Simon Willison’s Weblog


Thursday, 1st August 2002

Real World Style

Real World Style: These techniques work. I know, because I use them every day in my real world job. Mark Newhouse provides a whole site dedicated to CSS tips, tricks and full blown public domain layouts specifically designed to work with Netscape 4 (and Unix machines). This is an invaluable resource for web developers who want to start using modern techniques but still have to cater for an audience with troublesome browser preferences.

[... 78 words]


CETIS is the Centre for Education Technology Interoperability Standards. Their site is regularly updated and contains a wealth of information about a whole range of interesting technologies, including metadata standards and plenty of stuff on web services and XML. It also acts as an interesting insight in to technology plans within the UK’s academic community.

[... 59 words]

I know I’m bloody well subscribed

It’s the first day of the month. I don’t believe in rabbits, but I do believe in Mailman—I just had my fourth “monthly reminder” email of the day. It beats me why the lists I am subscribed to see fit to email me once a month to remind me of my description—you would have thought the dozens of emails I get from them every day would be enough of a hint. In my opinion this is one default option the web could do without.

[... 90 words]

Ooooooooooh Chris Casciano’s Digital Playground. I love this design—Chris uses beautiful black and white photos for page backgrounds and carefully positions the main navigational element on each page to fit in with the background image. This is a great example of the new design techniques being made possible by a combination of CSS and creative talent. I just wish I had some of the latter :)

[... 73 words]


I’ve been messing around with CSS today, trying to convert this page to use standards compliant CSS and XHTML while keeping the overall look and feel. My efforts so far can be seen here—I’ve knocked the HTML file size down from 27KB to 7KB (although that doesn’t take the new external CSS file in to account) and it seems to work in Opera, Mozilla and IE on Windows. There is a slight issue at 800x600 (the breadcrumbs dissapear) and it looks terminally boring in Netscape 4 but on the whole it’s come out pretty well.

[... 117 words]

MySQL text limits

Today’s scary discovery: MySQL TEXT fields have a limit of 65,000 bytes. If you insert anything larger than that in to a normal TEXT field mySQL will silently truncate your data without telling you (meaning software checks are probably a good idea). MEDIUMTEXT will store 16 million characters and LONGTEXT can handle over 4 trillion, but this information does not appear to be readily available in the online mySQL manual (although it is hinted at in this table). Something to bare in mind when designing database applications.

[... 92 words]

Styles of blogging

There’s a great discussion going on at the heart of things concerning different styles of blogging and the way the format is evolving. The range of formats evident across the blogosphere fascinates me—there are as many different styles as there are blogs, and each blogger’s style is constantly evolving. Personally I want to move towards more of a unique-content-generation model (as opposed to my current link farm) but at the same time my experiments with meta data mean that the more “shallow” content I have the more chance I will get to do interesting things with relationships between entries.

[... 106 words]

CSS selectors tutorial

Since it took me a while to find this page today, here is it for future reference. Westciv’s Guide to CSS Selectors is an excellent explanation of selectors, a key element of CSS. A good understanding selectors makes styling any part of a document possible with less code and more flexibility.

[... 52 words]

2002 » August