Monthly Archives: October 2001

Colophon

When some of this content was in beta form Mosaic had arrived and, I guess, the graphical web browser was about to change my life. At the time I was working the nightshift in a small office just off Euston Road in London and learning HTML and using the Internet seemed like a good way to pass the night.

With one browser it was easy. HTML seemed logical (if limited) yet within months all that had changed. I used to be one of Netscape’s biggest fans; they pushed the boundaries and tested the standards. Several years, and the development of many web sites, later my attitudes have changed.

Graphical web browsers were created to help you, the user, control the way the documents you are reading look. Commercialisation of the web, particularly the insistence by content creators that they controlled every pixel on the page, meant the user was given less control. Add to that the fact that many users don’t understand that fundamental of the web, and you’re left with an industry that is moving away from that guiding principal. It’s a shame, but this kind of development has reinforced my belief that content creators and software vendors (including those that code the browsers) should adhere to standards.

Opera Browser - Small and FreeI have always been in favour of standards and, for the basics of the web to survive, I believe those standards are even more important today. My site< has been tested against the major browsers and also against Opera – which is a browser that I would whole-heartedly recommend if you are looking for a compact, compliant and fast browser. My current browser of choice is Mozilla which gets better with every release. If your site does not render using Mozilla, and I don’t need to read it, I’ll go elsewhere.

Originally, my personal site was written using Allaire’s HomeSite web-authoring tool. I had an email suggesting this went against my belief in the fundamentals of the web but unlike almost any other HTML coding tool I have tested over the years, HomeSite does not necessarily add unnecessary HTML or re-format HTML you have written. These days, however, I employ Moveable Type across all the web sites I run. Using style sheets it does a fine job of separating content from design as well as making sites easy to update. If I was the purist I wanted to be I would argue for hand written code every time but none of us has the time and Moveable Type twinned with HomeSite makes a nice, easy-to-use, alternative. HomeSite’s HTML validator is also useful if you want to try and keep some coding standards on your site (and before anybody else emails me, I know this site isn’t perfect).

w2c css complaintConforming to a standard does not mean you can’t implement many of the latest mark-up developments though. My site is built using style sheets and I make use of the JavaScript SRC command so I can control my sctipts better. As such, you will need to CSS complaint browser and JavaScript enabled to see it the way I hope you would. I don’t require a certain screen resolution, colours or window size as I don’t like sites that try to tell you how you should view them. However, I don’t think it is a bad rule to make sure you are always using the latest version of your chosen browser.

PGP for EncryptionYou may also care you read my PGP public key page which contains some information on why I occasionally use PGP.

As I am not a graphic designer, Paint Shop Pro is my image editor of choice. It does all I need it to. I try to keep the image sizes down to speed your loading time and there should always be an ALT tag in my code so you can, if you wish, switch them off.

Like many other website I make use of the Georgia and Verdana fonts (available from Microsoft) which were designed for reading on the screen. However, if you don’t like the you can always set your browser to override them.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I’ve made the move to Windows XP at home (although I have fallen for Windows 2000 in my office). I actually write a lot of my content on my Palm Vx (which replaced my trust Palm Pilot Pro in Fenruary 2000). I use the QED file editor and pull them in after a backup. If you know a good Palm HTML edior, send me an email. My web pages are hosted with Instant Web and I recommend them if you don’t want a hosting company who bombards you with emails and offers and who let you get on with building your pages.

And finally a word about Copyright. When I produced the UK Radio Information Pages, other people passed off much of that content as their own (more about UKRIP, here). So, please ask before taking anything. All the images on this site are either mine or have been publicly available in newgroups. If you own the copyright to anything, let me know and it will be removed. If, however, you want to link to this site, please feel free. Linking content together is what the web is all about – and I do get frustrated when companies try to sue over a few links ;-)

ratings

icra rated for contentAs you can probably tell I am a great beliver in the use of the web for free speech. As such, my site is voluntarily rated with the internet content rating association (icra).

useful resources

If you want to read more about web standards W3C is not only a standards creator but a useful starting point; try browser.com for more information on browsers and try JavaSctipt.com for some JavaScript starting points and a ton of links. For a useful style sheet resource try builder.com. The UK Copyright Licensing Agency is a useful © resource and three is a good discussion about web copyright here. If you’re not familiar with the term colophon then you should read this or this.

On this day…

2002: Ultimate Boy Band CD (1)