Skip

Obama is inclusive in his support for PNGs
September 9, 2008 4:49 PM   Subscribe


 
That settles it. Obama gets my vote.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 4:54 PM on September 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


John McCain does not provide a clear link to his technology policy...

That's a little unfair. John McCain was born before the word technos had even become a Greek root.
posted by DU at 4:57 PM on September 9, 2008 [26 favorites]


I for one am glad that somebody is investigating these important issues, ones which the Main Stream MediaTM continue to ignore.

This is funny.
posted by lekvar at 5:12 PM on September 9, 2008


There's not a damn thing wrong with HTML 4.01. Sending XHTML as text/html Considered Harmful. XHTML may on occasion be a pain in the ass with no demonstrable benefit. Standards are bullshit. XHTML is a crock. The W3C is irrelevant. XHTML vs HTML.

On the other hand — 4.01 transitional? Please. And neither candidate can be bothered to validate? Leaving out your xmlns attribute, Obama? This is hardly the elitism I was promised!
posted by enn at 5:16 PM on September 9, 2008 [8 favorites]


Sending XHTML as text/html Considered Harmful

Last time I checked (which admittedly may have also been before McCain was born) IE didn't handle text/xml or application/xml or whatever you are supposed to send it as.
posted by DU at 5:19 PM on September 9, 2008


I'm both extremely geeky and extremely open to mocking Mr McCain, and so I must reluctantly approve of this post.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:19 PM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


HTML 4.01 is definitely the right choice over XHTML-anything, at least until HTML5 comes out. As the linked post shows, no one really cares about making standards-compliant web pages, and the XHTML-style attempt to sort-of-but-not-really require people to write more standardized syntax is a failure.
posted by wildcrdj at 5:26 PM on September 9, 2008


Yes, DU, that's the point. You can't send it the right way if you want it to work for IE (6, anyway), and if you send it as text/html, it gets treated as HTML in other browsers, doesn't get validated, most of the advantages to its being XML are lost, and you've basically just got an exercise in buzzword webcockery.
posted by enn at 5:27 PM on September 9, 2008


I don't know about anyone else, but I always use XHTML so I can include MathML, which isn't "treated as HTML" in Firefox. Probably not a lot of square roots on Obama's site, but if he's got other XMLy things it might matter.
posted by DU at 5:33 PM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Probably not a lot of square roots on Obama's site

I'd be willing to bet that exactly one candidate knows the quadratic equation. You'd have to give him a few minutes.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:36 PM on September 9, 2008


Obama was for a table-based layout before he was against it.
posted by cortex at 5:36 PM on September 9, 2008 [3 favorites]




Which candidate will <BLINK> first?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:41 PM on September 9, 2008 [7 favorites]


Anything fancier than HTML 4.01 can get you in deep doo-doo.
posted by mazola at 5:45 PM on September 9, 2008


RON PAUL WILL FREE THE IMG TAG!
posted by qvantamon at 5:47 PM on September 9, 2008 [8 favorites]


Style over substance.

Actually, both of those seem pretty damned beefy, but the McCain CSS has a weird ALLCAPS SHOUT autistic weirdness to it.
posted by cortex at 5:47 PM on September 9, 2008


McCain's website may be a little old fashioned, but his web server is a Eniac, it's really not half bad.
posted by Dave Faris at 6:03 PM on September 9, 2008


It's like putting lipstick on an html table.
posted by wendell at 6:07 PM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


enn, with respect, you're being disingenuous. Your "Standards are bullshit. XHTML is a crock", etc is actually a link to a page talking about frustrations over the XHTML 2.0 working draft..

It is not an issue to make well-formed, valid XHTML documents. It is a pain that IE6 won't accept the right MIME type, but that is Microsoft's ineptitude imposed on users, not a problem with the spec itself. Send well-formed XHTML as HTML until you drop support for IE 6, or give IE the "wrong" MIME-type to IE6 and the right one to everything else.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 6:10 PM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure McCain thinks that HTML is shorthand for 'Hot Meal'.

The concept of web standards and multi-browser agent support is probably about as arcane and useless to him as duck condoms.
posted by loquacious at 6:12 PM on September 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


$ telnet barackobama.com 443
Trying 66.39.143.229...
Connected to barackobama.com.
Escape character is '^]'.
Connection closed by foreign host.
$ telnet johnmccain.com 443
Trying 64.203.107.149...
Connected to johnmccain.com.
Escape character is '^]'.
Connection closed by a real American.
$ _


Need I say more.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 6:16 PM on September 9, 2008 [67 favorites]


I'm pretty sure McCain thinks that HTML is shorthand for 'Hot Meal'.

John McCain knows what it's like to go without HTML. For five and a half years...
posted by cortex at 6:16 PM on September 9, 2008 [10 favorites]


Mean while in other news... Sarah Palin, tax and spend conservative.
posted by 517 at 6:21 PM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Why are we not talking about how he has different flavors for supporter, undecided, unregistered voter? Exploring the sites is like exploring a funhouse, after your third funnel cake.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 6:22 PM on September 9, 2008


loldeprecated
posted by krinklyfig at 6:51 PM on September 9, 2008


This is nerd pr0n.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 6:53 PM on September 9, 2008


That analysis misses some of the most interesting differences between their web platforms.

Most prominently, Obama uses jQuery, while McCain seems to basically limit himself to hand-rolled Javascript. This honestly probably suggests that McCain's web developers are older; the reduced amount of Javascript on McCain's site may also be an indication that they expect their audience to be more likely to have older, slower computers (this is backed up by the observation that McCain's front page does 94 requests in total, while Obama's does 132 (both are very good about setting Etag headers to aid in caching). Those into reading tea leaves might also detect a certain not-invented-here, go-it-alone mentality in the McCain crew's approach to Javascript.

McCain is shameless about using tables for layout; Obama's front page only reverts to them once, for something that is at least a little tabular (the "Obama Everywhere" box in the lower right). This is also probably mainly an indication of when each camp's web developers likely learned their skills, but might also suggest suggest that Obama's crew cares more about being good web citizens (or perhaps that they're more concerned about their professional image).

Both outsource their video hosting and hit tracking to other companies; here, Obama's product is the more ominous. I count requests to nine external domains from Obama's home page, but only two from McCain's. McCain's hit tracking is done using a crude, several year old script from some obscure company called Omniture; Obama, unsurprisingly, uses Google analytics (and Yahoo). This is likely an indication of how much more interested in web traffic analysis the Obama crew is, but the civil-liberties-minded could also reasonably see an indifference to intrusive government surveillance in that approach. But in fairness, Obama's privacy policy is much more technically explicit, and even helps users opt out of data collection by its various clients if they choose.

McCain's site is also shoddier in other ways than validation errors; many of the pages contain references to missing CSS or image files (this page has three, for example), but I haven't seen a red line yet in the Firebug net tab for Obama's. Speaking of, Obama's developers used Firebug (and Firebug Lite on IE... they neglected to remove the Javascript reference).

Overall, the Obama site was built using much more modern tools, and is more technically ambitious. He's approached this side of the campaign with respect for technical experts and an eye toward attracting users who aren't afraid of upgrading. McCain approaches it as if the last eight years never happened.
posted by gsteff at 6:54 PM on September 9, 2008 [37 favorites]


I don't know about anyone else, but I always use XHTML so I can include MathML

I've used XHTML so I can include SVG — it's very cool to be able to mix formats up this way and it's one of the things I love about XML. Most people using XHTML, however, aren't using any of this functionality and would be served equally well by HTML.

enn, with respect, you're being disingenuous. Your "Standards are bullshit. XHTML is a crock", etc is actually a link to a page talking about frustrations over the XHTML 2.0 working draft.

In my other link to Mark Pilgrim's blog, he does talk about why he switched back to HTML 4 rather than XHTML 1.0 (or sticking with 1.1). But yes, I was just going for the dramatic pull quote there. XHTML is fine and it's perhaps only a venial sin to serve it with the wrong MIME type. What I do despise is the bandwagon-jumping mob thinking that leads to people mocking someone for using the also-perfectly-acceptable (and arguably superior if you need to support IE) HTML 4.01, as seen in this post's link, just because it's not the trendy new thing.

It is not an issue to make well-formed, valid XHTML documents. It is a pain that IE6 won't accept the right MIME type, but that is Microsoft's ineptitude imposed on users, not a problem with the spec itself. Send well-formed XHTML as HTML until you drop support for IE 6, or give IE the "wrong" MIME-type to IE6 and the right one to everything else.

Many CMSs make it an issue to create valid or even well-formed XHTML documents, but that aside, sure, you can do as you describe. If you're not actually using any of the additional functionality XHTML supplies, it's a lot simpler to just use HTML. (And yes, "drop support for IE 6" is certainly an approach I favor, but it's not really an option for a presidential candidate, I think.)

I'm just bitter because I'm looking for work and at the last minute gratuitously switched my portfolio site from HTML 4.01 Strict to XHTML 1.1 Strict solely so I could write "Valid XHTML" to appease the buzzword-mongering bandwagon-jumpers-on I've decried above, and I feel so dirty now.
posted by enn at 6:55 PM on September 9, 2008


we'll probably only have to have a few months more of this every-FPP-relating-in-some-way-no-matter-how-tenuous-to-US-elections shit, right?
posted by Stewriffic at 6:59 PM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


The URLs on McCain's site are hideous. I try to get my clients to generate pithy,meaningful URLs.

On Obama's site, if you're talking on the phone to someone, you can say "obama.com slash issues slash technology" or whatever.

The best you could do with McCain is say "go to his site, look in the menu, look in this other menu, skip the interstitial that explains how in the last five and a half minutes you got more information than McCain got in five and a half years, OK, now go to this next menu..."
posted by maxwelton at 7:00 PM on September 9, 2008


HTML 4 is fine, but transitional?

RED MIST!
posted by Artw at 7:02 PM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


gsteff writes "That analysis misses some of the most interesting differences between their web platforms. "

"You, you must be almost 30... have you ever kissed a girl?"

</Shatner>

(No seriously, great analysis.)
posted by orthogonality at 7:25 PM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


metafilter uses HTML 4.0.

just thought I'd note that
posted by localhuman at 7:58 PM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


McCain is shameless about using tables for layout; Obama's front page only reverts to them once, for something that is at least a little tabular (the "Obama Everywhere" box in the lower right). This is also probably mainly an indication of when each camp's web developers likely learned their skills, but might also suggest suggest that Obama's crew cares more about being good web citizens (or perhaps that they're more concerned about their professional image).

"Good web citizens?" "professional image?" Come on now.

There is just no way to make a complex, completely cross-browser* site in pure CSS. Try it sometime. You will waste a lot of time, you will get close, and something will be just a little off in one browser. Send me a link to your beloved Zen Garden all you want, but I've been doing this crap for like 10 years now and them's the facts.

*that means really supporting the browsers humans in the world use. Snarky "get Firefox lol" messages are not web development
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:59 PM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


There is just no way to make a complex, completely cross-browser site in pure CSS.

Of course, which is why the Obama page uses a table when necessary. But I think it's hard to dispute that given the choice, a CSS-based layout will render more reliably in current browsers (given standards mode), and will seem cleaner and more organized to others who read your code.
posted by gsteff at 8:17 PM on September 9, 2008


There is just no way to make a complex, completely cross-browser site in pure CSS. Try it sometime.

Oh, I have. It's what I do for a living. And it's not only possible, it's being done right now on tens of thousands of sites.

Now, had you said "There is just no EASY way to make a complex, completely cross-browser site in pure CSS," then I would totally agree.
posted by dw at 8:54 PM on September 9, 2008 [4 favorites]


(I will forgive Metafilter for its Transitional DTD only because I'm pretty certain it never gets tested in IE)
posted by Artw at 9:17 PM on September 9, 2008


I'm keeping it real with HTML 3.2, myself. I'll leave the complex designs to people who can't figure out how to arrange content to be read linearly.
posted by shii at 9:53 PM on September 9, 2008


MetaFilter's own Sean Tevis, running for State Representative in Kansas, is waaay ahead of the times then it comes to Campaign Websites.
posted by clearly at 11:16 PM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


*raises hand* Uh, I've made complex, completely cross-browser sites in pure CSS. Tables only for tabular data. Matching visual designs over which I had zero input or control (here's a PDF of how we want to look!). With progressively-enhanced flyout menus (and the standard submenuing when Javascript is disabled). It works fine in all kinds of browsers that people use. It apparently works on things like handhelds, though I didn't have any to test against. Just CSS, a media stylesheet for handhelds, and an awful lot of validation. Fire up Lynx and you can browse away madly. Not even a conditional statement or bug-reliant "hack" in the lot.

Now, it sure does suck to do, and the concept of being able to just drop in content the way you could back in the days when you had a neat little set of table cells is pretty much over. And certainly if it is a site with modern design, rather than those ... well, let's face it, terribly bland sites that the W3C cranks out ... then you may resort to a lot wild little tricks to get things to work. You will become intimately acquainted with the things that CSS does not do well (and there's a lot of them, despite what the standardistas say). And yeah, many of those accessibility "standards" are written in the kind of vague terms and reference items where you simply wonder if you have an objective way of figuring out if you have met a given criterion or not (thus leaving you feeling perpetually guilty no matter what you do).

CSS as a general concept was written as if the W3C had never talked to any graphic designers. There's certainly nothing in it that hints of even basics like Contrast, Alignment, Repetition, and Proximity. Oh, maybe making text larger or smaller than some other text serves as Contrast. "Design, so they want big text, little text, and some colors? And rectangles? Alignment, that's left, right, and center, yeah? Okay, we're done!" The idea that a webpage isn't just a paper issued from CERN seems to elude them; on a design level, it's about making some very disparate elements on a page relate to one another - only our sole method of useful relation is parent-child elements. Well, maybe those sibling selectors will finally make their way through enough browsers.

It's like a group of wizards sent one lone apprentice down from the Ivory Tower bearing a freshly-consecrated sword to ensure a knight's victory over the willful and capricious beasts known as graphic designers. Only after several dead knights does anyone start to wonder about the sword. Okay, it lacks a true hilt, but if you just grip the cylinder at the end tightly ... They might not have sharpened it, but of course it would slay the beasts should the pointy end be shoved in with sufficient force; obviously you're not trying hard enough.

It's doable. I just often question whether the effort is worth it.
posted by adipocere at 1:07 AM on September 10, 2008 [5 favorites]


Who do we have to bribe to get a W3 validation section added to the debates? I think that would be so dramatic and exciting: "I have no idea why that tag wasn't closed, but we're going to make it a priority to close that tag, and all of the tags, until all THE TAGS ARE CLOSED FOR ALL OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE!"
posted by puckupdate at 3:10 AM on September 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Meh. Tables. CSS. Just use whatever works for you and the website, and get as valid as possible.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:40 AM on September 10, 2008


You know, I rigged up my super sekret spycam and totally actually saw McCain typing this code by hand into Notepad. Obama wrote his with LaTeX, but on a special port for his blackberry.

I think that each candidates total knowledge of the code behind their websites outlines just exactly who we should be voting for. Or not.

Do people actually care that one camp elected to use web2.0 and another didn't? I mean, seriously?
posted by TomMelee at 5:11 AM on September 10, 2008


TomMelee, I think it would be a silly single-issue vote to make a decision based on how somebody codes their Web site. But does it add some nuance as to which of the two parties is actually moving with the times, tech-savvy, and pays attention to details, which to some people is valuable.

For people who are invested in the Internet, a party that can't be bothered to write decent code for their official sites is like somebody who submits a resumé littered with typos and grammar mistakes. Details do count, and in a choice between two candidates who are equal in all other ways, the one that is making an effort to keep up with the times is a better choice than the one that can't be arsed.
posted by Shepherd at 6:01 AM on September 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've been doing this for years and can promise you HTML 4.01 Strict and CSS is the way to go. Especially when you consider the *MLs are about to fork when HTML 5 hits. So stick to when both sides were still united.

Re-elect 4.01 - your markup of choice!
posted by ruthsarian at 6:22 AM on September 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hey at least McCain doesn't have a big, single-file Flash site.
posted by autodidact at 6:58 AM on September 10, 2008


Especially when you consider the *MLs are about to fork when HTML 5 hits.

The "when" could be a long time from now, at least from the noise I've heard in the community. No one seems to be happy about HTML 5 except the Apple/Microsoft/Nokia cabal that damaged the XHTML 2 process.

It might appear in 2010, which means it won't be in IE until IE 10. So we're probably looking at 2012 before it'll be in the mainstream. Only Opera's engine is attempting to support HTML 5 (which is kinda silly considering how much the standard has been morphing month to month).
posted by dw at 7:57 AM on September 10, 2008


This whole conversation is really just the pinnacle of style over substance.
posted by Dave Faris at 8:08 AM on September 10, 2008


autodidact : Hey at least McCain doesn't have a big, single-file Flash site.

Yeah. He's no photographer, that's for sure.
posted by quin at 8:36 AM on September 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Obama's site would look more professional with a whitey background.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 9:35 AM on September 10, 2008


Shepherd-I see the point, I really do, but I find it more an interesting dialogue of the direction and the audience each candidate is pointing to.

I find it amazingly AMAZING that neither candidate has opted to have an accessible site so that those with things like text readers, etc, can actually experience wtf the candidates are about.

I mean, I'd like to vote for a candidate who believed that all folks should have access to the 'net.

Also interesting is that there's one candidate with a running mate who is FOR net neutrality, and interestingly that candidate is not on the democratic ticket.

If we're begrudging candidates based on their net-savvy, wouldn't being anti-net-neutrality be a bigger hit than which level of compliance you use?
posted by TomMelee at 12:42 PM on September 10, 2008



I find it amazingly AMAZING that neither candidate has opted to have an accessible site so that those with things like text readers, etc, can actually experience wtf the candidates are about.


I 100% agree. That's just shameful.
posted by Shepherd at 1:49 PM on September 10, 2008


And which candidate? I just Googled up Palin "net neutrality" and I got nothin'. Are you being coy and referring to the Green Party or the Outer Utah Space Monster Party or something?
posted by Shepherd at 1:56 PM on September 10, 2008


HTML 4.01 MORE YEARS
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:14 PM on September 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


I was too ambiguous. Biden has done much to opposed net neutrality. (That candidate that is FOR net neutrality is NOT on the democratic ticket.)
linky
posted by TomMelee at 4:55 PM on September 10, 2008


So neither party has a candidate for net neutrality, then.

Not being stridently opposed to something doesn't mean you're for it. It just means you haven't expressed an opinion.

Given the Republican track record, if there's a major corporation that opposes net neutrality, McCain and Palin will be all aggressively down on net neutrality without even remembering/knowing what it means.
posted by Shepherd at 5:15 PM on September 10, 2008


heh, TRUTH!
posted by TomMelee at 5:55 PM on September 10, 2008


« Older Build your own Astroland   |   Indie Game: Muslim Massacre Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post