Off Season Tourist - India Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta
Two weeks in India, 2003 Notes from the Off Season Tourist
Design Method - and a Netscape design glitch
How learning new programming languages brings design glitches.

In order to build this site I learned the basics about two pieces of web design. Personal Home Page programming (PHP) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). There is one glitch. If you view this site in Netscape then white lines probably appear in the navigation bar … we don't know how to fix that yet.

PHP (Personal Home Page) programming


In the past I have had to write the code for navigation in every single page throughout my site. This means that if I changed anything I had to do it on every page! With PHP I am able to create a standard template in each section and then every page in that section simply reads that navigation page. Therefore I have only four navigation files to update instead of, what could be 50 pages. Woo hoo!

PHP also allows me to do some things that I have never done before. For instance, look at the Headlines page in the rambles section. This looks like I have simply repetatively coded alot of news headline information. In actuality, I wrote one piece of code and have a .txt file with all the data for the news. PHP allows me to write a simple template which is then populated with all the data in the text file. I hope to learn how to create Previous and Next buttons automatically so that all the news doesn't have to be listed on one page.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)


In the past, when I want a specific (although generic) font to be used, I have had to do a lot to specify the font to use. Not only would this be done for every page, but for every change of font on the page. With CSS, I am able to create a file with the design styles for things like the section header (the white text in a blue box for instance) or the sub title with a line under it. Evry page knows to tell the browser to read these styles so that it looks the same no matter who is reading the web page.

So what? Well, lets say that I decided I don't like the blue background on the section title. All I need do is change it once in the CSS file and the change happens automatically and instantly throughout the entire website.

There is a glitch, which you can see if you are using Netscape to look at this site. For some reason, in Netscape, the CSS style that creates an area for our pictures and puts a margin around expands everything slightly, so that small white lines appear when you place the mouse over the navigation bar. When I learn more about CSS I intend to fix this, but I need to enjoy India more than fixing code.
 

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