Textpattern 4.0.4

It may just seem to be a point release, but “Textpattern 4.0.4(Textpattern 4.0.4 Released)”:http://textpattern.com/weblog/237/textpattern-404-released is a really a revolutionary step forward in terms of the development of the software. I haven’t been this excited about the software in a good while, and I am really looking forward to testing out the new capabilities here and at a few other sites. If you haven’t take a look at it for awhile, or ever, download a copy and you may just find that you like it.

Alas, poor FrontPage!

It started with a bang.
bq.FrontPage, which is currently available for Windows and Unix users, contains an editor for creating and editing Web pages; an Explorer for visualizing and managing Web sites: support for WebBot agents for automating text searches, feedback forms, and threaded discussion forums; Wizards and templates; and a to-do list feature that enables status tracking of site tasks. Microsoft officials said the $695 FrontPage will not be added to the Microsoft Office suite anytime soon. Under terms of the stock-only acquisition, most of the 40-person Vermeer staff will move to Redmond, Washington. Analysts estimate that about $130 million worth of Microsoft stock was exchanged in the deal. – “Jim Calhoun(Microsoft details Vermeer buy)”:http://news.com.com/Microsoft+details+Vermeer+buy/2100-1033_3-202314.html It ends with a whimper.
bq.Microsoft will close the book on its FrontPage Web-design program with the release of Office 2007, formerly known as Office 12, late this year. Microsoft acquired FrontPage in the mid-1990s, and it soon outdistanced Adobe’s PageMill and other popular low-cost what-you-see-is-what-you-get Web-creation tools. – “Dennis O’Reilly(Bye-bye, FrontPage in New Office, Says Microsoft)”:http://blogs.pcworld.com/staffblog/archives/001460.html I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I was a FrontPage user for a while late in the last century. At first, it seemed like a giant step over Netscape Composer. But I eventually found it shared the same failing: a propensity to rewrite carefully crafted code into utter tag soup. And “not even(On FrontPage)”:http://www.danspages.com/archives_06.09.03.html standards-compliant tag soup. I thought they would eventually address the issue, but I have never bothered to check and see.

Web Site Evaluations

I have been working on a new site design for our Cooperative web site ever since I saw some of the presentations at CIL last year. Needless to say, it has been a long process but I am nearly done, though. Two things I intend to use as part of the final site evaluation is Derek Powazek’s “Home Page Goals(Home Page Goals)”:http://www.alistapart.com/articles/homepagegoals and Yahoo!’s “Design Pattern Library(Yahoo! Design Pattern Library)”:http://developer.yahoo.net/ypatterns/index.php. I don’t know that I want to implement all the suggestions, but I think you should be able to articulate why you didn’t choose to do something. I will be posting a link as soon as the new site is ready to go.

IE7 Standards

I was eager to try out the beta version of Internet Explorer 7 that has been “floating around(ie7 beta1 torrent)”:http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=ie7+beta1+torrent+&btnG=Google+Search the Internet. Now I am not.
bq.I’m very happy that we’ve shipped IE 7 beta 1. I wanted to make it clear that we know Beta 1 makes little progress for web developers in improving our standards support, particularly in our CSS implementation. I feel badly about this, but we have been focused on how to get the most done overall for IE7, so due to our lead time for locking down beta releases and ramping up our team, we could not get a whole lot done in the platform in beta 1. However, I know this will be better in Beta 2 – and I want to share how we are placing our priorities in IE. – “Chris Wilson(Standards and CSS in IE)”:http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2005/07/29/445242.aspx I find it fascinating that “how to get the most done overall” does not include offering more than “token improvements(IE7 CSS Updates)”:http://www.mezzoblue.com/archives/2005/07/28/ie7_css_upda/ for web standards which hav seemed pretty much static since “1997(IE 4.0 hits 1 million users in less than a day)”:http://www.windowsitpro.com/Article/ArticleID/17361/17361.html?Ad=1
bq.Having been through this ‘work with Microsoft’ thing once before in the late ’90s, I can assure you this sort of openness is a radical departure from the Microsoft of old and as good a reason as any for optimism that this is just the beginning, and we can expect even more and better in IE 7.5 and beyond. – “Chris Caminski(IE7 Beta 1 and Standards)”:http://www.webstandards.org/buzz/archive/2005_07.html#a000541 So full support may come with IE7.5. Possibly.

Fun with Amazon

Did you know that “abusing Amazon images(Abusing Amazon images)”:http://aaugh.com/imageabuse.html is possible? I had never thought of that.

Google AutoLink

Google recently released an arguably more benign version of “Microsoft Smart Tags(Microsoft Smart tags)”:http://www.libraryplanet.com/2001/06/smart recently called “Google AutoLink(Google Toolbar Help)”:http://www.google.com/support/toolbar/bin/static.py?page=features.html. For various opinions, check out “Rogers Cadenhead(Google Wants to Play Tag)”:http://www.cadenhead.org/workbench/entry/2005/02/21#2475, “Anil Dash(Free the User Agents!)”:http://www.dashes.com/anil/2005/02/17/free_the_user_a, “Richard Eriksson(Zeldman, a man I respect, is wrong about Google Toolbar)”:http://www.movableblog.com/asides/2005/02/24/1915, “Dave Winer(Google’s toolbar and content modification)”:http://www.thetwowayweb.com/2005/02/22#a272 and “Richard Zeldman(Protect your site from Google’s new toolbar)”:http://www.zeldman.com/daily/0205f.shtml. The point that can’t be ignored, though, is that Google offers no way to decline to participate as “Microsoft did(Smart Tag Block)”:http://www.libraryplanet.com/2001/06/block. Fortunately, others have leaped in to fill the need with an “AutoLink Killer(Code for Killing Google AutoLink)”:http://www.threadwatch.org/node/1562. That is good, but I think the metatag method is far preferable.

PodSites are Quaint

Is it just me, or does anyone think that creating a “PodSite(PodSites.com)”:http://www.podsites.com/ is pretty much the equivalent of creating a “Hypercard Stack(HyperCard Around The World)”:http://www.ihug.org/Stacks.html? Extremely cool in “1987(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HyperCard)”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HyperCard, and utterly pointless today. An offline webbrowser for the Ipod might be a good idea, but custom content for it is beyond silly.

The Negative Power of Flash

I have expressed my opinion about Flash “before(Servicing Consumers)”:http://www.libraryplanet.com/2003/10/servicing, but today I had a perfect example of why I find it problematic. I had a couple who were trying to use the website of our county “property appraiser(Highlands County Property Appraiser)”:http://www.appraiser.co.highlands.fl.us/. They had come to the library even though they had Internet access at home because when they visited the site they were bombarded with what they thought was an error message. I showed them how to use the site and explained to them how to download Flash by visiting “Macromedia(Macromedia)”:http://www.macromedia.com/ and assured them it was not a virus that would damage their computer. You can do some neat things with Flash, but you need to remember that there is a learning curve involved. It is almost as bad as “SSL(Security snake oil)”:http://mpt.phrasewise.com/2003/11/11#a542.

Flexible Layout

I gave the site another makeover yesterday, but this one I am especially pleased with. The template is called “Flexible Layout(Flexible Layout)”:http://www.webproducer.at/Members/tonico/Docs/CSS/flexible-layout and was developed by Tonico Strasser. Among other things, it allows for true source ordering, which means that screen readers and lynx users actually get the content in the middle column first. I definitely think this one is a keeper but expect a few more tweaks coming up. Oh, and I could not resist joining the “drop shadow(drop shadows)”:http://search.atomz.com/search/?sp-q=drop+shadows&sp-a=sp1002d27b&sp-f=ISO-8859-1&sp-p=All&sp-k=All craze.

CSS Menus

Any style of CSS Menu you may find yourself needing is pretty much available. Just remember the Zeldman advice on “why you should drop-downs only when necessary(Architectural Digest vs. This Old House)”:http://www.zeldman.com/daily/0604f.shtml. Horizontal – “Drop-Down Menus, Horizontal Style(Drop-Down Menus, Horizontal Style)”:http://www.alistapart.com/articles/horizdropdowns/ Vertical – “Suckerfish Dropdowns(Suckerfish Dropdowns)”:http://www.alistapart.com/articles/dropdowns/ You know, I think sometimes I might become a halfway decent web designer (if I could only find the time).