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Whats Up With my Blog Style?

Date/Time Permalink: 01/12/07 09:42:43 pm
Category: Site News

Every now and then, the theme of this blog (and the site in general) is a subject of comment in various places linking to me. Generally, the comments are critical. Of course, people don't say much about a page's style unless they find fault with it, but still, there are those faults...

I thought I'd explain what went into this design. A ton of agendas:

1. I insist on full W3C standard compliance. A single warning is intolerable.

2. I actually test my design on multiple browsers, looking for the closest possible match so that everybody sees the same thing. I have quite a few FOSS browsers on my three machines, and what I don't have access to I check through So far, the big ball logo to (hopefully) your right is the only misbehaving element - it slides to the left a little in a couple of minor browsers.

3. I also want the page to be functional in text-browsers such as lynx and w3m. I know, the CSS won't work there, but the point is to have it functional and not have it be missing too much by using a text browser.

4. I hate waiting for pages to load. So just a few big obvious graphics, and most of the decorating has to be pure CSS. The content is there, unhidden, while the few graphics load in the wings, if you have a slow connection.

5. I refuse to be Bill Gates' slave. So a page I design works in every browser with the EXACT SAME CODE, without a single dot of 'Internet Explorer-special hacks', or I do not use it. The day Bill Gates wants to pay me per keystroke to write special code just to work in his crappy browser, that's when I'll write IE-specific hacks. And if every web developer out there said the same as I, this would be a better world.

6. Oh, yes, my layouts must be liquid!

- that's what goes into the plan before I write the opening <html> tag. After all, it is a site about Open Source, technology freedom, lots of rah-rah about open standards here and there. I'd be a hypocrite to do otherwise with my page design. You know that rush you get when you catch some irate sap screaming down Linux, and you paste a screenshot of Netcraft showing his site running on Red Hat? I'm just not a "say one thing, do another" kind of guy.

Now, as if that weren't enough, as if that didn't make it all fruit-cake-batty bonkers enough: I wanted something unique. I wanted to avoid the tired cliches of web design currently out there, while utilizing some good sense. So, the 'simplicity', 'minimalist' cliches are ones I'll go along with. The color scheme is inspired by the rio desktop from Plan 9 from Bell Labs. It is meant to be soft and gentle and soothing, something your eyes could rest on and not get tired. To that goal, I've softened the colors down and thinned out the borders several times.

So, uh, in case you were looking at this wondering "What was he thinking?", well, huh-uh, that's what I was thinking, ay-yup! But look out below, there's a "feedback" link to the comments right down there. So this is also a place for you folks out there in Blogistan to feed back on the style of the place: Did I hit my target, or not? Does it work, or should it have been something else entirely?

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