HTML Writers Guild Guild Operations Events 991221 Meeting

Town Hall Meeting - 21 December 1999

(What follows is a log of the meeting, automatically generated by the eShare software.)

Tana well, i'll putz around a bit, and check back in a few (but will lurk here in the meantime)
Chris Hi all
Host jbGB Hey Chris.
Tana hi chris
Chris Big turnup :)
Host jbGB Who're you calling a Big Turnip!! ;-)
Chris ROFL
Tana lol
Host FredGB Hi Chris. I was trying to figure out how to log in mIRC. Kynn said before that the log function wasn't working on the server.
MAM ( has joined the conversation.
Host jbGB I have one running, just double checked that it's recording.
Host FredGB Good, cause I turned mine on late.
Host Chris Mine should still be configured to record - I'll pass it on later
Host FredGB Hello Mam.
MAM Hi Fred
MAM Hi Chris
Tana hi MAM
Host Chris Hi MAM
MAM Hi Tana & jb
Host jbGB Hello.
MAM late getting here tonight, had to string a line to another phone jack
Host FredGB Bummer.
MAM yeah, my phone went dead for 3 days and 1 jack is still out. you should see my e-mail
Tana MAM: that's what public libraries are for :)
Tana (my monitor died back in september and i learned about that option!)
MAM I haven't read any computer books yet, not starting now
MAM have another question for you this month. what is cold fusion?
Tana no, no ... most libraries have a room full of computers!
Tana for the public to use :)
MAM Nah Tana, i like my toys
Host FredGB CF is a database system developed by Allaire (the makers of HomeSite).
Host FredGB It may do some other things, but being a web site database is the biggie.
MAM is there a site that explains what it does?
Host FredGB You could try the Allaire site, and look for the Cold Fusion icon, links, etc.
Host FredGB I've never used it myself.
MAM is there a difference between xml and this?
Host FredGB More than likely. XML is Frank's forte, and he's not here.
bayston (bayston@ has joined the conversation.
Host FredGB Hello bayston.
bayston hello folks
MAM hi bayston
Tana hi bayston
MAM do all these databases follow the same standard or is everyone going off on their own thing
Host Chris SQL is pretty standard with ODBC for accessing databases
MAM oh no! i've been trying to avoid ODBC after the last attempt of adding reports to an existing database.
Host Chris I've never got it to work either *LOL*
MAM it would have worked but the developer and i didn't see eye to eye
Host Chris I picked up a demo disk of CF some time back - perhaps they have a trial version from their site.
MAM i'll check it out since quite a number of jobs are requesting it over xml
Host Chris XML is still a little too new
MAM i haven't had time to check your classes, don't you have one for xml
Host FredGB BRB.
Tana *wave* ... i'll try to attend another (busier (g)) meeting
Tana ( has left the conversation.
bayston I've got a question about HWG/Gutenburg Project - why "xml" instead of "html" or even "xhtml"?
Host Chris Introduction to XML
Dates: January 17, 2000 - February 25, 2000 (6 weeks)
Host Chris (I was just looking at the classes :)
MAM guess it's time to sign up. bayston has a good question
Host Chris Drat, I knew I should have read the newsletter
MAM don't feel bad, i didn't either
Host FredGB From what I understand (again, I'm not an xml expert) it has something to do with the way they want the books, etc. formatted.
Host jbGB If I knew more about each I'd answer. But the short answer is that each project/task has a 'best solution,' and it's the designer's job to pick the best/fastest/easiest/mos economical.
Host Chris I think the big advantage is that it is platform independent
Host Chris ie. it doesn't assume that all people accessing the content will be using a web browser
bayston ???
Host jbGB That's always a big advantage. One reason I'll probably never look at CF is that they don't have a *nix version. And as soon as Bill fixes the memory leakage problems I'll -consider- upgrading from Win16. :)
Host Chris Perhaps User-Agent independent is a better term than platform independent
bayston I don't think I understand enough about XML. Better sign up for that course, I guess!
Host FredGB Web surfing isn't done just on computers anymore, bayston. You now have all sorts of handheld mobile devices that access the web.
Host jbGB Oh no, these are all UA-independant. A major factor -is- server platform.
Host Chris eg that nifty mobile telephone James Bond had
MAM does this mean CF only runs on 32? handheld as in palm pilot?
Host jbGB CF is a 'server thing.' There are no palmtop servers (that I know of) yet. :) I am 'assuming' that it runs only on 32 bit because no one supports Win 16 any more.
MAM interesting, numerous internal apps are still 16 bit. do i see crash in the future?
MAM another question: i don't surf but will a lot of sites disappear next year from lack of interest?
Host jbGB 16 bit apps, yes. Server stuff, no, or almost no, at least not for 'serious' server stuff. But I take back part of what I said, there is a Linux version.
Host jbGB Lack of interest in 'what'? Every site has it's own topic.
Host FredGB People who put up personal pages usually don't care much about traffic, it's just a nice thing to have, and point your friends and relatives to.
MAM on-line buying, clothing/household/that stuff; has limited selections. some sites offer just links to other places without any useful information, things like that
Host jbGB 'Useful information' is a matter of knowing how to use the appropriate search engine. There's more info out there every day for anyone interested in a particular topic. more...
Host FredGB On-line buying will get better each year, maybe even each month. They're already saying more people are buying online for Christmas this year than last
Host jbGB The commercial stuff is just what 'supports' the net. Right now it's in it's infancy, can't gauge much by that.
Host FredGB The web is kind of like what the voice in "Field of Dreams" said,...
Host FredGB If you build it, they will come.
MAM give me a way to turn off the banners and pop ups
Host jbGB Well, that ain't -necessarily- true, but if you build it right, fast, accurate, and attractive, they will come.
Host jbGB DISABLE JS!!! No popups. :)
Host FredGB For some sites, it may not be many, but they will come.
Host FredGB Okay, no javascript, but what about java alone? :-)
MAM i'm one of the few who don't get paid for links to other commercial sites. i feel if it's a good service or product i'll tout it for nothing.
MAM sorry, i'm not a shopper so i don't need advertisements
Host jbGB J is more dangerous/hazardous than JS is annoying. :)
Host FredGB I don't mind ads as long as they don't screw up the page or my browser.
Host FredGB Well sorry Jim, but I've got java on one of my astronomy club's pages, and I ain't taking them off! :-)
MAM there's so much java out there you can't turn off the java enable any more
Host jbGB I don't mean to say that it doesn't have it's uses on TRUSTED sites. But for generic roaming, not a chance for me.
Amber (~Amber@ has joined the conversation.
Host FredGB Hello Amber.
MAM hi amber
Host Chris Hi Amber
Host jbGB J problems are far too common a topic in Bugtraq to just leave it running indiscriminately.
Amber Hi everyone. Just having a look around.
Host Chris Gee I'm observant - I've just noticed the host symbol next to my name :)
MAM wasn't it there last month?
bayston MAM, to turn off most ads and popups, get AdsOff.exe - it's shareware!
Host jbGB All GBers typically get wunna them Chris. :)
MAM thanks bayston, now i can click where i want without a window popping up to get in the way
Host FredGB Geocities, Xoom, Tripod, et al are gonna love the developer of that program!! :-)
Host Chris Add Angelfire to the list too
Host FredGB Well I said "et al". :-)
MAM not to worry, the majority actually read them and go there
MAM i'm off to sign up for class, read the newsletter and think of a question for next month.
Host FredGB Okay, goodnight MAM.
MAM hope to chat with all of you again. Ta-Ta
Host jbGB Cool! Have a :) day!
MAM ( has left the conversation.
bayston I better be going too. Bye all. Happy holidays!
Host FredGB Night bayston.
bayston (bayston@ has left the conversation.
Host FredGB So Amber, since you have 3 GBers all to yourself, anything you want to ask, or comment on?
Amber Actually, I just turned up to see what goes on at a townhall meeting. Did I get the wrong time?
Host jbGB BUT I advise you to be careful. Because what that means is that if we don't know the answer we can blow smoke from three different directions. :)
Host FredGB Not really. Our start time is 9:30 PM eastern, but we go as long as someone's here.
Host Chris 1:30, but there weren't many here
Host Chris Oops - that's supposed to be 6:30 PST
Host FredGB We usually meet on Thursday nights, but we moved because of the holiday this month.
Host jbGB Second or third Thurs? I forget.
Host FredGB 4th actually.
Host FredGB 3rd is the GB meeting.
Host Chris I'm glad we moved it - I'll be driving home this time Friday (I mean, Thursday :)
Amber Hmm, time zones are confusing :)
Host FredGB Even more so for Chris.
Host FredGB He's in Australia, and actually a day ahead of us.
Amber Anyway, what's normally discussed here? Obviously apps for removing ads, etc.
Host Chris That used to always confuse the List Guides when I'd accidentally tell them the meeting was on Friday *LOL*
Host jbGB Anything related to HWG appropriate topics.
Host Chris Actually Amber - it's a chance for all members within the Guild to have a say, ask questions, and meet the people currently making decisions
Amber Hi Chris. I'm also in Australia. At least I got the right day :)
Host FredGB But we pretty free form, so all kinds of things can come up too.
Host FredGB It's quiet.
Amber Do any of you know if there are any intermediate courses planned? For example, CSS or HTML? Or are the classes going to be kept fairly basic, with an "experiment and then ask us questions" approach?
Host Chris Good question!
Host FredGB We have talked about having different class levels.
Host Chris Intro/Basic/Intermediate/Advanced
Host jbGB We are getting a -lot- of requests for intermediate and advanced classes and are considering how to evolve.
Host Chris Isn't Kynn's WAI class amost an intermediate/advanced HTML?
Host FredGB I couldn't say.
Host jbGB Accessibility is a discipline rather than a technique.
Host Chris But it uses some of the "advanced" (or lesser known) structures of HTML
Host FredGB Like TITLE, CSS, etc.
Host Chris yes - title, longdesc, accesskey
Host jbGB Sure, but can leave out the advanced stuff and the 'theory' is still valid. He uses 'current' stuff because it is 'standard,' not necessarily advanced.
Host Chris agreed
Host jbGB OTOH maybe it's just me that thinks 'advanced' means 'use -everything- you need to make a good site.' It's more than just P, BR, IMG, and OL.
Host Chris Now there's a good discussion topic! Does advanced HTML equate with good website practice?
Amber I would think that advanced techiques and accessibility would go hand in hand? If you use advanced HTML, then I think there would be more scope to lock out part of your audience (by accident). And you really need to be aware if any of the advanced features you want use are proprietary and/or aren't supported by your audience's 'most used' browser.
Host jbGB There are no equates. I can write the -ultimate- in crap with the most advanced features, or a perfectly presentable site using the simplest.
Host jbGB Tools don't make the craftsman.
Host Chris I see the "advanced HTML" course as an introduction to the tools, not how to make a good site :-)
Host jbGB Exactly. 'These are the tools, this is how you use them, now have at it!'
Host FredGB Amber, you mentioned proprietary features. If you write to the W3C standard, that isn't supposed to be a problem.
Host Chris Amber - when you say "advanced HTML" - you are you meaning the coding specification or rather techniques to add sound/bells/whistles to a site?
Host Chris (I think we are on the same track Fred :)
Host jbGB Conversly, a -craftsman- can do very good work with average tools. Michaelangelo could have carved the Pieta with a Boy Scout penknife. :)
Amber Do you know who I should contact with suggestions about the java client? I'm not currently using an IRC app, and the text entry box really is annoying to use if you want to write more than a dozen words.
Host FredGB There should be an e-mail at the bottom of the page.
Host jbGB What 'about' the J client?
Host FredGB The text entry box is too small.
Host jbGB I imagine that's hard coded.
Host jbGB use a smaller font? :) No, sorry, that would make the box proportionately smaller. :(
Amber Definitely too small. It'd be much better if it was a couple of lines, and wrapped the text.
Host Chris Even my IRC client won't do that - just one line that scrolls
Host Chris The only way I can get multiple lines is to cut and paste into it, then scroll up and down with the cursor
Host FredGB mIRC lets you use two line boxes. :-)
Host Chris I was too lazy to install it - rely instead on MS Chat which came with W95
Host FredGB Amber, the address is
Host FredGB It's quiet.
Amber With the intermediate/advanced question, I think there should at least be a small component on proprietary tags, so that people are aware of what they are. That way, they can avoid them for general use, but if they have a site (ie. entranet) that will only be used by one browser they can use those tags. But in general, it should just be advanced techniques using eg. HTML or CSS or ECMA-script. I'm not sure whether that would include things like Flash, Java
Amber Oops, that last sentence should be 'I haven't done enough Web stuff to really know what I would consider 'advanced techniques'. :)
Host jbGB I've never done an HWG course, but I'd imagine (hope) that proprietary stuff is either not done or is -clearly- noted.
Host jbGB I just wrote to a friend explaining the potential probs with mailto:...?subject= and he writes back to say 'Oh! Right, I'll take that out.'
Host jbGB A lot of those probs just aren't commonly known because it's used so often.
Host Chris Amber - I misunderstood your idea of "advanced". I took it to mean an advanced look at the HTML specification.
Host Chris If you are looking at website design as a whole, then after introductory classes on HTML and Graphics, you could consider Practical Web Management
Host Chris
Amber Chris, what would you consider appropriate for an advanced course? And I'm planning on taking the Web Management course soon. Sounds pretty good. :)
Host Chris That's hard to say - for the programming subjects, there is a clear level of difficulty in most tasks.
Host Chris HTML is rather basic, and designed to be so - I guess I'd rate accessibility issues and CSS as the next step.
Host Chris An advanced class would be XSL for XML
Host Chris (I have nothing to do with the classes and their reorganisation, so that's just MHO :)
Host jbGB I think I'm gonna cut out. Starting to fade. See y'all next time. Have a :) day!
Host jbGB Fred, will mail you the log.
Host jbGB bfn
Host FredGB Okay,
Host jbGB (^jb@ has left the conversation.
Amber Sorry about the pause, I had a phone call. I think I'd agree that accessibility would be the next level. But I'll think about the other issues and hopefully comment at the next meeting
Amber I'll leave you all to sleep/work/etc now. Thanks for your patience.
Host Chris See you next month! Merry Christmas
Amber (~Amber@ has left the conversation.
Host FredGB And thus endth the meeting I guess.
Host Chris Merry Christmas to you too Fred! I doubt I'll catch you online b/n now and thenl

End of meeting.

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