Simon Willison’s Weblog


Tuesday, 16th July 2002

Goodbye to BurningBird

Burningbird has hung up her wings. Dorothea thoughtfully blogs her departure, disagreeing with her suggestion that blogged content suffers from a lack of permanence. One of the reasons I blog is that I hope to increase my skill with the written word, so it is interesting to see someone at the opposite end of the spectrum who feels they must stop blogging to keep writing. As for permenance, I have often worried that particularly valuable articles can get lost in archives—to this end I hope to implement a permanent feature archive in my blog redesign, somewhere I can keep larger articles in a more easily surfed format than an archive.

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CSS could be so much more

Stuart Langridge discusses the nature of minimalism and CSS design, following a post by Sarabian. Stuart wonders if the current trend for relatively plain site designs is an interim period while we find our feet in the relatively new medium of CSS. I am sure it is—while I personally love the elegance and simplicity being showcase in many pure CSS sites, it’s not going to help convert die hard table fanatics. The annoying thing is that CSS is capable of so much—the power it gives us over background images should free designers to do things that were difficult or impossible with tables. I’m a rubbish designer, but I’m considering taking on the challenge of “interesting” CSS design in the not too distant future. If I can make things look good, anyone can ;)

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Dashes and hyphens

Dashes and hyphens in HTML.

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Accessible headers

Mark’s latest accessibility tip concerns header tags (<h1> through <h6>). Mark explains that using headers in the right order helps screen readers to interpret the structure of your pages, and shows how to use CSS to effectively style headers. Mark once again demonstrates the comment hack as a way of bringing Netscape 4 in line with other browsers, a technique that has been criticised by the More Like This Weblog as unnecessary encouragement for NS4 users. Incidentally, Johannes Koch has an excellent summary of CSS hiding techniques.

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More CSS demos

Chris Smith has an interesting set of CSS demos, including some attractive CSS buttons and an excellent example of a more complex layout. There’s a lot of interesting creative work going on with CSS at the moment as more developers start exploring the possibilities it brings—Eric Meyer’s css/edge is just the tip of the iceberg.

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Fun with the link tag

Things I learnt today part two: The <link> tag is fun. I’ve been building support for it in to IncDirectory (not long now)—it took a while to find the necessary background information but Mark Pilgrim, www-html, and the W3C gave me everything I needed.

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Heated discussion

An interesting discussion (scroll to the bottom).

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XHTML nested lists

Things I learnt today part one: Nested lists in XHTML are possible, but you can’t just put a list inside another list. You have to nest the nested list in a list item. References: W3Schools XHTML differences and the www-html mailing list.

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Handy software tip courtesy of Tim (my colleague at Incutio). EyeDropper is a tiny shareware program for Windows which adds a magnifying glass to your mouse pointer, displaying the hex colour code of the pixel under your mouse pointer. The download is a measily 27KB and it saves having to print screen and load up a graphics package just to find a HTML colour code. When not in use it sits in your systray.

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“Erect me a great golden pyramid”

David Hyatt’s neo-cortical implant is holding out just fine.

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Pretty link on Kottke

In a discussion on css-discuss recently about underlines a on links, I pointed to as an example of clever use of CSS for links where by the link underline is a slightly later colour than the link text. Today, Jason explains the technique and the thinking behind it.

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