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Old Way Chapters

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Old Way Chapters

In HTML, XHTML, and CSS, Sixth Edition: Visual QuickStart Guide, I was faced with a quandary. Should I continue to talk about old, deprecated tags that had fallen out of favor? I've never been much of an extremist and don't like to dictate gospel. At the same time, I don't want new Web page designers to come across really old-fashioned tags like font and unwittingly use them in a professional setting. On the other, other hand, it feels like the book isn't complete if it doesn't cover the entire specifications, and whether the W3C likes it or not, the font tag is still perfectly valid HTML and XHTML (as long as you're using a Transitional Doctype). Perhaps more importantly, there are still places that use these tags and it's helpful to know what they mean.

So, I decided to take the chapters out of the printed book and offer them to you here on my Web site. The chapters included appear exactly as they did in the Fifth Edition, including page references and black and white illustrations. While I did consider updating these chapters, I'd rather spend my energy going forward with some new ideas.

You can find individual download links at the end of each of the explanations below. You'll need Adobe's Acrobat Reader to view them on your computer. To get the chapters, you'll also need the password that you'll find on page 25 of the Sixth Edition.

Here's a brief explanation of why none of these chapters were included in the print edition:

I thought frames were the cat's pajamas back when they were introduced. (The example page that I created as I was exploring frames continues to be one of the most popular areas of my entire Web site.) Frames seemed like the ideal way to combine static navigation and branding areas with dynamic content areas. Frames have several disadvantages, however. First, their scroll bars take up a lot of space in the browser window. Second, they take all the power away from the visitor, since the size of the various frames is all up to the designer. Third, browsers don't navigate them that well, dealing with only the main frameset's URL instead of each individual frame's URL. If a visitor attempts to bookmark the page that's showing, they often don't get what they expect.
The death knell came from search indexes. Because a frameset may be made up of several files, and each of these files may be indexed individually, it was entirely possible that the navigation area or a content area might appear by itself in a search index—with no supporting frames.
The standard way to achieve static and dynamic areas in a Web page is to repeat a portion of the page—generally the navigation or branding areas—and then change just the part that is different. Use CSS to position the static areas in precisely the same position. This Web site is set up in that fashion. Note how the navigation areas to the left and top remain (relatively) static while the lower right content area changes.
Download the Frames chapter
Back in 2002, when I wrote the Fifth Edition of this book, it looked like WML might win the day with mobile Web sites. There were few phones that could read XHTML and fewer still that could use CSS. Today, that has all shifted. While most phones still understand WML, most phones also can understand XHTML and CSS. And not only is it easier to learn a single technology instead of two, it's much easier to write one set of Web pages and leverage them for two (or more) purposes by creating a CSS style sheet just for mobile visitors.
Download the WML chapter
Formatting: The Old Way
The HTML tags in the first "Old Way" chapter were already on their way out when I relegated them to the back of the Fifth Edition. They are basefont and font elements for controlling size, color, and font face, the text, link, vlink, alink attributes of the body element for changing the color of text and links, the strike and u elements which have been replaced by the logical elements del and ins, and the completely non-standard blink element which was one of Netscape's more popular and most hated extensions.
Of those tags, only strike and u are remotely acceptable by Web page designers. Nevertheless, I continue to see the font element used and generated by Web page programs so you may want to know how it works.
I do not recommend using any of the elements explained in this chapter.
Download Formatting: The Old Way
Layout: The Old Way
If the elements in the Formatting: The Old Way chapter are unfashionable, many of the elements in this chapter are downright illegal, never having made it into the official specifications. There is one element, however, that I decided could not be removed altogether. That is center. While the center tag is supposedly an abbreviation for <div align="center">, it is blissfully straightforward and simple, although deprecated. I brought it back to the Basic Formatting chapter on page 79 of the Sixth Edition. The rest of the stuff in the Layout: The Old Way chapter should probably best be forgotten. I offer it to you here for historical purposes only.
Download Layout: The Old Way