A random collection of stuff mostly about operating systems, software licensing, technology, and privacy

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MikeCh’s stuff…

Standards

July 17, 2005 (Updated 08/2013 to fix broken links)

My attitude towards standards was funadamentally the same as the bandit in the “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”“Badges? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t need no badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges!”

“Standards? I ain’t got no standards. I don’t need no standards. I don’t have to show you any stinking standards.”

But actually I need standards. Without them I’m stuck trying to get this site to look and work the way I want it with little luck. The layout is never what I want. The pages are too hard to maintain, and therefore weren’t maintained.

Oh, and I use Apple Mac computers with Safari, and Windows computers with Internet Explorer and Firefox. Without standards the pages on this site used to look really different on different browsers.

The result: yet another stale site on the Web.

About a year ago I started working on a patient information CD for the Wegener’s Granulomatosis Association. The goal was to create a CD containing information about Wegener’s Granulomatosis that would run on any personal computer regardless of the operating system. To accomplish this I decided not to install any software on the computer, but rather rely on browsers.

But even different versions of the same browser work differently, and eventually we decided to use XHTML, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), and JavaScript. And much too mu surprise I found that by sticking to XHTML 1.0 (Strict), and CSS (Level 2.0), the DVD worked on the greatest number of browsers. On those browsers that did not support these standards, at least the display of the information was consistent, and all the links worked, even if it was a pretty spartan look.

So with a new respect for standards I have decided to rework this Web site. No more using tables for layout. The content is now seperate from the layout. Is it perfect? No, I’m still learning.

In fact right now this page looks great on Safari, and Firefox but has some issues on IE with spacing and basic layout.

Several books and Web sites helped us learn and begin to understand what we could do with XHTML and CSS including:

More proof of the value of using CSS can be seen at the CSS Zen Garden Web site.

So the goal of this site going forward is to make each page content valid XHTML, and the associated style sheet valid for CSS.

I'll see how it goes from here.