Thursday, July 20, 2006

Two-tone borders

So, I'm doing a final read-through on the new edition of my book and I got to the section on borders in tables and there was something that just didn't make sense. I made up a little test case, and I couldn't get Internet Explorer to show me any kind of two-tone border (like outset, inset, groove or ridge). I had already achieved this feat in the Layout with Styles chapter, so I couldn't understand what was going on. Didn't IE do two-tone borders in tables?

But it wasn't the tables that were the problem. It was the color. When I tested the two-tone borders in the Layout chapter, I was using colors like purple and red and blue (since the new edition is in full color!!! :), but in my little table test, I was just using black. And therein lies the problem: Internet Explorer (at least IE6 and IE7, I confess I didn't test earlier browsers) can't do two-tone black borders.

It must be something about the algorithm it uses to calculate the two colors. Usually, if you choose a two-tone border, the browser calculates the second color from the first one you chose. But if you choose a really dark color like black (or #020202, which I also tried), Internet Explorer chooses something so dark for the offset color that you can't tell the difference. The result is that your outset, inset, groove or ridge borders look decidedly solid:


IE can do red two-tone borders, but not black ones



Firefox does any color two-tone borders



Opera, too, does any color two-tone borders

Here's the little sample table with two-tone borders.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Personalized Google Home - and tip

So I've fallen in love with Google's Personalized Home. (Click on Personalized Home in the upper-right corner of Google's home page. This is where you can add a few RSS feeds, the comics (which I miss since I don't get the printed paper anymore), the weather, and the wonderful Google Calendar, and all sorts of other things to suit your fancy. Since I've always got a browser open, I've always got quick access to it. Nothing new to you vanguardistas, I'm sure.

But there's a lovely shortcut for getting there. As long as you usually look at Personalized Home (and not Classic Home) and you're already signed in with your Google Account, all you have to do is put your cursor in the Google Search box (with nothing in it), which is always waiting for you at the top of your browser window, and click Enter. Poof! You're there.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Bye Bye Embed on A List Apart

I've just had my first article published on A List Apart about embedding movies without embed. I'm very excited about it.

Let me add a few notes about the videos themselves... The first one I took on April 23 this year in the Plaça Sant Jaume in Barcelona. April 23 is Saint George's Day. He's the one who slayed the dragon and is the Patron Saint of Barcelona. It's also the Day of the Book and the Rose in which people give their partners books and roses. (Generally, the men get books and the women roses, but not in my family :) The whole city is festooned with Catalan flags, roses of every color, and booksellers on every corner. I love it.

It's also one of only two days during the year that they open the Generalitat (roughly equivalent to the American Congress, except about 800 years older) to the public. And people line up around the block to visit and, in my opinion, to declare ownership. When we came out this year into the plaza in front of the Generalitat, we were watching some Sardana dancers and then a demonstration arrived. The demonstrators asked the band to strike up the Catalan National Anthem (Els Segadors) and the entire crowd joined in. It sent chills down my spine. You'll notice a few people holding up four fingers. They symbolize the four red stripes in the Catalan flag. At the end of the song, they chant "In, In-de, In-de-pendencia!" and "Long Live Catalonia".

The wmv video is just a fish store that we happened by one day a few years ago. This was just a little store, on a side street in a pretty average neighborhood. But look at that fish! Does this exist in the US? The more time we spend out of Catalonia, the more I like to remember the normal, everyday kind of things. Like fish stores.

The QuickTime movie was from a night my husband and I went out for dinner (around 9pm) and bumped into these Devils in our neighborhood. I forget even what they were celebrating. They have shopping carts full of firecrackers and huge paper-maché dragons in which they attach them, but often times they just dance around with their own individual lights. And loud drummers. These firecracker devils date from the Black Plague era and are such an institution in Catalonia that they took center stage during the closing ceremonies of the 1992 Olympics. There are 215 clubs listed in the Federation of Devils and Demons of Catalonia. They are the rauxa in the classic description of Catalan character: seny i rauxa, roughly translated as wisdom and craziness.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Sixth Edition of HTML, XHTML, and CSS Visual QuickStart Guide!

I have just updated the home page of my Web site to reflect the upcoming release of the Sixth Edition of my bestselling book on HTML, XHTML, and CSS:

In August, 2006, the full-color, Sixth Edition of my bestselling guide to creating Web pages will be released. HTML, XHTML, and CSS, Sixth Edition: Visual QuickStart Guide continues the tradition that helped earlier editions sell more than a million copies:

  • clear, concise step-by-step instructions,
  • a complete treatment of HTML, XHTML, and CSS,
  • a modern approach that espouses standards without getting religious,
  • information and techniques for cross-platform, cross-browser compatibility,
  • and a thorough index that makes the book the most complete and useful reference on the subject that you will find anywhere.
I can hear you saying, “The specs haven't changed. What could be different in this book?" Well, it's true that the specifications for HTML, XHTML, and CSS haven't changed much, but the way people use those specifications has changed. A lot. And the browsers that interpret those specs have also evolved. I have revamped the examples throughout the book to reflect new and updated browsers, the growing emphasis on standards, CSS layout, and also the push toward multimedia and syndication. There are brand new chapters on using CSS for Handhelds and on Syndication and Podcasting as well as added individual sections throughout the book. And it's all in color!

I will be posting more information about the new Sixth Edition, including the updated table of contents, in the coming weeks, as soon as I come out from under the gun of its impending deadline. If you'd like, you can pre-order the book from Amazon at a 37% discount. I look forward to any comments you may have.

Video podcasting

I've been working a lot on video and podcasting and have a tiny sample online. It has a corresponding blog.

I'm totally jazzed by the possibilities, I have to admit. I've got ideas falling out of my ears. I just have to get through this book first...

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