Twitter Writes a Post about role=presentation

There is an ARIA role called “presentation” in the WAI ARIA spec. With Twitter’s help, Denis Boudreau wrote this post about it.

This is how it started:

Then @jsutt took up the idea with this:

Denis Boudreau to the rescue!

 

 

 

As you see, this ARIA role has specific and limited use. I wasn’t sure where a front end developer who was only working with semantic HTML would even consider using it.

 

Oh, at last the light dawns. This is what developers building apps sometimes need to do. Even at that, go back to point one about only using it when you really know what you’re doing and are absolutely sure you want to strip an element of its semantics.

Denis draws us to a sensible conclusion.

 

 

Some Teaching Tips for HTML5 and CSS3 7th Edition

Where I teach, we use HTML5 & CSS3 Visual QuickStart Guide (7th Edition) to teach both the basic HTML and the CSS class. This version of the book came out in 2011.

There’s an 8th Edition released in 2013, but we haven’t switched to it yet. I’m sure we will soon, but for the moment, we are using the 7th edition.

Here are a few teaching tips if you are using the 7th edition, as I currently am.

  • At the time this book was written, there was no <main> element in the spec. I suggest you change the layout suggested in Chapter 3 to use the <main> element for the left column. Use the landmark role role="main" with it.
  • Chapter 3 contains a clear explanation of the purposes and uses of both the <section> and <article> element. If you want, you can include an example of these two elements inside the <main> element.
  • Remember that <hgroup> has disappeared from the spec.
  • The example files all show empty elements such as <img> with a closing forward slash included: <img />. This provides a perfect opportunity to talk about backwards compatibility, XHTML, and some of the personal choices that are acceptable when writing HTML5.

Meet Megan Smith, New US Chief Technology Officer

MAKERS have several video profiles of Megan Smith, who was recently named Chief Technology Officer for the United States by President Obama.

You can find more films and a biography of Megan Smith at the MAKERS site.



When the video ends, you will be able to see several more short conversations with Megan Smith about technology.

Jeffrey Zeldman: 20 Years of Web Design and Community

This is a wonderful film everyone should watch, especially young people just starting out making web sites who have not lived through the last 20+ years with Jeffrey as their spirit guide.

The film is one of a documentary series from Lynda.com.Thank you to lynda.com for making this one available in its full length free.

There are many other fascinating documentaries on creative topics at lynda.com/vimeo. You must be a paying member of lynda.com to watch them. If you are, I especially recommend that you also watch Creative Insights: Lauren Bacon on Web Design.

The Relevance of Dreamweaver

Stefan Mischook from Studioweb.com posted an article a day or two ago called Is Dreamweaver still Relevant in Web Design? His conclusion was no, it is not.

Granted there are many more ways to make an effective and functional website than there used to be. I often steer people away from Dreamweaver toward some other tool when I don’t think they need to know everything you must know to use Dreamweaver properly.

However, that does not mean that the software is past its useful prime. What that article failed to take into consideration is all the site-wide tools and integrated tools that come with Dreamweaver. Dreamweaver does more than just write HTML and CSS. There are tools save a great deal of time for a developer who knows how to use them. There are tools that track links, update links, manage snippets, write JavaScripts, insert jQuery, write PHP. Dreamweaver works with Photoshop and other Adobe tools in ways that save both time and effort. In many ways, Dreamweaver forces developers to use accessible techniques – something other software doesn’t necessarily do.

I’ve certainly aired some complaints about Dreamweaver since Creative Cloud came along. But that doesn’t mean I think it’s irrelevant.

Anyone who doesn’t know enough to built a good website is going to build a bad website whether they are using Dreamweaver or some other tool. If I use Microsoft Word to write a terrible book, is that the fault of Word? Developers have to know what they are doing. When they do, their choice of software is just a choice. That software will do what they tell it to do.

 

Intro to the Web Developer Toolbar

I always tell students to use the Web Developer Toolbar developed by Chris Pederick. It’s free, it works in Firefox, Opera, or Chrome and it’s very helpful.

This short video explains a bit about it. Although it’s talking about Joomla specifically and is an ad for Lynda.com, it’s still a good video. You hear Jen Kramer doing the description. It’s almost the same speech that I give students when I introduce them to this tool, so I thought it was worth sharing with you.

Review: HTML & CSS: Design and Build Websites


HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites
by Jon Duckett is from Wiley & Sons (2011). This book is a little old (4 years) but I was so impressed with the JavaScript book by the same author and in the same format that I requested a copy from the publisher for review.

Everything I said about pedagogy and color coding in the review of the JavaScript book applies to this book as well. In fact, this book is where the author first honed the techniques used in presenting information so simply and clearly.

An infographic page from the book

A diagram and infographic page from the book

Simple illustrations with color coding and annotations for every point are used to teach the coding rules.

A reference page shows the HTML (or CSS) and the results of using it.

A reference page shows the HTML (or CSS) and the results of using it.

The reference pages are also color coded, with HTML shown in blue and CSS in pink as well as results examples.

As with the JavaScript book, all the code is downloadable. And, as with the JavaScript book, the language used to explain each concept is exceptionally clear and simple. Here’s a quote from the page introducing CSS.

CSS Associates Style Rules with HTML Elements

CSS works by associating rules with HTML elements. These rules govern how the content of specified elements should be displayed. A CSS rule contains two parts: a selector and a declaration.

The book went completely through all the HTML it included (page structure, text, lists, links, images, tables, forms, audio and video and a few other bits of HTML) before getting to any CSS. Normally that would bother me, but it worked in this book. The CSS part of the book included color, text, boxes, lists, tables, forms, layout, images and some info on layout using HTML5.

Where the book is a little out of date is the information about HTML5. It’s no fault of the author, it’s just that the book came out in 2011. A few things are included (like hgroup or codec issues with video elements) that have gone away, and a few things that are more recent (like the main element) didn’t get mentioned. I reduced the star rating on the book because of that, but if I’d seen the book and reviewed it 4 years ago, I would have given it 5 stars. I simply want anyone who buys and uses it now to be aware that small parts of the book in the HTML 5 descriptions are different now. The book is still a perfectly good way to learn HTML and CSS – in fact, the book is an excellent way to learn HTML and CSS.

A review by Virginia DeBolt of HTML & CSS: Design and Build Websites (rating: 4 stars). The rating is based not on the quality of the book but on the fact that some of it is a little out of date.

Summary: Detailed, careful, guide to HTML, CSS and more.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for this review. Opinions are my own. Here is my review policy. Links to Amazon are affiliate links. You can buy the book from Wiley, as well as Amazon. The link to Wiley is not an affiliate link.