Simon Willison’s Weblog


Wednesday, 25th June 2003

The new RNIB site in CSS

Just to show it can be done, here’s the new RNIB site design (as mentioned earlier) re-done with a CSS layout. It’s something of a first draft—I’ve only tested it in IE6 and Firebird on Windows and it still has a few glitches here and there, but as a proof of concept it works pretty well. Here are a few notes on the implementation:

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More caching

One of the golden rules of web site development is “never launch a new feature on Friday”, because it’s almost certain to break over the weekend while you’re not around to fix it. I’ve just extended my hacked together caching system to cover entries as well as the front page in a bid to reduce the load on the database a bit, and since I’m off to Glastonbury tomorrow morning it will have a whole four days in which to collapse in to a smoking hole in the ground. What’s the point of golden rules if you don’t break them once in a while?

Moving forward from Internet Explorer

Dave Shea is advocating moving forward from Internet Explorer, enhancing pages for more advanced browsers (Mozilla, Opera, Safari) using additional style rules that are hidden from IE by using selectors it doesn’t understand. Essentially it means adapting the approach we’ve been taking to Netscape 4 for the past few years to work around flaws in the current browser generation’s backwards cousin.

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More thoughts on RSS

I helped my girlfriend set up an RSS feed for her (home brewed) weblog last night. Explaining what RSS was was easy. Explaining what she needed to put in her feed took a little bit longer. All she needed to do was provide a feed of entries, each with a title, the full body of the entry, the date it was posted and a permalink to the archived entry. In working out how to do this, we identified the following steps:

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Tom Gilder’s blog

Tom Gilder has finally started his blog properly, powered by Moveable Type. Nice design too (be sure to view source to figure out how he achieved the drop shadows). He’s already covered the RNIB site and has some refreshing thoughts on the IE/Windows situation.

RNIB redesign a disappointment

Accessify: RNIB redesign does not go far enough examines the RNIB’s much hyped new accessible web site and finds it sorely lacking. While it includes basic accessibility features such as alt attributes and skip-navigation links it suffers hugely from out-dated development practises and unnecessary markup bloat. Here’s a prime example, taken from the left hand column of the front page of the site:

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2003 » June