Posts in the "" Category


I’m sitting here; just sipping some nice red wine and eating chocolate, celebrating that the last seven days are over now. I’ve been working double shifts for about a week, doing my hours as a consultant daytime, and working on redesigning this web site nighttime.

So finally: redesign! And I wanted to get done with it as fast as possible, I couldn’t stand making a live redesign spread over a longer amount of time, like one of my friends does. There have been a number of reasons I wanted to create and implement a new design for this web site, and the factors and choices have mainly been these:

Write the code myself

When I launched, I installed WordPress and looked around for themes written for it. My previous design was a theme designed by Shawn Grimes, that I tweaked a bit to personalize it. But with me ranting about how web sites should be developed, I ought to live up to what I preach at my own web site. You know, the shoemaker’s children and all…

Also, someone (in a jokingly way) teased me saying that I couldn’t create my own design. 🙂

The design

I wanted something that was really easy on the eyes, something that looked good and also being original to get some attention for that as well. All image material used here is from pictures I’ve taken myself. And since it’s an Easter Island theme, naturally there has to be an Easter egg; if you find and hold down a certain key combination, you will get to see a freaky picture of me! 🙂


I want this web site to be an example of being accessible to everyone:

  • With or without JavaScript enabled.
  • With or without CSS switched on/supported.
  • With a wider or narrower window.
  • With a smaller or larger text size setting in the visitor’s web browser.
  • With or without using a mouse.


Since I work full-time with web development and also have it as a hobby, this web site should be a showcase of how I think a web site should be. Therefore, the layout is elastic and works in most web browser window sizes. I also use AJAX for the search functionality, thus not requiring a post back of the whole page to see the search results.

But naturally, everything should downgrade well too. The search has a fall back that works without JavaScript and all JavaScripts used are unobtrusive, meaning that all events are applied externally from a JavaScript meaning. The effect of this is that no elements have any inline event handlers whatsoever.

It’s possible to easily navigate through the web site just using the keyboard, leaving out the dependency on using a mouse.

Something that will interest certain people out there, and definitely Anne van Kesteren, is that this web site is using strict HTML, not XHTML. The reasons? First, I’m tired of everyone using XHTML without knowing the reasons why. They just do it because their tool/-s deliver it, they’ve heard it’s cool etc.

Second, XHTML should be served as application/xhtml+xml. In my previous design, that was the case first, but since WordPress wasn’t fool-proof and I still wanted it to be user-friendly to write comments on my posts, this ended up in me having to check the web site all the time just to make sure that nothing bad had gotten through. I then went to using text/html with XHTML for that design, according to Appendix C, but knowing that my code should be valid so I could switch to application/xhtml whenever I wanted to, I hadn’t used anything intentionally that should break.

However, now I use innerHTML in my AJAX script and Google’s ads use document write; two things that don’t work with application/xhtml+xml. So, my decision to use plain old HTML is definitely thought through and a very deliberate one. Maybe some day this web site will use XHTML again, but only the future can tell.

Testing web standards

I’ve haven’t had access to an Apple computer during this whole design face. It has been coded using web standards code, well-tested CSS approaches and object detection in JavaScript. My testing in Firefox and Opera 8, two of the most standards-compliant web browsers out there, leads me to believe that it should work automatically in Safari too. Apple user? Please let me know!


So, get going now! Resize your web browser window, increase/decrease your text size setting, turn off using any CSS, try navigating using only your keyboard, turn off JavaScript and test it!

When that’s done, and your eyes have feasted on the new layout, please let me know what you think of it! 🙂


PS. Don’t miss the two new cool map functionalities; they can be found at the bottom of the left column. DS.

PS 2. A big thank you to Henrik Box for helping me evalute my design sketches. DS.


This is going to be the most or the least interesting thing I’ve ever written. When I start writing this, the time is about 23.30, and I’ve just been out to a company/customer thing, and maybe having some beer and wine has gotten me emotional. This is a post that I’ll probably regret in the morning…

When I was a kid, I was harassed on and off, mostly around the age of 10. I had fairly big front teeth and I had glasses; perhaps I was also a bit soft emotionally compared to the butch ice hockey guys (I did play ice hockey for many years, as well as doing other sports; I just didn’t seem to share the men’s dressing room mentality with the other guys). To be told that you’re ugly; that you don’t fit in; to be looked down upon are terrible things. It wasn’t that bad for me as it has been for many other people, I never felt suicidal. It wasn’t really a walk in the park either, though.

Anyway, I got older and grew into my body and became hot (or something). But that luck only lasted for a while; when I was 24 I started balding. That has been one of the cruelest things life has done to me, especially since my father had a lot of thick and beautiful hair. Such mockery. For those who don’t know, it’s a very hard blow to one’s self esteem. I remember when I was a kid; my family went on a vacation to France together with one of my uncles and his wife. He was bald, and seeing him on the beach rubbing his scalp with sun tan oil, led to me thinking:

God, he looks pathetic.

I’m now 31, and I’ve pretty much come to terms with my baldness. I think I’ve spent (and sometimes still do spend) a lot more time thinking about it and letting it affect me, than other people around me do.

Back in 1998, a former girlfriend and I quit our jobs and went traveling in Australia for a while. About a month after we got home, she broke up with me. She moved out of our apartment and went on with her life. There I was, dumped, unemployed and just started balding to top it off; generally feeling pretty worthless. I started to write very short paragraphs about how hurt I felt, what it was like having been to Australia and seen and done wonderful things and having no one to share those and lots of other nice memories with. I published these writings on my web page and sent her an e-mail, hoping that she’d read it and that she would grasp my feelings of loneliness.

What happened was, she printed these pages and sent them in a letter to my parents together with a note basically saying in how a bad state I was in. Let me tell you, a letter like that isn’t received in the best way by parents. Naturally, they got very worried about me and it was followed by some time of them feeling insecure. Eventually, I got them to understand that the writings were just a way for me to channel my feelings, to get it out of my system.

A little more than two years ago, I saw my father die. In his own bed, in the house he built with his own hands. Cancer got him. He was 64 years old, and he fought it bravely for four years. Sometimes that moment comes back to me, and remembering his last words just tears me apart. The feelings of hurt are indescribable. I don’t think a person ever fully recovers from a thing like that, and seeing how it broke down my mother was heartbreaking. They had dreamt about spending their retirement days, the remainder of their life, together and just enjoying living. But fate had another cruel plan.

People sometimes tell me that they appreciate my bitter and cynical sense of humor, but also that they hope it just an act, that I’m not really as bitter as I convey. Let me be honest about this: sometimes I really am that bitter. Sometimes I really do wonder why life has to be about getting hurt in such terrible ways as there are. Seeing my little daughter and knowing about all the bad things a life offers that she has to go through breaks my heart. Of course there are good things to, “life’s up n’ down” (which is exactly what a plaque read that mom gave me for one of my birthdays, depicting Goofy turned upside down on his head), but I can’t stand thinking about how mean and evil life and people can sometimes be.

I’ve hurt people too in life, which I am truly sorry for, and I do hope for forgiveness from those persons; deep down I’m not really a bad person (or at least I strive not be).

All in all, though, I am happy. I’ve had a wonderful upbringing by my loving parents, and my mother taught me to always be honest. That has really helped me in life, and also to being able to life with myself and some of my actions. And now, finally, I’ve found my place in life. I have a lovely girlfriend with whom I have a wonderful daughter who really makes life worth living. Amongst other things, what happened in 1998 was a turnaround for me and I decided to face the tough situations life deals you, and to stand up to them. Learning the hard way to be strong, and to handle whatever happens.

I’m not really looking for sympathy here, just understanding. If you ever meet me in real life, please give me a hug. We all need love, and we need it a lot more than we think. This also comes down to my writings at this web site; all you people coming here really mean a lot to me, and I’m extraordinary grateful for you coming back here again and again.


Thanks for reading. Thanks for being there.

Who actually subscribes to comment feeds?

Most blogs offer a feed for comments on their posts as well as different feeds for the posts themselves. Naturally, I subscribe to the comments feed for this web site, to instantly see when someone has added a comment.

But who else subscribes to the comments feed? I sure don’t do it on any blogs; if any particular discussion is that important so I want to stay in the loop, I just make sure to re-visit the page a day later or so.

Do any of you subscribe to any comments feeds?

Frappr – A group map

First, I like it for its name; probably because it reminds me of frappuccino. Frappr is a way to share group photos and locations. Please, please add your location and an image of choice at the robertnyman map! 🙂

Thanks to Asterisk for pointing me to this.

Update: You don’t have to add an image, but please just enter where you live and a shoutout!

Relating to disasters

When terrible things happen in the world, it seems like people have a hard time relating to it. In my opinion, every news broadcast, newspaper and other sorts of media is littered with really sad things happening all the time; it’s too much too grasp. Just browsing through paragraph after paragraph with gory details leads to people becoming jaded.

In the last four years, this been some major things happening that I could relate more to than others:

Terrorist attack, September 11th
During the summer of 2000 I lived in Greenwich Village and worked in NYC. From the living room in the apartment I stayed, I had a good view of the towers every day, and we usually hang out on the roof during the evenings/nights, just looking around at this marvelous city. When my brother visited, we went up on top of the roof for one of the towers, and the feeling was literally like standing on top of the world. To add to that, I don’t like flying that much, either. I’m not afraid of flying; I’m afraid of dying, ok? After my stay there, I also knew some people still in NYC but luckily they survived. So I could connect to the terrorist attack on many levels…
The tsunami
A little more than three years ago, my girlfriend Fredrika and I traveled around the world. When the tsunami hit, there were a couple of places in Thailand, especially the Koh Phi Phi islands, were we’ve been and it was ghastly to see the state they were in after the waves/flooding.
Hurricane Wilma hit Cancún
On the same trip mentioned above, we started out with a week in Cancún, and the hotel area’s a very original piece of land; and now, it’s all flooded and badly ravaged by the hurricane.

One of the major reasons I think I relate more to these events is because I’ve actually been there; I can feel the smell of the area, hear the noises and start pondering about how the surroundings. I’m not saying that one’s has to have been there to be able to feel compassion or empathy, I’m just going for the fact that there’s no medium that can convey the realness of actually experienced a location.

“I am a c**t”

Here’s one of those posts again that will put me as not apropriate to be being a company-run blog…

There might not be a whole lot of truth to this story, but I read about fashion designer Alexander McQueen, that when he was 16, he stitched this phrase into the lining of a suit jacket for Prince Charles:

I am a cunt

Maybe it’s just the rebel in me, but I do like this sense of humour… 🙂

Posted in Fun

OS X (look and feel) on Windows

You’ve always liked the design of the Mac OS X interface, but still want to/have to stay on Windows? I’m one of those persons, but something recently just got to my attention that can change that; it’s name is Flyakite OS X. From their web site:

FlyakiteOSX is a transformation pack. It will transform the look of an ordinary Windows XP+ system to resemble the look of Mac OS X.

I’ve tried it for a coule of days, and I really like it! Previously, since I’m a geek, I’ve played around with WindowBlinds, but never really fell for it. The only gripe I have so far about Flyakite OS X is that you can’t disable it, you have to uninstall it. Otherwise, it looks really good! Hat off to Shaun Andrews, in whose blog I found the link. Maybe something Faruk should’ve known about before he ran off and bought his Powerbook… 😉

If you also want to mimic the Dashboard functionaliy, I recommend trying out Konfabulator.

Happy customizing!

Treehouse – A Web Development Magazine

A couple of days ago, through Dan Cederholm’s Treehouse post, I found out that Particletree has published Treehouse – A Web Development Magazine, in the PDF format. Very interesting people interviewed and there’s also a nice 9rules touch!

I printed it and took it with me on the train home last night, and so far I’ve read about one third of it. The level is good, and I think it will appeal to seasoned web developers as well as people new to the business. The interview with Shaun Inman was especially good, and I wish that piece had been a lot longer.

Go read now, first issue is for free!

WaSP and W3C

About two weeks ago, I published An Open Letter to WaSP, and the feedback was very good and the following discussion at a good level. So this post is a kind of semi-follow up to that, based on my reflections on the comments I got.

What I wanted to target here was the “isn’t this for W3C”-reaction that I got, which really is an interesting discussion. We have the W3C that put together their recommendations and we have WaSP fighting for spreading the word and the awareness about web standards. Then Karl of W3C wrote an interesting comment about the W3C Education and Outreach group and pointed us to their work.

This led me to thinking: should WaSP then be a part of W3C?

Don’t get me wrong, WaSP have done tremendous work spreading web standards, especially lately with their collaboration with Microsoft, but I can honestly say that if I were to say WaSP to my colleagues, most of them would think of a heavy metal rock band with a singer called Blackie Lawless. And if W3C have such a group, shouldn’t WaSP be that group? Evangelizing in the name of the W3C would probably get even more attention, and it would also come from the same organization as the recommendations. My belief is that it would help WaSP to gain more credibility (not something they lack in my eyes, but in people I meet).

An IE/ordered list challenge

I came across a problem yesterday that I just couldn’t seem to solve, so I though it would be a challenge to you, my dear readers. The scenario is that I want to have an ordered list where the list items are floated. However, for some reason, IE refuses to show the numbers then.

When having such a list and the list items aren’t floated, the solution is to add padding to the ol element to see the numbers, but I don’t know how to solve it when I want them floated. I tried with position: relative, tricks like height: 1% to get the element to render correctly with the hasLayout problem etc, but it just doesn’t work!

The HTML code is extremely simple, so the problem doesn’t lie in there:

	<li>Item 1</li>
	<li>Item 2</li>
	<li>Item 3</li>

Any ideas?

Me – an ESP guy?

We have some friends, Lotta and Johan, and they have a daughter who’s just one month younger than our daughter. A couple of months ago, Lotta got pregnant again, and I had a dream that they were going to have twins. I also just saw general signs in my everyday life pointing to twins, and even though they have no history of twins in their families, I suggested to them that they were going to get it nevertheless.

Two days ago they went to their ultrasound, and lo and behold: twins! Maybe I really do have some kind of ESP. 🙂

Bob Dylan in Stockholm

Last night Bob Dylan visited the Stockholm Globe Arena. Him being a legend, I sure didn’t want to see him live. I mean, he has influenced so many people through the years and written so many good songs that have been interpreted by many artists. With that said, Mr. Dylan wasn’t having a good night yesterday.

But let me start from the beginning: Due to a misunderstanding, my brother Martin had bought me tickets for the concert, but so had I. Trying desperately to get rid of the extra two tickets to friends, colleagues etc, failed miserably (and with the quality of the concert in hindsight, maybe it was best so). So after some dealing and wealing outside the arena, we managed to sell the tickets to a couple of guys that wanted to sit far down, rinkside (since the arena is also an ice hockey arena). They asked if it was close, and my brother said:

Yeah, sure, it’s just by the rink.

Their dealing friend also looked at the tickets and said:

But this is row 4, isn’t there a row three too? (We never replied to this, but of course there’s a row one and two. We have no idea why he asked something like that.)

They paid for the tickets and Martin and I went by Mickey Dee’s to grab a hamburger before it started. Once in there, we met someone I’ve met a couple of times before, Kim Sulocki (a Swedish artist). Good to see him again, we chatted for a short while and then attacked our hamburgers. When we got into the arena, we realized where the location of the tickets we’d sold to the other guys. They were sitting, height-wise, in the middle of the arena, at least 30 meters up from the rink; we weren’t even sure they could see the rink from where they were sitting. Anyway, our conscience didn’t feel that bad, they got the tickets for a number of kronor cheaper than what we had paid for them.

Once Bob Dylan started, everyone got really happy, but it was soon replaced by a feeling of apathy. It was a long time since I saw someone as uninspired, giving such a dull and meaningless performance. Yes, I know, he goes his own way, doing as he pleases, and I don’t have to hear How many roads to be happy. But this was so bland, so without feeling that it was really disheartening to see. It was definitely more entertaining to hear Gunnar Franklin at iBizkit doing his Bob Dylan impersonating once when we jammed a little.

Naturally, this lead to starting to watch the audience instead. And man, was it a freak show! Nothing bad to these persons, they were just different and misplaced in their respective context. And many people seemed to be as bored and disappointed as we were, there were a constant rush of traffic with people walking up and down the stairs. Since my seat was just next to the stairs, I saw some interesting persons. Amongst all, there were three girls, a bit too young, with very low-cut dresses running a round all the time, and once they were gone for at least half of the concert. I have no idea what they were doing there in the first place.

Following their departure, a big man sat down in the stairs next to me; he was the kind of person with normal legs and an upper body that looks like a balloon. Not really fat, just humongous. Anyway, he sat there for a while, trying to read his ticket, and then tried to get up again. It was soon pretty clear that he wasn’t going to make it, and Martin and I watched with fascination. He was almost up, rocking back and forth, started swaying, and then fell down again. Sitting there, looking a little dazed and confused, he decided to give it another try. This time he actually made it and started a shaking staggering down the stairs. Martin turned to me and said:

At one point, I thought he was going to turn into the Hulk…

Just after “the Hulk” got down the stairs, a very drunk person started what looked like a very strenuous climb up the stairs. I guess you should’ve been there to see all of this, but I was laughing so hard I was shaking, and I had to bite my lower lip hard to avoid displaying to the stair-walkers how entertaining they were.

At the end of the concert, he managed to destroy my favorite song all time, All along the watchtower (I prefer the Jimi Hendrix version of it, or maybe the Dave Matthews band one, but Dylan’s version is usually ok, and after all, he wrote the song) with terrible singing. The band seemed mildly motivated, and at least saved the experience a little, but all in all, it was really bad.

Anyway, I got to see Bob Dylan live. And that counts, doesn’t it?

Alchohol and breast feeding

I don’t get what’s wrong with people. Here in Sweden, there’s this medical recommendation that it’s really not a good idea to drink alchohol when being pregnant or breast feeding (wonder why, it seems to be really good for us otherwise…). Apparently, yesterday there was this program on Swedish television, trying to expose that it’s not as bad as people think to have a couple of glasses of wine when breast feeding, not overly much alcohol will get into the baby. So what?

Are people so fucking egoistic that they just have to drink, even if it means risking their child’s health? If you can’t stay away from alcohol for 1-1½ years, don’t have a baby. Just go on living your destructive life.

Another thing that’s really annoying is that all expertice agree that, for those who can do it, breast feeding is extremely good for your baby and it keeps him/her healthy. But in many cultures, and we’re talking western societys here, it’s looked down upon as something filthy and bad. What the fuck! Stop being so damn egocentric and focus on what’s best for your baby’s development. What’s most important to you: your image and if people will frown their foreheads, or what’s best for what should be the most precious and important thing in your life?

Three things I haven’t had time to write about

I’ve been a bit busy lately, and therefore haven’t written about things I wanted to. So here’s a little sum-up of three things I think deserve mentioning:

Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar Beta
I’ve used it for a little while, and it offers functionality as good as the one that can be found in the Web Developer Extension for Mozilla-based web browsers. However, what I really like about this one is the screen ruler; it’s a great way to fast measure an element’s size or similar, without resolving to making a screen dump and check it in Photoshop or to have a third-party program. What I also love with it is to automatically get an outline for elements, only when hovered with the mouse. The two gripes I have, however, are lack of keyboard shortcuts for tasks like validating the code (or hell, even View Source!) and that if I have displayed the screen ruler, it sometimes seem to hijack the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + R after that (which I use for reloading a page).
The Apple video iPod
I’m sure it’s a cool product and a great gadget, but it disturbs me that Steve Jobs for a long time has said that he doesn’t believe in it, the last time in a statement two weeks before its release.
The value of a blog
There’s a very hypothetical way to calculate how much a blog is really worth. Nevertheless, it’s always interesting to speculate! 🙂
Apparently, this blog is worth somewhere between $ 40 000 and $ 65 000. A decent amount for having written it for seven months in my spare time, purely out of interest. 🙂

Power outage

Friday night, we had a power outage in the area where I live. Pretty cozy when everything goes dark, and looking out over the neighborhood, I realized how much everyone’s overusing lights and electricity. Anyway, Fredrika and I lit a lot of candles, crawled up in our couch and…

No! What did you think there? 🙂

We watched a TV programme on the laptop, since it was the only thing working in the house. Pathetic or nice?

Gotta serve somebody

As I told you a couple of days ago, my friend Veljko from Serbia has been visiting and last night was his last night before his trip home. Needless to say, we were a group of people going out, having dinner and drinking to wish him well and say goodbye. Of course, it got late and as I live about 30 kilometers from Stockholm, I depend on night buses; you know the ones that take you for a guided tour of your whole county.

I took the subway to the place where the bus departs from, and I just caught a glance of it leaving when I got up the stairs. Next bus was supposed to come an hour later…

I really don’t like taking a cab, I believe it to be such a waste of money, but in this case I felt I just had to. So, a cab ride followed by me riding my bike the last kilometers took me home (since I didn’t want to leave the bike at the train station). At least I got to my suburb before the bus did…

Got home, slept for about four hours, and then got up again to go to work. When my train arrived in Stockholm, I saw a woman with a baby in a stroller trying to get off. I walked up there, willing to offer my help, but all that came out was some kind of hiss, and she threw me a nervous smile and said that she could manage on her own.

Anyway, the reason I’m even is awake right now is that I gotta serve somebody. So, what better way than to round off this week, in an Andy Clarke-fashion post, with some Bob Dylan lyrics.

Without further ado:


You may be an ambassador to England or France,
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance,
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world,
You may be a socialite with a long string of

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
indeed You’re gonna have to serve somebody, Well,
it may be the devil or it may be the Lord But
you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

You might be a rock ‘n’ roll addict prancing on
the stage, You might have drugs at your command,
women in a cage, You may be a business man or
some high degree thief, They may call you Doctor
or they may call you Chief

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
indeed You’re gonna have to serve somebody, Well,
it may be the devil or it may be the Lord But
you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

You may be a state trooper, you might be a young
Turk, You may be the head of some big TV network,
You may be rich or poor, you may be blind or
lame, You may be living in another country under
another name

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
indeed You’re gonna have to serve somebody, Well,
it may be the devil or it may be the Lord But
you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

You may be a construction worker working on a
home, You may be living in a mansion or you might
live in a dome, You might own guns and you might
even own tanks, You might be somebody’s landlord,
you might even own banks

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
indeed You’re gonna have to serve somebody, Well,
it may be the devil or it may be the Lord But
you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

You may be a preacher with your spiritual pride,
You may be a city councilman taking bribes on the
side, You may be workin’ in a barbershop, you may
know how to cut hair, You may be somebody’s
mistress, may be somebody’s heir

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
indeed You’re gonna have to serve somebody, Well,
it may be the devil or it may be the Lord But
you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

Might like to wear cotton, might like to wear
silk, Might like to drink whiskey, might like to
drink milk, You might like to eat caviar, you
might like to eat bread, You may be sleeping on
the floor, sleeping in a king-sized bed

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
indeed You’re gonna have to serve somebody, Well,
it may be the devil or it may be the Lord But
you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

You may call me Terry, you may call me Timmy, You
may call me Bobby, you may call me Zimmy, You may
call me R.J., you may call me Ray, You may call
me anything but no matter what you say

You’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody. Well, it may
be the devil or it may be the Lord But you’re
gonna have to serve somebody.

A bad word in a meeting

Oh my God. I just sat in a meeting, and present were also a non-Swedish speaking attendee, so it was held in English. I was going to describe a scenario, but in the same sentence I repeatedly used the word “cunt” instead of “count”…

That’s me, folks. Building bridges…

Posted in Fun

“My knife got all messy”

This morning I was sitting on the local train going to work, minding my own business and reading my morning paper. Next to me were a young girl and a young boy, maybe around sixteen years old. She was wearing a lot of dark make-up around her eyes and the guy looked pretty ordinary. What got my attention was when I started overhearing a part of their conversation (starting with her):

– My knife got all messy after that.
– You got to stop doing that crap!
– Why should I?
– Since it’s wrong! It’s bad for you!
– But I like it, and the pain is excillerating… smiling, pulling up one of her shirt’s arms and caressing a spot on it.
However, it took longer to heal than what I had expected.
Then both were quiet for a while.

My take of this was that she’s cutting herself for the kicks of it; it didn’t seem like they were joking around. I sat there dumbfounded for a while, thinking “what the hell should I do? Should I say something?”. Before I came to any conclusion they got off at the next station.

I have no idea how to handle such a situation. However, part of me stil feels quilty and worried for not acting. I mean, most of us complain that people in our society never care when something happens, and I feel just like one of those “don’t give a damn”-persons…

How bad is an invalid attribute?

To start with, if this is not your first visit here, you know I’m all for web standards. But from time to time, I feel that things get exaggerated. There’s a validation frenzy and way too much work, time and focus put into the wrong details.

IT projects are almost always under a tight deadline and compromising is usually a way of web development life. So, my pet peeve is invalid attributes on elements. When I write code, of course I refrain from using them, hence making it valid. But in my case, I work in a lot .NET-based projects and Web Forms and such in it produces invalid code, especially when using a strict HTML or XHTML doctype. Examples can be attributes like language=JavaScript and the name attribute on the form tag. There are ways to take care of this, but they might affect performance, especially for a web site with a lot of visitors.

While these attributes render the page invalid, to me it doesn’t really matter. I regard it as much more important to focus on writing accessible and semantic code, and where the presentation is a 100% controlled from CSS. And, as Peter-Paul Koch writes in Why QuirksMode, there are a lot of cases where using custom attributes whould make the code a lot cleaner and understandable. Having an attribute named “mandatory” on a form element would make a lot more sense that adding a class for it. Especially if the class attribute then weren’t used for any presentational purpose whatsoever, but only for hooking it up with JavaScript.

So, my advice is: Make sure your code is well-formed, but after that, focus on the important parts instead of unsignificant things like an invalid attribute. Then, if you have time, take care of the attribute too.


Related reading

Palaver in Gothenburg

Man, it’s been itching in my fingers to write again! Last week, I really wanted to post a couple of posts, but didn’t, since I wanted maximum attention on the previous post, the letter to WaSP. But here I go again!

Friday last week, I took the train down to Gothenburg for a meeting. And not the fast train, no, I went on the one that takes five hours from Stockholm. My Project Manager calls it the Orient Express, and with all rights; you get to see every part of Sweden before you reach Gothenburg. All different kinds of people will get on the train, you’ll pass through parts that stink of manure and through “towns” you didn’t even know existed. But actually, five hours isn’t as bad as it sounds. One gets the time to read a book and other things, listen to some music and generally just chill.

Trains are really my preferred way of traveling, if not going by car is an option. It’s usually pretty comfortable, one can walk around, there’s a restaurant where one can get some food and drink and the toilets aren’t as cramped as on an airplane (however, I’ve never heard about any 2-metres high club for getting it on in a train bathroom…). However, doing number two isn’t really a walk in the park when the train lurches, take it from me…

The reason I went to Gothenburg was for a meet-up with a company to discuss web standards and accessibility in their product. Also present at the meeting where Roger Johansson and Kalle Wibeck (Kalle, get your blog going now, here’s your first link :-)) and a representative from another Swedish company. It was great sitting down with Roger and Kalle since they’re really into what they’re doing and they definitely know what they’re talking about.

The product developing company we had the meeting with had asked for us specifically, and I really want to applaud this company for taking such a measure, that they care so much about their product that they make sure that the web standards, CSS and accessibility aspects are also as focused on and equally important as the product’s other areas. After sitting down for a number of hours with these guys it was pretty clear to me that this company is most likely going places. It was a long time since I met such ambitious people, and hearing them talk about their product with such love and dedication was truly inspiring.

Afterwards, we went for pizzas and beer at a restaurant called Mezza luna (what else kind of place would IT people go to calm down? :-)) and had a good time. Thank you to the company paying for beer, and thank you to the one paying for the pizzas. The ever-friendly Roger and his lovely girlfriend Pernilla was kind enough to put me up for the night, and Saturday morning I got on the train to go back home again. On the train there was this really talkative guy drinking beer and talking to his friends about different concerts, how drunk you should be to get the most out of a gig, and about other things. He seemed like a harmless and nice guy, but the sheer volume he was talking with got a little bit overwhelming after five hours…

Finally back home, I played around with my daughter. It’s always hard to be away from her and with her seeming to have actually missed me, it felt even better to be back! Sunday, my friend Veljko arrived from Serbia (thanks for the beautiful gifts!) and he spent the afternoon together with me and my family. Great having him here again!

What company we met up with? That’s a story for another day… 🙂

An Open Letter to WaSP

This article is co-written with Vlad Alexander, co-founder and in charge of development at Belus Technology, the company behind the highly successful XStandard WYSIWYG editor.

Web Standards are failing to break into mainstream development because the Web Standards community does not speak with a unified voice. When Web designers, Web Developers, IT managers and software vendors find information about Web Standards, instead of a succinct common approach, there are endless discussions and flame wars driven by individual interpretations of what the specs mean. So instead of getting the information they need, they see bickering over the importance of valid markup, nit-picking over DOCTYPE and MIME types, and squabbles over the role of accessibility.

Of course, debates about Web standards are healthy, and it’s natural that Web developers should consider some aspects of Web development to be more important than others. However, we need to agree on core Web Standards values that everyone can trust because they represent the consensus of opinion of the developer community. This does not mean that we should stop debating amongst ourselves, but newcomers to Web Standards need the confidence that comes from knowing that there is a single, agreed-upon approach to implementing Web Standards.

So how do we arrive at this single, agreed-upon understanding of what Web Standards are?

We compromise. And we locate our core Web Standards values in one place – WaSP.

We therefore ask that WaSP put together a task force to create a Web Standards Charter. The Charter will define what Web Standards are and recommend a single implementation approach. When necessary the Charter will be updated as dictated by the current state of the art and the latest best practices.

The Web Standards community will then be able to direct newcomers to the Charter as a solid starting point from which they can proceed to implement standards-compliant projects with confidence.

Once they have gained confidence, newcomers can join us in ongoing debates about Web Standards, adding to the strength and diversity of our community.

What blogs inspire you?

A couple of weeks ago, Paul Scrivens posted the 80/20 And The Design Blogosphere piece, which has its origin in a post by Cameron Moll back in April 2004. Basically, it’s about who were the big names then and who were influencing a lot of the majority of people out there.

I occasionally frequent a couple of those web sites mentioned in the list, but definitely not 80% of them. However, people’s blogs that I do try to follow on a regular basis are:


Of course, my list of RSS feeds is a lot longer, but the ones above are the blogs I don’t want to miss. Which leads me to this question?

Who inspires you? Give me one name or twenty, just spill it out, will ya? 🙂