Web Standards – who woulda thought?

I have always wanted to be able to throw together a really cool looking web page or site. But to be honest the the more that I have learnt about coding html the more confused I have become. Part of the problem is that I am impatient and want the final result to be there immediately. Unless I want to settle for really crap looking pages (which I don’t) then I have to learn the detail.

One of the things that has bugged me for years has been looking at the source code of other designers with really nice looking sites, only to find an absolute mess of tags all through it. I remember trying to layout a webpage so that the content sat in the middle inside a box shape of some sort, and being thrilled about discovering that I could use a ‘table’ to control where stuff landed.

There was another part of me though that thought that was cheating a bit. I mean a table was for putting data in right? Of course I then discovered that even though my table created a page that looked ok in one browser when I looked at it in a different one I was appalled. It looked nothing like I had built it.

Well times have changed, and it is time that I caught up. The thing that was bugging me was that I wanted my words to stay in their own context (ie not in a table) while being able to apply formatting with fixed styles. I could do this in MS Word but nothing seemed to do what I wanted. This separation of content from display formatting is now built into the latest web standards. I have been reading a book about them by Jeffrey Zeldman. It is interesting what a small core community there is in standards land. Many of the google / blogger / a-list-apart folk all are linked to the promotion and development of these (not so new now) standards.

DECREE: I Will strive to make every webpage that I code compliant with web standards.

Surprisingly this is easier for me now even though the coding is much stricter because the standards enforce the separation that I was looking for. Content is content, Design is design. The two should be able to work together without having to be dependent on each other. This is what web standards brings to the game.

Version 2.01 – Getting ready for a new look

As my tag line suggests I like the idea of web design but my skills are kind of lacking. I am in awe of the things that some people can do with design and I am determined to get amongst it too.

I have labelled this series of discussion with a new running version number. This is the first major change to the Rounders template that was supplied by Blogger after their big redesign. I have been making gradual changes but to really break loose I need to get rid of the rounded corners that give the template its name. This is really the only visible change.

Behind the scenes I have moved the style sheet out of the main document and into it’s own file. This will probably screw up all of the archive pages but I’ll get back to them later.

I the mean time I will be trying a few new things out. If things look crap and you are looking over here when it happens, let me know via the comments, and if you have any suggestions this noobie wants to hear them.

Me online!!

I have been plotting for some time to get a domain name and extract myself from the shadows of ISP web hosting. At last I have done it!!
Today I own nickcoster.com. Ok it’s not clever but it is original like me.
I’ll be moving stuff over there shortly.. See ya over there..


Today I feel that this site has somewhat come of age. Up until now I have only been chatting to myself and a few friends and family who care to take a look from time to time. This is because this little site has sat here in its quiet corner of the Internet universe with out any connection to the outside world. It is all very well to point links to other places but if nothing is directed back to you then you are still alone.

Over the past few weeks I have been reading a book called “Linked – How everything is connected to everything else and what it means for business, science, and everyday life”. This is one of many books about networks, the Web, small worlds, scale free systems and their ubiquity, complex systems and so on. As you can imagine all of these ideas are linked to each other as well.

For the first time I discovered a link from another web site to this one. As trivial as this may be in function, the connectivity that it opens up is not. You see, the site that linked to this one can be found on Google which means that my page is only 2 links away from the effective centre of the Internet.