some might say, strikingness, if it were a word) of these colours... It's all about the branding, baby.

17th September 2002

Contemporous to my recent return to college comes a redesign of my aggravatingly poor » college website. I've put an awful lot of thought into this one, and as I've been saying to my friends, this is a project I think I'd really enjoy carrying to fruition. If I ever have a spare year.

Two new tutorials for those of you as interested in JavaScript as I have suddenly become: Advanced DOMs and the essential Support Detection. Good tutorials; and thorough. And for those of you adept at typing in the URLs of individual pages here at HTMLSource, you may notice that I've gotten rid of the redundant /homepage/ directory, which held such delights as this updates section, and the directory. You can now get to these folders straight from the homepage. Hip hip...

20th September 2002

Who would've thought I could get this to work? Ladies, gentlemen; say Hi to the new HTMLSource theme, ¤ Retro (so named for the good ship Source 1's preferred method of returning to earth, and not because of the design's questionable kitsch appeal). Those of you with a decent browser should be able to click that link to paint the Source red, and there's a couple of buttons now added to the sidebar toolbox so you can switch styles as you're browsing.

This is all pretty great stuff. This alternative design is suitable for those of you who prefer your layouts liquid, and your fonts serifed. Also, it uses font-size keywords so it should be easier to read and resize the text through Retro, if you've ever had trouble viewing the site through ¤ Bubbleicious' frosty lenses. And now?  Send me some comments on whether or not you like the new skin.

For those enthralled by the technics behind the magic, this is thanks to the coalesced excellence of » Paul Sowdon and » A List Apart.

25th September 2002

Retro(cool)'s debut has been greeted with rapturous applause; and it continues to stun audiences at each of its 180-odd local appearances. I've updated the stylesheet in places to get around some dodgy rendering in IE, and it looks cleaner now. Shortcut fiends can hammer Alt + R to make the switch, and Alt + B if they ever want to go back. I forgot to mention to however many » Opera users I have that the buttons won't work in your browser, as it doesn't support the Level 1 DOM. Weep; but only for a short while, as a huge overhaul is currently underway in the icy depths of Norway to bring you a DOM-ready Opera 7 before the end of the year.

The difficulty curve in college has been adjusted from last year's pleasantly gentle slope into a jutting, pointy crag; and one that seems particularly unconquerable to those who do not think of themselves as morning people. I'm tired. Still, I'm learning stuff that will probably be useful. SQL, databases and suchlike.

I've also had the opportunity to give my HTML skills a run-out in the classroom with a mate of mine. That was a great way of observing first-hand the mindset of a beginner, a frightening thing indeed; though the unrestrained glee on his face when he got two crappy pages to link to each other was pretty damn funny.

The JavaScript section continues to expand, threatening to consume everything around it. This week Popup Windows has joined the fray, to the exultation of successful Internet marketeers everywhere.

And our first trilogy of trilogies is complete as Episode 9 slips quietly into the archives. Enjoy.

9th November 2002

Been caught up of late with the usual distractions — college, making new friends, trying to retain the old ones... I've also been working on two other projects; one just a little ‘something I did for a friend’; the second an involving collaborative venture I've been working on for the last two months or so and devoting a fair amount of time towards. Development work is ongoing, but you can count on me announcing that amid much pomp and fanfare on these pages sometime soon. I'm rather excited about it myself.

Until that's ready for a public showing, you'll have to make do with the following additions. Yep, six new tutorials. Don't forget to breathe now.

  • DHTML Explained attempts to define the term that every webmaster knows but few understand or can put into use.
  • Forms Presentation takes the place of the formerly too-short ‘Image Submit Button’ tutorial. Now I cover using CSS in forms to make 'em look a little more splendid.
  • Uploading your Site fills a rather noticeable gap at the basic end of the site. Missing in action for two years...
  • CSS and Media Types lays down some great techniques you can use to fire a different stylesheet at a reader dependant on how they're viewing your page. Cool.
  • Server Response Codes is a reference page that may help you diagnose some problems with your site.
  • Scripting Frames shows those crazy cats who use frames just how to get their scripts working across the divides.
  • The ¤ Retro theme has been much improved, since it turns out that some of you are actually using it.

I've held this update back for weeks now, and I'm not even sure why. Some thought it would never come, but I wouldn't leave you hangin’ like that. It is, I believe, the biggest update I've ever done here though. Hot damn.

Every couple of months or so, I face the stressful decision of where to go next with the site. I've covered way more here on HTMLSource than I ever meant to when I started this site just over two years ago. So finding new tutorials to write is tricky. I've been watching what people search for and there are few surprises — those hilarious pranksters aside. The site is already “immense” and “overwhelming” in the eyes of most readers only stumbling into it now anyway, so a small change in pace is probably justified. Hey, if there's something you think I've missed, you can always  make that call.

7th December 2002

Holidays are comin’. Check out our new festive flava! That’s real nice, I’m glad I had that idea. Presents are being bought, trees are being decorated and Santa is readying the sleigh for another round of Chrimbo craziness. Brilliantly, this year I triumphed in my four-year campaign against artificiality by getting a real Christmas tree. Sadly, it’s still festooned with the decidedly un-magical plain white lights, but my confidence is high that I can effect a change in this policy by next year.

Just one day of college to go now (which happens to contain an exam) and I’ll be off for a nice long holiday break.

I wrote a tutorial on Cookies a number of days ago, which proved itself to be rather useful during our Multimedia practicals this week. “Yeah, just check out my site,” I could say. “Damn,” they’d say, “This site is great!

Finally ordered myself » Programming Perl, because for various reasons I’d like to have a better understanding of the Perl language. It arrived this morning, and looks quality, so in about 1000 pages time, I should be a Perl master.

23rd December 2002

Merry Christmas, everyone. I hope you all have a good one. Come fly with me again next year.

style="border-top: 1px dashed #99c; padding-top: 0.5em">But wait, there's more: Episode 11.

Previous Updates
Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3 | Episode 4 | Episode 5 | Episode 6 | Episode 7 | Episode 8 | Episode 9 | Episode 10 | Episode 11 | Episode 12 | Current Updates