Three Successes


Posted on 17 August 2006 by jose

A List Apart came through for me again, helping me build a two-column ordered list for my resume. Getting it to work in IE was much more difficult, requiring the use of one CSS hack and one clever (if I say so myself) relative position CSS property that allowed me to use relative widths for the two list columns. Testing the code in IE brought a slight rendering problem to my attention: the title widget and white background were not loading correctly in IE, but only for pages, not posts. They were rendering correctly in Firefox, so I figured it was a CSS or quirks-mode issue. Of course, when I went to validate the code, it failed.

It turns out I had a div that wasn't closing properly; I used the very handy Firefox Source Chart extension to eliminate div after div (literally by clicking and closing the divs that were correct) and discovered that there was a div with an id of content in the Page Template file. What was weird about that was that there was no such element in any of the other output templates. I'm not sure if I mistakenly added it; I have extensively modified my theme, but I haven't bothered doing a diff to see if the theme author left it in by accident. Anyway, I eliminated the superfluous div and the code finally validated.

Testing in IE showed me that I had left my transparent PNG for the Hackwater name/logo in the header. I had tried to get the transparent PNG to work in IE, but researching and trying several different yielded nothing but an ugly gray background for what should have been a transparent image. My temporary solution had been to create a JPEG version of the image with the same background color as the rest of the header, but for some reason, I forgot to actually set it as the header image. Instead of using the temporary solution, though, I decided to dive back in and search for a solution. Google found me some JavaScript that uses IE conditional statements to isolate IE versions before 7 (transparent PNGs are supposed to work in IE 7) and the IE AlphaImageLoader filter to solve the problem for IE 5.5 and greater. So my list of successes for the day includes finally getting my transparent PNG to work in IE, getting a two-column list to work in both IE and Firefox, and getting my code to validate.

I borrowed a Wordpress plugin and stripped out the Wordpress-specific functions so that I can get code to be escaped as painlessly as it is on Hackwater.com when I want to display code samples. Once I apply styling to the content, I'll be able to call that another success. I also have been shuffling a lot of my content around, in preparation for letting Hackwater.net stand on its own two feet. I've been rebuilding my proof-of-concept CMS, although at this point, it is merely an interface for displaying database content. Proof-of-concept sounds a lot better than educational toy. Eventually I will have my development content primarily on Hackwater.com, mirrored on Hackwater.net, with various subdomains (rpg, dev, &c.) hosting my other interests. It will be very chaotic, inefficient, and hopefully tons of fun. And I'm not even counting the two family sites I'm now (somewhat) responsible for.

You just figure I'll stop visiting if you bore me to death with all this technical crap, right? :)

Is it working?

Actually, I guess I'm using the site as a documentation tool, so I can remember what it is that I did when I changed that thing for that app. Or something. So what would my loyal readers like to read about?

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