Category Archives: Weblog

All posts.

Why using ‘lorem ipsum’ is bad for web site testing

The typesetting and webdesign industry has apparently been using the ‘lorem ipsum’ text for a while to provide a dummy text in order to test print and layout.

Aside from the fact that the text is a cut off section of Cicero’s de finibus bonorum et malorum, it also fails in one huge aspect, namely globalisation.

The text is Latin, latin is the simplest of all characters we have available to us on the world-wide web. If your website is English only then, yes, you are quite done. However for a lot of us we also have to support languages other than English, the easiest of which are Latin-derived scripts.

Latin, and subsequently English, are both written left-to-right. Hebrew and Arabic, to take two prime examples, are written right-to-left (leaving numerals aside for the moment). Of course, this is very important to also test since it means a lot of change is needed for your lay out.

Especially when testing your design for sites that need to display multiple languages on the same page it is pertinent to test with multilingual text. One of the things that should quickly become clear is whether or not a sufficient encoding has been chosen.

Fixing up the layout

As might be evident from the non-matching colours and all that, I am currently reworking the design to really become what I had in mind a while ago.

During all this I encountered a lovely problem with Internet Explorer and its support for PNG, namely that it is mucking around with the gamma setting, regardless of what the PNG specifies. (A even more detailed background is available in the form of Henri Sivonen’s excellent article on the matter.)

So right now I am stripping the gamma (gAMA) header from my PNGs in order to have it working across most browsers (it seems Safari 1.3 has issues with PNGs on a lot of fronts).
So in short: no matter what the Internet Explorer team fixes, they seem to screw up in other magnificent ways and this is what sets them so apart from, say, the Opera team. Instead of not taking blame the Opera team actively ask people to report problems back so that they can see if it is a real problem with their product.

Moved to WordPress 2.0 from Drupal 4.6

Drupal is a nice system if you need an advanced CMS-like environment. Which I didn’t.

Hence I moved to WordPress, since I need a well-maintained piece of weblog software. The only downside at the moment is that it is written in PHP.

Conversion was not too hard. I followed directions as posted on http://spindrop.us/2006/05/19/migrating-from-drupal-47-to-wordpress and only had to change some things.

I want to keep the category ‘Uncategorized’ in order to have a sane default. So you can perhaps just leave out the ‘delete from wp_categories;’ step. Furthermore I had to use this SQL statement in order to move the posts over, since I was running Drupal 4.6:
[sql]INSERT INTO wp_posts (id, post_date, post_content, post_title, post_excerpt, post_name, post_modified)
SELECT DISTINCT n.nid FROM_UNIXTIME(created), body, n.title, teaser, REPLACE(REPLACE(REPLACE(REPLACE(LOWER(n.title), ‘ ‘, ‘-’), ‘.’, ‘_’), ‘,’, ‘_’), ‘+’, ‘_’), FROM_UNIXTIME(changed)
FROM drupal.node n
WHERE type=’blog’ OR type=’page’;
[/sql]

Take back the web!

The standards body we thought would help us get the Internet better in shape is actually dying at the hands of elitist members.

The Internet started with open standards and code that formed the IP stack with the BSD Unix software. Later Tim Berners Lee and other people ensured we were able to work with HTML and all these specifications were open and people actively worked to get innovation and fixes in.

Now, since a number of years the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has become the domain where the ones who can pay the membership fees ($50.000 seems normal) get a voice and individuals without such backing are left in the cold.

For some examples, read:

http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-qa-dev/2006Jul/0011
http://www.zeldman.com/2006/07/17/an-angry-fix/
http://www.alistapart.com/articles/tohellwithwcag2/
http://www.dzr-web.com/people/darren/blog/2006/07/12/is-the-w3c-failing-us/