Tasks

Browser News

This site gives the latest browser use statistics and some links to more specialized markets. Scroll down for their summary.

evolt.org

For the incredibly detailed, here is a site that keeps a copy of every browser ever made!

Choosing Target Browsers

Several of you have commented on how differently your work looks from platform to platform and even on different browsers on the same platform. This is an unfortunate reality of Web authoring, and it only gets worse as you push the limits. The only answer is to have as many browsers as possible on your authoring computer. Fortunately, they are free for the most part.

In reality, at least one statistics place cites Internet Explorer 5 and 6 having 85% of the market (down from a high of 94%), so if your site looks and works on one of those two browsers on Windows you are in very good shape. But education and academic markets do have Netscape hanging around because of Composer, the only free graphical Web authoring tool. So you will probably want a copy of Netscape 4.x (usually 4.7somthing) and possibly the new Netscape 6 or 7.

Mac users should either go to a PC lab and test or get a copy of Virtual PC to run the Windows browsers on your authoring machine. You will often find great differences in your design on a Wintel box. Virtual PC was recently engulfed by Microsoft; I used to use it but now just go to a lab.

 

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Validation of HTML code

Sometimes you just get to where you can't find what's wrong with your Web page. Or perhaps you just want to be sure your software is writing things well. When you get to this point, its time for a trip to the validator. It's free and available online.

First, take the Webmonkey's short tutorial on validating HTML code online. This will ensure your code is free of bugs that will keep it from working on all platforms.

HTML Tidy is another option for validation. It is available in many forms, including a DOS command line program and as a part of the free Windows authoring tool HTMLKit.

On the Mac, it can be a stand alone program or a plugin. In BBEdit, you can use a nice program call BBTidy, which is downloaded from a different site. Install in in the BBEdit Plugins folder.

 

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Site Skeletons

One of the real advantages of working in a dynamic medium like the web is that you can go from planning into the actual production of the site very quickly. I describe this process as developing a site skeleton. The process is fairly simple:

  1. Create a flow chart for your site on paper (or out of Post-It's)
  2. Create a simple template for your site. This may be a blank page, or it could include a background image of your choice. Also, color choices for background and text should be included if they are known.
  3. Make a simple web page from this template for each node of the flow chart
  4. Link the pages according to your design
  5. Test all the links
  6. Place a brief description of the content that will be placed on each page
  7. This is an example of my final skeleton

Once the skeleton is finished, then your development process involves going to each page and adding elements to it. In other words, you "flesh out" the skeleton, if that's not taking the metaphor too far into the macabre.

This is a planning step that I hope you will find useful when working on future Web sites, including this week's work with the WebQuest.

 

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WebQuest

Step 4: Begin to collect the content for your site. Look for text, graphics and any other useful elements that would help your quest teach.

Use the text as a starting point, but see if there are other resources on the web that express your chosen lesson more clearly.

This is also the time to start finding and bookmarking the sites your students will use to complete the WebQuest.

Step 5: Create a planning document based upon the past week's readings.

Include at least the following:

  1. Who is your audience?
  2. What is the lowest common denominator? Include browser versions, displays and connection speed.
  3. State the subject of your WebQuest.
  4. State how your site will solve this problem.

Step 6: Using the above instructions, start a site skeleton for your WebQuest. Then add the content and upload it to a directory called "webquest" in your Web folder on our course server.

 

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Assignments for week of October 18

Lab Work

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Last modified Thursday, April 13, 2006 9:56 AM
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