McGrew's MiscellaneaSite Info

Colophon
(Site Construction Details)

Hypertext (HTML) Documents

> My development environment is based on shell commands running on Mac OS X. I edit HTML, CSS, Perl scripts, makefiles, and various other text files with Vim (an advanced text editor), and use GNU make to automate the process of generating HTML documents:

My custom Perl scripts and the HTML preprocessor allow me to make global changes in one place, then to update the entire site automatically. The custom Perl scripts control the content for my photo gallery, which is essentially a simple photo database. The HTML preprocessor controls this site's common document structure.

Validation catches syntax errors in my markup. I validate against a custom Document Type Definition (DTD) that is based on the HTML 4.01 Strict DTD. My customized DTD allows the deprecated target="_top" attribute, which is a simple, effective tool to thwart framing by third-party sites. My DOCTYPE declaration still specifies the HTML 4.01 Strict DTD so current browsers will choose a more standards-oriented rendering mode.

I suggest presentational details with style sheets. I protect older browsers with badly broken CSS implementations by including my style sheets with a technique that they do not understand. Thus, they present plain unstyled content, just like CSS-unaware browsers. Except for the nonstandard zoom property (a safe, effective workaround for many of Microsoft Internet Explorer's rendering inconsistencies), my style sheets validate as CSS 2.1.

I preview my web pages with Firefox (my preferred web browser), Chrome. Opera, and Safari. If I changed anything related to the layout, then I try to borrow a Microsoft Windows machine to preview my web pages with Microsoft Internet Explorer. Finally, I upload the updated site to my web server.

If you're interested in learning HTML (a necessity for my approach to Web design, and useful for any Web author), I highly recommend Jukka Korpela's "Getting Started with HTML", and the Web Design Group's Online References.

Images

I took the older photographs on this site with an Olympus Stylus Zoom 115 35mm camera, and had the film processed to a Kodak Photo CD. I now take photographs with a Nikon Coolpix L5 digital camera.

I created non-photographic images (primarily the figures in my Four-Lane Derby Track Plans) using Paintbrush (bundled with Microsoft Windows 3.1).

I have processed all these images with assorted freeware and bundled software. Currently, my primary tools for photographs are iPhoto (which came with Mac OS X) and PictureProject (which came with my digital camera).