HTML Writers Guild Guild Operations Events 280601 Meeting

Town Hall Meeting - 28 June 2001

(What follows is a log of the meeting, generated by the host's mIRC software.)

[20:32] *** torrey has joined #townhall
[20:32] <Jay> Both were great by I had a little trouble with Flash as it was very fast paced...and I had no graphic design experience...but all in all this is a great organization.
[20:32] <Fred> How did you like them? Hello torrey.
[20:33] <torrey> Hello.  Stopping in for the fist time to see what HWG is talking about.
[20:33] <Jay> Does the HWG have any Face-to-Face meetings or conventions during the year or are they usually strictly online?
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[20:34] <Janice> Hello all!
[20:34] *** torrey is now known as Torrey
[20:34] <Jay> modem/phone cable came loose.
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[20:34] <Fred> We have discussed holding conferences or something like that in the past, but just haven't been able to move past the talking phase.
[20:34] *** Jay has quit IRC (Bye.)
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[20:35] <Fred> Hello Janice.
[20:35] <Jay> Whoops I think my modem/phone cord came loose for a minute.
[20:35] <Janice> Hello, Fred. I think you were here last time.
[20:35] <Fred> Jay, did you see my reply?
[20:35] <Jay> No.
[20:36] <Fred> We have discussed holding face to face conferences and such in the past, but unfortunately haven't been able to move past the talking phase yet.
[20:36] *** Fred is now known as FredGB
[20:37] <Jay> Gotcha....I just thought it would be a fun idea.
[20:37] <FredGB> So do we, but it takes money to put those things on.
[20:37] <FredGB> And we just haven't had enough to do it.
[20:38] <Janice> uhmmm....are you folks waiting for a topic?
[20:38] <Jay> where does our annual membership fee go? Servers...electricity and the like?
[20:39] <FredGB> Rental of the office space in Florida, utilities, salaries for our few employees, and a few other bills and such.
[20:40] <FredGB> Janice, no topic to speak of yet. Would you like to submit one?
[20:40] <Jay> That's what I thought....we have physical offices in where ....Naples?
[20:40] <Janice> Sure. Here goes...
[20:40] <FredGB> Punta Gorda.
[20:40] <Janice> I'm on a W3C accessibility standards kick right now. I've been told 3 different things...
[20:40] <FredGB> I have no idea where exactly that's at. :-)
[20:40] <Janice> 1) You MUST convert tables to layers; (cute, FredGB)
[20:41] <Janice> 2) You MUST convert layers to tables;
[20:41] <Janice> and 3) It doesn't matter whether you use layers, tables or combinations.
[20:41] <Janice> Who's right?
[20:41] <FredGB> Okay...
[20:41] <Jay> Gotcha...we have physical offices in Naples FL is that right?
[20:42] <FredGB> Tables are considered a "don't" in accessibility because screen readers (older ones mostly) cannot read them properly.
[20:42] <FredGB> So I think 1 is the most correct.
[20:42] <Janice> Ewww, yuck. I was afraid of that. That leads to a little more lengthy question:
[20:43] <Janice> Our company webmaster was showing us how to create in invisible table the other day to overlay...
[20:43] <FredGB> Modern screen readers for the blind are better able to use tables, I've heard, but there are still plenty of older ones out there.
[20:43] <Jay> messages aren't showing up on the main screen for some reason...but anyway I have to take a little nap before my all night flight back to the States.
[20:43] <Jay> Have a good meeting.
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[20:44] <FredGB> Thanks for coming Jay.
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[20:45] <FredGB> Hello your-nick.
[20:45] <Janice> ...over a bordered background we all use. It includes a dot.gif file that holds the table width....
[20:45] <Janice> bye, jay - sorry you have to leave...
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[20:45] <Janice1> Whoa, I'm back in here as Janice1; weird!
[20:46] *** Janice1 is now known as JaniceF
[20:47] <JaniceF> hello, anyone? did we all lose connection?
[20:47] <FredGB> Still here.
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[20:47] <JaniceF> OK, whew! Thought I was out here all alone....creepy even in a chatroom....
[20:47] <JaniceF> Did you get any part of my second question?
[20:48] <FredGB> I got about the dot.gif to hold the table width, nothing after that.
[20:49] <JaniceF> Okay. I'm afraid if I convert this invisible table to layers that it will defeat our purposes for using it,...
[20:49] <JaniceF> which is to maintain 1 column for buttons and the other column for text / images...Make sense?
[20:50] <FredGB> I think I understand.
[20:50] <JaniceF> Will layers hold the spacing for me?
[20:51] <FredGB> First off, let me say I'm not an accessibility guru. You would probably be better off asking Kynn Bartlett (GB member. address But...
[20:52] <FredGB> I think what you may need is Cascading Style Sheet to get multi-colums that are more accessible.
[20:54] <FredGB> The accessibility Guidelines reccommend CSS heavily for formatting. Honestly though, I don't know if they do multi-columns or not as I've never used them.
[20:54] <JaniceF> OK, I'll check it out. I'm fairly new at all this, and it's all finally starting to come together anyway. At least I know what CSS is!
[20:54] <JaniceF> Thank you.
[20:54] <FredGB> But I do know...
[20:55] <FredGB> that tables for formatting purposes are frowned upon generally, and especially for accessibility.
[20:55] <JaniceF> OK. Thought so. I'll check with Kynn and then I'll look into CSS more. Probably time for another class.
[20:55] <FredGB> BTW, why is the webmaster using a dot.gif file to control table width??
[20:56] <FredGB> TABLE has a width attribute.
[20:56] <JaniceF> We have a background with a left-side border, and generally have a .gif image at the top - she is trying to give...
[20:56] <JaniceF> us a way to place the top .gif in the first row of the table (by combining the 2 cells -- this is a 2x2 table)....
[20:57] <JaniceF> and then uses the dot.gif placeholder to stretch the width of row 2, col 1 cell to be wide enough to cover the
[20:57] <JaniceF> left-side border (where we can then place text links or buttons) and uses the dot.gif file again to set the ...
[20:58] <JaniceF> row 2, col 2 cell the remaining width where we will place text/images/etc. BTW this is her way of keeping
[20:58] <JaniceF> the screen width at 640 pixels, regardless of what screen size, etc. the person accessing the page may be using...
[20:59] <JaniceF> whew, that was a long explanation. sorry
[20:59] <JaniceF> Want to see an example
[20:59] <FredGB> Yeah.
[20:59] <JaniceF> OK, give me a minute to find the URL.
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[21:01] <Alex> hi folks how is your evening going ?
[21:01] <JaniceF> OK, FredGB -- go to and view source - search for dot.gif
[21:01] <FredGB> All she has to do is either set the table width to WIDTH="640"  the individual table cells to WIDTH="320".
[21:02] <FredGB> Hello Alex. BRB.
[21:02] <JaniceF> THEN, go to a page I literally slapped together in an afternoon:
[21:02] <JaniceF> We are using similar concept -- background with some time of top/side border and she uses dot.gif for placement; I didn't.
[21:03] <JaniceF> At our webmasters' meeting this week, everyone seemed to think her idea excellent. She's renowned for her
[21:03] <JaniceF> web design. But being a dogsbody, I am questioning using tables period.
[21:03] <JaniceF> I'm done. -- Hi, Alex@!
[21:03] <JaniceF> oops, Alex
[21:06] <FredGB> Your page looks very good Janice.
[21:06] <JaniceF> Thanks, lots to do though. Haven't even begun really.
[21:07] <JaniceF> But do you see what I mean about her site? Granted, it's fairly old as far as her pages go, but she's been using dot.gif FOREVER.
[21:07] <FredGB> I just don't understand why she is using WIDTH in the cells, and the image too. It's redundant as far as I can see. And adds unneeded download time.
[21:08] <JaniceF> I wondered about that, too. I'll quiz her some before next Town Hall - maybe there's an obscure reason I'm missing. Thanks for looking. I appreciate it.
[21:09] <FredGB> Unless she's considering people using old browsers that don't recognize WIDTH in a data cell.
[21:10] <JaniceF> Hmm...I think she's allowing for 4.0 versions of IE and I'm not sure what on Netscape. We're a university, and some of our users will have state-of-the-art; some will not. We're going with a max pixel width of 640; she'd prefer 600. She's trying to get all of us to standardize as much as possible and is on a standards committe for that reason.
[21:11] <JaniceF> BTW this lady usually has a reason; either I'm getting smarter and therefore finally asking questions, or this is a first for me to question her.
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[21:12] <FredGB> Re hi Alex.
[21:13] <JaniceF> I have a new topic! :)
[21:13] <FredGB> BRB. I want to check on something.
[21:13] <JaniceF> Anyone have an opinion about Thunder Lizard's conferences?
[21:13] <FredGB> Hold that thought.
[21:15] <FredGB> Back, and what is Thunder Lizard?
[21:15] <FredGB> :-)
[21:16] <JaniceF> I get a newsletter that announces web conferences; seems like Thunder Lizard holds conferences relating to this. They are announcing a 'huge' web conference in San Francisco in September....BRB I'll see if I have their URL here....
[21:18] <JaniceF> I was right -- it's -- and I'm considering 2 of their conferences - their Dreamweaver conference in San Francisco and then Web Builder '01 in New Orleans....didn't know if any of you had heard of these guys before?
[21:19] <Alex> hi fred whatsup?
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[21:20] <FredGB> I haven't.
[21:20] <FredGB> There are so many conferences nowadays.
[21:20] <JaniceF> Other than HWG's conference -- which will be a DREAM for me if I ever get to go -- do you have suggestions for other good conferences?
[21:21] <JaniceF> Let me rephrase - do you know of reputable conference coordinators that I can check into? The list of conferences would be VERY long....<grin>
[21:21] <FredGB> No I don't. Sorry.
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[21:22] <JaniceF> Thanks, anyway. Time for me to head off to the next job. Thanks, FredGB. 'Nite all.
[21:22] <FredGB> I personally don't go to conferences, so I usually gloss over their ads.
[21:22] <FredGB> Wait Janice.
[21:23] <JaniceF> (so that's how you whisper) sorry...yes?
[21:23] <FredGB> I wanted to let you know that HWG is going to create an accessibility mailing list soon.
[21:23] <JaniceF> Really? Do I just keep an eye out for that list, or will it be a discussion list?
[21:24] <FredGB> It hasn't started yet, but when it does, you might try your question there if you don't write to Kynn.
[21:24] <FredGB> There should be an announcement in the newsletter, and on the web site.
[21:24] <JaniceF> Who's heading up the list? Would that be Kynn? (and is Kynn male or female) I kept his/her E-mail address.
[21:24] <JaniceF> Oh, ok.
[21:25] <FredGB> It'll be like our regular lists, and Kynn is a he. :-)
[21:25] <JaniceF> Thanks. I appreciate these meetings, you know. Maybe I'll have some better questions next month.
[21:25] <FredGB> But he can definitely help you if you can't wait.
[21:25] <JaniceF> Gotta go. Brain-fry has set in. G'nite.
[21:26] <FredGB> Good night
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[21:26] <Alex> good nite janice
[21:27] <FredGB> So Alex, it's just you and me. Anything you would like to ask or comment on concerning HWG?
[21:33] <FredGB> How about you bytegate? You don't have to lurk all night you know. :-)
[21:43] <FredGB> Anybody
[21:43] <FredGB> ??
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[22:07] <FredGB> Having some trouble Alex?
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[22:38] <FredGB> Well, I guess I'll call it a night.

End of meeting.

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