May 6, 2002-- Newsletter #179

By Joe Burns



Goodies to Go (tm)
May 6, 2002--Newsletter #179

This newsletter is part of the internet.com network.
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Goodies Thoughts - W3C Wants You

Recently, the W3C released a working draft of WCAG 2.0 for the public to review and provide input to the W3C. That's a lot of acronyms don't you think?

 

Here's what it means in plain English. If you are fairly new to web development you may not know what the W3C is. Well, W3C stands for the World Wide Web Consortium. Get it? W3 for the three W's in the name.

 

Whether you may have realized it or not, the W3C has had quite an impact on the web as we know it today. It has helped to shape the development of the web through a series of guidelines designed to bring order and conformity to what would otherwise be the chaotic web.

 

The W3C was founded in 1994 by Tim Berners-Lee, the "inventor" of the web. The intent was to make the web more standardized which would in turn make it more accessible as well. In order to achieve their goals, the W3C seeks input from both industry professionals and users. By seeking input from both ends of the spectrum they can hopefully help professionals add standardization and universal accessibility to the web without stifling technological advancement or creativity.

 

Just in case you were wondering, the guidelines that the W3C produces are not any sort of international law and you don't have to commit to memory any of their publications in order to develop in HTML or anything else for that matter. However, many of their publications are definitely worth reading and may give you some insight on how to improve the web sites that you develop. Set aside some time to read the W3C documentation, though. Much of it is written in borderline legal-ease and you may end up reading through the documentation several times.

 

If you want to learn more about the W3C go to http://www.w3.org/Consortium/.

 

In W3C's effort to make the web more accessible to everyone, they are revising their WCAG guidelines, which stands for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. In short, the WCAG are intended to help make content on the web more accessible to everyone including such groups as the sight and hearing impaired.

 

Many web designers, whether they realize it or not, are already assisting "impaired" users. For example, each time you use the ALT attribute with you graphics and images you are making it possible for visitors that are visually impaired to know what the graphics and images are via your ALT text. This is just one way that you can improve ALL of your visitors' web experience.

 

What the W3C is attempting to do is set a list of criteria that a web site would have to meet in order to be classified as WCAG compliant. It would also have several levels of compliance so that a site could possibly be visually impaired compliant but maybe not compliant for the hearing impaired.

 

Once a site has achieved some level of compliance they would then insert some specific meta data that would alert certain software and/or browsers that the site is compliant. This way impaired visitors will know immediately if the site they are visiting will be useful to them.

 

Currently, the origianl WCAG is going through its first complete overhaul. The original WCAG document was published in 1999 and is available at http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT/. Being that 3 years is a very long in internet time, the W3C is revamping this document and asking for input. If you are interested in making your websites more accessible and giving your thoughts on the subject to the W3C, you can review the WCAG 2.0 document at http://www.w3.org/TR/2002/WD-wcag2-req-20020426/ and submit your comments there.

 

Thanks for reading!

 


Quiz Goodies

Here's an easy one for you this week. What HTML tags to you use to get superscripts and subscripts to appear in your text?

 

Read answer below.



Q & A Goodies

Questions are taken from submissions to our Community Mentors. You can ask a Mentor a question by going to http://www.htmlgoodies.com/mentors/.

 

 

Q. I'm using HTML to teach some students how to use HTML, but need to display the HTML code without the browser interpreting it as code. Is there a way to do this without embedding an image of the code? Example: We will now discuss the <B> </B> tag. I want that tag to appear in my HTML code. I need a way to tell the HTML code to ignore the code and simply display "<B> </B>".

 

A. You have to use the ASCII code equivalents of the less than and greater than signs. The less than is &lt; the greater than is &gt; So here is how to do it. Just put it in a paragraph and it reads like text and does not execute:

 

  <P>&lt;B&gt; &lt;/B&gt;</P>

 

*** This question was submitted to our Mentor Community. The answer was provided by Marty Bozeman, one of our HTML Mentors.

 

 

Q. I would like to make an un-editable text box, can this be done?

 

A.  This is done by adding the word disabled inside the tag for the text box.

EXAMPLE:
  <INPUT TYPE="text" NAME="textbox"

   VALUE="This is text" disabled>

 

*** This question was submitted to our Mentor Community. The answer was provided by C.L. Smith, one of our JavaScript Mentors.
 

 

Q.  I tried making the white background to an animated GIF transparent (it was sitting in a square white box which I didn't like!) and the animation stopped working!!! I noticed that the file size had reduced from 10 KB to 4 KB although I saved it as a Compuserve GIF format. What went wrong / what did I do wrong??

 

A. The reason it's smaller and it stopped working was you somehow took out all but one frame. Not all graphics applications handle animation, so I'm guessing you worked on it in one that didn't. Most of your basic image software packages like Microsoft Paint will not handle animations.

 

*** This question was submitted to our Mentor Community. The answer was provided by Eric Ferguson, one of our HTML Mentors.



News Goodies

All of you Linux fans will be glad to know that the newest version of Red Hat is due to ship the middle of this month.

Click here to read the article

 

Not a good time for Macromedia lately. They've just found a security bug in Flash and they got smacked for $2.8 million in a lawsuit by rival Adobe.

Click here to read the article

 

So, where are the best IT job prospects these days? Have you considered Canada?

Click here to read the article

 
 
Quiz Answer

Superscripts and subscripts are very easy to implement within your text. They work just like the bold and italics tags in that you simply place a tag before and after the character(s) that you want to superscript or subscript.

 

A superscript uses the <SUP> tag like this:

 

  <P>a<SUP>2</SUP>+b<SUP>3</SUP></P>

 

A subscript use the <SUB> tag the same way:

 

  <P>H<SUB>2</SUB>O</P>

 

Be sure to always close your <SUP> and <SUB> tags or you will have some very odd looking text.

 

And Remember This . . .

Do you know that today is the birthday of the postage stamp?

 

It was in 1841 that the British Postal Service first issued their "black penny" stamp. Obviously, the idea quickly caught on and stamps are now used all over the world and have even become collectible items for some.


Thanks for reading Goodies to Go!

 

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