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Daveosaurus

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Mission accomplished (hopefully) [Dec. 29th, 2008|07:55 pm]
Daveosaurus
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[Current Location |Invercargill]
[mood |accomplishedaccomplished]
[music |Headless Chickens - "Monkey Jar"]

Well, with a hell of a lot of help from d_h and from Takyoji, I think I've finally got That Blasted Web Page (1) the way I want it to look and (2) not throwing up any errors when I run HTML-Tidy over it.

* thud *

So, anyone who thinks I could do better with the design and this means you, drealkulit, is welcome to tell me what I can do to make it look better. (The only things extra I think I'm going to need soon will be (1) a way of forcing tables to not get any wider than the first row - so that the images in the image tables won't be forced apart by text below them, let the text scroll instead; and (2) some way of programming a contact page (which I have been sending emails to domain owners about already).

Now for something completely different. I have just been given a link to the ugliest web site ever. How bad? If My Space was AOL, then this site would be Web TV. It's that bad. My old web site looks better than that. (Note: site does not contain offensive images but, even so, it's not recommended to anyone prone to any sort of seizures or migraines. It also apparently crashes Firefox on some systems, so make sure you don't have anything open you don't want to have to close).
linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: d_h
2008-12-29 08:20 am (UTC)
(1) If you fix the width of the table cell the image is in, that will define the width of the entire column. This means text in cells below will automatically wrap without any other intervention.
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[User Picture]From: southerndave
2008-12-29 09:18 am (UTC)
Thanks... I've tried that out and it works in Firefox. It doesn't work in IE (grrrrrrrrr) but as the resulting page is still compliant (according to HTML Tidy, at least) I'm tempted to just put a little link to Firefox on the page and politely suggest a browser change.

The only other issue is two broken image links, which are broken because I haven't actually made the images yet...
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[User Picture]From: d_h
2008-12-29 10:09 pm (UTC)
Then, in difference to IE, put the width setting in the table cell with the description, rather than the image.
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[User Picture]From: southerndave
2008-12-30 03:04 am (UTC)
Thanks... I've put it in both. That seems to work. (It's just as well I already decided to standardise my image sizes, though...)

... I might end up creating styles in the header for those table cells, actually... they're almost complicated enough for me to do with them like I did to the cells in the data table.
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[User Picture]From: dkphoenix
2008-12-29 08:59 am (UTC)
I am still seeing spots from that second website.

The code for your site looks nice and clean. I approve. :-) Clean code is a beautiful thing.

As for design, well, that's a matter of personal taste. There's things I'd do a little different, if you want to hear them.
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[User Picture]From: southerndave
2008-12-29 09:24 am (UTC)
I'm always willing to listen to ideas... I have no design sense (the same way I have no colour sense... trying to do a clean design on a web page is like me wearing black, it's basically an attempt to fake being classy by being boring) and all I ask is that you don't mind if, after thinking about your ideas, I go ahead and do my own thing anyway. (This whole page is fairly much all my friends' good ideas cobbled together into something that hopefully works... for an idea of what my HTML looks like without help, look at my old site).
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[User Picture]From: dkphoenix
2008-12-29 09:56 am (UTC)
They're suggestions, not obligations. ;-) It's your website, and ultimately, your decision on how it looks.

Funny you mention color, because that is mainly what I would change. Black text and #0000FF blue links on a cyan background isn't the greatest combination. If you really like the mint green background in the main body, then I'd go with something like a dark green or dark blue for the header and sidebar. Or go with something like a hunter green or navy blue for the header and sidebar, and then a neutral like antique white or light khaki for the body background. (If you go with a dark color for the header and sidebar, you might want to put lighter colored boxes behind the text there - either the same color as the body, a slightly darker shade of the same color as the body, or a lighter shade of the header/sidebar color.) A dark color for the header/sidebar frames your content, and something a little more neutral will draw attention to your images.

I'd also consider changing the link colors from blue to the same color as the header/sidebar. That pulls the design together and makes your images pop, since they'd be the only thing that varied from that more neutral color scheme. (Obviously, if you don't put lighter colored boxes behind the header/sidebar text, you can't do this for them, but you could use a darker shade of the body color, or a lighter shade of the header/sidebar.) If you do decide to change you link colors, make sure you get them all - link, active, hover, and visited. I usually make the visited link color a few shades darker than the unvisited color, and active and hover something light and bright, like a very pale yellow.

There's a trick I like to use on pages with this layout, that you may or may not want to use, depending on what you're going for. What I like to do is make the header and sidebar fixed in the CSS, so they don't scroll and the main body does. Like, a false frames effect. The advantage is that your viewers can use your navigation links without scrolling back up. The disadvantage is that you lose a little monitor real estate for viewing your content.

Finally, I'd make your title ("New Zealand Mail ...") a little larger than the subtitles. make "An Internet Stamp Catalogue" a size between the main text and subheaders (possibly italicize it), and then move it a little bit to the left, so it's centered above the text below.
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[User Picture]From: southerndave
2008-12-29 01:13 pm (UTC)
I've got no great attachment to the colour scheme... I just wanted something that didn't hurt my eyes. I am apparently mildly colourblind (I never notice, myself, but then the general idea is "you wouldn't, would you?") and I do notice I differentiate colours more by light or darkness than by hue (I normally see blue as very dark, red as medium and yellow as very light). I'd happily go with something like tan or khaki for the colour scheme (pale for the main frame, slightly darker for the outer frame) if that's going to make black text (and my black, blue and red colour-coding of different levels of certainty in the data table - although that has a white background anyway) more readable. I'll happily give something like tan or khaki a try. I'd prefer to stick to dark text on a light background, though, and to leave the link colours as standard if at all possible.

The main navigation through the site is actually going to be the left side panel... it will link to anything between 50 and 100 pages by the time the site is complete (maybe fewer, if I include multiple classes of stamp on a single page if only a few different varieties of a single stamp are known) the links at the top will all be to "meta" information once I get the layout settled (there's also going to be a "contact" link once I get things sorted out). I might also put a "home" link and a basic disclaimer at the bottom of the page.

I think the title/subtitle split shouldn't be too difficult (just checked the code to make sure and they're at different levels of heading); and "An Internet Stamp Catalogue" is just a placeholder - I still haven't thought out a name for the site! I don't think it will look so off-centre once I populate more of the navigation data... it's left justified; series like the "Central South Island Series" will occupy a lot more of the line than the "Dunedin Series"; and all but the headings will be indented. Will give this a try tomorrow, hopefully (it's well after 2am now - eeep!)
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[User Picture]From: southerndave
2008-12-30 02:59 am (UTC)
Right... I've monkeyed around with the colours a bit... is the latest version any better? To my own eyes, the unvisited link blue is just a little too bright now...
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[User Picture]From: dkphoenix
2008-12-30 03:12 am (UTC)
I like those colors much better. The blue does look brighter against the peachy-tan than it did against the cyan because it's way more saturated than the new background color. It looks fine to me, but if you wanted you could take the saturation down a little by adding this to the CSS in the head
section:

{a: link: #2A2D9E; }

Still blue, but a little darker and "mellower".
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[User Picture]From: southerndave
2008-12-30 03:22 am (UTC)
... I can't see any difference... which probably means I'm doing something wrong. Will have to do some looking things up and see what it is.

E.T.A.: Finally found out what I was doing wrong, fixed it, and then found out that (to my eyes) the un-visited link colour was almost identical to the visited link colour. So (after a couple of goes) I got the latter to a sort of dull dark red that doesn't look like anything else on the page... I've left the active and mouse-over links as standard for the time being, though.

Edited at 2008-12-30 05:17 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: drealkulit
2008-12-29 11:39 am (UTC)
Who me?

I can leave the suggestions to others. I just need to know what you wanna do, and if you're having a hard time implementing, then I can help fix.

Also, I can whip you up a contact page. No problem at all. Just need to know the details how you want it (fields, email, etc). Send me an email?
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[User Picture]From: southerndave
2008-12-29 12:53 pm (UTC)
For the contact page I'm planning on pinching the code from here. It might need quite a bit of fixing up though (the site is generated by a family history program which, to add insult to injury, puts a misleading "this is valid XHTML 1.0" button on a main page that isn't...) I just need to get an additional email address set up on my brother's domain to handle any web site correspondence...
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From: cajetan65
2008-12-30 07:04 am (UTC)

The contact page...

That's just a bit of reasonably straightforward PHP coding within an HTML document. Was JUST reading (as in yesterday) a book on the same which would enable me to rejig a sample coming (from that book) that'd do the job...

The bad news is that I'm off to a music festival in the morning - and am back on Sunday night. Might just e-mail you something tonight.

Let me know if that's appropriate...
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[User Picture]From: southerndave
2008-12-30 08:03 am (UTC)

Re: The contact page...

I'll wait until He Who Won't Answer His Emails gets around to setting up a separate email account and then cobble something up... once that's done you can have a play with it and figure out what I'm doing wrong.
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From: (Anonymous)
2009-01-18 09:29 am (UTC)

PHP contact

Dave, I should check your blog more often to pick up mistakes :)

The PHP contact form is not generated by GenoPro, it was written in PHP by me and tweaked by someone much older after the pages were moved from Southnet's server to Snap's (Southnet's web server had a slightly different PHP configuration and the move broke the contact form).
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[User Picture]From: southerndave
2009-01-18 09:59 am (UTC)

Re: PHP contact

I was wondering how long it would take for your ears to start burning.

Have been flat sticks lately justifying some of my decisions about how to set out my pages to the actual people who will be using them and changing the way I do things if their way is better so I haven't done anything with that page yet. At the moment I'm about to start work on more pages using the sample page as a template (I don't think I'll be doing any more monkeying around with styles, etc... I think I've got them fairly much sorted out now.)

I'm still planning on pinching the contact form code though (I'll be doing some tweaking on it... I've got this really useful little Firefox widget called HTML Tidy that checks my HTML, tells me how to fix it and then sends the whole shebang up to the W3 validator to see how badly I do).

The main problem with the programming at the moment is that I'm using nested tables, mainly because I can't get the page to look right without using tables for layout as well as data presentation. As the page at present still looks right on IE and Firefox and apparently passes the W3 test I'm loath to monkey with it any more.

I wouldn't mind knowing why the computer is running like a snail on Valium at the moment mind you... It's only using about half its memory and about a quarter of its CPU and I defragmented it not that long ago so I'm stuck as to why it's doing this... Possibly AVG as it does seem worse in the late evenings when AVG is running?

I suppose I should warn you now that I don't know the first thing about PHP...

Oh, and do you want me to drop a bunch of CD blanks off to you at work some time?
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From: (Anonymous)
2009-01-23 10:45 am (UTC)

Re: PHP contact

You know my view on tables (and HTML in general). If it works, use it :)

The PHP code is really straightforward, very simple stuff. Just copy it, have a go and see how it works.

Your PC needs a reload. When I upgraded it I just did a repair install, so there's lots of old crap from a 5 1/2 year old install still there. When you think you're ready to cope with a completely fresh install let me know!

I'd switch to Avast! for a freebie. I run CA ITM myself but its a corporate product.
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[User Picture]From: southerndave
2009-01-23 11:28 am (UTC)

Re: PHP contact

4½ years, not 5½... it was July `04 when I got the machine.

Would that also be the reason the thumbnails in my My Pictures directory's subdirectories are playing up? For example my thumbnails directory looks like this:

Photobucket


but the actual images should be black and red and have slogans on them, like this one (top row centre):

Photobucket
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From: cajetan65
2008-12-30 06:56 am (UTC)

I like the page FINE as it is, but...

Just in case the "politically correct" assail thee for lack of "te reo" (or I'm just being the pedantic cataloguer-bastard I've turned into here) - you might like to note that the runanga thereabouts call the "yellow-eyed penguin" the "hoiho"...

Running - FAST... ;)
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[User Picture]From: southerndave
2008-12-30 08:09 am (UTC)

Re: I like the page FINE as it is, but...

Any pedant wishing to find other names in other languages for the yellow-eyed penguin is most welcome to click on the Wikipedia link, which will advise them that not only is it also known as the Hoiho, but also as the Megadyptes antipodes.

While on the subject of nomenclature, what would you like me to call the LJ RSS feed I'm going to make of your Library Things?
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From: cajetan65
2008-12-30 09:26 am (UTC)

Re: I like the page FINE as it is, but...

Maybe CajetansMusicBooks?

What's the process?
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[User Picture]From: southerndave
2008-12-30 09:43 am (UTC)

Re: I like the page FINE as it is, but...

cajetansbooks has been created (the name has been truncated to fit within the 15 character limit).

I described the process on one of the replies I made yesterday... I'm on a crap connection, remember, and it would have taken me longer to find the reply than to just do it.
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