Pay attention, there will be a quiz later

Jason Kottke raised some interesting and cogent points in his post about web standards and semantic markup. He argues that just because a site is made up of Valid XHTML and CSS, does not guarantee that it is semantically meaningful or even structurally sound. For many of us who carry the standards banner, semantically rich, structured documents are assumed to be the goal. As Jason points out, there are those who somehow missed that part of the indoctrination ceremony before lining up under our flag (Wheee!).

Since Jason called them out in his post, Doug Bowman, Dan Cederholm and Dave Shea all replied, basically agreeing with and expanding on his comments. All good reads and worth a visit.

I’d have to agree with Jason when he states:

“Coding web documents in valid XHTML doesn’t make them semantically useful nor does coding semantically correct documents mean the documents are standards-compliant; they are two distinct things but a powerful combination. As web designers, we need to be aware of what we’re getting with standards compliancy and semantically rich documents and that one does not necessarily lead to the other. More importantly, we need evangelize effectively to clients and budding XHTML coders & web designers, telling them *precisely* what’s so great about making sites standards-compliant and semantically useful and therefore worth spending money to redesign a site or time to learn valid XHTML/CSS.”

The quiz

Dan has taken this dialog to the next step with his SimpleQuiz. Take a look and marvel at the number of comments such a basic question has generated...

»plink« · August 28, 2003

Cool CSS techniques

»plink« · August 27, 2003

Out and about on the web


»plink« · August 21, 2003

Uniform Resource Identifiers

Web page URIs have been receiving a fair amount of attention lately. I read through those articles and posts with some interest as I am developing a site at work keeping many of these principles in mind. It’s a repository of reviews and overviews of Spanish language astronomy educational materials. Targeted toward classroom teachers at all levels, the reviews are written in Spanish and English (with links on each page to switch back and forth between languages).

The entire site is currently generated by two PHP files (I’ve combined them into a single file, but it’s still undergoing testing). Thanks to an article at Evolt, the PHP looks for the appropriate files to include on the page based on the contents of the URI. And all without any annoying query strings. We’ve also included search capabilities, and it is valid XHTML and CSS. As this is my first venture into PHP, I am quite pleased with the results.

»plink« · August 15, 2003

Still vs. Video

Derrick Story poses the question, “What’s better: A camera that shoots movies, or a videocam that records still pictures?” And he is kind enough to answer it. As with many similar questions, the answer is a firm “It depends.” Of course Story provides a great deal of good information that you can use to help discover which answer is better for you.

For me, the answer was “Both!” Story rightly points out that both kinds of cameras have limited functionality in the other domain. My digital still camera is capable of capturing up to 20 seconds of video at 320x240 and 10 frames per second. And my digital camcorders are likewise capable of capturing stills at various resolutions. While I have yet to try taking stills with the camcorders, I have used the smaller and raw-er video of the camera as a creative jumping off point, combining several shots of my kids at the county fair last spring into a video montage.

And while we’re on the subject of video, I should point out that I’ve updated the video page at (which officially turned 1 a few days ago)...

»plink« · August 5, 2003

Technical note(s)

»plink« · August 4, 2003

Back from the Pacific Northwest

We’ve been back for 5 days now, and life is slowly returning to normal, so I figured I owe an update.

So much to tell after being gone for two weeks. There were many firsts for our kids, from the first flights for our youngest, to experiencing tide pools, lighthouses, wind, cold and fog on the beach, swimming by waterfalls and up on the 35th floor of a hotel, driving over a 4 mile bridge to cross the Columbia river, the fish market in Seattle, riding a ferry across the sound, playing in International Fountain in Seattle Center, and so much more. We took over 1000 pictures, and nearly 5 hours of video—digitized memories.

The talks went well. It was great to see old friends and make new ones. Brad and the rest of the folks at Hot Pepper were wonderful hosts. Our family enjoyed the Bar B Q on Saturday, as well as the chocolates. The Thunderlizard event was a lot of fun again, too.

Life, as it has a way of doing, is getting back to the routine of work and play. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing...

»plink« · August 4, 2003