OSCMS theming presentation: request for input

I've posted a request for input from those attending the OSCMS Summit regarding the theming session. If you're attending, please respond there. Or here, if it's convenient. We want the session to address your concerns and interests, and your help is requested.

CSS reboot of pingVision

The design of the pingVision site was driving me crazy.

pingVision, the old view

It really wasn't supposed to be the actual site design, but rather a temp theme to be cleaned up and spiffed up a bit. 18 or 20 months later (I actually don't know exactly how much later) I finally got around to replacing it.

pingVision, the new view

It's certainly different. Cleaner. Simpler. Too simple?

I'd started on this new design several months ago, but left the theme half-done in order to focus on client work. Finally I just had to spend a weekend tinkering with it to get it live on the site.

This really was more of a starting over from scratch on the whole template, rather than just a CSS reboot. There might be some bugs in it -- I have yet to see it in IE7, and IE6 worked yesterday, but I made some changes since -- but there it is, in an unofficial live beta. Still to do (aside from debugging): update it and the site to Drupal 5, and update some of our main pages.

So what do you think?

It doesn't really seem right to add our own website design to our own portfolio so this is probably the only place I'll post this.

CSS: A house of cards built in code

And Internet Explorer just loves to knock it over. And that's enough said on that.

Firefox 2.0 not the website breaker like IE7 [updated]

[Update: I removed the direct link to the ftp site because, as small as rare pattern is, every little bit counts, and I don't want to hurt Mozilla.]

Get Firefox
As I write this, it's still not "officially" released yet, but I've just installed Firefox 2.0 after downloading it from the Mozilla FTP site (Mac versions here), and I'm loving it. I've not yet explored the preferences and all that, but so far nearly all of my extensions still work, including the web developer tools, Performancing and weather.

And so far no websites are breaking. Aren't web standards wonderful? I'm good to go. I can keep working (or writing this blog post), and not have to fret about mysterious problems.

Too bad the same cannot be said for users of Internet Explorer 7, which, with its new Microsoft-only quirks, is creating all sorts of new headaches for website owners and challenges for web developers. Some websites won't work at all in IE7.

Why Microsoft has such issues with worldwide web standards, I don't know. At least we have Firefox. Maybe, with these simultaneous releases of new browsers, more people will get fed up with IE and try Firefox. After all, if a browser is breaking websites, why use it?

Internet Explorer 7, oh dear!

So far, all the buzz is pretty much about IE7's "new" features like the tabbed browsing that other browsers have had for years now, with some mention of the upcoming Firefox 2 release.

But just wait until websites start breaking. Internet Explorer has always required non-web-standard hacks. The net effect of this has been my thumbnail estimate of 30-40% of loss of productivity in the web design field while developers work around Microsoft's "we don't need no stinkin' standards" attitude and break out the duct tape and chewing gum to make sites that work in every other browser work in IE.

IE7 honors some more web standards, but still has its own quirks -- some new ones, apparently.

Let the kvetching begin!

Sometimes a little redesign is necessary

I just went and did it: a little css reboot. I just couldn't take the drab look of this place any more. Really, the old theme was an embarrassment. My apologies are offered in advance to those of you on dial-up for whom this page will take some 40 seconds or so to load fully. The graphics should all be there by the time you finish reading this post -- Evelyn Wood graduates excepted.

The theme is powered by phpTemplate. (I'm still running Drupal 4.6 here.) The photograph is mine, shot in Colorado. There are more where that came from on my photoblog.

CSS Reboot Spring 2006 Lucky for me there's an occasion for this. I saw the CSS Reboot happening last year, but it was a total coincidence that this little redesign is coinciding with the current "event."

Alas, this site is not validating right now. Grrr! Part of the problem -- most of it -- is because I blog using ecto, which doesn't quite generate valid strict xhtml -- or at least it doesn't with the settings I'm using. But I'm sure one or two of the errors are in my Drupal theme template files themselves. (If I were a petty soul, I'd be gratified that I'm getting fewer errors than the CSS Reboot site itself. But I'm only petty enough to mention it without any joy.) I'll try to clean things up before the May 1 deadline. Because even though I did this for myself, the site really should validate.

But it's late. I'm tired. I have work to do tomorrow, and for many tomorrows after that. Hopefully I'll find some time before tomorrow is yesterday.

(Okay, dial-up visitors. By now the background images should have loaded by now. Do you like it?)

1.5 reasons to try Firefox

If you haven't been running one of the release candidates already, you may want to get the latest and perhaps best browser to date, Firefox 1.5, now that it's been officially released. And really, if you're using another browser -- especially the buggy and unsafe Internet Explorer -- you owe it to yourself to at least try Firefox, which is safer for your machine.

That's reason one.

As a designer, Firefox is a pleasurable development in the online world. I can't speak for others, but I think websites look better in Firefox. Meanwhile, Internet Explorer, thanks to Microsoft's defiance of web standards, continues to be a nightmare for web designers who waste additional hours upon hours to hack all the Internet Explorer quirks in CSS so that IE doesn't break the website altogether.

That's the other half of a reason. Actually, it's another full reason, in my book, but how can aesthetics trump security? So as a computer person, I urge you to switch to Firefox browser as a step towards increased security. As a designer, I beg you, please, help make IE just fade away. Please!

CSS-only design

I've read about it. I've talked about it. I've thought about it (a lot). But now I thought I'd just do it. So I went through the page template, ripped out the tables and wrapped everything in divs, dropped some position settings in the stylesheet, moved the main content up top to load first, and here it is.

It's not too pretty yet, but hey, I did it in a half hour. I'll polish it and get the margins right, maybe add some graphics. I haven't had a chance to put stylus to pad yet. In fact my new WACOM pad is some 6 weeks old now and I've hardly touched it, thanks to my most-uncooperative back, so I'll probably do the mouse thing, which is much more familiar to me, anyway, despite the theoretical limitations.

And so far I've left a lot of extra garbage in the templates and css files. I'd be more tidy, but I've been busy working on the site plan for a major community site (to be announced on the web design site) and a proposal for a robust non-profit site, and that leaves a little blogging time, here and elsewhere, and some selfish reclusive indulgence time reading The Da Vinci Code.

Besides, I plan on keeping this site pretty simple, so hopefully I won't get lost in tangent land and wind up with a dog pile of text all in one corner of the screen. And once I get ahead of the curve on those websites, and caught up on the big DVD project that has outgrown its intention, I'll really clean up the code and submit the theme to Drupal.

Anyway, if you see a glitch, shoot me a note. Constructive feedback is most welcome.


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