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4. HTML Style Issues

You may want to first take a quick look at the colophon for a bit of background on how this set of web pages came to be, and my methodology for "content generation."

4.1. Lynx Enhanced

I typically use Lynx , which can run happily on almost any kind of computer hardware known to mankind. Some Web pages are claimed to be Lynx Enhanced. The "Lynx Enhanced" quality has the unusual advantage (over "Netscape Enhanced" and "IE Enhanced," for instance) that these enhancements are non-exclusionary. Specifically, "Lynx Enhanced" indicates that:

Some people argue that their web page requires Netscape or Internet Explorer for proper viewing. I have seen very few such pages where this proved to be:

In most cases, people are using browser-specific extensions to merely make pages look in some fashion "prettier." And very few of these people are sufficiently cognizant of graphic design to do this with a decent degree of competence. More commonly, use of things like the BLINK directive make web pages much less readable, and are mostly annoying.

My primary heuristic is that if I can't read the page at all using Lynx, then it is fairly unlikely that I would get much more out of using a graphical browser. I am seldom disappointed when I make this assumption.

4.2. HTML Templates

I use a tool called insert_html_templates which I wrote in the Perl language to rewrite "template" information into my web pages by reprocessing comment lines that I create in a (slightly) special form. This includes:

Thus, when composing a web page, I enter a couple of simple comments that are later expanded into a much longer and more complex result (that I do not wish to memorize).

A further benefit is that if access methods or my desired header or footer changes, I don't have to go in and manually edit all of my web pages. I need only change one file, namely the Perl script, head to my public_html directory, and type: % insert_html_templates *.html

All of my web pages are cleaned up in one fell swoop. Old text that got inserted between the comment lines gets thrown away and is replaced by a new set of text.

I also am using assorted SGML tools to generate most of my web pages, and use the tidy utility to make the final web pages tidier. See Colophon

There are quite a number of more formalized templating systems that involve embedding code in some 'language' into the web page that is evaluated when pages are requested from the web server.

4.3. No Frames Here!

Frames Suck Most of the Time

Someday it may actually prove useful to use them.

Unfortunately, there is very little support in web browsers to manipulate them usefully. For instance, there is no scheme implemented to represent frame state in a fashion that allows frames to be bookmarked consistently most of the web browsers that support frames. Lynx is, surprisingly, a happy exception to this rule.

4.4. HTML Elements of Style

Google

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Contact me at cbbrowne@acm.org