Re: HTML question (off topic)

From: Harvey Newstrom (
Date: Mon Jan 22 2001 - 09:00:41 MST

"Emlyn" <> wrote,
>I don't think all this hand-coding advice is helping Barbara all that much;
>I get the impression that she is not a super html geek. No shame there.

Good point.

The key is to use a validator to detect errors. Use
<> for checking HTML. Use
<> for checking CSS. Use
<> for checking links. (Use all

Most web-page problems are caused by bad syntax. Microsoft is famous
for writing bad code. If you use a tool to generate your pages, at
lease proof-read them for errors using one of the above tools. The
standards for CSS, which Microsoft ignores, requires each statement
to be error-free. If there is an error on any part, the browser
should ignore the entire thing. Microsoft ignores this rule, so a
lot of their stuff seems to work 90% even if it has errors. Netscape
follows the rules and will ignore many style directives because of a
single error in one.

Another gotcha is that the standards require units (of pixels,
inches, ems, or something) for every value. Microsoft likes to put
these without units which their own product interpret. All
non-Microsoft products ignore these invalid dimensions, so stuff that
works in Microsoft fails for everybody else. At the very minimum,
you will have to stick "px" for pixels after every height, width or
positioning statement that Microsoft generates or the page will turn
into garbage for everybody else.

One last point. Don't read your HTML code back into Microsoft
products after you have fixed them. Microsoft Word, for example,
pays no attention to the HTML syntax but translates it to Word and
then back to HTML again when you save. You will lose any corrections
you have made, any formatting in your document, and anything Word
doesn't understand it simply deletes. I.E., loading an HTML page
into Word and then saving it without changing anything will radically
re-write and destroy your HTML. Even if you don't edit anything,
your saved file won't look anything like your original file. Just
using Word as a viewer destroys the original.

It is OK to use an automated tool to do some of the work, but you
still have to test and proofread pages before publishing them. Also
be sure to test with different browsers. Things that crash one
browser don't crash others.

Good luck!

Harvey Newstrom <>

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