Web Design (under construction)

I really should give this page a complete overhaul as it is getting bit long in tooth and hacking it is not good enough, like most of my webpages. In fact most of my ideas about doing website have gone through period of flux, since I wrote most of this page.

Basically out has gone idea of main focus doing static pages on my own, I think it is much more productive to work on collabortive web projects.

Also I have been won over to idea of pure stylesheets for layout over use of tables, in fact I was never keen on tables for layout as I was never really keen on layout. And thing about css is if you use import tag it breaks on older browsers, to give the same safe retro look my pages had anyway.

why stylesheets over tables for layout

more on stylesheets (css)

I would not get too hung up on web standards but if you are serious about web design then you should be serious about web standards at least from now on with new webpages and templates. Check out WaSP as starting point.

anyway here is what I said before, still getting hacked now and again:

'look to the source'

If you see a page on the web you would like the design look of or has a feature you want in your own pages, I found best way to copy it was to view the HTML source code of the page I like and try to understand which bit of code (tag) does what by copying them in my documents. This is how I learned to make sounds to be played by the computer of person viewing myweb page (<embed> which is now being superceed by <object>). Format text so it scrolls round a graphic using align attribute of a tag, and many more things. Sometimes I even took whole pages a liked and just change the text and none of the code, to copy layout in full. But as I did this I by looking at the HTML source code grew to understand (and respect) it. That is what I used to think now there is so much bad over heavy broken html mark up out there I would be wary of copying something on just how it looks.

Think of full range of audiance. eg Web TV viewers who have limited features.

HTML Tutorial

If you use mozilla or firefox then get toolbar add on for web developers

I now use programs (tools) to help write my HTML code but I still view raw code at end of each set of changes. Often there is an option to do this in web design program as well as WYSIWYG view. Web design programs are very usefull for managing a site, keeping track of links so updating them when a files name changes etc. This can save a lot of time over manually changing each affected file.

I recommend Kompozer as a free WYSIWG HTML editor, it's heritage goes back to the webpage composer within the Mozilla suit which I used use to create and maintain webpages. Now I don't work on webpages much except to make minor changes and I use vi text editor for that.

I tend to keep all my file and folder names in lower case only to avoid these name getting corrupted in transit and links being broken. Also no chance of forgetting if upper case or not. Likewise I don't use spaces, as these can get corrupted too, and cause other problems.

I used to try to keep my file names under 8 letters and .htm rather than .html so the name is DOS compatible, so the site hyperlinks can not be lose in transit on dos disks using PC file exchange on macs, or old zip format, and saved on using old machine with dos, it may only happen a few times but why not avoid it. There is probably no need for this now but habits stick.

I tend to use simple HTML. I am just  getting  into interactive database drive web applications CMS ( eg WordPress, Joomla, Drupal ) and that seems the way to go.

I try to avoid use of frames. I would use css instead for page layout once get the hang of it. Tables are what many people use but they are really for tabular data not layout. Frames can be used to good effect when doing commentary on other sites.   But if used for main site mean search engines and other can not link to each internal page, nor be bookmarked. Though a way to get round this is to put a meaningful alternative noframes section of front page with links to internal pages that search engines can follow and index / cache, rather than just comment telling viewer to get frames capable browser, which does not look enticing as description on a search engine. Also the Google cache is good to be available if site goes down.

Front Page by Microsoft is to be avoided for technical as well as political reasons.

For stuff on search engines looking over your website see:

Robots.txt Standard

I recommend this book:
Web Design in a Nutshell by Jennifer Niederst ( O'REILLY )
Even though the edition I have is few years out now still very useful to have, to learn and as a reference. Though it is into third revised edition now.

I had at one point, before giving them away, copies of:

On my to do list is to replace hyperlink email address on web pages with a link to a formmail page that uses a script to send email so as to avoid spammers get my email address, as they are making any email address put on a web page unusable. You may want to bear this in mind when putting other peoples emails on you website site will just a link to their home page do, where they may have tried to hide email address from spammers too.

I used to get my domain names from: Just The Name for org.uk and Joker.com & Idotz for top level domains.

Domain ownership look up

My pages can be viewed in any web viewer but I recommend you ditch MS IE and use something else like Mozilla Firefox

Many web pages seem consist of mostly links to external sites (in fact many webpages can consist solely of links with no content), this set of pages in this directory was mostly done in that vein and to find a further tribute to the link form (and the free webspace amoungst other things) of page go to page : links.htm , in this directory.

Also see: computing page and internet page


HTML = Hyper Text Markup Language; the code that does forms a web page

WYSIWYG = What you see is what you get; one does not have to alter code just how content looks itself