Life the universe and everything

CSS vs Table layout

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<updated>OK. I’m allowed to change my mind aren’t I. Read the updated css div vs table layout post.</updated>

I spent much of the last week looking into CSS layouts with a view to making the leap to pure CSS as opposed to my usual html table layout.

I found many excellent resources and websites offering various solutions. I wanted as much layout control as I have with tables and I wanted to optionally order my columns and write the content in any order on the page. This would enable me to write the main content above the menus etc which reputedly increases relevancy for some search engines.

I found the excellent floatutorial which includes examples of CSS page layouts. The level of control is excellent, however, problems occurred when attempting to write the ‘middle’ content before the menus.

I also stumbled across adaptiveview.com with their 3 Column CSS Layout. Which allows for any order columns and any order of divs on the html page but didn’t give me the control I needed for the page layout. Specifically I wasn’t able to control the appearance of the centre column in relation to the leftmost column. I found it always drifted right due to the float: right; nature of this div. However, I thought the overall concept was excellent and offered a multitude of layout options with a fluid and elastic appearance.

All of the layout options I found needed some form of hack or fix to make them cross browser compatible.

In conclusion, the current lack of standard compliance amongst browsers means an unreliable result when using css to render a table like page layout. I was most disappointed to come to this conclusion as I really felt last week that it is the way forward and wanted to adopt it as my new layout option.

I will use these css layouts on some of my websites but I am not tempted to convert any existing sites to pure css.

Written by barnabyfry

December 3, 2006 at 1:52 pm

Posted in SEO

HTML Validation and Google

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I was working on my websites today and looking to see which sites are currently ranking high for my favourite keywords.

I noticed another website which was consistently high in the rankings for several searches. The website in question is very large and informative one with lots of original content, which is always nice to see. I wanted to examine the html and see what was under the surface.

It turned out that the html, although presenting well, was a bit shoddy and when I ran it throught a validator showed 69 errors. Furthermore, when I pulled the code apart it appeared that the menu on the left was below the content in the middle and the tables were badly composed.

This has the advantage that the keyword content was nearer the top of the page, a classic SEO technique. It was however obvious from the consistent performance of the website that the bad code in no way affected the rankings in any way. It is possible that the website has adopted this technique because of its success.

Of course the main point is that there was good, original, solid content on the subject for which I was searching … so no rants from me.

<footnote>Worth mentioning that there was not a single heading tag on this site. Interesting.</footnote>

Written by barnabyfry

November 27, 2006 at 10:54 pm

Posted in SEO

Little Wounded Soldier

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Joshua’s illness persisted for the last few weeks, turning from a fever to an upper respiratory infection and leaving him very poorly.

To top all that he ended up with a skin infection around his eyes which warranted a trip to A & E at the Childrens Hospital on Tuesday.
Poor little man Poor Joshua
We were told it was Periorbital Cellulitis which is a serious but treatable infection of the tissues around the eyes. If left untreated it can spread to the eyeball and eventually can traverse the optical nerve and spread to the brain causing meningitis.

Joshua was admitted and treated with intravenous antibiotics for 3 days. The poor mite kept having to be recanulated in almost every available vein as they were tiny and the canula kept coming out. This treatment killed all infection in his body and left him feeling much better and the swelling around his eyes had reduced. Emma stayed with him on Tuesday and Wednesday and I stayed on Thursday.

We returned home on Friday afternoon with a course of oral antibiotics which Josh must take every 8 hours.

The last two days he has laughed and smiled more than in the last two weeks. Much more the Joshua we are used to!

Written by barnabyfry

November 19, 2006 at 11:49 pm

First Post

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Today I am in my office and have just created my own blog. So here I go with my first entry.

This morning before work, my 16 month old son Joshua, straining to do what comes naturally, vomited on my face, hair etc. Oh, the joys of fatherhood. He was unwell yesterday and all he wanted to do was cuddle his Mum (my wonderful wife Emma).

I love being a Dad. It is the single most amazing experience of my life to date. I still feel awe when I look at him. I feel that I have grown and evolved as an adult as he has grown and evolved as a child. The experience has changed me and my philosophy, or perhaps it is more of a shift in focus.

When Emma became pregnant we had a reassurance scan at 7 weeks. We saw a flashing image on the scan the size of a bean. Little ‘Beany beacon’ as we refered to him/her had an immediate effect on me. We sat and had a coffee after the scan and I observed that, all things being equal, that heartbeat will still be beating long after mine has stopped. Surely that is the meaning of life.

OK, entry number one. The meaning of life.

Today is also my Brother Jeremy’s birthday so Happy Birthday Jez.

Written by barnabyfry

November 2, 2006 at 4:12 pm

Posted in Personal