Just watched Batman Begins and I can honestly say that it was my favourite Batman movie to date. Although it lacks the whimsy of Tim Burton's outings I think it captures rather well the feeling of The Dark Knight Returns which is my favourite Batman graphic novel, whilst not being a reinvention of that story. Also, the Ras al Ghul character pushed some very interesting NWO buttons.

Today has also seen the launch of my first 'commercial' venture into website design ... despite not being the first time I've been asked to design one by a long shot. I've had to pop up a holding page on my own domain, something I should have done a while ago, in order to channel any feedback from the site in the right direction. Working on my own site has now become something of a priority. Interestingly, I was in two minds about claiming design credit for this one on account of having my advice with regard to colour schemes completely over-ridden by the client. I don't like the final colours and I don't think they convey the image of the product particularly well but I had to swallow my pride and take the view that "the customer is always right" ... hopefully this is not a situation that will arise too often. While the design of the site conveys very clearly my 'style', the colours really aren't me at all, and that worries me a little.

Anyway, you can judge for yourself at http://www.apartments-sicily.co.uk.
So I've finally succumbed to the insidious Skype (username Binidj if you're interested) and had got to step 2 of the install screens before becoming involved in my first conference call! Clearly this is more popular than GoogleTalk.

In other news (and appropos my last entry) I've discovered that, contrary to the advice in my O'Reilly Big Book of CSS, the secret to getting font sizes consistent between Internet Explorer and Firefox is to assign a set pixel value to the fonts rather than to assign general sizes (like "normal" or "small") ... having solved this I am now slightly better disposed toward Firefox than previously.
So I've agreed to design another website for someone, not a problem you might think, I enjoy writing html and css and I even enjoy solving problems.

Everything is, indeed, lovely until it comes to cross-browser testing. There was an amount of jiggling that needed to be done to get pages to display properly in Opera and Firefox (Firefox still looks ropy but is at least readable) which was a good thing because it forced me to tighten-up my external stylesheet. Now, however, I'm trying to get a gallery page going. The thing is working perfectly in IE, needs some jiggling in Firefox and doesn't work at all in Opera (which is usually my favourite browser to work with). The initial solution I had seemed to be the best (using anchors on images in a div with hidden scrolling) but clearly I'm going to have to look at some other way of doing things because I can't have the page only working on some browsers.

I hate all this browser-specific nonsense (and it's not just IE that's at fault either) ... it's enough to make me quit writing sites.

Firefox has been appropriately jiggled and is now indistinguishable (aside from font size) from the IE version. Opera is resolutely refusing to play ball, even though it is recognising the links.
So the muse hit me at about midnight last night and I just couldn't go to bed until it was propitiated. So there was me slaving over a hot pc making some significant changes to a site I'd been asked to make some years ago (those who know the tale of this particular site need no further introduction, those who don't know the tale probably don't need to). After an extremely profitable few hours I finally rolled into bed at about 4.30am.

This morning I take a look at the previous night's work and on IE it looks ok, on Opera it looks really quite good but on Firefox it looks like the html equivalent of a crayon scribble. I thought Opera was supposed to be the picky browser? I'm going to have to fix this at some point, there are too many Firefox users around these days to let it slide ... Grrr!

ETA: Fixed one aspect of the Firefox mess, improved on a minor visual trick on IE (though it doesn't work quite so convincingly in Opera or Firefox), now I just have to find a way to make the text render the same size across all three browsers ... waaaaaah!
I am rather desperately in need of some advice with regard to a piece of JavaScript I'm using (or trying to use) on a site I'm building1. Unfortunately (a) my JavaScript skills are execrable and (b) this is pretty much key to the site. So are any of you lovely people well-versed enough in JavaScript and bored enough to help me out?

If you can help, please drop me an email or give me a ring and I'll fill in more details.

1Irritatingly, if Internet Explorer actually handled CSS correctly I wouldn't need any blasted JavaScript. *grumble*
I stumbled upon nobodyhere.com today. If you want to see web design as an art form go there and play.

Also, whilst on the subject of links, if you haven't watched this short film yet, give yourself a treat.

July 2010

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