Tag Archives: internet

Anything related to the Internet

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.

Opera files anti-trust claim with the European Union against Microsoft

An acquaintance of mine who works for Opera forwarded me a link to an Opera press release today. In this press release we find that yesterday, Wednesday the 12th, 2007, Opera filed an anti-trust claim with the European Union against Microsoft. In this claim Opera describes:

“[...] how Microsoft is abusing its dominant position by tying its browser, Internet Explorer, to the Windows operating system and by hindering interoperability by not following accepted Web standards. Opera has requested the Commission to take the necessary actions to compel Microsoft to give consumers a real choice and to support open Web standards in Internet Explorer.”

“Opera requests the Commission to implement two remedies to Microsoft’s abusive actions. First, it requests the Commission to obligate Microsoft to unbundle Internet Explorer from Windows and/or carry alternative browsers pre-installed on the desktop. Second, it asks the European Commission to require Microsoft to follow fundamental and open Web standards accepted by the Web-authoring communities. The complaint calls on Microsoft to adhere to its own public pronouncements to support these standards, instead of stifling them with its notorious “Embrace, Extend and Extinguish” strategy. Microsoft’s unilateral control over standards in some markets creates a de facto standard that is more costly to support, harder to maintain, and technologically inferior and that can even expose users to security risks.”

The funny thing is that Apple bundles Safari with Mac OS X and no one complains about that. I think that’s mainly because the Apple guys are working hard to ensure it supports the standards well. So from the two points above in the Opera press release I find the requirement for Microsoft to follow the standards the most important.

The Beauty of Irony

I needed to look up something within a XHTML specification over at the W3 Consortium website. So I went to the XHTML2 Working Group Home Page. I was greeted with various encoding issues. Trademarks showing up as â„¢ character sequences. Now, normally when you see a page with an  or â at the start of a strange sequence you can be fairly certain it is a Unicode encoding, typically UTF-8. So at first I thought my auto-detect within Firefox was not turned on, checked it, no, it was definitely on. Selected unicode as encoding myself and, indeed, the page displayed normally. So I checked the page’s source. I was lovingly greeted by the following:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="iso-8859-1"?>

I am sure most of you can appreciate the delightful irony that the organization that has a multitude of XML-based standards and specifications, which almost always use UTF-8 as default encoding, encode a page wrongly. Yes, mistakes are human, but to see something like this on the W3C site…

Edit: for some reason WordPress keeps converting my greater and lesser than signs into HTML entities, even when using Unicode entities.

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/