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Viewing My Web Pages

Copyright © 2003-2008 by David E. Ross

Note: My Web pages are best viewed with style sheets enabled.

For a non-technical explanation of Web page terminology used here, see my "Professional" Web Developers.

Navigating this Web site might be confusing. None of the links from one page to another explicitly say "Click here". Some links might even be hidden in images rather than in text, but those are being changed to have "tool tips" indicating they are indeed links. This is a Web site of ideas requiring thought. Thus, navigating through here involves thinking. If you get totally lost, return to my Home page; there should always be a link to it at the bottom of whatever page you are currently viewing. At the bottom of my Home page, you will see a link to my Site Map, which lists every page on this site (with links).

About the Content of My Pages

I own the content of my Web pages. Most of them are protected by copyright. Since I own the content, I am the only person responsible for that content.

If you think some of my commentaries are biased, you are quite correct! If you take offense at what I say about United Parcel Service, abortion, illiterate "writers", same-gender marriage, Web developers, the Boy Scouts, car donations, patriotism, or road rage, too bad! If you disagree with my plans for reforming Social Security or the federal income tax, tough luck! These are my opinions. I am under no obligation to provide a balanced view or to give you space in my Web site for rebuttal. My freedom of expression — guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution — gives me the right to express my opinions here. If you want the same right, create your own Web site.

Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one.

H. L. Mencken

You can send me E-mail to dispute what I say (or to praise me). If I don't like what you say, I might reply; or I might treat your message as spam. If I do reply, you might find both your message and my reply publicly exposed on one of my Web pages.

Hand-composed with Wordpad My pages have been hand-coded according to the HTML 4.01 specification (transitional) published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) — using no Web page composing tool — and should be viewable with any Web browser that supports that HTML version. If you have trouble viewing any of my Web pages, please let me know.

Viewable In ANY Browser I support the Viewable With Any Browser Campaign. I try to write my newer pages and update existing pages according to those recommendations. Those pages have the Viewable In ANY Browser graphic.

Just because a marked page should indeed be viewable with any browser, however, does not mean it will always appear as I intended. That is a function of the browser you use, the platform on which it is executing, and how you have tailored your user settings and options. However, I have tried to design these pages for as broad an audience as possible. Thus, even when a page might appear different from my intent, it should be easily comprehended and visually attractive.

Why?

Technical difficulties aside, any website related to communication should allow for communication with anyone who may need it. As IE's market share continues to drop I can only hope that more organizations discover that Microsoft does not own everything.

Heather M. Ross (my daughter)

not Internet Explorer Why have I tried to make my Web pages viewable with any browser? I tried Internet Explorer (IE), and I really do not like it. Instead, I use SeaMonkey (an offshoot of Mozilla). If I feel that way about IE, maybe other Web surfers do, too. Perhaps those other individuals also create Web pages. If I want them to make pages that I can view appropriately with SeaMonkey, I must also make my pages viewable with their non-IE browsers.

Another reason is that I object to the way Micro$oft, having dominated the market for desktop computer operating systems and applications, ignores standards and creates its own conventions in order to block competitors. If I can play even a small role in fostering the use of Web browsers other than IE by ensuring that users of non-IE browsers can view my pages, then I know I have helped to undermine Micro$oft's arrogance of power. Because of my commitment to the Viewable With Any Browser Campaign, however, my pages should be viewable with IE.

Finally, there is the issue of Web access for the visually disabled and handicapped. My pages are formatted to meet the needs of those individuals who require good contrast between text and background, who need to set special fonts or font-sizes, or might be using an audio browser.

In any case, the market share held by IE has steadily declined since 2003.

Previously, charts here showed the decline of IE's market share. Those charts have been moved to a new Web page: Web Browsers and Bots: Which Ones Are Most Frequently Used?.

Style Sheets

I use style sheets to format my Web pages, both CSS1 and CSS2.1. Some older browsers do not support the use of style sheets correctly or at all. Even some of the newer browsers do not yet support all aspects of CSS2.1. I have tried to format my pages so that they can still be viewed without style sheets. These pages might not look as nice that way, but they still make coherent, understandable presentations.

Standards

Compliance with the HTML and CSS specifications is important. If a compliant page fails to display appropriately, it is likely the fault of the browser. The Web developer has done all he or she can do towards communicating with the page's audience. The browser developer is clearly at fault.

If a non-compliant page fails to display appropriately, however, it could be something within the page itself, even if that page were created by a professional. In this latter case, it is very difficult to determine where the problem lies. But the problem could indeed be the fault of the Web developer.

Of course, all this assumes that the page has the correct content and appropriate layout. For a compliant page, that can be determined viewing it with a single, compliant browser on a single platform. With its HTML and CSS already validated, the page does not require testing with a variety of browsers across various platforms.

Validation

Of course, the real criterion of whether a Web page is indeed viewable by any browser is whether it and the browser both comply with the HTML and CSS specifications published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Making my pages compliant is my responsibility. The browser you use is your responsibility. If a browser is not compliant, it might still display my pages correctly. I will not take any special actions to compensate for a browser's failure to comply with standards since that often means making my pages equally non-compliant.

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Why Validate Web Pages?

When I was a software test engineer, one of the first questions we would ask before starting to test a software package was: "Were there any compilation errors?" We would refuse to test it until it compiled error-free. We would not test garbage.

Validating both the HTML (or XHTML) and CSS of a Web page is very similar to compiling computer software. And the consequences of errors is also similar: A Web page with HTML and CSS errors will display unpredictably.

No serious Web developer should upload a page to a Web server that cannot validate error-free.

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Valid HTML 4.01

Most of my Web pages (not yet all) have been validated to meet the HTML 4.01 Transitional specification of the W3C. The icon shown at the right appears at the bottom of such pages, where it is a link to revalidate the page. (The icon at the right is not a link. Only when this icon appears at the bottom left of a page is it a link.) As I update my other pages, they will modified so that they too can be validated.

Not all browsers support all of the HTML 4.01 features (e.g., tables, images). I have tried to format my pages so that they can still be viewed without images. Where I use tables, however, tabular presentations are indeed intended; I don't know how my pages with tables appear in a browser without the capability to display them. Valid CSS!

The external style sheet used by my Web pages has been validated to meet the CSS2 specification of the W3C. Note that the icon at the right is a link that will revalidate my external style sheet. Some of my Web pages use additional style sheets. Those too have been validated, but they have no validation icon.

Some browsers do not support style sheets. I view my pages with style sheets suppressed to ensure they can still be viewed appropriately (albeit not formatted as I would prefer).

If any validation fails, please notify me promptly. Also, let me know if any of my pages without the W3C HTML 4.01 icon fails to display appropriately. I will modify the page so that I can validate it as being compliant with the HTML 4.01 specification.

Updated 22 October 2008


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