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Questions on "New HTML" and sidebar formatting

I downloaded CityDesk a few days ago, and I'm enjoying it.

I have two questions:

1)  Under what circumstances would you want to choose "New HTML File" instead of "New Article"?  There doesn't seem to be any need to create plain HTML files.

2)  My second question isn't really specific to CityDesk, but I'll ask it anyway.

In Joel's sample website (the one that comes with CityDesk), he uses the following tag to create a sidebar on the right side of the page:

<span style="PADDING-RIGHT: 1ex; PADDING-LEFT: 1ex; FLOAT: right; PADDING-BOTTOM: 1ex; MARGIN: 1em; WIDTH: 25%; PADDING-TOP: 1ex; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dddddd">

This doesn't work in Netscape 4.X.  Is there any disadvantage to creating a sidebar using a <table> tag, with align set equal to "right"?  The end result seems to look the same in Internet Explorer, but the table version has the advantage of working in Netscape.  Just wondering about Joel's reasoning for using the <span> tag instead of a <table> tag.

Thanks for considering these questions.

Alex Chernavsky
Wednesday, August 21, 2002

New HTML file really means "create a file that's not an article."  You can make the file suffix whatever you like: .txt .css .doc or what have you.

I usually drag files like this from Win Explorer and almost never create HTML files.  Some of our clever forum friends probably have though.

On the sidebar, I use Netscape 4.5 so I know your problem.  "Style" is a way to manage many formatting issues.  I think Joel was trying to demonstate the potential  to many of us.  The first version of CityDesk used a table.

tk
Wednesday, August 21, 2002

"New HTML" was far more useful with the original version of CityDesk in which you didn't control the file names of articles. Therefore you couldn't create an article named index.html, so if you wanted an index.html file, you had to use this.

Thankfully those days are gone.

For more on tables vs. css see http://www.webstandards.org/learn/faq/ (it just goes on and on doesn't it!) In principle the philosophy here at Fog Creek is that people using ancient browsers like Netscape 4.0 users should be able to see every site, but it won't necessarily look as good as it does with modern browsers. We try to adhere to official standards where possible, and we'll make accomodations to work around bugs with popular browsers, but Netscape 4 is just too old and too buggy and too incompatible to care about any more.

Of course, that's just our philosophy -- you're free to do whatever you like in your own templates!

Joel Spolsky
Wednesday, August 21, 2002

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