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Archive: 5 January 2004

Running Just To Stay In Place

The e-mail backlog has finally forced me to do something I’ve long resisted: the site now has an FAQ.  I thought about calling it a QAF (Questions Frequently Asked) or maybe an FRE (Frequently Received E-mails).  But in the end the weight of tradition got me to go with the traditional nomenclature.  If you’re thinking of sending me e-mail, please read the FAQ first to see if the answer is there.  As much as I love correspondence, I just can’t keep up any more.  In fact, I couldn’t even before Carolyn arrived, and so now I’m doubly unable to keep up.  Hopefully the FAQ will help, just a bit.  Thanks for your collective understanding.

This is truly excellent: arbitrary-element hovering in IE/Win.  In other words, stuff like pure CSS menus and such can actually be used in real-world designs, thus reaping the benefits of dramatically reduced markup weight.  The approach the behaviors take reminds me a lot of what we did to get the Netscape DevEdge menus working in IE/Win, except we did it in JavaScript, which may have made our technique a little weightier on the back end.  Either way, they’re both excellent solutions.

There’s a lot more gold to mine in the behaviors/script/structural markup vein, I suspect; the melding of IE-specific behaviors with lightweight scripts and CSS could lead us to a great many advances in standards-oriented design.  While it would be nice to see IE advancing so that we didn’t need these kinds of solutions, at least they exist.  Here’s my short, off-the-cuff wishlist for things for which we can hopefully use behaviors to replicate CSS2 functionality:

  • Support for generated content; counters would be a truly awesome bonus
  • Fixing the box model in versions of IE previous to IE6
  • Better (read: more smoothly scrolling) support for fixed-position elements and fixed-attachment backgrounds than current scripts provide

I think there’s a way to use behaviors to get alpha-channel support in PNGs, too.  Can anyone confirm that?  If not, it’s something to investigate.

Now on to slightly more surreal matters.  Sure, I’m fairly well known as an expert in CSS and Web standards, and some of you know that I do a weekly Big Band-era radio show, but how many of you were aware of my career as a shoe designer?  Doug Bowman wrote to let me know that Matt Haughey had spilled the beans, so I’ll own up to it here.

Okay, not really.  But if you go to the Medium Footwear site, wait for the Flash interface to load, hit “Collections,” and then click anywhere on the splash page, you’ll see—and I swear that, like Dave Barry, I am not making this up— the Eric Meyer Collection.  There are nine different models, and the really funny punchline to the whole affair is this: guess which of those shoe styles I like enough to consider buying?  As it turns out, the “Structuralist” design.  Seriously.

January 2004
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