Simon Willison’s Weblog


Thursday, 28th August 2003

HTML: More structural than semantic

Semantic markup is getting a lot of blog coverage at the moment, following a starter post by Jason Kottke. There’s some great content flowing around (Dave Shea, Doug Bowman and Paul Scrivens in particular devote whole essays to the topic) but the central point is the same: just because a page validates doesn’t mean it’s good HTML; semantic markup is equally if not more important for building good pages.

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Great liquid design example

I’ve started browsing the web at 1600x1200, because I have a nice big monitor and a tendency to browse with my font size set to large. At this resolution you really begin to appreciate the argument put forward by fixed-width site design advocates that liquid designs can end up plain unreadable on some setups. I could just reduce the size of my browser window, but I’m lazy. Instead I’ll point out that the Rocky Mountain Harley-Davidson dealership is a liquid site that manages to look great even at ludicrously high resolutions. It’s got some very decent CSS and structural markup under the hood as well.

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Banning Google Comments

Russell Beattie has an ingenious solution to the problem caused by weblog un-savvy Google users turning up on old entries and posting comments on them, without properly understanding the nature of the site. He simply displays the page without a comments form if he spots Google in the user’s referrer. I’d be tempted to do the same thing on this site if I didn’t find the comments on my ancient MSN Messenger rant so amusing.

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Advocating Standards

Ian Lloyd: Designing for the future, and the training gap. Ian highlights the frustrations faced by all web standards advocates when trying to encourage their less web-enthused co-workers to take the leap. I’ve been incredibly lucky in that both Incutio and LJ-World have a remarkably forward thinking approach to web standards, but I can still identify with the spirit of Ian’s article.

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2003 » August