Get it All

I’m working on redesigning the front page of this website a bit with a new theme. The new look will be based on the current design, but more flexible, a bit flashier and like my political blog’s front page, more of a representation of the website as a whole, rather than this one blog.

As I’m working along with the new design, I’ve hatched a scheme to create an interesting sidebar which reflects some different thinking than most that I’ve seen. But I’d like this sidebar to – if possible – stretch the entire height of the page. While searching for answers, a Twitter friend suggested this:

Equal height boxes with CSS | Lab | 456 Berea Street.

Great! What a perfect solution, right? Well, not quite. Internet Explorer once again lags behind the rest of the pack with CSS adoption and this CSS table design thing is not available to any browser below IE 8. Currently, IE 8 adoption is happening at a snail’s pace. Three times as many IE users are using 6 and 7 as are using 8.

Give it a few months, and this will be a non-issue. In the meanwhile, I’m thinking I’ll need to work out a CSS hack to provide an acceptable alternative to older browsers while still maintaining the option for FF and IE8 users.

An interesting discussion of the DOCTYPE declaration in WordPress themes. Seems to me that Alex is spot-on with this: you can’t claim a theme as XHTML 1.1 compliant because you can’t know what gets added to it by the end user. Sure, the *theme* might be strict as a school marm. But if the end user chooses to add all manner of sloppy JS widgets for MySpace and whatever else, the final result is not going to be strict at all.

I confess that, even with my own blogs, the “strict” doctype is probably over-selling a bit. Some times – even most of the time – the blogs are not going to be XHTML 1.1 compliant simply because I am constantly experimenting with plugins. Whether those are my own plugins which are currently in a state of disrepair or those I’ve downloaded from just to mess with, there is always the possibility of being out of standard.

And to be honest, while being XHTML compliant is a goal, its more of an ideal than a practicality under the circumstances. For professional paid gigs, that’s another story. But for this little site, well, I don’t call it my hobby horse for nothing!