The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Friday, September 15, 2000

A Good Idea Marred by Hideous Implementations

Since I took over the technical editorship of DaveWorld I took it upon myself to clean up not only the organization of the site, but to clean up the HTML on the pages themselves. I downloaded the site, cleaned up the HTML and put it back up on a private site and asked for comments from the more technically and designed oriented members of DaveWorld.

Number one complaint: What did I do to the fonts?

All I did was remove all the <FONT> tags, leaving the font to be the browser default. That alone peeved the graphic designers on the list. Back to the drawing board.

I then decided, for whatever reason, to use style sheets. Exclusively. Despite the warnings. Meaning, no tables for layout, no <FONT> tags, no alignment attributes. Just simple HTML.

I've come to the conclusion that Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), defined way back in 1997, is a lot like Java: A Good Idea Marred By Hideous Implementations.

My intent was to use correct typographical conventions, one of which was that the leading paragraph is not indented but succeeding ones are. Easy enough to specify, along with font information and other stylistic concerns.

Internet Explorer (IE) managed to center the text correctly, although the paragraphs with leading (indented) were shifted to the right. Netscape had the paragraphs aligned correctly, but neglected to actually center them on the page. Also, the interline spacing between paragraphs was off, making the page look horrible. Adjusting the interline spacing to 1 fixed that problem, but now the lines were bunched up. Livable. But it still refused to center the paragraphs on the page.

The only way to get Netscape to center the paragraphs was to use a table. Which kind of defeats the purpose of CSS. But I tried anyway.

Netscape now aligned the paragraphs correctly, but that just triggered a bug in IE—the paragraphs where aligned correctly, but selecting a link would cause the page to jump to the right. What the—?

Try as I might, I couldn't get a stylesheet alone that worked properly between the two.


Obligatory Picture

[“I am NOT a number, I am … a Q-CODE!”]

Obligatory Contact Info

Obligatory Feeds

Obligatory Links

Obligatory Miscellaneous

You have my permission to link freely to any entry here. Go ahead, I won't bite. I promise.

The dates are the permanent links to that day's entries (or entry, if there is only one entry). The titles are the permanent links to that entry only. The format for the links are simple: Start with the base link for this site:, then add the date you are interested in, say 2000/08/01, so that would make the final URL:

You can also specify the entire month by leaving off the day portion. You can even select an arbitrary portion of time.

You may also note subtle shading of the links and that's intentional: the “closer” the link is (relative to the page) the “brighter” it appears. It's an experiment in using color shading to denote the distance a link is from here. If you don't notice it, don't worry; it's not all that important.

It is assumed that every brand name, slogan, corporate name, symbol, design element, et cetera mentioned in these pages is a protected and/or trademarked entity, the sole property of its owner(s), and acknowledgement of this status is implied.

Copyright © 1999-2024 by Sean Conner. All Rights Reserved.