Archive of sevencolors 2004 entries

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Permanent entries October 2004

entry n.50 - 2004/10/04

Updated 2004/10/05-06 and 07

I wrote an archived entries database in XML. I also wrote a DTD and a XSL file to validate and give a presentation to the XML.

It seems to be a nice and tidy way to organize repetitive datas as web log entries. A summary of the entry`s text and a link to the full entry enable the user to scroll through all the entries and select the interesting ones.

XSL offers powerful presentation and manipulation tools.

"The purpose of a DTD is to define the legal building blocks of an XML document. It defines the document structure with a list of legal elements."(w3schools)

It works worked offline on my computer (operating system WIN98SE) but, when published, it only works with IE6. Firefox gives me an error (now also offline):
"Error loading stylesheet: An XSLT stylesheet does not have an XML mimetype"
I`m trying to find a solution but all I got so far are explanations like:

" Mozilla requires that the XML and XSLT file holding the stylesheet be sent with an XML mimetype (text/xml or application/xml). This is the most common reason for XSLT not running in Mozilla, as Internet Explorer is not as strict. "

Well, IE may not be as strict, but it doesn`t display transformed XML if I use <?xml-stylesheet type="text/xml" href="database.xsl"?> and, anyway, Firefox gives me again the same error. Tried on the stylesheet <xsl:output media-type="text/xml" method="xml"/> and on Firefox I got:
"Error loading stylesheet: (null)". The confusing part of it all is that I wrote the XML and the XSL files following the W3schools tutorial. They use <?xml-stylesheet type="text/xsl" href="database.xsl"?> and everything is fine. The transformed XML works nicely with IE6, Firefox and Netscape7. After becoming increasingly frustrated, I just copied their files here. I published them on my server exactly as they are and...they don`t work anymore!.I get the same error on Firefox as with my files before.

These are the answers I got from delorie for the HTTP headers of the XML:

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Thu, 07 Oct 2004 11:06:06 GMT
Server: Apache/1.3.26 (Unix)
Last-Modified: Wed, 06 Oct 2004 02:03:46 GMT
ETag: "11fb7e2-18e2-41635282"
Accept-Ranges: bytes
Content-Length: 6370
Connection: close
Content-Type: text/xml

and XSL files:

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Thu, 07 Oct 2004 11:04:23 GMT
Server: Apache/1.3.26 (Unix)
Last-Modified: Wed, 06 Oct 2004 01:55:23 GMT
ETag: "11fb7e1-96e-4163508b"
Accept-Ranges: bytes
Content-Length: 2414
Connection: close
Content-Type: text/xsl

Since the XSL Content-Type(MIME) comes back as text/xsl and Firefox needs it to be text/xml I guess the files only work with IE6 and there is no solution (yet).

Permanent entries September 2004

entry n.48 - 2004/09/17

Update: I added an RSS feed page.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a way for web sites to render easily accessible a short text summary that links to a main article. Included in the file there are also some other informations, as a published date, a category and the author, for example, but they are optional.

"An RSS file (also known as an RSS feed or RSS channel) consists of a list of items, each of which contains a title, description and a link to a web page. Typically the full content itself is made available separately and can be accessed by the link in the RSS file." (RSS - A Primer)

An RSS file is a simple structured list of headlines or article titles or events encoded so that it can be easily used by another program called a "news aggregator" or "news reader". RSS files are written in XML and are a mini database containing headlines and descriptions of what's new on a site. Used by many news media (New York Times, BBC, Reuters) RSS is a very simple, very useful font of information also for any other kind of online activity. Digital Web Magazine, ALA, Zeldman and many more also offer an RSS feed. Using an aggregator is possible to monitor web sites without really having to visit each of them looking for new items. Having found something interesting just click on the link and go to the complete article.

A few related links:

entry n.45 - 2004/09/08

Updated 2004/09/10

After going thorugh all the class attributes, I just kept going and changed the text sizes as well. First I coded a font-size:0.85em in the body only and all the other sizes as a percentage of that. Using ems makes the text re-sizable even in IE. I tested it with IE 6, NS 7 and Firefox 0.9.3, on Windows 98 SE. It worked but resizing with IE to "smaller" made it already unreadable. So I decided to give the body a font-size:80%, instead of using em. As I read, that brings the default browser text size of 16px to 10px. All the other text sizes are now a percentage of that. Re-sizing to "smaller" on IE doesn`t make it unreadable anymore, actually even on "smallest" it`s still (barely) readable. I don`t know about Opera, I will ask a friend to test it (tested with IE 6 on Win XP, it works; Opera zooms in like on an image, so it`s all right).
I will test on MAC OSX soon (tested with IE 5.2 (the layout does not hold but it`s possible to resize the text) and Safari (everything works) on MAC OSX).

I tried to use keywords (x-small, small,etc.) but IE renders them too differently from the other browsers. I don`t want to use "hacks". If it turns out to be impossible to use percent then I`d rather revert to pxs.

There are many articles about relative text size:

and surely more...

Permanent entries August 2004

entry n.38 - 2004/08/20

The links page of this site is now XFN friendly

On Digital Web Magazine there is an article about CSS that is very simple and well written. The author has a personal web site and is the web designer for the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, which in turn has some interesting images..

I would have thought that web standards were more widely in use but, in the last days, I have actually found out that there is still a lot of reluctance. Have a look at the Throwing Tables Out the Window article on Stopdesign. It then takes you to An Interview With Mike Davidson of ESPN. Neither Microsoft nor ESPN validate... Then Peter-Paul Koch`s objections should be taken in consideration...

My opinion, as far as web standards support in browsers is concerned, is that the media that delivers the message is what establishes the basic rules and the target of the message sets the priorities. A book, for example, it`s printed paper, inert, can be read for hours without (if the candles are bright enough) any side effect. The screen of a computer is 'rays of light' (and other things) and most people that I know (me included) get an headache or at least red burning eyes from reading too long off it. A good design should make it easier to locate on the page whatever the user is looking for through the use of colors, tool-tips and meaningful links. As for the target, if it`s a W3C recommendation, content obviously has priority over presentation but a commercial site needs appealing graphics and nice colors to display properly whatever it`s trying to sell.
Since web designers are supposed to achieve all that, a general web standards support would simplify the process. That`s it, simple points. Get web standards going and everybody will benefit, users, web designers, commercial sites even, since it all seems always to boil down to money.

entry n.37 - 2004/08/13

Liquid layouts on Evolt. On the Web Standards Group site, also about the same, "Ten questions for Richard Rutter" and his web site, a very well done liquid layout. Richard answers most of the objections raised on the Evolt article about problems with a layout that adapts to the size of the screen it`s seen on. On both articles there are external links that add further insight on the subject.
Colorcell wants to find the most beautiful color combinations.

entry n.36 - 2004/08/11

The 11th of August was Galungan day, one of the holiest of Bali festivities. During this day the forces of good and evil face each other. After ten days there will be Kuningan day during which the Gods, after battling, return to their homes. This happens every six months.Neither good nor evil win but a balance between the two must be kept.

archived photo of entry n.36 →

entry n.34 - 2004/08/04

Interesting interactive Flash animation on color. On a dial-up connection takes a while to download but it`s worthwhile.
This is also amazing...and, numbers right or not, should make people think. I`ve watched Michael Moore`s "Fahrenheit 9/11" and it`s again thinking time. Unfortunately, the current Government of the United States is only one of those involved in all the mess that it`s been unraveling in the last few years. It`s the way of thinking that is wrong. A system that makes it harder for everybody to live cannot be right. The most amazing thing is that, at this point of human history, it could be possible for everyone to live with dignity through the use of communication, medicine and proper social and economic cooperation. Cooperation being the key word.
The incapacity, or unwillingness, to see this is the saddest of all shortcomings, since it leads to it`s opposite, fear, which in turn breeds hate and intolerance. Humanity has lived with those two and their offspring, war, for thousands of years. Will we ever be able to change it ?

Permanent entries April May July 2004

entry n.32 - 2004/07/29

On boxesandarrows I found an interesting article about color. Choosing colors is always one of the most important steps in creating a design. Also, I`m going to download Firefox even if, on a dial up connection, it will take a while... I usually test on IE6 and NN7 but I`ve read everywhere that Firefox is very good. This web site uses the Georgia font, downloadable here. Last, a clear and comprehensive intro to web type written by Joe Gillespie.

entry n.31 - 2004/07/25

On the 24th of July in Ubud - Bali was held the royal cremation ceremony (pelebon) for the last daughter of the King of Ubud Tjok Gede Sukawati (who reigned from 1880 until 1917), Tjok Istri Muter. The bade (tower) used to transport Tjok Istri Muter to the cremation grounds was 25 mt. high. There were also two lembu (bulls) and a naga banda (dragon). The complex ritual has taken months and thousands of people working together to prepare. The attendance was massive, Balinese and tourists alike filling Ubud to watch the ceremony and follow the procession to the cremation grounds. An awesome sight, beautifully constructed bade and great cooperation skills, things at which Balinese are masters. Sorry for the low-resolution pictures...

archived photos of entry n.31 →

entry n.30 - 2004/07/22

I had a good time, as usual. Just got back from Italy yesterday. Weather was fine, my friends superlative. Thanks to all of them for being there and reminding me of what is important in life. I took a picture from the airplane of the Bromo volcano (East Java - Indonesia) fuming.

archived photo of entry n.30 →

entry n.19 - 2004/05/20

I read PPK`s article about separating behavior and presentation in the "Keep it simple" column of Digital Web Magazine. The first article (Separating behavior and structure) got me to remove all inline Javascript from the XHTML of my site. In this last article PPK poses some interesting questions. For example, what should be the rule that establishes when to use Javascript and when CSS or how to define the border between behavior and presentation. What I think is efficiency and simplicity are the most important rules and Javascript and CSS should be used accordingly. Trying to define specific instances that require one more then the other and too much research into browser compatibility it`s bound to limitate one of the Web best features, flexibility. Right now it`s possible to use Javascript,CSS, tables and layers. All of them are different and have different support in each browser. I like variety...

entry n.15 - 2004/05/14

Added a very simple bit of Javascript code to randomize the image attached to the body of the document. It works with IE 6 and NN 7, on Win 98. Unfortunately I cannot test on anything else. But it should pretty much work everywhere. This is the code: random background images. Everytime the window loads a different image gets attached to the body. Since it`s a randomizer, sometimes the same image comes up twice in a row. I think it`s a nice way to use Javascript together with stylesheets.

entry n.10 - 2004/05/07

As far as the pictures esposing what`s happening to war prisoners are concerned, I`m not surprised by them at all. Those things have been happening for thousands of years, whenever a war was being fought. That`s exactly why war is never 'good'. There are also hundreds of other atrocities that never appear in photo but are perpretated every day just the same. It`s war, not a movie. Nobody ever wins but surely all of us loose something.

entry n.7 - 2004/04/30

Clean XHTML! I eliminated all inline Javascript, registering all the events in a separate Javascript file. The main benefits, beside cleaner code, are that browsers with Javascript NOT enabled will see the site anyway and everything works. To be able to "separate behavior and structure" it`s also necessary to write pages that "make sense", otherwise it becomes very difficult to follow what`s going on. So now this site is usable even without CSS. The only doubt I have is if it`s "correct" to assign classes that are not in the CSS to make a distinction between links with different functionality.

entry n.6 - 2004/04/29

After reading Separating behavior and structure on the Digital Web Magazine and Javascript navigation on Evolt, I`ve decided to give it a try. I`ll go thorugh all the inline events of my site and see if I can take them off the XHTML.