Welcome to Webmaster’s Corner

Webmaster’s Corner is a platform for the kimcm.dk webmaster to communicate ideas, information and perhaps an occasional rant about what it means to be a webmaster and some of the experience gained from doing this.

The format of Webmaster’s Corner will be something in-between a lightweight blog and an informational web-page as well as a repository of links to Webmaster related information on the web to help locate often used information. The intention is to make the page relatively simple to read and use and yet in line with the new lay-out of the pages on the site.

Information added to this page in the form of posts will be added in reverse chronological order, meaning the newest information will be close to the top of the page. If the page becomes too long it will be split into additional pages.

HTML5 Media Update

After having found that the newest Firefox browsers (> 3.5) supports the <video> tag and Theora (Vorbis) video (as well as Ogg-Vorbis audio files) I have updated the HTML5 Testpage with a video section, featuring a selfhosted Theora video, created using the ffmpeg2theora application for Linux.

HTML5 Update

Another good reason to use HTML5 instead of XHTML1.1 is that the target attribute on the <a> element is being re-allowed, it has been a pain in the proverbial backside not being able to use this feature to automatically open links in another window or tab of the user's browser or having to switch to another DOCTYPE (either "transitional" or "frames") just to use this single feature.

I have now decided to start introducing more and more HTML5 in favor of XHTML, but gradually in a way that will not break the viewing pleasure in browsers that aren't sufficiently HTML5 aware. Having said that I will continue to strive to live up to the stringent way of writing well-formed HTML the way it was introduced in XHTML, but also slowly starting to make use of the new capabilities present in HTML5.

Why not a CMS?

Why not use a CMS instead of a handwritten version of Webmaster’s Corner? A good question, indeed. The answer is: “Been there, done that, and it didn't quite work!”

I have worked with various CMS systems like Joomla, Drupal as well as WordPress – Joomla is very powerful, but steers like an oil tanker, not very gracefully and hard to make a quick change in direction once you're going. Not to talk about ugly URLs (even with URL-rewriting on). Drupal is a bit better, it has a lot of flexibility and less of that oil tanker feeling, but still feels too much like overkill for the relatively small job of maintaining a Webmaster’s Corner. Then that leaves WordPress, I gave that option quite some thought as WordPress is an excellent blogging platform, and Webmaster’s Corner is mostly a "blog". However, I opted not to use WordPress for this task as it seemed a bit too much trying to clear an anthill with tactical nukes – Overkill! This left me with writing the darn thing by hand, which isn't completely optimal either, but better than the other alternatives. However, I'm considering a rewrite of the Corner down the line in some minimalistic blog tool, perhaps I'll even write one myself…

Experimenting with HTML5

Currently I'm experimenting and learning about what is new in HTML5 and whether it makes sense to switch from XHTML to HTML5. HTML5 is definitely a more pragmatic choice of mark-up language to use and while it incorporates a large part of XHTML it doesn't enforce it and thus it could (probably will) lead to sloppy coding practice by web authors, which in turn will end up making browsers even more bloated as they have to compensate for various idiosyncracies abundant with web authors. On the other hand HTML5 offers a lot of neat new functionality with easier video and audio embedding into webpages, without having to rely on Adobe’s Flash software, as well as some good new formatting HTML tags for better structuring your web pages. So the trade off at the moment seems to be going from enforced strict coding to relaxed coding, but gaining a lot of new functionality – which makes it damn interesting to explore the new stuff and let go of the enforced coding purity. At least you can still write well-formed and compliant code, even if it is not enforced.

Another relatively minor minus about HTML5 is the heavy reliance on JavaScript, not that this is anything new to HTML5 as the trend has been going that way for quite some time, but I had hoped for a better alternative to be adopted with HTML5 as while JavaScript is rather powerful, it is also in need of a major clean-up, it is cumbersome and very often non-intuitive and often makes web pages unreadable and hard to maintain or support.

One overwhelming reason to look into HTML5 is that parts of HTML5 is already being used not only on cell-phones and other portable network aware units but also the standard browsers on PCs. And thus to understand the possibilities and the ramifications of the new facilities, one must familiarize oneself with the new possibilities. In fact there are already some concerns over HTML5's local storage that let content suppliers save cookies and more locally on the client side, for later retrival, and in a way that can be harder to erase than common cookies and thus leading to privacy concerns for some.

Caveat to the above is that the observations are made while getting familiar with HTML5 and may change as I learn more about the language and its features.

Webmaster’s Toolbag

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To successfully employ websites and authoring webpages a webmaster must have a well stocked toolbag as well as proficiency to use the tools in the bag. This webmaster prefers to use the LAMP platform as a solid base, as these basic tools provides solutions to most of the tasks that a webmaster encounters.

For secondary tasks webmaster prefers a good editor that makes writing code in HTML, Perl, PHP easy, and for that Xemacs is a perfect choice. For image manipulation tools like GIMP is an excellent choice, for logo and text image rendering Xara Extreme is the weapon of choice, and for dynamically generated images the gdLibrary is second to none.

New Layout of www.kimcm.dk

[webpage thumb]

After much of the www.kimcm.dk content disappeared in a most infortunate disk crash in the Summer of 2010, it was a chance to rebuild the site more or less from scratch. Getting rid of a lot of old clutter and mistakes and writing things using better knowledge as well as new tools not available the first time around, as well as streamlining the layout of the new site, so that pages will follow a common theme, making it less of a hodge-podge of pages mixed together under a common headline, but actually bearing resemblance to each other and thus making the site more cohesive.

Banner images for the pages using the new layout are made from photos taken by Webmaster and edited using gimp and Xara Extreme (formerly Xaralx).

The pages have been been validated as Strict mode XTML 1.1 as well as being tested in various browsers (Firefox2, Firefox3, Google-Chrome and Konqueror) to ensure a pleasant browsing experience. The only issue so far is that Konqueror doesn't scale fonts nicely as the other browsers used, so using Konqueror isn't recommended. There's other issues with Konqueror as well, not related to these pages, so staying away from it is probably a good idea anyway.