2007-06-12

Adjusting Blog Style Information

 

» Choosing the right document type for Web pages | Programming and Development | TechRepublic.com.  I am preparing to manipulate styles of the Muddleware Labs template.   The objective is to make this and my other blogs more accessibility friendly with regard to control of fonts and text sizes by the user. 

Choice of DOCTYPE

I have successfully changed the Blogger-supplied template (Rounder 3) from XHTML 1.0 Strict (which was simply wrong) to HTML 4.01 Transitional.  This is the latest stable regular HTML DOCTYPE.  I also verified that I am using the proper DOCTYPE entry encouraged by the W3C.  This recent Tony Patton article explains the differences and how the choice matters for validation of the web page. 

The HTML 4.01 Transitional form allows all of the standard HTML presentation tags (including tables) along with the CSS markup that many prefer.  The ability to mix the two in practical ways is exactly where I want to be.  It also overcomes the fact that Windows LiveWriter (and other tools), Blogger posting, and Blogger comment posting cannot be counted on to enforce any XHTML DTD. 

This is also the DOCTYPE that I use in all of my own web-site pages that use my latest uniform styles. 

Fiddling the Styles: Resources

It is time for me to figure out how to use CSS styles and modify the ones in the template.  I will do that by modifying elements that are relatively simple and safe to fool with until I have a better sense of how omitting certain styles as well as modifying others influences the layout of the blog.  I am going to start with the Rounder 3 template of Muddleware Lab, but the idea is to ultimately achieve a form much like my other blogs but using CSS in an efficient way as part of the HTML 4.01 Transitional formatting.

I have the following resources at hand:

  • Niederst, Jennifer.  HTML Pocket Reference, 2nd edition, O'Reilly 2002.  This little reference doesn't provide anything on style sheets or style attributes.  I use it as a quick reference and for its list of character entities.
  • Musciano, Chuck., Kennedy, Bill.  HTML and XHTML: The Definitive Guide,  4th edition, O'Reilly 2000.   I have trouble with the organization of this material and the scattered handling of styles throughout the book.  I've learned enough of it to be able to use the Appendix Quick Reference on Style Sheet Properties, though.   The promised on-line compliance document that provides the latest information on what browsers do with styles is not available.  This book is now in its 6th edition.  I can use my edition for ideas to try, but I need something more definitive.
  • W3C, Cascading Style Sheets, level 1, W3C Recommendation 17 Dec 1996, revised 11 Jan 1999.  This is the definitive source.  There's also an errata.
  • W3C, Cascading Style Sheets Home Page.  Here's the latest.  I notice that CSS 2.1 is a recent version (2006) that is still in Working Draft.  I won't rely on that.  The CSS2 W3C Recommendation was produced in 1998.  CSS1 works in CSS2 "with a few exceptions."  It appears easy to use CSS1 in a way that is compatible with CSS2.  I will endeavor to accomplish that.