Posts in the "" Category

Lost – Filling the X-Files void

I have to confess that I really liked the X-Files. Sure, not all episodes were up to standard, but when it was good it was really good. One needs these kind of mysteries, these things we don’t understand. We need to ponder, to have our conspiracy theories, just for the sake of it. So when it finally ended, a void arose that needed to be filled.

It took some time, but then Lost came along. And if you ask me, it’s splendid! It was long time since I heard so many theories about a show, and found so many web sites discussing every little detail of every episode. I’read about the most unlikely tie-ins, and it wouldn’t surprise me if some of them were true.

I’ve seen the whole first season and recently saw the first episode of season 2. Man, was it good! I can’t wait to see the next episode!

Do you like Lost too? Let me know!

Alice Cooper came to town

This review has been long due, so I thought it to be time for it now. August 9th I went to see Alice Cooper play at the venue Arenan in Stockholm, and it was a joyous meet-up with old friends and new faces: Peter A, Lousie, Peter E, Micke and others.

Alice is sure entertaining, and he played all the songs he should. As always, of course some people miss their personal favorites, but all-in-all a really good set list. He was throwing out lots of stuff for the people in the audience to bring home, and this is a sure way to make fans happy. Another thing that’s a major part of an Alice show is of course the stage show. Many things happening all the time and he sure has got a wicked sense of humour.

What surprised me is that the, to say the least, exotic dancer/female performer on stage is actually his daughter, Calico Cooper. I sure as hell wouldn’t want a lot of young men (well, young-ish, at least) gawking away at my daughter!

Conclusively, a great evening! And to top it off, I managed to get a pick from one of the guitarists too! 🙂

A dirty joke

This morning I read this really dirty joke by Sarah Silverman:

A couple nights ago, I was licking jelly off my boyfriend’s penis . . . and I thought, Oh, my God – I’m turning into my mother!

Maybe there’s something wrong with me, or I’m sick in some way, but I find that hilarious!


PS. Me publishing things like this is probably one of the reasons why my blog can’t be owned or endorsed by any major company… DS.

Posted in Fun

Better Control and Cost Savings with Style Sheets

Recently, ElektroPost, the company behind the Content Manamement System EPiServer, asked me to write an article to be part of their Expert Panel in their Usability section. It’s targeted at project managers, editors and web developers who don’t work full-time with web interfaces. The article is titled Better Control and Cost Savings with Style Sheets (Swedish version), and I’ve also decided to publish the full article below to take comments. A big thankya to Henrik Box and Jeroen Mulder for reading my first drafts and giving me valuable feedback. Also, a thank you to ElektroPost for professional proofreading.

Here goes:


When the Web first became available to the public, everything was in the markup language HTML: the content, the presentation and the interaction. Since then, we’ve seen the advent of content management systems, which offer editors the possibility to publish content on the Web without any previous coding knowledge. The content they produce is saved in a database and then dynamically generated into its corresponding page.

All this has helped the Web to grow enormously, but it has often resulted in controlled chaos. Many Web sites had to be rebuilt from scratch as soon as any changes were to be introduced or if any new Web browser was released. How can we change that scenario?

The next step now is to make sure that you separate your content from your design and the way you want your pages to look. Style sheets, also known as Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), have been around for some time, but their usage has grown most rapidly during the last two years. The general recommended approach to producing a Web site is to collect all visual presentation in one or several style sheets. For instance, there you specify:

  • all the colors that are used,
  • which font should be used, and if it should be scalable to cater to people with various sight disabilities,
  • images used for design purposes,
  • boundaries and placement of all elements used.
So What Are the Biggest Selling Points?

The style sheet is the central place where you control the look and feel of every page on your Web site. This leads to a consistency that greatly improves the usability for the end user. What this also means is that you don’t need to update every page if you want to change something in the layout; this is done in one place and it affects every page. This is one of the major reasons you should never apply things like padding, margins, widths, etc. in the HTML, as it results in you having to go through all the files to make any updates.

It is also a way to gain better control of how to adapt the layout to cover for different screen resolutions and different sizes of the end user’s Web browser window.
When it comes to increasing the performance of your Web site, you should be aware of the fact that the style sheet files get cached in the visitor’s Web browser. This means that they will only need to download it for the first page they visit on your Web site. From there on, the only data that will be sent to them for the following pages they visit is the HTML code. This is one of the really good reasons to move all the presentation from the HTML file.

This means, for an ordinary Web site, that by using style sheets, it is possible to save 25% in the data that needs to be sent to the visitor for their first page visit, and then up to 50% for the pages after that.

A good example of how to totally redesign an entire Web site through style sheets is css Zen Garden, where the HTML code is the same for every page, and the only thing changed is the style sheet file.

What Should You Keep in Mind?

The power of using style sheets for your layouts should be combined with semantically correct HTML code in your templates and correct elements in your content. The usage of heading elements for headings, paragraph elements for paragraphs of text and list elements for different listings such as menus etc., will result in:

  • Pages that are more accessible to everyone.
  • Better search-engine ranking by making it easier for them for understand the weight of the text you’ve used in your pages, and by not having an
    unnecessary clutter of presentational code mixed with the content.
  • Easier maintenance of page templates and page content by focusing solely on the content, instead of having to think of the presentation as well.

By using style sheets you will gain better control, achieve easier maintenance and increase performance while saving bandwidth. Together with correct semantic code, you will also reach a better search-engine ranking and automatically increase your Web site’s accessibility.

The struggles of having an elastic layout

For the moment, I’m working on a fairly big project where the interface design will be elastic. What do I mean by elastic? Basically, there are three ways one can choose to design the interface’s relation to the visitor’s resolution and web browser window size:

The layout is fixed in pixels and won’t take any consideration to the resolution or the window size.
The layout flows to fill the whole window, no matter how wide or narrow it is. This layout can be set in pixels, em or any other desirable unit.
This is, in my opinion, the best one. It isn’t fixed, but it also stops from getting too wide for, for instance, wide-screen users. You can specify a maximum width and a minimum width and then you let it flow between those two values depending on window size. The units for this type can also be either one that suits best: pixels, em, percentages etc.

Since I want my font to be scalable, and consequently the width and height of some elements resizable to go with that, I’ve chosen to use the em unit for most cases. This is to make it work in the different versions of Internet Explorer in Windows, since they can’t handle user resizing of a pixel-based font (as opposed to Firefox, Opera and Safari, amongst others).

It’s really invigorating to create something that’s so scalable and flexible, and I really do believe this will help targeting more end users and will make the web site become more usable and accessible for them. All the people involved in the project who have seen my HTML prototypes have really liked it and they think it is a great approach.

But naturally, creating a this isn’t without gripes. My biggest annoyance is web browser bugs, where number one on that list is rounding errors. If I have, for instance, a background color on an element and the font is resized, some elements will have a different height in Firefox than in Internet Explorer. This is because the em unit calculates the elements’ boundaries depending on what fontsize is used, transforms it to pixels to render, and inevitably this leads to different rounding sums. Firefox definitely seems to be the worst at this.

The key to solving this is to find a certain unit where all (read: most) web browser seem to agree on the rounding for different sizes. So, for the moment, I’m on top of things and I really like the web site I’m working on. But it’s an everyday control task, to make sure that it’s consistent.

It’s hard being a custodian

You put your heart and soul into a web site, you put in those extra hours of fine-tuning some pixels, some scalability fixes, enhancing the accessibility or just plain making sure it’s valid and therefore as future-proof as possible. Enter: the customer.

Within a week they have usually messed it up some way, one or several of their code monkeys, who usually are more “creative” than skilled, have been let loose on the code. And this will happen as long as they have access to the source code (which they, of course, should have, they’ve paid for it). But I sincerely do think that the customer should think again before they start doing their quick fixes, maybe just realize that the things in what they got in the delivery was made that way it is intentionally and not just out of chaos.

This then comes back to us web developers; it’s tough to have reference cases when you know most of them are screwed over. Meeting a potential new customer, one wants to show the different projects one worked on before one lost control of the code:

Here’s the web site as it should have looked, before it got to the sorry state it’s in today.

It’s hard being a custodian, saying goodbye to your loved one.

I know this is the order of business, but I really wish some customers would think twice. For their own sake.

Merry Christmas? David?

Yesterday I went to Björn’s birthday party; he was turning 80 years old! Great food and meeting lots of people I don’t usually meet. As is custom at these occasions, Björn got lots of bottles of wine. One of them came in a nice styled golden bag, he picked up the bottle and the conversation went:

		- Oh my, this was a nice bottle. 
		Turning to his wife:
		Who was this from?
		The wife rummages through the golden bag, 
		picks up a card, and reads it aloud:
		-Merry Christmas, Ville!
		Best wishes, David.

Freaking hilarious! I love it when these things happen!

How is it in your life? Is it common that you pass on gifts like bottles of wine (i.e. gifts that shouldn’t be traceable) to other people?

Posted in Fun

clear:left; a superstar company

Yesterday I found out about the company clear:left, which consists of web developing pro’s Andy Budd, Jeremy Keith and Richard Rutter. These three are extremely experienced and have had a great impact on web developing. If I were working for a company in the UK, this is the company I’d contact for web development work.

I wonder what they charge, though… However, quality costs, and in the long run you will definitely save a lot of money if the job was done properly the first time around.

This made me wonder if there should be a Swedish equivalent of such a company, one with the best people we have to offer in this field. I know what people I’d like in that compnay (but that I won’t tell)…

So what do you think? Should there be a Swedish company with the big names we have?

Some thoughts about the free Opera

Finally, the Opera web browser is for free. That means no more ads, no nothing. I expressed my opinions about Opera almost six months ago, and except for the getting paid-part, I think the other arguments still stand.

However, what’s good about this is that Opera, most likely, will see an increase of users, and this is what I like. If web-standards compliant web browsers like Mozilla Firefox, Safari and Opera gain more and more market share, this will force web developers to write valid and correct code, instead of just relying on Internet Explorer’s error handling for code that should’ve never seen the light of the day.

I can just imagine projects where there will be conversations like:

- My code only works in Internet Explorer! Crying
- That's because you didn't do the job properly 
the first time! Stop writing such sloppy code 
to begin with, and learn your profession!

I guess the future will tell…

Anyway, if you like Opera, rock on! Download away and have a good time!

Valid code doesn’t equal being accessible

Yesterday I was lucky enough to have lunch with Peter, the guy behind Why lucky? Except for the facts that he’s a smart and knowledgeable guy, and also the guy behind the Fangs Sreen Reader Emulator extension for Firefox, he told me an intriguing story.

It was about Support-EAM, whose object is:

…to create an e-Accessibility Quality Mark for Web services, as part of the Action Plan eEurope 2005: An information society for all.

This is really a commendable initiative, we have something similar in Sweden that Statskontoret is working on, called 24-timmarsmyndigheten.

The problem with Support-EAM is the example they set with their own web site. Although mostly valid, it’s not that accessible. Let me take care of a common misunderstanding here: just because a web site/page validates doesn’t mean it’s accessible. One crucially important factor in making it accessible is writing semantic code.

Their web site is a table-based layout, there’s no skip links present (although they might not be that necessary in this case) and there are places were headings aren’t written out using the correct h1...h6 elements. There are also a number of inline styles and script blocks that don’t have any comments around them to allow them to be hidden.

Although, it has to be said that their web site has been updated since Peter first visited them, they now use list elements for lists of links, heading tags in some places etc. But what I’m going for here is that such a big project that will affect the whole European Union must be as close to perfect as possible when it comes to setting the bar for others.

Am I overdoing it, or you don’t generally agree with my points of criticism? Or do I actually have a point? Let me know.

Comments on Swedish news

I thought I’d write some short comments about some recent Swedish news, just to express my view on them.

Deputy Prime Minister Bo Ringholm thinks the Swedish police is lazy
Apparently he did an interview over the phone, and didn’t hang up properly. The journalist stayed on the line and taped a two minute conversation between Bo Ringholm and another guy, saying things that should only be said behind closed doors (especially if you’re the Deputy Prime Minister).
But I guess this goes to show what happens if managers don’t learn the technical aspects properly… 😉
Man evicted for standing up when peeing
An old guy living in the town of Sundsvall in an apartment building was evicted by his landlord for the reason that when we went up to pee at night, it evidently made such ringing sound throughout the whole building so everyone got disturbed. The man, of course, fights this and says that it’s definitely his right to pee whichever way he wants to in his own apartment. I couldn’t agree more. Get some isolation in the skanky house instead.
Column about the ruckus in Ronna
This is quite a long story, so I won’t try to cover it here. I just wanted to say that Nima Daryamadj has written a great column expressing his view (a view I share a 100%).

JavaScript influences

Back in ’99 I wrote my first lines of JavaScript, having instantly fallen in love with it and what can be done. One of my first projects when I was studying in the spring back then was a small campaign web site for a flavored childrens milk called MUUmjölk (Moo-milk). Please note that, for apparent reasons, the web site only works in Internet Explorer and Netscape 4 (the year after I was writing AJAX-like applications :-)).

What I wanted to talk about are the books that really helped my JavaScript skills to evolve. The three most important ones were:

JavaScript: The Definitive Guide by David Flanagan
This book really gave me a thorough understanding of JavaScript and the mechanisms behind it. A book I’d recommend to anyone starting with JavaScript today.
JavaScript Objects by Tom Myers and Alexander Nakhimovsky
It’s about an object-oriented approach to JavaScript and it really has got some interesting parts. Not for beginners.
Dynamic HTML: The Definitive Reference by Danny Goodman
Probably the first book about web developing I read. Introduced some cool features and inspired me to think outside the box.

At least the first two would probably still be applicable today, although they might need some updating to scripting with the DOM. I also remember reading Stefan Koch’s Vodoo’s Introduction To JavaScript.

Back in 2002 I was asked by WROX to write a FAQ about JavaScript that was published in their P2P forums. Unfortunately, after their bankruptcy and redesign, all the FAQs on their web site were removed.

And remember, folks: It’s not hard nowadays to get your script to work in different web browsers. Just use the methods and properties supplied by the DOM. The only substantial difference between Internet Explorer and all other web browsers, though, is that Internet Explorer doesn’t support the standardized event model (see link below).

Where to go from here

The first three are links with introduction to how to approach the DOM. The second two are more in-depth articles and writings about JavaScript. Happy scripting!


Updated! Links to references:

So Microsoft will “win”, eh?

And there we go again. Recently, Microsoft has made a lot of good decisions, especially when it comes to collaborating with WaSP about having their products, such as .NET, generating more valid and accessible code. This also includes in getting their next version of Internet Explorer to implement a better support for web standards and CSS. All this is great news and very good for the future. The developers at Microsoft seem to really try to do a good job.

But then Steve Ballmer comes along with this quote in Business Week:

We won the desktop. We won the server. We will win the Web. We will move fast, we will get there. We will win the Web.

This has already been discussed by, amongst others, Molly and Roger Johansson. And yes, I know that Ballmer is a business man, he’s got to have this cocky attitude.

But the problem is, especially in light of all the good things Microsoft have done recently, these kind of statements just ruins the goodwill created, it just annoys people who have recently started to think about changing their opinion about Microsoft and to forget the past.

Ballmer is probably just doing this to spite, or to get Microsoft investors all aroused. But please, some balance…

Joining the 9rules Network

I’m such a copycat. But hell, if something’s good, I want to take part of it as well. I’m now officially a member of the 9rules Network.

Recently, two high-profile bloggers in the form of Molly and Roger Johansson joined, and that’s when I really got my eyes opened for the 9rules Network. I read up on it, and checked out the other members. Liking what I saw, I got in touch with mastermind and 9rules Network CEO, Paul Scrivens, to discuss about me becoming a part of it. And now I am!

I’m constantly looking for getting the greatest exposure possible and for ways how to increase the traffic to this web site, and this seems to be an excellent approach.

Make sure you check out the 9rules Network and its other very interesting members!

The origin of the first bug

Always wondered where the term bug came from? Been pondering what debugging is about? Well, here goes:

One day in the 1940s, Harvard’s famed Mark I–the precursor of today’s computers–failed. When the Harvard scientists looked inside, they found a moth that had lodged in the Mark I’s circuits. They removed the moth with a pair of tweezers, and from then on, whenever there was a problem with the Mark I, the scientists said they were looking for bugs. The term has stuck through the years.

(Dun’s Business Month, February 1983)

That’s the tale at least. has taken a little closer look at the myth.

From now on, I’ll always say there’s a moth in my program when something doesn’t work (I really hope this catches on!)… 🙂

A Swedish book review

I though I’d share a little book-tip for those of you who speak Swedish: Stockholmssägner.
The structure of the book is something like the movie Short Cuts, with short stories about many different topics that intertwine with each other.

It’s a very interesting take on our society as it is today, from the little wonderful things to cynicism. Written with a lot of self distance and, at times, a great sense of humor.
Also, you don’t have to live in Stockholm to appreciate it, only difference is that you’ll recognize some names and places if you do.

Read it? Let me know what you thought.

Some IE 7 news

Chris Wilson just posted some interesting news about upcoming versions of IE 7. Amongst the new features are:

  • The select lists will be windowless, so one can layer elements on top of them. Finally!
  • A native XMLHTTPRequest object, instead of an ActiveXObject, and it will work when ActiveX is disabled.
  • A Page Zoom feature. Sounds interesting, and it might help accessibility. Makes me wonder if it will support text resizing in the web browser on web pages where the fontsize is set in pixels, though.
  • A Web Developer Toolbar. Can be really handy, I hope it’s something that matches the Web Developer extension to Firefox.

All this makes me happy, but also, unfortunately, I can’t stop thinking about for how many years we will still have to support IE 6 until version 7 takes over. Oh well, one day… 🙂

Why do we have to fight?

Why do we have to fight to be allowed to make things right? I mean, really? Look at all the web standards advocates out there, fighting to get their message through; People lobbying for stylesheet-driven web sites and accessibility.

And all these battles are not about trying to have something in line with cool scripts animating things all over the page, not about doing something to show off to your friends. These things are about keeping development costs down, vastly reducing bandwidth usage by having all presentation in CSS files that will be cached in the visitor’s web browser, and reaching a lot more potential customers with web sites that are accessible.

I can’t believe I’m using my spare time, as do many other very talented persons, fighting to get the message across. Everyday, there are web sites/blogs all over the internet showing you how to better adhere to web standards, to write the leanest and most efficient CSS and tutorials and recommendations how to reach a higher accessibility (thus also gaining goodwill as well, which will result in even more business).

But we’re met by a wall of decision makers and Project Managers that just don’t understand what it’s about (or are to weak to take the discussion), tool manufacturers whose products deliver terrible code because they lack the skill to do it correctly and it’s too much of a hassle to learn and to eventually set things right (because no one asks for it).

I mean, even Microsoft, with its history, understands the importance of this. Next version of Internet Explorer will have a greatly improved web standards and CSS support, next version of the .NET environment will encompass web standards and accessibility improvements and their MSN Search is the only search engine out there that delivers valid XHTML code and where the presentation is contained in its own CSS.

Of course Microsoft still has a long way to go, but at least they’re on the right track. And if they can go through this, with their immense size as a company, what holds you small companies back from upgrading your skills? From learning how things are supposed to be done and how you will make much more money? From having some tougher demands on your web developers and tool manufacturers to deliver something that isn’t ghastly?

If you agree with me, give me a “hear, hear”, put your foot down and tell your managers that this can’t go on anymore. It’s business suicide to be in the web development business producing web sites, without even having the know-how or even interest in creating a good, effective front-end layer.

It’s her I love

Today it’s the day: the five-year mark in Fredrika’s and my relationship. Five years… Man, we’ve been through a lot of things during that time; doing lots of traveling, amongst that round-the-world for five months , having a wonderful daughter, Emilia, who’s now one year old, and many more things.

Some things that I remember from these years:

The pillow
One time, when Fredrika was very tired, we were staying overnight at her parents. When we went to bed, I for some reason decided I’d had enough of her having three pillows and I only one. So I snatched one. She got all upset and started crying about it. Guess who got the pillow back…
The threat
We were out walking and playfully teasing each other with mock threats. Then, out of the blue, she turns to me and says: -I’m gonna hit you so hard, you’re going to pee blood. Nice…
The birthday candle
During my most recent birthday, the cake was on the table and Emilia was whining and wanted a taste of it. So I asked Fredrika to please give her a piece so things would be quiet. She did, but whilst doing it she blew out the candle on my birthday cake…

Anyway, these are just small little things put here just for the fun of ot, and pretty much taken out of context. We’ve had five wonderful years together, and I hope there’s many more to come. 🙂

It’s her I love.

A Swedish party

Saturday night we went to a party at some friend’s house, partly to celebrate that they’ve moved to a new house, partly that he’s turning 30 in a couple of days. There were lots of people there and we sat outside at long table having a great dinner, playing freaky games (at one time I had a plastic bag over my head, paper teeth and plastic glass eyes…) and generally having a good time.

For all of you that don’t live in Sweden: it gets cold at night. I kid you not, smoke was coimg out of my mouth when I was talking, and conversations were like:

-Where did all the mosquitoes go?
-The frost took 'em...

In the middle of the night I ventured inside, into the kitchen, to where some others had also fled to escape the cold. Three guys were standing together, seeming to talk about something with great engagement, so I gathered it was really interesting and went up to them. Their topic was how different kinds of salt could enhance the taste of different meals, and one of them was proudly showing two salt cans and lecturing about them. Man, was I disappointed!

I gave them a scolding for being such sissies, told them that they should be ashamed of theirselves. Drunk men should talk about boobs and asses. That’s the way it’s always been, and the way it should stay (doesn’t matter if it’s about womens’ or mens’, as long as it’s a sexual conversation).

I eagerly moved on to the next group of people, this one consisting of only women. God, does women change when they get drunk, or what? Their conversation used many words I couldn’t even write here, but it’s suffice to say that it was about sex and it was way too revealing. Drunk men are just the same, just thinking and talking a little bit slower than usual. But women, man, they know how to party, how to let it all loose!

Also, sadly enough, later on I got to know things I really shouldn’t know, terrible stories that really left me dumbfounded. Sometimes I think I know too much… I just feel like I’m gonna burst. But don’t worry, trust me, your secrets are safe with me.

The morning after, I got out of bed to go change diapers on my daughter, Emilia. When that that was done and I exited the bathroom, I heard a loud knock from our front door, just next to me. We have a little round window in the front door, so visiting guests can peer in. Unfortunately, it was my mother-in-law doing the knocking and peering, and even worse, I was standing there butt naked with Emilia in my arms. Just the way I wanted the Sunday to start…


PS. If you like life reflections like this, I’m full of them. Preferably I should tell them in person, so you get the chance to see me gesticulating with an elated look on my face. 🙂 DS.

Podcast interview

Previously this week I was interviewed by Dag König and the interview is now available as a podcast (the mp3 file is around 14 MB, in Swedish). Dag is a seasoned Microsoft developer and architect, and he is usually traveling around in Sweden giving seminars together with Microsoft.

Therefore, it was extra interesting to have this talk and that Dag is a Microsoft developer that actually care about and is interested in web standards and accessibility factors. We spoke for over an hour, and the final available interview is 42 minutes. Bear in mind that I actually don’t sound like that (usually)! I’m not that accustomed to doing interviews, so my voice sounds extremely strained, and on top of that I was just coming out of a cold I’ve had.

Personally, I think I sound monotonous and boring, like I’m just rambling for the sake of it, but somewhere in there, at least a couple of sentences are good. Have a listen if you like to, and let me know what you think.

As this is in Swedish only, I just want to express my interest in doing interviews in English, podcasts or written, so more people can get something out of it. Feel free to contact me if you think I have something interesting to say.

Discard marriage?

Has it come to that? Should marriage be discarded? When I read my morning paper, I saw that one of our brand new political parties, FI (Feministic Initiative) have a demand (note: not a suggestion) that marriage should indeed be discarded.

Has it maybe occurred to them that problems in marriages depend on the people involved, and not the marriage as an institution? My generation isn’t usually to worked up about marriage, but I definitely think marriage should stay as they are, for both hetero- as well as homosexual people.

Like with the environmental cause party here in Sweden, FI is a joke (interestingly enough, FI is how the Swedish military label the enemy). Although, it’s good that they exist because it makes the bigger, more serious, parties to address these issues more openly in their agendas.

Regarding feminism: I’m all for equality, I believe that women should get the same pay, benefits and other things that they haven’t gotten before. But what I don’t like are those feminists whose cause isn’t about getting equal at all; it’s about getting back! Listen, most, if not all, men like you and want you to have equal rights. You can’t start punishing us for how men treated women in previous generations.

Try respect instead of revenge or hatred as a driving force (and the same goes for racism, homosexualism etc etc).

A Cuckoo tribute

I had plans about writing another post today, but I just though I’d check my RSS feeds first. I was taken aghast of what I found in the feed from the Autistic Cuckoo: a goodbye note.

Tommy’s writing and support has meant a lot to me, and I find him to be one of the most eloquent bloggers out there. He has authored many very important articles and has had a great affect on the web developing community. I think that Tommy could write about just anything and I’d be spellbound with how he masterfully plays around with words.

I recommend everyone to visit his web site and to browse around to find the golden nuggets that are there to find.

Tommy, I won’t try to persuade you to start writing again. However, the link in my blogroll will definitely stay put, as a tribute.

Apple releases

Goodie! New releases from Apple! I’m always intrigued with what they will come up with. The two new gadgets are:

iPod nano
Looks really nice! And tiny! I haven’t compared them size-wise yet, but I guess iPod shuffle owners feel pretty ripped off right now.
Hmm… Well, it doesn’t look good, does it? I wonder if this is just a way to sell even more songs through the iTunes Music Store? Anyway, I guess this guy feels a little bit stupid now. 🙂

Movie reviews

Ok, maybe I’m trippin’-flippin’-smoking mushrooms here. Those of you who come here to solely read about web developing, and don’t want to know a rat’s ass about me or my personal opinions will probably be scared away. But hell, I’ll try anyway.

Still with me? Good! Here’s the deal: I love movies. I always have, I probably always will. So my idea here is to have very short reviews of movies on a part of this web site, with the possibility for you to comment on what you thought about it, if you want to recommend it to someone else and so on. And the point with this is definitely not about being pretentious, it’s just about sharing movie experiences.

I think that you, my readers, are a very broad spectrum of interesting and cool people, so I really want to know about your takes on these movies. No registration needed, just express your opinion.

The movies reviewed so far are:

Yes, I know that the Star Wars saga, The Lord of the Rings trilogy and their likes aren’t in that list. If you miss them, or want any other movie reviewed, just contact me through any of the means mentioned in my About page.

On the other hand, if you’re only interested in movie reviews, you can check back any time at the movie page.

That’s all for now. Please write at least one comment on one of the movies! 🙂


PS. These first reviews are extremely short, probably since I was writing them all at the same time. In the future when I write more reviews (if anyone comments and appreciates these reviews, that is), they’ll most likely get at least a little bit longer. DS.

CSS constants

Last week I was asked by one of my colleauges what I think of something that is referred to as CSS constants. So, let me start with a couple of example solutions:

Shaun Inman‘s CSS Server-Side Constants
The way this is made possible is through pre-processing the file on the server through PHP (and adjusting some server settings), which then replaces the refererence to the constants in the CSS file with their actual value.
Chris Heilmann‘s CSS Constants
Chris’ solution is also PHP-based, and pretty similar to Shaun’s.
Above solutions could easily be written in an ASP as well. Another simple option is to just serve the page as a server-side page:

<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="css/my-css.aspx" />

and then write out the values in the CSS file like this:

	background: <%= backgroundColor %>;

So, what’s my opinion then? I think it shouldn’t be done that way; I think it ruins the idea of CSS being stand-alone and not dependant on server-side languages or server settings.

When it comes to customers using a CMS, I heard a suggestion that the editors should be able to set such variables with colors etc through an admin interface. From my experience, most editors don’t have the feel for using colors and fonts, they don’t understand the importance of a web site being consistent, they’re usually not trained in what effects it will have on usability and accessibility.

Then, you would say, just give the editor some fixed options when it comes to setting these constants. My response to that would be: just deliver some different CSS-based skins to the customer with the suitable fonts, colors and so on, and then the editor will have the option to choose between tested skins, not single colors and their likes.

Some web developer arguments, and my reply to them:

It’s so much work having to change the same value in so many places
Use an editing tool that supports find and replace, if that’s your biggest gripe.
It gives a much easier manageability to edit all these values in one place
I aggree with that, and I think, as does Eric Meyer, that constants in CSS is a good idea and that they should’ve already been in it. But I don’t think it should be done by the cost of having to use a certain server-side solution or a specific server type.
And also, in most cases where people ask for this, they don’t have the necessary knowledge of CSS and fail when it comes to using its potential and full cascading possibilities, and then start screaming for server-side solutions to cover up for their lack of stylesheet skills.


So, go crazy if you think it rocks your world. But I’ll advise people not to use it, until it’s a feature in CSS.

Posted in CSS

Just say no to 608X

I’ve done my research, pondered my options and my conclusion is: just say to no to 608X.

Now you’re probably thinking: What’s this? What the hell have I missed? Is this some new standard that should’ve known about? Haven’t I done my job properly? Is there an upcoming vote?

Calm down, you’re doing just fine. 608X is a new “direct” bus from the suburb I live in north of Stockholm, Vallentuna, in to the Stockholm city center. There’s at least 14 stops on this “direct” route and under the best circumstances it takes 52 minutes (given no traffic problems whatsoever). Now you’re probably thinking:

Whoa, Robert, you live far away from the city.

Thing is, I don’t. It’s only about 30 kilometers and we’ve already got a train that only takes 25 minutes to the city, and to get the to the place where the bus stops, it’s about 10-15 minutes walking or by subway. So, before this fall when they introduced the bus route, it took about 35-40 minutes to get where I wanted. But now they’re telling me that they’ve found the perfect way, now they will breathtakingly improve my commuting.

Sounds like the release of a software company, or the Emperor’s new clothes…

But fear not, my fellow Vallentuna citizens! The train’s still there and it still goes (a lot) faster and is more comfortable. So say no to 608X. 608X sucks (or “608X suger”, as we would say here in Sweden).

Firefox investigation

Recently, I got to my attention that some people at my company were going to perform a “Firefox investigation”. What this meant was that they had built an extranet for a customer who now had requested it to work in Firefox as well (goes without saying that it was a solution that only worked in IE in Windows). With me supressing the need to exclaim to everyone involved that if they hadn’t done such a piss-poor job the first time around, it would’ve worked in Firefox already (as well as Opera, Safari etc together with other standards-compliant web browsers), I decided to call the Project Manager and talk about this.

What I wanted to do was explain to him that it was dangerous to take on the project with the mindset that it should work in a certain web browser as opposed to following the given recommendations and standards, that by doing it with the general approach it would be a much better guarantee for future compatability, automatically targeting more web browsers and easier maintenance. Naturally, every web browser have some flaws that there might be workarounds for, but in general, if you write correct code you will get very close to a web site that will work in as many web browsers/platforms as possible.

So, I called him up, and it went a bit like this:

Introduction, bla bla bla
	- But what you're saying is that you have the necessary 
	skills to make things work in Firefox?
	- Well, yes. But I think it's really important that you 
	follow web standards when you rewrite/adapt your code, 
	instead of focusing on just a single web browser.
	- Yeees, we will try to do that...
	We were talking about using a so-called HTML validator 
	in this project, have you heard of those?
	- Er.. Yes (wanting to scream: of course I fucking have, 
	that's the foundation to make sure that the client-side 
	code you use is valid!).
	That's part of following web standards 
	(bla bla bla, is he getting me here?)
	We spoke for a while, he seemed to understand what I, 
	as well web standards, was about, and then 
	the call finished with:
	- But if we need to talk to someone, you have 
	Firefox skills?
	- Yes.... (Sigh.)

The problem in our call, as with many Project Managers and System Developers alike, is that they really don’t know about web standards and how it should be done. They never heard of the importance of semantic markup.
So, for all of you out there whose mindset is still set in the browser war era (Internet Explorer vs. Netscape):

Those days are long gone. There’s a myriad of web browsers and platforms out there, together with accessibility as well as other factors that need to be taken into regard. Read this line carefully, and then repeat it in every web project you go in to:

Do not write your code adapted for web browsers, write it according to web standards.

That’s your only hope!