Archive for March, 2008


Friday, March 28th, 2008

the webSource: ShutterstockA big Slovenian media house is announcing a relaunch of the biggest Slovenian web page (according to Alexa). Since they own two TV channels they’re advertising it with a short commercial that shows a glimpse of the new design. Another hint is a very very small, almost unreadable banner on their front page which “reads e-volution / evolution continues / next stage in [4] days”. What I want to know is whether it is to be an evolution in technology. That’s why I’ll list a few things I’d want if I was the client:

Semantic use of HTML (tableless layout)

The current page sports a fat table layout. The time of lame browsers and the need to create such a layout has passed and using semantic HTML for all the elements is the standard now. As a fan of XHTML Strict I’d also opt for that, allowing users to use the page as a source of content.


The current page is 800px wide with a skyscraper banner on the right. I think a wider default with a hint of elasticity (that would make it almost or completely useful on smaller screens) would be a great choice. If elastic is too difficult I’d opt for 960px.


The current homepage needs more than 180 request and more than 700kB to download. It takes about 5 seconds to do all this. I’m sure that with a little smarter use of CSS and image sprites these numbers could be much lower. A smart thing would be to move the static content to so the browser could download all the resources faster. I’d also want the styles to be on the top and the scrips on the bottom. And since they use their own system to deploy banners I would expect them to use WEDJE to deploy them without stopping the site.


Since all the content on a certain page is actually a news feed I would want them to use the hAtom microformat, with hCard for people and hCalendar for events and the TV schedule also possible. There’s no need to use propriatary format in the age of interoperability.

Blogs compatibility

I don’t think they should offer blogs, but it would be nice if they had a way to embed their content into blogs commenting on the current events. It would also be great if news posts would allow trackbacks so other people could see who blogged about the news.

Screen saver

I’ve noticed lately that when they have a few heavy banners that it’s important to close the tab the page is in to get the full power out of my computer. This could easily be solved with a screen saver JavaScript that would hide all the banners when a user doesn’t interact with it for some time.


With OpenID providers around every corner I really don’t see why anybody would want me to register on their page anymore.

Can you think of anything else?


Zemanta is live!

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Zemanta, a Slovenian start-up that got into seedcamp, moved to London for a few months and came back a few months ago launched their service at Spletne urice yesterday. The service that bares the name of the company helps you enrich the blog posts you’re writing. What you need to do is download their browser extension (only Firefox currently supported) and a box will appear in your favorite blogging tool (WordPress, Blogger, Typepad currently supported) that makes adding relevant images, links and related articles to the post a one-click operation.

I like the technology and I think it will make the life of an ordinary blogger a whole lot easier. What I don’t like that much is the HTML they produce in the blogposts. I understand the dilemmas they have with all the themes and platforms they need to support but adding that much style attributes is really not nice.

Disclaimer: I’ve cleaned up the HTML in this post, to see the output check the demo.


Background on html

Monday, March 24th, 2008

There’s a paragraph in the CSS specification regarding the background property that states the following:

For HTML documents, however, we recommend that authors specify the background for the BODY element rather than the HTML element. User agents should observe the following precedence rules to fill in the background: if the value of the ‘background’ property for the HTML element is different from ‘transparent’ then use it, else use the value of the ‘background’ property for the BODY element. If the resulting value is ‘transparent’, the rendering is undefined.

This might lead to a surprise when trying to add a background on top of what you have on the body element – when you add a background property to the HTML element everything will shift. You can observe this in most browsers on the links below.


html {}
body {background:#fcc;}


html {background:#ccf;}
body {background:#fcc;}

It seems you really have to add a semantically meaningless element…