About The Themes

From time to time, I change the default colour scheme of this web site, for no other reason than I want to. However should you prefer an earlier colour scheme you can select it below.

About Validation

Until recently, it was an implementation goal of the site that each page would validate to "XSLT 1.0 Strict". Lately, it's become increasingly clear that the validation rules are arbitrary and unnecessarily restrictive, and so validation is no longer a useful requirement. In particular, I recently decided that I wanted to improve the accessibility of the site by adding WAI-ARIA landmark roles to each page since they are supported by the screen reader JAWS 10. Unfortunately, the current validators do not support the necessary ARIA markup, so to add the roles it is necessary to break validation. To me, web accessibility trumps validation every time and so those roles have no been added. The other original technical site goal, to meet the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) AA requirements remain in place.

About Browser Compatibility

The design philosophy is that the pages should look and work correctly on standards compliant browsers, and should be usable on as many browsers as is possible. All features of the page work correctly in the latest version of IE for Windows, Firefox, Opera, Safari and Chrome.

I test the site with IE 6 and 7 since although they are no longer the latest version, they are both still widely used. There are, in fact subtle differences between the pages sent to IE and those sent to the other major browsers but they are not ordinarily noticeable.

The IE 8 rendering modes make for an odd situation. The site works fine in IE 8 standards mode, so when visiting the site using IE 8, the pages are locked to standards mode, and you cannot select "IE7 compatibility" mode. The reason for doing this is that there is a small problem with using the site in "IE7 compatibility" mode, even though it works fine in a real IE 7 browser.

Older browsers have all kinds of problems handing the site as well as the most recent versions and I recommend that if you don't have the latest version of your preferred browser, that you upgrade if you can. However, it remains a goal that the site should be usable in any browser, so the pages should degrade in such a way, that should you be using an old browser version, all pages should be available to you.

If you find any problem with the site, please let me know. You can send me a message via the "Webmaster" option on the contact page.

On 'Public Beta' Browsers

At the time of writing, I'm not aware of any problems using the site introduced by public beta browsers.

About Page Construction

Some of the newsletters are initially created in Adobe InDesign CS from text fragments and pictures supplied by email. The photographs and clipart are often modified in CorelDraw 9 and/or Adobe Photoshop. The page elements are tagged up and then put into and ordered structure within InDesign and then exported as XML. Other pages are created directly in XML, using a common schema.

When the page is requested, the XML file is loaded into ASP.NET which applies a standard XSL transformation to it, converting it into XHTML 1.0 Strict. This output is sent to the browser.

Acknowledgments

The image used in the banner is adapted from a photo by Muffet/Liz West under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic licence.

Acknowledgments

The image used in the banner is adapted from a photo by Grant McDonald under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic licence.

Acknowledgments

The image used in the banner is adapted from a photo by Ronald Saunders under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic licence.

Nick Stimpson