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Showing posts from February, 2009

Having template problems

My Blogger template has been causing me some major headache, and it's only gotten worse. On top of that, I recently discovered some stats regarding sites which look ugly, which has shocked me to the core. Admittedly this blog definitely doesn't fall into the beautiful category, so I guess I shouldn't have been so shocked! All in all, I think the time is right for me now to take a short break from blogging to create a nice template for my blog, from the ground up. Stay tuned, and please subscribe to my feeds via your reader or via email. I promise I won't disappoint.

Using tags to improve speed, convenience of webpages - pt 1

Background
When it comes to designing webpages, be it for a personal blog or for a full-blown commercial website, the web designer is faced with a dilemma:The less code you can have on your webpages, the faster they will load. Hence, even the top websites ignore standards on a regular basis.The more structured your webpages are, the more accessible they will be to screen readers, aggregators, search engines, and even to browsers. This often means more code.I gleefully call this the Speed vs. Accessibility Paradox. However, there are two good reasons for why you may not have given it conscious thought, or probably hadn't even realized that it exists.Firstly: the consistent demand for loading web pages and web-based applications faster. Web 2.0 and beyond presents and insists on a fluid, desktop-like online experience. The number of readers who do not use screen readers or scripts to gather information far outweighs the number of those who do. Browsers will ignore most common marku…

What is the slowest day of the week for your blog?

Generally it's the entire weekend1 for the internet; however, depending on your site it could even be a Wednesday that produces the least traffic.In my case the weekends are always dry, and especially so if there's something like the Oscars on air (drat...). My stats are too poor to put up for display here, but yes, events of note do woo away your readers, you can take my word for it. I think I'll cut down on my weekend blogging... 1The figures provided in this link are from 2004, but unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any recent statistics on this.

Attack of the bx- errors

In case you’re among the uninitiated, bx- error codes are randomly assigned to template issues in Blogger blogs that are currently irresolvable. I had thought I had seen the last of my share of bx- errors last year, but apparently the gods of Blogger certainly don’t think so. I tried to perform the simple task of moving the lines of CSS mentioned in this post higher in the header section of my blog, and got a bx- again. Worse, when I tried to edit anything in that post at all, the code got garbled, and at times the page would even refuse to load. The solution? As I had figured out myself. It’s going to be a rough summer…

How to write things like <head> in webpages

Whenever you try to write code including tags like <head> in webpages, the browser steps in and refuses to process angle brackets. There's actually a simple solution, but being moronic I keep forgetting this: just type "&" next to "lt;" or "gt;" (without quotes), for left and right angle brackets respectively. There.The opposite? To write the actual code to get <head>, type "&" next to "amp;" and followed by "lt;" or "gt;" (without quotes again) to get the left and right angle brackets, in that order. Hence: &+amp;+lt;+head+&+amp;+gt;, sans the +'s. Voila.

Standards compliance, huh?

I decided to run quick CSS and HTML/XHTML markup validation tests on major sites using the tools on the W3C website (here: markup and CSS). Here’s what I found:sitemarkup errorsCSS errorsGoogle62; 9 warnings1Slashdot145noneWordpress.comnone52Technorati13; 6 warnings19Yahoo!48; 44 warningsnoneNYTimes.com318; 69 warnings52Microsoft176; 36 warnings33Lifehacker314; 70 warnings2Despite such errors, since browsers will almost always load pages the way they were intended to, it makes sense to reduce code, especially when your site receives millions of hits. Google’s homepage, for instance, doesn’t even have a DOCTYPE declaration. But as web designers and students of the trade who are persistently insisted across textbooks, websites and workplaces to follow standards, where does that leave us?

It’s incredible

It’s incredible. It took my close to two hours just to publish my last two posts on Blogger. Every time Blogger was scrambling up code I was trying to display; I finally realized that I had to change a setting (read here). On top of that, I’ve tried out so many bits and pieces of code (call them widgets, modules, plugins or whatever) that my Blogger template right now, having accumulated years of dilapidated apps, is pretty close to a digital scrapyard. Looks like there’s no way other than hand-coding a brand new template from the ground up…

How to get rid of the Blogger navbar

There's hardly a Blogger user to be found who hasn't been irked by the navbar. True, it’s not entirely useless – it lets you quickly log on to Blogger and provides a quick customization link. But by just being there the navbar brings a generic look to your blog, which is enough to make readers not take it seriously. On top of that, the navbar allows any Blogger user to flag your blog! (Which, assuming you’re one of the good guys, puts you at the mercy of the goodwill of your diverse readership.)Therefore it’s imperative that you hide your Blogger navbar, or at least know how to. In case you’re wondering, the Blogger Terms of Service doesn’t say anything about the navbar, so you’re good to go.Hiding the Blogger navbar1. Sign in to your Blogger account. This will take you to your Dashboard. Click on the Layout link of your blog.2. Click on the Edit HTML link on the Layout page. Don’t worry, you don’t have to know anything about HTML! I’ll take care of the code.Scroll down the Ed…