Monday, August 13, 2007

Off Elsewhere

Hi sweeties! Pretty Lady misses you, and she has every so many things she'd like to discuss with you, but this week she is working on her little bitty Personal Website regarding that pesky Career of hers. She will be checking in soon. Perhaps Chris or somebody would like to make a Controversial Statement, and then you could all argue?

UPDATE: Cascading style sheets. Say No More.


DuckMan said...

Hey, I can do controversy. Here goes:

Hasn't Karl Rove just been God's gift to America? (Snack on that. If you dare.)

Desert Cat said...

Does CSS make you vaguely queasy the way it does me?

Dang. Just when I figured out enough HTML to put together the basics of what I want, they come along with a totally new way of doing it.

prettylady said...

DuckMan, that was a valiant attempt, and I salute you. However, absurdist controversy doesn't seem to be sufficiently subtle as bait.

DC, CSS makes me more than 'vaguely queasy;' it is one of those things which I find almost physically impossible to concentrate upon. Between you and me, I am Fobbing Off the programming upon my dear Gentleman Friend, and merely offering abstract, general aesthetic input, plus content.

DuckMan said...

So, if I wish to be a Compleat Angler of Controversy, I must not wiggle the worm too much. I must retire to my cabin and retie my flies as I consider this.

And, BTW Pretty Lady, proper salutes are rendered with the right hand. I did manage to learn one or two things during 20 years in the USAF.

Oral sex is sex. Chew on that, y'all. (But you have to bite first.)

Chris Rywalt said...

DC sez:
Just when I figured out enough HTML...

I just figured out CSS earlier this year myself, and this is theoretically what I've been doing for a living for 15 years. CSS was totally opaque to me until I realized it was the culmination of the Great Dream of the Web. Back in 1994 when the Web first arrived it almost immediately began to be dragged, kicking and screaming, away from its original purpose. CSS brought it back.

That purpose is this: Separating form from content.

The whole idea of the Web, initially -- aside from hyperlinking, of course -- was that you'd have data, which is to say content. For example, the entire text of Bucky Fuller's Synergetics. And then you'd mark up this text with notations to say "emphasize this word" and "this is a chapter title" and "this is the beginning of a section." Then some outside program -- the Web browser -- would take all this and use the mark-up to determine how to display the text. For example, "emphasize this word" would mean boldface text.

The important thing here is that how the text should actually look -- the typeface, the size, the color, and so on -- was separated from the actual text. It was all encoded into the browser.

Sadly, the mark-up language -- HTML -- rapidly fell into the hands of Layout Editors, Graphic Designers, and other Fuzzy-headed Thinkers. These people began to demand, first, that every browser display their text the exact same way; and second, that all the features they knew from magazine and book layout should be made available to them, like setting typeface, sizes, images, and all that good stuff. Bit by bit -- literally -- the browser designers began to extend HTML into areas it wasn't initially designed to cover.

CSS takes us back. The idea of CSS is that you mark up your text with descriptive tags and then, in CSS, tell the browser how you want it to look. So the look of your document isn't anywhere inside your actual document, it's in your CSS.

This is a basic computer science technique, actually: Generalize out what you can so, if changes need to be made, they only need to be made in one place and they'll cascade -- get it? -- down.

So when working with HTML and CSS, step one is to decide what the important parts of your document, or page, are. Say you're designing a Website for an artist. Let's say an artist's top page should have their name, contact information, a link to their biography, a link to their artist statement, and a representative image. So you'd make HTML like this:

<div id="name">
Chris Rywalt
<div id="email">

And so on. Then in your CSS you'd define:

#name {
font-weight: 900; // bold
font-size: 24pt;
color: Red;
#email {
font-weight: 100; // regular
font-size: 12pt;
color: LightRed;

And so on. If you define an element you're going to have more than one of, then you use classes instead of IDs. For example, say the artist wanted some thumbnails on there. Since there's more than one, you need a class:

<div class="thumbnail" id="T1">
<img src="T1.jpg">

And your CSS:

.thumbnail {
border: 2px solid Green;

Obviously CSS is horrendously complex and ugly. It's yet another attempt at defining something that's already been defined to death. But there you go.

Now I'm working with Xanthia under PostNuke under PHP. With CSS thrown in for good measure. Makes the old days seem almost quaint.

Chris Rywalt said...

DM sez:
Oral sex is sex.

And darned good sex, too.

Am I the only old person who's bummed to have missed the current apparently much more loose generation of high schoolers? Maybe the 1970s were as crazy as they are these days, but even in the '70s they kept their buttcracks covered. These days I feel like the only person who puts clothes on to go to the mall. I fully expect my daughter, when she's 14 (in six years) to be stepping out the door in pasties and a thong. And I'll say "You're going out in THAT?" and she'll say "Oh, you're such an old jerk."

Man. When I was in high school in 1980s, the girls wore more layers than the Amish. Sweaterdresses were in style, and leg warmers, and big hair. Girls didn't even wear bikinis at the beach. Truly a dark time.

Desert Cat said...

I miss big hair tho...

DuckMan said...

Maybe the 1970s were as crazy as they are these days, but even in the '70s they kept their buttcracks covered.

Yeah, Chris, a number of fashion crimes were committed in the '70s (platform shoes for men, leisure suits, nonpregnant girls in pregnancy tops, etc.), but at least the guys covered up what needed covering.

Of course, we did have streaking...