Garden of Inspiration

One project I am currently working on, as and when, is redesigning my artist website (www.mydepictions.co.uk) and moving it to a CSS (cascading style sheets) based design. The current site was built using HTML and uses tables for the page layout. I quite like this approach and I actually enjoy working with tables, but they are somewhat old-fashioned nowadays in terms of web-standards, and take longer to load in the browser window. So, I am on a mission to produce a "tableless" layout for my website using CSS with XHTML, and, as with the current site, it will be hand-coded.

I will be keeping my code clean and error-free by making regular use of the extremely handy W3validator, and also (with more user-friendly coments) the Wedesign Group CSS Ceck up. (Both of these allow you to upload your page for checking from the PC, so no need to have live pages on the web in order to check.) While valid code isn't essential in website design, I feel it is best to have valid clean-code unless you absolutely know and understand what you are doing. Some errors may have serious consequences in terms of your website being crawled and indexed properly.

One of the bug-bears with style sheets is the way different browsers display the page. A decent website should look good in all the major browsers. This is much more of a challenge with CSS and CSS is generally more demanding technically, so I would definitely recommend gaining a firm knowledge of HTML before learning CSS. Browser statistics currently show a large proportion of internet users still using Internet Explorer 6, 21% (and rising) using Internet Explorer 7, and 37% (also rising) using my favourite Firefox. Perhaps we can look forward to a day when most of the world will be using Firefox! In the meantime, I will not be going live with the new design until I am convinced it looks good in all the top browsers. Its a shame this cannot be said of some commercial sites, I have noticed one or two that are not rendered correctly in Internet Explorer 6.

On my journey of learning CSS I keep visiting the Zen Garden for inspiration..and to see how others have gone about style sheets. Web design is my hobby, not my profession so I do not expect to reach these standards! Just look what some of these guys have accomplished using CSS in the Zen Garden Design List..the HTML is the same in all cases!

Related posts: Building an artist Website

Mydepictions Web Design Resources Page

Another handy validator:Total Validator..you can have a desktop version of this, and there is a Firefox extension which gives you a one-click validator icon.

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