Archive for the ‘style’ Category

Grey Text Considered Harmful (to your eyes)

Saturday, September 8th, 2007

Dear everyone,

Please do not use grey text on a white background. Use black. Grey is harder to read, causes more strain on the eyes, and makes me less likely to read what you say. Really. I recently realized that one weblog I used to read a lot I wasn’t liking nearly as much recently, not because the content was worse, but because it was actually more work to read and that made it not worth it.

So don’t do it. Please. Or I’ll just stop reading your stuff (maybe not even consciously).

And yes, I am aware that this blog uses it, by virtue of the default wordpress theme. I only just realized that, and am fixing it now.

Edit: So a wordpress update broke this for a few days. Fixed now.

Overuse of Floats Considered Harmful linkage

Thursday, December 29th, 2005

Overuse of Floats Considered Harmful definitely deserves a link. I’ve thought the same thing for a while now, and do my best to avoid using them except for things like floating pictures in columns of text. You can tell, when you try to use them for overall page layout, that they just weren’t made for it and attempting it is hackish at best. Hopefully the new layout features of CSS 3 will arrive soon, and soon enough that float usage isn’t hardcoded into authors’ minds like table layout has been.


Wednesday, October 12th, 2005

Blah, this is my third time writing my post, and I’m not really feeling writerly right now, so I’m just going to say what I need to quickly and get it over with.

Basically, the “Markup / Style / Behavior” split that everyone always talks about is wrong. The split really should be Document / Presentation / Application. Presentation is split into Styling—CSS—and for lack of a better word Branding—templates, a spec for which is yet to be developed. Application is split into UI—Forms—and (again for lack of a better word) Programming—client-side or server-side, or one as a fallback for the other.

Because of this I’m not really happy with any of the specs currently out there or currently being developed, with the one exception of CSS, which fits nicely into Presentation: Styling. I first started noticing this with WF2, which, although it’s one of the closest to being good, extremely bugged me by having the template attributes apply to all HTML elements, instead of just fieldsets like I said it should. I haven’t read the WA1 spec enough to comment well on it, but from passively reading the mailing list I get the vague impression that it fails to stay in one category in a bunch of ways. I haven’t read any of XFORMS, but from what I’ve heard of it it sounds like it has not only that problem but plenty of others.

Actually the first sentence of that last paragraph is wrong. XML is okay, since it doesn’t give any of the categories, it just standardizes markup. The Document, Style: Branding, and Application: UI categories will all be markup based, and having a standard markup is good. Javascript I’m only just becoming familiar with, but it seems like a good fit for Application: Programming (client-side). That’s not saying those don’t have other problems, just that as far as I can tell they’re not fundamentally flawed in the way I’m discussing.

Going to end this before I start rambling, since like I said I really don’t feel like writing, so much so that I’m not even going to proofread. So.

Reasoning for paragraph 2 left as an excersize for the reader. (Basically, this whole post is telling you what to think, you have to figure out why to think that.)

I’m currently getting more blog spam than email spam, so if you post a comment please also email as it’s less likely to get lost that way.

Sandboxing javascript for user comments

Sunday, July 10th, 2005

It would be nice to be able to sandbox user comments so that they could include more than just plain markup. For styles this is trivial: provide a [this-comment] selector, and cut out any selector that doesn’t start with it (would fail IFF a future version of css introduced a parent selector, but even then could be easily fixed). For scripts, I’d assume it’s quite a bit less trivial. It would be really nice for us web geeks, though.

I even wish I could offer a bounty on this. It would really be worth it, I think, if it were done correctly. Unfortunately I’m too young for most things financial—credit card, paypal, etc. Oh well. Hopefully someone will find it an interesting challenge.

Clean Source vs. Clean DOM

Thursday, June 30th, 2005

You know what bugs me? When people talk about keeping the source clean and then go and do something like this. (No offense to the author, as it was just the first example I found and because obviously a clean source is important.)

The point is, it’s not about the source, it’s about the DOM. When I point my obscure-yet-relevant-standards-conformant tool at your page—be it lynx (bad example, so make that lynx-made-perfect), a screenreader, or even just my Firefox-with-a-userContent.css-file—it should work. And to do that you need a clean DOM the whole way through: start with a clean DOM (clean source), and then when you do your styling and your scripting, keep it clean.

News on the Web and CSS

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2005

First off, does anyone know that internet news site that has a nice little javascript column thingy? It lays out three columns of text at whatever height can fit in the window (which may or may not be enough for the whole article), and to get to the 4th and subsequent columns you just click on a little “next” button (or a “previous” button to go back). It’s quite a cool setup.

So. I was thinking about that for a moment, and I realized that this could be incredibly easy to do with just a little bit of CSS and javascript (read: I could probably do it, without too much research, and all I know how to do in javascript right now is declare variables). If, that is, there were a ::column pseudo-element. It would just be require setting display:none on the 4th and subsequent columns, then when the next button is clicked setting display:column on the 4th column and display:none on the first one.

So, can someone post this to www-style for me, since www-style seems not to like my email?