XML, HTML, XHTML Magic

XML, HTML, XHTML Magic

4.0 1
by Molly E. Holzschlag
     
 
The opening section XML/XHTML/HTML Magic is a crash course on the skills readers should have in order to attempt the projects in this book. Subsequent chapters instruct readers on how to use the markup languages to create a variety of common web sites. Within the context of each site construction project, similar subheadings are used to standardize the

Overview

The opening section XML/XHTML/HTML Magic is a crash course on the skills readers should have in order to attempt the projects in this book. Subsequent chapters instruct readers on how to use the markup languages to create a variety of common web sites. Within the context of each site construction project, similar subheadings are used to standardize the coverage of HTML, XML, and XHTML.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780735711396
Publisher:
Pearson Education
Publication date:
09/28/2001
Series:
Magic Series
Pages:
223
Product dimensions:
7.98(w) x 9.98(h) x 0.45(d)

Read an Excerpt

Project 2: Managing a Weekly Publication

Project Snapshot

The problem: Managing larger, regularly updated, content- rich sites. This chapter is for nyone who is looking for solutions to manage navig tion, presentation, and effective markup of large, content- rich sites.

Technical specs

The following are the technical specifications that you need to manage a weekly publication:
  • Markup used —XHTML 1. 0 ( You can also use HTML 4 if you prefer. )
  • Document type definition ( DTD) used —Transitional.
From markup perspective, I used XHTML 1. 0 transitional when I developed the site. My rationale for doing so was two- fold. First, a site that's predominantly made up of text conceivably can be simplified to ensure crisp separation of document formatting and presentation, even using complicated tables to ensure the layout remains intact across platforms and browsers. The rationale was a good one, but during the production process, I learned my choice was compromised by the amount of ads I had to design into the site. The more complex a layout becomes, the more difficult it becomes to separate document formatting from presentation.

The second reason I selected XHTML 1. 0 was that I wanted to make statement that showed that XML —in the form of XHTML —could easily be used on the web. I learned some interesting lessons from making the choice to use XHTML, especially in terms of JavaScript, as you see later in this chapter.

Because the exercises in this chapter are comparative, you can choose to use HTML 4 or XHTML 1. 0. My only recommendation is that you stick to the transitional DTD to ensure utmost flexibility in a design that's still primarily accessed through the web. If you're shifting toward publication that appeals to users accessing with wireless and other devices, consider moving to strict markup instead.

Here are the additional technologies or skills that you need:

  • Familiarity with HTML.
  • Familiarity with a text editor, such as Notepad, SimpleText, or a favorite HTML editor.
Browser considerations: Cross- browser compatible site.

You must use an external style sheet and an embedded style sheet.

Here's how you should structure your site. In the case of WebReview.com , the site uses hierarchical structure. Top-level pages are used daily. The second tier contains information by year, and the third level contains the individual issues and their dependents by date.

How real-world site is structured will be determined greatly by individual needs. So if you have publication site that is updated monthly, you'll have different archival management needs. What's more, you might lready be working on a site that has legacy problems with structure and have to make do. See the sidebar, "Structure Inspiration "for some ideas on how to solve structure problems.


Structure Inspiration

A primary concern with ny regularly published, content-rich site is how to effectively manage site's infrastructure. There's no definite nswer here —much depends on your publication's specific needs. However, it's good idea to grab a pen and paper, a great big white board or charting software, such as Visio, and work out the site's physical structure before you attempt to write any of the markup.

A strong physical site structure helps ensure that your markup is more consistent. Where things such as directories for images, media, and style sheets, archived information, and so on, replaced will immediately be reflected in the way you write your internal links. This, in turn, reflects on the markup and the speed at which you can troubleshoot problematic documents. Unfortunately, many of you will walk into situations that you can't change; pre-existing problems must be dealt with as best as possible. Streamline wherever you can. Cleaner markup that relies on style sheets makes so much sense when it's put into this perspective. Imagine how easy it would be to update a site simply by changing its style sheet and not having to rebuild it from the ground up? Now that's practical.


How It Works

It's just coincident l that I was working on this book when WebReview. com was being restructured. This restructuring meant having to t ke hard look t markup and structure. Some of the detailed problems I needed to tackle included the following:
  • Make the most of available screen space —The old site design was fixed-width table, centered on the page. Three columns were then within that table. The look was a bit old-fashioned and cramped. The solution? Use dynamic tables.

  • Solve problems with site structure and navigation —WebReview. com was created in 1995, and as it grew, it became like a ramshackle house —rooms upon rooms with some rooms staring to fall down. The site really needed a navigation and structure update. To solve this problem, I reorganized the site structure and made the navigation global. I also put the navigation into Server Side Includes ( SSIs) .

  • Manage consistency from page to page more effectively —Headers were inconsistent in style and color; sometimes, graphics were used instead of text headers; and navigation was incredibly problematic due to the growth of sections. No consistent navigation existed on the site. Style sheets came to the rescue in terms of chieving consistency.

  • Incorporate advertisements effectively into the interface and solve scripting problems —A major challenge with interface design on a commercial site is how to place numerous ads on page and still keep the content in focus. What's more, ad delivery often comes from external vendors who serve up their own brand of markup. Correcting problem markup nd escaping characters properly when using XHTML helped to successfully address these problems.
Managing issues such as these is standard fare for the professional web designer these days. You must analyze an existing site and make complex decisions that will be matched by equally complex technology solutions.

Managing Layout

For this ex mple, you'll use a mixed fixed width and dynamic table layout in XHTML 1. 0 transitional that effectively manages navig tion, content, and graphics...

Meet the Author

Currently the Executive Editor of Web Review, Molly Holzschlag is an author, instructor, and designer, bringing her irrepressible enthusiasm to books, classrooms, and Web sites. Honored as one of the Top 25 Most Influential Women on the Web, Molly has spent an unprecedented decade working in the online world. She has written and contributed to more than ten books about the Internet and, in particular, the Web. She holds a B.A. in communications and writing, and a M.A. in media studies from the New School for Social Research.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

XML, HTML, XHTML Magic 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It took me about a week on and off to work my way through XML, HTML, XHTML magic and it was very easy going indeed. Physically the book is an excellent size and shape, it lies open on the desk without the need for mobile phones and coffee cups to keep it from flapping shut and the layout and colour scheme make for relaxed reading and easy scanning. The books starts with a chapter on mark-up; HTML, XHTML, XML and CSS. I've read quite a few mark-up books by now and the idea of yet another intro to these disciplines made me grit my teeth a bit, but in actual fact this one is very good - simple, clear and accompanied by a generous amount of code examples. As with all the chapters this finishes with a section entitled 'More Magic' which lays out tips, guidelines and often further reading for those interested. These sections have some great links to explore. The book then moves on to discuss the 11 real-world projects which make up the bulk of the content. Each gives: a Project Snapshot outlining the problem; Technical Specs which tell you the mark-up and skills you will be using; Structuring the Site which gives advice on how to lay out the project; and finally the code work itself. As others have noticed here, it¿s nice to see Molly and Co pushing W3C standards-compliant work, the more the better. On the other hand it¿s also nice to see that they too have to break the rules occasionally to achieve a goal. There I was thinking it was just me :o) The sites the various authors create in the book are visually pretty basic, but they are functional and seem to be excellent starting off points for a project, saving the reader hours and hours trawling around the web trying to find inspiration or coding examples to copy. The areas I found most useful were the CSS and JavaScript tips - I found quite a few examples of code I'd not seen before but will certainly use in future. The 'XML for the Wireless Web' project was also something new to me and looked very interesting (if not a bit too complicated to just dabble in). Also provided is an Index of Techniques, which list (by discipline) the techniques used in the book. This is very useful when referring back to the book with a specific task in mind such as 'Creating Printer-Friendly Pages with CSS'. One grumble though, which I think others have also noted, is to do with the web site that accompanies the book. There was some initial confusion as to how the files (organised by Chapter) related to the book (organised by Project). In the end I worked out Chapter 1 equates to the Introduction, Chapter 2 to Project 1 and so on. A small thing but confusing at the time when you¿re keen to push ahead. I raised this issue with Molly and she agreed that the support web site could be altered to make it a bit clearer. This should happen soon :o) Other weak points were the occasional project which seemed to combine very simplistic work (such as basic work with Frames) and flashes of more advanced JavaScript. 'Showcasing a Corporate Identity' by Christopher Schmitt is one such chapter and I couldn't work out who they were aimed at. Still, this is a book for a wide range of abilities so I guess everyone will find some things too easy and some a challenge. To sum up, this is a jolly good book covering a wide range of topics. If you wanted to complete only one of the tasks described within then you'd be better off buying a more topic-specific book, but as a book to have in your library to provide a starting point for a range of projects I think it's a worthwhile buy, especially for the less experienced.