GBDC & Standards

Posted March 25th, 2005 by Mike Cherim

On GBDC or I touch on web standards and how they are applied on that site. Here I will tell you more, in some detail, as that is was my “portfolio” site, whereas this site is for more lengthy discussion on these matters.

The big push nowadays is to separate the code or markup from the presentational styles. Want to see what I mean? Just look at the source code for You will find no tables organizing things and no font tags declaring the color or type-face. That’s all done on a separate — and very easy to change and maintain — document called a CSS. (I employ one for each style I offer.) All you’ll see on my pages are divisions or "Divs” and self-contained style "spans." I do use some <strong></strong> and <em></em> tags for some bold text and italics, respectively, for emphasis where headings were not applicable, and/or if my style sheets are not applied, and I also use some <br /> tags (breaks) as separators and to create a few artificial line breaks instead of block-level elements in some places, but those are basic mark-up elements. Eventually most of it’ll be replaced as it could be done a better way in some of the places where they are applied, but not in all places. These tags, though, the ones I mentioned above, aren’t hurting anything at the moment. Zero harm, zero consequences. I know, I’ve studied up on this extensively. Moreover, as proof, those pages properly render visually on anything. I’ve done some serious testing to ensure this. This is because of the quality and validity of the code written. It’s not totally semantic, but that is another discussion for another time. I will say this much now, however: Semantics are secondary to accessibility in my eyes. Just because something is proper doesn’t guarantee it’s best. Case in point: I don’t allow text enlargement in Internet Explorer as it would make the pages unreadable and I refused to be constrained to a particular open-body design and wasn’t about to allow the implementation of no fewer than eleven scroll bars. In my opinion that would be stupid and defeat the looks and purpose of the site. Sorry for my temporary digression. Back on topic.

The style sheets are for eye candy and appearances. If someone with a text browser or cell phone is trying to view my content they can. They won’t be able to use my style sheets — they’re unsupported. Just like people using some of the older “legacy” browsers for the same reason. But the content is accessible. So, if the styles can’t be viewed in some cases does this mean I failed? Or worse, does it mean they will have to leave my site? No way. Under all that style, as I said, there still lies solid, properly ordered and logically placed code, and that’s the secret to success. Want to see it for yourself? Go for it. Go to any of my pages and select the “No Styles” view from my “Style Choices” menu (which I offer to anyone, as with that style the text can be enlarged as much as the web browsing device allows in case the “Large Text” version isn’t enough). Is it a pretty page? No. Does it deliver the content in a way you should be able to understand? Yes. Will you stay and read said content? That’s your call, but I at least made that choice available to you. I’ve said before and I’ll say again: Choice is King!

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