Monday, September 28, 2009

The End of XHTML

Long Live HTML. Only 6 or 7 years ago it looked as if HTML was to be supplanted by XHTML, and now HTML survives and, in the taxonomy of HTML, XHTML turns out to be just another truncated branch.

While we recognize the value of the XHTML 2 Working Group's contributions over the years, after discussion with the participants, W3C management has decided to allow the Working Group's charter to expire at the end of 2009 and not to renew it.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the future of XHTML

A central aspect of HTML5, and the retreat from XHTML is the abandonment of decentralized extensibility:

HTML 5 has a number of extensibility mechanisms, but none yet that satisfies the requirement XML namespaces was designed to address of decentralized extensibility - allowing parties to include their own elements or attributes in content without risk of name collisions (whether those names are the result of a consensus process or not).
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the future of XHTML

Is this a good thing? Maybe. XML survives and organizations retain the ability to give access to priority data without giving access to their database.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bad Day at the Office

Not for the squeamish.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Why aren't search engines more useful?

I was asked the other day "why aren't search engines more useful?" Why do they come up with so much junk?

For two reasons. One cataloging data is an incredibly difficult task. New data is added daily in an ever increasing amount of new website; and not only does this data have to be found and catalogued but it has to be presented to people in whatever way they happen to think of.

Second developers and SEOs (such as you would hire at GLM Designs) do their best to make their clients sites rank as high as possible in the search engines. Up until recently there was a perpetual battle between the two with the search engines trying to come up with the most relevant site and the site owners trying to become as highly ranked as possible.

For the most part, except for a few people who game the system, the war between SEOs and the search engines is over. There is a series of agreed upon standards and, by following these standards, you can quickly and surely increase the visibility of your site by providing relevant data to the search engine (Google, Yahoo) users.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Changing Link Colors in Blogger

One of the reasons we went away from our home built blog was to get a better feel of other systems and the problems faced by their users.

Blogger's CMS doesn't let one have much control over the page elements. Changing the link color in the posts also changes the links on the right column. Blogger did a good job allowing users to change a lot of the elements. I’m surprised that they missed this one.

There has to be a work around. We found three.
  1. The simplest one to implement is to add a style whenever you make a link. The problem with this solution is that you will have to add the style color code each and every time you make a link.
  2. The second way would be to go into LAYOUT > EDIT HTML and add the link style to the existing Blogger template. You would still have to add code to each and every time you make a link, but it would be slightly easier.
  3. The third way would not require you to do anything after the changes are made but you will have to alter the code. Don’t worry, it’s fairly simple and straight forward and you cannot ruin your site.
If you don't have any experience working with code see the following post, it will explain the process in detail.

Changing the STYLE in Blogger

To change the link style color in Blogger change go to LAYOUT > EDIT HTML and add a style right after you see the first link styles. Give it a fairly uncommon name so you will be to do a CTRL F. I used

After that select EXPAND WIDGET TEMPLATES and scroll to the bottom. Find the a href tags in the widget; it doesn't look as it normally does. You'll see something that looks like:
<a expr:href='data:item.blogUrl' target='_blank'>
after the "<a" insert your style name as you normally do. It should look like this:
<a class="sideRight" expr:href='data:item.blogUrl' target='_blank'>

Find all the widgets, add the class to the <a href> tag and you're done. Remember, each time you add a new widget you'll have to make this change to the template.

Changing the Color Style in Blogger

I'm assuming you read the previous post and want more information in how to change the color of your links in Blogger.

Putting in color may seem a little strange at first. Although you can use color names such as red and blue it is better to get comfortable using hexadecimal notation.

Color is put together differently on a monitor than you might be used to with paint and canvas. Add Red, Green and Blue paint and you get mud. Add Red, Green and Blue light and you get white.

There are billions of color combinations, using names such as red, cherry-red, burgundy is not an option. Instead one describes the color using a number system. A hexadecimal notation system (16 numbers) is used.

One set of numbers was not enough so two numbers are used for each color. A notation of 00 means that no light of a particular color is used and FF means that a 100% is used.

To display black one uses no red, no green and and no blue: 000000

White is 100% red, 100% green and 100% blue: FFFFFF

You can see this in Blogger's LAYOUT > FONTS AND COLORS.

First step is to get comfortable in your site. Go to NEW POST, select the EDIT HTML tag and make a link as you usually do (type in some text and highlight it)

Afterwards you will have this : <a href="">Place Link Here</a> add style="color:#COLOR-CODE-GOES-HERE;" into the <a href> tag. If you want the color black the code is #000000; if you want red the color is #FF0000. You can experiment in the blogger LAYOUT > FONTS & COLORS section to get the color and color code you want.

If you wanted red the code would like this:

<a href="" style="color:#FF0000;">Place Link Here</a>

This is the code in action

This was the easiest of the three methods: place the entire style into the link. The problem with this method is that you have to do this each and everytime you post a link.

For more see Changing Color Style in Blogger Part II

Changing the Color Style in Blogger, Part II

The next method is to place a style class in the <a href> tag and put this style into the Blogger stylesheet. You can call the style class whatever you want, such as "aaa" or "abc" but it helps if it is descriptive. It would look something like this

< a href="" class="YOUR-CLASS-NAME">

You'll have to LAYOUT > EDIT HTML. Very close to the top you'll see the first style codes. Find the following (yours may look slightly different depending upon your template):

a:link {
a:visited {
a:hover {

Underneath this place your style code
a:visited.YOUR-CLASS-NAME {
If you wanted the links to be red and the name of the class to be "myLinks" it would like this:

< a href="" class="myLinks">
a:link.myLinks {
a:visited.myLinks {
a:hover.myLinks {

This will do exactly the same thing as what you previously did "in-line" without making a change to the stylesheet. Why would you want to do it this way? If all you were doing was changing the color you probably wouldn't, but if you wanted the link to be bold and underlined or highlighted you would as typing in

< a href="" style="color:#FFOOOO; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; background-color:#CCCCCC; ">

is a lot more time consuming than:

< a href="" class="myLinks">

I'm assuming that you don't want to have anything to your links, not style="some-color-goes-here" or class="some-class-name". If that's the case you then need to do two things. Use the blogger tool to make changes to the links inside your posts and second set a style for your right side links: the blog archives, labels and whatever other Blogger widgets you may have.

You'll find that information in the next and last post: Changing the Color Style in Blogger, Part III

Changing the Color Style in Blogger, Part III

After all that, I hope you're ready to make the changes. If you've never made any changes to your template before you don't need to worry about ruining your site as Blogger has a "Revert widget templates to default" link. If things go kablooie click on the "Revert widget templates to default" link and everything will go back to what it was.

If you have made changes before then I assume you know that you need keep a back-up copy just in case. Otherwise the "Revert widget templates to default" link will erase all your previous changes.

First thing to do is to make certain that you like the class name. I think it is good practice to use descriptive names. In this case "sideRight" or "sideLink" or what-have-you. If you want a different name go back into LAYOUT > EDIT HTML and change the name of your style.

Then you'll have to add the class name to all the links on the right side. Don't worry if you have lots of links, you won't have to make many changes. HOWEVER this will probably be your first forray into changing server-side scripts so it will be a little different than what you're used to.

To test this out and to give yourself confidence to a CTRL F (to find information on a page) and type in "href" in the text box. You will probably have two matches. Go and verify that for yourself. Now select "Expand Widget Templates."

Here's where the confusing part comes in. You have to find the correct href to make changes too. If you're labeling your widgets you'll have an easier time. For my first few changes I searched for the WIDGET label, then it's easy to see where to make the change. The first image shows the text as I found it. The second one with the class added to

You'll see that I called the style "side". I did that to keep all the code lined up from image to image. Side is a bad name. It's not descriptive enough and there are too many "side" to do an efficient search. "sideRight" is a far better name.

Remember, after you make a change. Save it, take a look at what you've done. You can always reverse it later.