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  1. Bill Baldwin
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This WEB site

This WEB site is being developed with the idea of using the latest technology, and making it available for a large number of browsers. The initial reference to any WEB page will call a CGI program which will determine the type of browser and operating system used. The page called up then is either of three graphics pages or a text page, depending on the browser.

Graphic1, the most advanced graphics mode, uses the latest technology as defined by the W3C HTML 4.1 Standard, the W3C CSS 2.1 Standard, the W3C DOM 1.0 Standard, and the W3C Javascript Standard (known as ECMAScript).

As a design consideration, as much of the formatting as possible was relegated to the CSS, with only the minimal use of CGI (done in C++) and Javascript.

There was an immediate problem noted. The latest standards are nice, but not all browsers support the latest standard. Therefor, I wrote a second implementation of the WEB site which did not use CSS to do the do the formatting, but did the formatting using tables. This is harder to maintain, but more likely to work on older browsers. Third, I had to do a specially implementation for Internet Explorer because it deviates so far from the standards. Finally, I also wrote an implementation using a strictly text presentation for non-graphic browsers (there are some).

As a safety factor, if a page is asked for, and the particular implementation the browser wants is not available, then the CGI program will search the other implementation to see if it is available there. The first one it comes to that is available is presented.

In addition, I decided to use a rounded corner technique just because I thought it looked good. This problem had to be solved three times, once using the standard, once using tables, and once for Internet Explorer.

In doing the corners, developed three versions of the graphics for the corners. The first just did the rounded corners with no shading. That didn't look bad, but I decided to try some others. The second graphic did an even shading around the entire page. I didn't like that one. The third puts a border around the page, with a shadow on the right and bottom sides. This is the one I'm using now.

In addition, the menus were implemented using CSS for the two graphics mode. Internet Explorer and the text mode uses tables rather than a menu. I have not yet figured how to get Internet Explorer to do menus using CSS (I have done it using Javascript), and the text mode uses the minimum of fancy formatting.

Finally, there are some basic statistics kept for this WEB site. Primarily, if a browser attempts to access the site, and the WEB page is not implemented for this browser, then the browser information is noted, and I will give some attention to implementing it. In addition, if the browser is one I haven't implemented, it is logged. Also, if the operating system is a new one, although that is not taken into account in directing the browser to the proper page. Finally, the access is noted, with any referring page.

Also, I used the file insert capability of HTML to handle the header and footer for each page. Therefore, even if the page looks bad because of the browser picking the wrong one, the header and footer should look Okay.

One real advantage to the method I use to allocate the pages is that is someone should look up the page using Google, then every reference to the page will come out the same regardless of the browser and operating system used. In view of the algorithm google uses to sort the selected pages, this would put the pages more into the correct spot in the google sort. (The alternative would be to have a separate URL for each browser/technology. That would cut the number of references to the page depending on the type of browser used, which would place the page further down on the sort list that the content really justifies.)

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