2010-01-25

 

Hooptedoodle: Blog Aversion and Standards Ignorance

This is a maintenance post.  I am twiddling with the template for this blog to see if I can like the result enough to start writing some pent up posts that I have been holding back.

The holding back is, apart from my usual procrastination, because I don’t like the design of this blog page.  I just don’t like it.

[Update 2010-02-03T00:44Z  It seems that Blogger is solving this problem for meMy love-hate relationship with Google Blogger is going to end with my long-overdue disintermediation from Blogger and graduation to self-publishing as well as the current self-hosting on my own domains and hosting-service arrangements.]

The New Is the Enemy of the What Already Works?

When I started the blog, I decided to use one of the newer ready-made Blogger templates that is all CSS’s and prettified and presumably standards-compliant in some elevated way.  My original blog and its kin have templates from back in the day when HTML tables ruled.  I understand those templates pretty well.  For this blog, I thought I’d modern up.

As I grew to despise the new layout, I turned to my usual solution: hand tweaking the template, something that can be done by code-and-fix clueless manipulation of the template:

Both of these arrangements allow me to muck about without too much risk of completely cratering the blog.

So far, so good, right?

Maybe not. 

At Sea In More “Standard” Than I Need

I haven’t figured out how to tweak the CSS and get the result I want.  And I don’t know when modifications I make might will derail the bits and pieces that Blogger automatically inserts into these pages, following the guidance of specially-coded division classes and magical HTML elements with names like <$BlogDateHeaderDate$>

I also don’t have the experience to discern whether the original CSS is very good and what the mound of CSS declarations in the <head> element of every page are required for.  I would like to discard everything not actually being used and then simplify what is left.  I’m not sure how to do that safely.  And I don’t want to make a career out of CSS-crafting, either.  I just want my blog pages to work.

So there is the wonderful preferred “standard” for correctness in web-page operation.   But I can’t decode it enough to make my simple page layout work.

Not Backsliding Just Yet

If all else fails, I will bring over one of my old templates and turn it into one from this blog, rather than attempt to achieve my goal by hacking and hewing on the current CSS-purified design.

Unfortunately, that makes things work with, shudder, the dreaded and feared <table> elements. 

I’m not ready to do that, because one difference in the current format is that it appears to be mobile-ready.  Now, I don’t care all that much whether you can read this post on your telephone.  Still, why lose it if I’ve got it.

A greater concern is the still missing support for accessibility.  While someone may claim that giving up tables for CSS is good for accessibility, it doesn’t actually do anything for accessibility of this site.

I will keep mucking about and we will see where things end up.  It is not promising.  I’m not likely to dig out the CSS1/2 specifications to see how this all really works.  If a little trial-and-error doesn’t cut it, I’ll just struggle along anyhow.

The Old Dog’s Old Trick

I didn’t mind learning HTML.  I didn’t mind learning enough of HTML 4.01 transitional to get along.  Why am I avoiding the latest and greatest or even the recent and still breathing approaches?

I think the difference is that there is no novelty any longer, after acquiring what I needed that was good enough at the time.  What’s next is simply different, but for what I do not noticeably better or interesting.  The old dog doesn’t want the new shiny thing because the old shiny thing was working just fine.  It’s not a new trick, it’s a different trick, and novel only for those whom it their first trick.

And I haven’t given up just yet.  Not in a rush about it either.

Meanwhile, this is a test post to exercise the blog template de jur.

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Comments:
Well, that's not thrilling. I just happened to comment on one of my own posts, and I see that the left sidebar fails completely if it is longer than the post it is next to. See the archive page for this very post, and the one for this little post.

That sucks. I must figure out how to fix it quickly.
 
Looking back through earlier archive posts, I see that this problem has been there since August 2008. I just hadn't noticed until just now. Hmph.
 
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