Buzz Archive: June 2002

Dynamic XHTML Competition

Are web standards boring? Eddie Traversa thinks not. He’s launched a standards-based Dynamic XHTML Design Competition. First prize: $1,000. Good luck and happy coding.


Today’s Daily Report includes a dreamy screen capture of The WaSP’s site on a Palm Pilot and a doleful one as viewed in the new release of OmniWeb. Includes writeup.

HWG Offers Accessibility Course Online

Taught by Kynn and Liz Bartlett, the HWG/IWA is once again offering their popular Accessible Web Design online course, beginning July 15th. Kynn is a longtime accessibility advocate, past president of the HWG, and author of the upcoming new book, Sams Teach Yourself Cascading Style Sheets in 24 Hours.

For Love of Bobby’s Bobby does an ace job of checking your site for compliance with the WAI and Section 508 accessibility standards. Not only that, the service is free. So what could be bad?

Well, what’s bad is that Bobby itself uses invalid markup, and the URLs it generates to help you keep track of your test results are also invalid. So if you cut and paste a Bobby-generated URL into your site to show your visitors you care about accessibility, your site will no longer be valid.

Until Cast fixes this problem (which we hope they do soon), you can work around it by replacing unescaped ampersand characters with the proper entities. If you don’t know how to do that, try the Hivelogic URL cleaner.

Cast is a wonderful organization, and with their limited budget, it can’t be easy to provide the services they offer. We’re all grateful for what they do. But we hope they’ll soon take the next step and rework their site’s markup and backend to comply with standards.

And here I thought they were real people

Mark Pilgrim's been telling stories about Web accessibility at his shiny xhtml 1.1 blog all this week, and plans to keep it up. You'd think that sites like would be half as conscientious as Mark about such matters, but no.

Cutting Edge CSS

CSS guru Eric Meyer has added a new css/edge demo, Pure CSS Menus, to his experimental CSS site. Eric created this new CSS popout menu with standards in mind. Mozilla 1.0 and Netscape 7.0 support the CSS used for the popout menus so be sure to use one of those to see Eric's latest. In newer browsers that support CSS well, such as Internet Explorer and Opera, the top-level menu links will work fine, although the popout menus won't be revealed.

London Calling

UK gov’t draft guidelines propose that all British government sites adopt web standards. Recommendations include: use HTML to structure the document, not style it; use CSS for layout; don’t use browser-specific scripting methods; validate against a DOCTYPE; and others that help ensure accessibility. Cheerio! (Hat tip: Matthew Farrand.)

We get mail

This just in:

"Congrats on the WaSP relaunch, BTW. I'm sure you'll be happy to hear that the site looks bloody brilliant in my wireless Palm browser."

Do things right and reap the rewards.

Show us your CSS!

Tim Roberts of is sponsoring a CSS competition in which one lucky winner will receive a domain name and 20MB of free PHP hosting for one year. The top 5 entries will be used as alternate switchable stylesheets for the site. Check out the contest entry rules and make us proud.

Web Accessibility and Educational Technology

This month's Educational Technology Review from the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE) covers technology and accessibility. The offerings include two articles discussing policy and legislation pertaining to Web accessibility compliance by educational institutions.

Hat tip to Kathy Cahill from the MIT Adaptive Technology (ATIC) Lab for pointing this out.

New Interview of Eric Meyer at Digital Web

Meryl Evans interviews Eric Meyer, well known CSS guru and author, for this week's Digital Web. Eric is also the Standards Evangelist for Netscape and list chaperone for the css-discuss list. Find out what he thinks about standards, CSS, using tables, accessibility, future possibilities, and even his weekly radio show.

See also WaSP's CSS resources.

Welcome back

Smooches to the true believers who flooded The WaSP’s in-box this a.m. In the interest of efficiency: the old Browser Upgrade campaign has been redirected to its new home here, an earlier problem with the RSS feed has been fixed, and we’re cognizant of a horizontal scrollbar in IE5.x/Mac that seems to be caused by a browser bug (fancy that!) and thus probably cannot be fixed—at least, not by us.

It’s good to be back. Pertinent reads with that fresh-baked cookie smell: the new mission statement, a late springtime opinion, and a successful, behind-the-scenes campaign that took place while our site was offline. We also encourage designers and developers at all levels to page through our budding LEARN section.

This little site complies with CSS and XHTML 1.0 Strict and is designed to work in any browser (imagine that). Alas, it does not render in recent beta versions of OmniWeb, whose support for even basic web standards is woefully incorrect and incomplete. If you’re new to The WaSP and are unsure about what we mean by standards, this may help.

Our gratitude list is a yard long, but for now let us thank Dean for the redesign, Peter for the smart new logo, Todd and Eric for the CSS layout that stays crisp in milk, David, B.K. and Scott Andrew for the last-minute heavy lifting, Rachel and Drew for helping Macromedia get its standards groove on, Shirley and Molly for spearheading the emergent LEARN section, and Steve for his chops. You’ll find these WaSPs and more in the Bios department. Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back.

Kudos from WebReference

Thanks to Andy King, yesterday's WebReference Update gave WaSP a terrific write-up that also describes some of what you'll find at the new site, including our new Learn section.

It Lives!

The Web Standards Project returns to the Web today, after a short hiatus. We've changed our site, we've redirected our energies to education to further shore up the victories of the past four years, and we've added a few new steering committee members. So check us out, and let us know what you think.

Connecticut to Enforce Accessibility Guidelines

According to an article from Government Technology magazine posted in late May, the State of Connnecticut will require consultants, within the state's Department of Information Technology, to take Web accessibility training in accordance with state guidelines - hopefully more states will follow suit.

A shout-out and kudos to Accessibility Maven Cynthia D. Waddell, one of the founders of CIBER's Accessibility Center of Excellence (ACE) and co-author of the recent "Constructing Accessible Web Sites" from glasshaus.

SVG: The Future Is Now

Today the O'Reilly Network features SVG On The Rise, a thoughtful article on the strengths of the Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), a standards-based alternative to Flash. Be sure to read the section entitled “Why SVG fits into the Web.”

Web Accessibility in the NYT

Sarah Horton, a principal for the Curricular Computing division of Dartmouth College's department of Academic Computing and co-author of the famed Yale C/AIM Web Style Guide (which I happened to be my religious text when I first started developing websites) has an excellent editorial in today's New York Times about web accessibility.

Text Sizing Woes

WaSP Owen Briggs has posted 264 screenshots demonstrating text sizing problems and failures across IE, Opera, Mozilla, and Netscape. Executive Summary: When trying to make text accessible, even the workarounds to the workarounds fail in some of our best browsers.

TopStyle Pro 3 Beta Released

Top Style CSS Editor is morphing into a fully integrated CSS/ HTML/XHTML Editor for Windows. Supporting standards since its 1999 inception, this new version will help even more with creating standards-compliant markup for your site. You can download the Pro 3 Beta 3 now (for free) and give it a spin.


One community of web users that you probably don't know about unless you're one of them is the home-improvement culture. Improving your home is tremendously reference-intensive: you're always looking up mildew-resistant paint or miter saw kerf tolerances or lag bolt length tables, and the Web is a boon.

Everybody paints, and almost everybody, at some point or another, buys paint from Benjamin Moore. But don't visit them on the Web unless you have IE 5 or higher, or you'll get a nasty message saying:

"Welcome to This site has been created for usage requiring Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 or higher."

Well, Benjamin Moore, welcome to my doghouse. Say goodbye to every tech geek in the world, to every person using a non-PC, and just maybe, an increasing proportion of the AOL users.

Memo to self: make sure there's no B.Moore in my investment portfolio.

Memo to world: you can produce good-looking, colorful, ready-for-business, robust web sites, that work in whatever weird browser assuming it's modern, and degrade gracefully in the old browsers; just play by the rules. All it takes is a little intelligence, and of course that you care about reaching all your potential customers. Hello, Benjamin Moore?

Hmm... I see that Sherwin-Williams does care about my business.

Hot from the oven

This morning I fetched Moz1.0 and Chimera 0.2.8 (a Gecko variant for OS X that uses the "Quartz" library for juicy anti-aliased fonts). Along with the IE5.1 that came with the Mac (I'd point to it, only for now it's not a download), I now have three different browsers that are all very standards-friendly and all very good.

I have to say it's not an obvious choice; IE has slicker buttons and controls, Mozilla has cool "skins" and the best mail/news/IRC integration; Chimera has ravishingly beautiful rendering and is noticeably faster. They all handle every page I go to (modulo Java, sigh). They're competing against each other on usability, aesthetics, and performance! Feels very pleasingly normal.

CSS Promise vs. Reality: How Do They Compare?

Mark Newhouse addresses this question in his new article at Digital Web, Cascading Style Sheets, Promise vs. Reality, and a Look to the Future. Mark covers many important areas, including tables vs. CSS layouts, separating style and content, visual control, accessibility, leaner markup, forward compatibility, cross-browser and cross-platform compatibility, site maintenance, creativity and learning, and helpful links. CSS offers so much and newer browsers continue to improve their support, but there's still a gap.

W3C Quality Assurance

Want to get involved in helping promote the quality of W3C process and work? The W3C Quality Assurance (QA) working group's goals include planning and process; better, more testable specifications; coordination with internal and external groups; and building and acquiring conformance test materials.

For more information on Quality Assurance at the W3C, check out the W3C's Quality Assurance Page.

Mozilla and CSS1, bound at the hip

The Mozilla Project has published a copy of the CSS1 Recommendation, only their copy is annotated with references to the remaining bugs in their implementation. Hat tip to Arlen Walker, on the [wd] list, who got it from Zeldman, who got it from Caio Chassot, who got it, presumably, from the Mozilla Project.

Style Master 2.2

Version 2.2 of Style Master for Windows and Macintosh has left the building. A WYSIWYG tool for CSS design, Style Master can help you get up to speed on the web's standard layout language. Style Master 2.2 supports all of CSS2, as well as the new CSS3 mobile profile.