CWSA 12.4.2007

Another meeting of the Cleveland Web Standards Association has come and gone, and my what a busy night it was. The night was filled with wonderful presentations, good food and great discussions. As always, the real fun begins when the presentations end and the socializing begins. For those not able to attend here is a brief run down of the night’s activities.

The Presentations

We were lucky to have not one, not two, not three, but four superb “mini” presentations on Tuesday.

First was Eric Wiley’s presentation outlining how to create accessible image maps. Using the oft underused definition list, he demonstrated a technique put forth by Seth Duffey from an article he wrote on A List Apart.

Next up was David Mead who focussed not on one, but many topics. From tips on how to better organize your style sheets, to previewing some of the great things we can expect from CSS3.

Beth Dean reviewed the popular technique by Douglas Bowman, the Sliding Doors of CSS. She demonstrated this bit of CSS trickery using tabbed navigation. Nice. Clean. Bulletproof.

Lastly, Julie gave a quick presentation regarding Flash and how to make it respect the z-index property.

Post-Presentation Announcements

Joseph Frantz had a few announcements to make after the presentations had wrapped up. In brief, he went over the current state of the CWSA web site. We have a mock up of the main page ready and will hopefully be able to launch the site within a week to two weeks time. Some of our members have been working on logos which we will reveal and vote on at a later date. He also introduced a core team of association members who will oversee the direction of the site and help move the process along more quickly.

Also due to the holidays, our room at Tri-C West Campus will not be available until after January 12. We haven’t yet decided on a date for the next meeting, but rest assured there will be one. We all want to keep the momentum going.

It’s Been a While

Since I’ve posted anything on this site. Save for the occasional picture pulled in from Flickr or a bookmark from, it has been ghost town around here.

Needless to say, I’ve been very busy. Between collaborating on projects, catching up on some light reading and working on a redesign of this site, I’ve hardly had a moment to relax. I did manage to steal a few hours to watch the Transformers movie last night and catch up on some TiVo’d shows. Other than that it has been non-stop since mid-October.

Now that I have a long weekend coming up the thought of a few days of family, food and hours of Guitar Hero with my cousins and nephews is most welcome.

Once the holiday respite has passed I will dive head first back into my redesign. I’m really eager to get it launched already as the current design has outlived its usefullness to me.

So Happy Thanksgiving everybody! I sincerely hope you all have a safe and happy holiday weekend.

CSS Off Update

I was away from my computer most of the day and upon returning to my desk I found out that I won the latest round of the CSS Off!

As I have said before, I had a great time participating in the contest. The pressure of the deadline coupled with the challenge presented by the design made this a lot of fun. Everyone should participate at least once, if for no other reason than the excellent feedback you receive from the judges as they will help you recognize your weakness and improve your skills as a result.

Thanks to everyone involved with the CSS Off. The news was a surprise and really made my day!


First of all, let me start this by saying thanks to Dan Ott. It was his persistance that prompted me to give this round of the CSS Off competition a go. Now here I sit, nearly 45 minutes after the final bell. Damn I’m tired.

I submitted my entry two minutes before the end of the contest. After spending nearly the entire day on this, I must say it was a lot of fun. I’ve always enjoyed working under pressure (to some extent) so this was right up my alley.

I can say that after having gone through it, I’ve learned a few things. I would now like to take the time to impart my new found wisdom:

  1. Make sure that you close any comment tags in your CSS properly.

    I had fifteen minutes to go and so I thought I would upload the folder to my server in order to validate the CSS file. Much to my chagrin I found that I didn’t close a comment tag. Upon doing so it broke the layout of my entry. I had fifteen minutes to fix it, but I made it. Barely.

  2. Find better ways to clear floats than me.

    I cannot stress this one enough. Please, PLEASE stop what you’re doing and read this article on clearing floats. Actually read anything you can on the subject. It is one of my weak spots and cost me a ton of time bug fixing when I could have been testing in more than one browser.

  3. Test in more than one browser.

    Actually, I always do this. Except in those cases when I have 24 hours to complete a design and have spent far too much time focusing on little details.

  4. Don’t spend too much time focussing on little details.

    I was so worried about trying to use the include pattern that I ended up wasting two hours of time that could have been better spent with tasks like cross-browser testing. In the end I went ahead and marked up my hReviews without it.

  5. Internet Explorer has been and will continue to be the bane of my existence.

    At least for the foreseeable future anyhow. Although I can’t really take all of my anger out on IE. Opera did a poor job of rendering my review table. I was a bit surprised.

Well, that’s all I have for now. If the judges at CSS Off decide that they are only going to test my entry in Firefox and Safari, then I should be okay. If they break out Opera and IE (which I’m sure they will do, it is only fair) then I probably won’t make the cut. Oh, well. I had a great time participating and encourage anyone reading this to do the same.

I will most likely participate in the next one (barring any unforeseen family events). Thanks for telling me about the contest, Dan. As you are one of the judges now, please show mercy on a fellow Clevelander.