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Episode 11

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18th June 2004

Most of you will be familiar with who and what the The » Web Standards Project was and is. I’ve been teaching valid HTML and CSS here for years, and much of the impetus behind this is because of the boys and girls of the WaSP. I’m smiling today because we were listed in their resources section. Irrational fear of rejection has kept me from mailing anyone about HTMLSource for years, but we’re finally up there. Many thanks to » Molly for noticing and to » Ethan for hooking us up.

Today HTMLSource starts its fourth year online. Rejoice.

5th June 2004

In preparation for HTMLSource’s forthcoming fourth birthday (party hats supplied), there are some changes afoot. We’ve had our annual “missing month” again, on account of les examans in college, though this year it turned out to be slightly more protracted than normal. For this I am sorry. I’m back now, at least for the first half of the summer before I disappear into the mists again.

So, what’s changed? Firstly, our long overdue move to a CSS layout has been carried out. That’s right — no more layout tables, you’re looking at a pure CSS design. Practice what you preach, and all that. Some more noticeable changes might be the switch to Trebuchet MS over Arial, which seems to give the text a more rounded and friendly feel.

I’ve also started serving all pages as » PHP, so that I can use includes. I had been dying to make this change for a while. A month ago when an advertiser asked for a modification to one of their ads, I’d have to update all the pages, and then re-upload the whole lot — a goddamn pain in the ass. Now, one file and it’s all done. Of course, no URLs have » changed because of this — your links and bookmarks are unaffected. Most of the core pages in the site now have more permanent names, thanks to a bit of URL rewriting. For instance, About.

Next on the hitlist is another rather large change. The directory is getting dumped in favour of an ultra-trendy weblog-style page, which will be updated frequently. Once a CMS has been chosen I can get started. Discussion boards are also likely in the Source’s future, but I’d like to be sure we’ve reached critical mass first.

24th April 2004

Over the last few months I’ve been responsible for redesigning the UCD Students’ Union website, a much bigger commercial project than I’ve ever done before. The money may have been lowly, but it was a huge learning experience for me — in particular I gained an essential insight into the business side of web design, which up until this point I hadn’t seen much of. The site was a joint venture between myself and a friend also doing CS. Fair play to Jono for putting up with me over the course of the project, fastidious man that I am. As I’m sure he’ll attest, I didn’t make it easy on him, but he managed well. You’re a good man J-boy; thanks a bunch.

17th February 2004

Well, that went smoothly. We’ve successfully switched web hosts this week, which shouldn’t have caused any disruption to your service. This stands in stark contrast to the last time we made a switch, an atrocious effort with its zero days warning and accompanying downtime. Having left our previous hosts, who were primarily an ISP, we’re now with » Pair Networks, a proper hosting company. We’ve had no problems so far, so hopefully my luck will hold out.

You should see a new button in the sidebar there, imploring you to “Get Firefox.” That’s good advice. The Mozilla Project’s » Firefox browser (formerly Firebird) is a superb piece of work. If you’re still shambling around the web using creaky old Internet Explorer, do yourself a favour and download it. I’ve already converted my family and a good number of friends, but my plan is now to see — through gentle nudging — how big a dent I can make in the percentage of my readership who come here using modern browsers (any Mozilla variant, Opera or Safari). I’ll report in over the next few months with some stats on how the campaign is going. I have high hopes. » Get moving! Need some more reasons why you should follow these sage words? » Pull on this.

Also: » Webmonkey, RIP: 1996–2004. Without them there’d be no us.


26th January 2004

We’ve expanded again! This time it’s in the “Site Management” direction — an area that the site has been in need of for some time. This new section will deal with the backend workings of your site, from configuring your server to organising files and suchlike. The opening salvo of tutorials are already available: Server Side Includes and SSI Echo.

Also, a great big “Cheers-O” to all those who have donated through PayPal over the last month. We’ll be (finally!) moving to a professional host next month and your generosity has made this possible. Thankee.

5th November 2003

Possessing neither the time nor the inclination to get a real job, I’m investigating a few ways that this site can be turned into a proper cash-cow. Having fostered amity with a few web hosting companies it has so far done quite well in repaying all those lost hours of my teenage life. For the next few months I’ll be trying out » Google Adsense, which I’ve heard many good things about (most happily that part about “revitalising web advertising” — someone needed to).

Also, if you would like to donate directly to HTMLSource, there’s a link to a PayPal account there on the right. If the Source has “rocked your world” like it has rocked so many others’, please consider sending something on.

8th October 2003

Having suffered for the last few months with my deathly-slow old Gateway, which threatened to make » Mozilla unusable, I finally accepted delivery of a lovely new Dell this morning. Filled with glee, I went about assembling my new machine, working with a fervour that only a new computer can illicit. Finally, everything set up, hit the power button and... crash. Wonderful, once again my first three hours as owner of a new Dell machine are spent languishing on tech support talking to some outsourced chap in Bongo-bongo land because some joker messed up the install of WinXP at the factory. While it would be convenient to ascribe this to them rushing it out the door, the goddamned thing took over a month to reach my house. Cowboys!

Drama rectified, I’ve been installing all my favourite programs all day. Having learnt more than a few lessons on my old computer, I now have the proficiency to set this new one up as a web-design powerhouse. Thanks to my friend » Andy I found out how to set » Apache up to recognise local hosts for each site that I’m working on — a tutorial on how that’s done should be on the way once a new “Site Management” section gets off the ground.

7th September 2003

Made it back from Mallorca in one piece, though I can see the recuperation process taking days tucked away in bed. A brief synopsis: in the time not spent drinking entire breweries, falling out of water slides with all the grace of a swan in labour, quoting the Dude ad infinitum, lighting straws or dreaming about Pat Cash; we managed to have a really great time. The weather ranged from ridiculously hot to morbidly gloomy, though we managed to catch a really rather amazing electrical storm one night. We found a fantastically stereotypical Irish bar nestled in the midst of a Britannia-drenched strip, wherein I finally got my moustache flecked with many a beautiful, glorious white russian. Far out!

30th August 2003

To anyone reading this page it must seem like all I do is go on holidays and shirk my responsibilities to you, the viewers. Well, this summer that’s been partly true. Not a whole lot has gotten done, and things haven’t panned out as I was expecting. Not that this is a bad thing.

Anyhow, I am away again for a short break to some godforsaken isle off the coast of Spain, where I am likely to meet my end. Some friends and I are finally going to experience that particular joy of living with one another, which’ll be interesting, especially when co-dependency comes into play. Bright, loud and too goddamn hot; that’s the experience we’re running headlong into. What larks.

3rd August 2003

Back once again with the renegade (web)master. All information on the long-deprecated <font> tag has been collected into one tutorial, so I can ward people off it more easily. Also, after a number of confused visitors couldn’t get their image rollovers to work, I went back and rewrote the entire page. The new script is svelte, with much-improved adaptability too. My next project is to rip apart the my first site section and revamp all the beginner’s tutorials. Man alive.

25th July 2003

The house got awful lonely very quickly with no one here to amuse me, so I’ve bitten the bullet and am heading off tomorrow to join my family in Portugal for a few days. I have to make my own way over there, which’ll be a new experience, and probably one fraught with mishap and adventure. I will return momentarily.

19th July 2003

I’m a teenager no longer. Mein birthtag was nice, plenty of laughs and hangovers. Almost all of my friends are still around for the summer, not possessing the capacity to get away from it all, so things are going well at the moment. My family have left for sunnier climes, leaving me to fend for myself — a terrifying prospect. This means that any semblance of a sleeping schedule which I still had is now gone out the window, which in turn means I may get around to writing more stuff for this here website. Meanwhile my alacrity is being tested to its limits at work, but I’m enjoying it all the same.

5th July 2003

Finally got around to doing some writing — my first of the summer, I think. Advanced Selectors may not be filled with the most practical code — particularly when » recent developments are taken into account (though » Mozilla lives!) — but I found it interesting to research. There are also three more book reviews up, which hopefully will become a monthly event. Book publishers, send me your wares. I’d be appreciative if you could read each of them and  comment on my book-reviewing stylings. Starting on a short-term summer job next week (because I’m not a bum, honest). We’ll see how that goes.

1st June 2003

You may have noticed the few innocuous text ads that have taken up residence in the navigation bar. HTMLSource is finally paying its way! While this site doesn’t cost all that much to keep up, the amount of time I’ve invested in HTMLSource over the years — conservative estimates being half my waking life — is ridiculous, so I’m overjoyed that I’m finally getting something tangible back from it.

It’s all about the Benjamins.

22nd May 2003

Hooray, the exams are finally over. After a three-week slog — more physically demanding than it was mentally — I’m taking a few days off to get sozzled before the summer kicks in proper. Remind me to get my ass back to work soon afterwards.

17th April 2003

The » winners of web-graphic’s wonderfully monickered » WThRemix contest have been announced — with top honours going to » Radu Darvas’ striking entry. And — the jettisoning of all established branding aside — deservedly so. I still don’t know why I didn’t enter myself.

It’s that time of year again when I go hopelessly quiet here and try to concentrate on my looming exams — some of which are showing increasing potential to go pear-shaped. I’m really looking forward to returning to work on HTMLSource — I’ve missed the writing, man. Certain parts of the site are in need of a bit of an update, as things have changed in the world of web design since they were written. It’s the curse of being on the cutting edge. I have a third theme to add in as well, and Retro will probably be redone. All this requires time, of course, something I won’t have for another four weeks or so; but when I do there’ll be all sorts of crap going on here. Wish me luck.


1st February 2003

Hmm... I seem to have forgotten to update the site for a whole month there. I’ve been away from writing here for so long I don’t know where to start. Ahem. Back in the habit, time for a number of vague (but impressive-sounding!) promises on what you may expect to see appear in some form here over this, the dawning of a new era. Firstly, as a break from a three-year tradition, I’m not even considering a redesign of the site. No. Not a goddamn chance.

In a heartening turn of events, I’ve been struck with a number of ideas on what new content I could write for HTMLSource; a welcome change from my despairing outlook a month or two ago. I already have half of a huge new area of the site ready. Much to your dismay, that’s staying under wraps for a while longer until it has a chance to mature into something truly worth parading. What could it possibly be? Here’s a » hint. Sshhh!

Actually, I’ll forgo some suspense and just open up a new section now — Books @ HTMLSource. » Bruce from » glasshaus was nice enough to hook me up with a copy of their new book on web design, and so I scrawled a review. There’s also a fine example chapter on creating web graphics. Appleicious design, I reckon — that took a while to get right. I don’t see this new section being added to on a very regular basis, but it’s more good stuff, right? And why not.

I finally have a decent-looking to-do list of tutorials, and much of the existing content is in line for its annual rewrite, so there’s much to amuse myself with. Promotion has already seen some changes, and the antiquated My First Site tutorials will likely follow.

style="border-top: 1px dashed #99c; padding-top: 0.5em">But wait, there's more: Episode 12.

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