It's all changed!

published: Tue, 1-Jul-2003   |   updated: Thu, 27-Oct-2005

Well, the first thing was that TurboPower Software closed down. From working there I was lucky enough to get free web site hosting. Well, no more, that avenue was closed. I had to find a real hosting company and pay for it. (I chose TDMWeb, by the way. Excellent choice: well recommended.)

The web site hadn't been updated in a long while (a year, in fact). One of the main reasons was that it was a pain to update: a bazillion table cells and one mistake meant hours of tracking down. The look was getting stale, too. In essence I really needed to separate my content from my presentation.

Three choices then: cascading style sheets, XML (and write an XSLT document to convert it to HTML), or blogging. I'd heard about CityDesk from Fog Creek Software so bought it on a whim, rather than go the blogging route (CityDesk can create blogs if needed, although there are some essentials for blogging that CityDesk does not have).

All very well, except that CityDesk produces HTML. I didn't want to do HTML tables again, thanks. And then I finally got some time to myself to learn CSS (Cascading Style Sheets).

And here is the result. The content is held in a CityDesk file and the presentation of it is governed by both some CityDesk templates that I wrote and a master stylesheet that I, quite frankly, sweated buckets over. There are a few tweaks to do admittedly, but it's fast and easy to do them (CityDesk generates and publishes the site in about 5 seconds). Because all the presentation is in the stylesheet, I can change the look of the site in moments. Stylesheets are a wonderful thing.

And unlike a whole lot of web sites out there, my site is fully accessible to those whose sight is failing or who prefer a larger font size. The font sizes in this site are not fixed: they are displayed relative to your preferred browser text setting. Try it: make your text larger or smaller and see how the pages cope (in IE, View | Text Size; in Mozilla Firebird, View | Increase Text Size (or Decrease Text Size)).

Over the next few weeks, I'll describe how I did it, what problems I ran across with both CSS and CityDesk, and how I solved them. Stay tuned.