Q & A: CSS and XHTML; Email Addresses

Nick asked some great questions in a comment to my last entry. Since I know more people are looking for these answers, I’ll post my response here. Sarah,I noticed that the Chinese site looks nice and clean like yours. Is that one CSS too?If I was getting ready to work on some old html site but wanted to move it up into xhtml or better, css, do I need to review the html first or just begin learning how to convert it?By the way, should I never list an email on a webpage? When is it safe?Nick  Hi Nick,Actually, you’re the third person to ask me about learning XHTML this month. XHTML is definitely the way to go, but most tutorials on the web assume you already know HTML (because most of XHTML is HTML. It just has more rules). I wrote an XHTML tutorial for beginners over the summer, but haven’t put it on the web yet (thanks for reminding me that I should). I’ll email it to you if you’d like. Otherwise, yeah, you probably need to start with HTML.CSS resources, on the other hand, are plentiful. Have you been to CSS Zen Garden yet? It’s mostly a just-for-fun site, showing off how extremely versatile CSS can be. But you can also copy their techniques and incorporate them into your work.Most sites (like this one and newsinchinese.com) use a combo of CSS and XHTML or HTML. Some people use CSS for the layout of the site (like making columns), and some people just use it for the visual style (fonts, colors, etc). Either way, it needs to sit in an XHTML or HTML framework.If you’re writing the code from scratch, I’d recommend using XHTML for your layout because CSS layout can be quirky on some browsers. But if you’ve found a template that someone’s spent some time making stable with some intense CSS, go for it. Either way, you should definitely use CSS for your fonts and colors.So basically, you have to learn a bit of everything: HTML, XHTML, and CSS. But they build on each other, and it makes a lot more sense once you get rolling. Start with tutorials and you’ll build up an understanding quickly.Your other question: Should I never list an email on a webpage? When is it safe?Here’s the thing. If the webpage is indexed by Google, you can pretty much guarantee that at some point, that email address will get picked up by some robot email collector and put you on a spam list (or a hundred). A lot of people now obscure their email addresses by putting them in a different format, for example: sarah [at] sarahdopp [dot] com. But that’s a pain for readers to have to translate into a real email address, so it’s a catch-22. I’ve also seen people present their email addresses in graphics. They’re displayed correctly, but a reader can’t copy-paste them. If making it easy on people is your priority and you can suck up some spam, just list the email address. If you’d like to stay on the spam-free side of life and your audience is fairly tech-savvy, go with cryptic. But either way, you should offer an email address on your website. People need to email you!Good luck! And let me know how else I can help.Sarah

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3 Responses to “Q & A: CSS and XHTML; Email Addresses”

  1. Nick Says:

    Yes, an unbelievable amount of understanding is to be found in the Zen Garden. I see now, I see, I think. So to start out I can do some writing in XHTML and afterwards begin with CSS by spiffing up my fonts and layouts?

    CSS is a visual framework for HTML?

    …anyway I pose my question more to the tutorials with whom I have an appointment.

    I’ll let you know how it goes.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Yeah, I’d suggest starting with one page. Build the layout in XHTML, and then plug in the CSS for aeshetics. Once you’ve got that page looking good, use it as a template to build your other pages.

    XHTML is the cake. CSS is the frosting.

    Some people build entire cakes out of frosting, though. And if they’re not done right, they collapse.

    Okay, enough metaphor. Go to it!

  3. ingiltere ogrenci vizesi Says:

    it looks like a nice site, but it would better with multi language support, for example spanish.. but thanks..