Tidbits: OSXFactor.com , HTML Frames Update, California Governor Candidate, Minor Things

Saturday, 2003-08-23; 03:33:00

Yet another tidbits entry about a few things.

A few days ago, I remembered that an old friend from an online forum I used to visit had launched a new website while I was still frequenting the forum. I decided to check it out. It's called OS X Factor. The layout is very appealing to me, and I think it's very clean (except for two minor gripes: frames, and the gray text). While currently my friend says that he gets about 1000 hits/week (which isn't too bad, but it's no MacMinute), I think it's probably going to become a nice site, especially if he starts to publish content more regularly.

To that end, I decided to contribute a little something I made in the meantime. It's a tutorial to AppleScript Studio, which is a technology that Apple includes with the free Mac OS X developer tools that anyone can download (FRRYYY). If you're at all interested in AppleScript Studio (but have no experience), I suggest heading on over to OS X Factor and checking out my tutorial. It's the Saturday, August 23 update. Unfortunately, I can't provide a direct link because of frames.

In any case, I hope to become a regular contributor to that site, not only with tutorials, but with my rants and raves on Mac OS X and computer-related topics. Maybe, that way, I can free up some space here on my blog for some other stuff. :)


Bryce pointed out a small flaw with the INCLUDE tag that I mentioned as a possible replacement for frames. The problem occurs when you have a navigational frame that dynamically updates simply by loading new HTML pages into the frame. When you use that method, you'd have to create a bunch of different pages with INCLUDE tags that have all the possible combinations of your content and your navigational menu system.

The reason I hadn't thought of this is because most sites don't use such a system; as an example, see the website I create for work, or OS X Factor. For my website, the left side of the page is a dynamic menu system that doesn't load new pages to show submenus -- it uses the Milonic DHTML menu to encapsulate the whole menu system into a script that's referred to from the navigational sidebar page. Similarly, if you click on "Beam Line 7-3" after mousing over "Beam Lines", there's a new navigational menu at the top (I kinda don't like having the submenu navigational bar, but that's what my boss likes), which is just a few buttons. So my INCLUDE tag proposal would work perfectly for my site.

For OS X Factor, it's a similar style: you have the top frame, and then you have two sub frames on the bottom, with one going down the side. But both are static pages that don't load anything else into those frames -- new content is always loaded into the bottom-right frame, which is the largest. So OS X Factor would ALSO benefit from INCLUDE tags, since that way you could refer directly to my tutorial article and still get the navigational menu system.

But maybe you point to Apple's corporate website as an example where it wouldn't work. It certainly looks that way at first glance, because it has a set of tabs, and then a submenu that is dependant upon which tab is selected. However, Apple's site doesn't even use frames at all! Instead, they embed the navigational system in each and every page. They probably use a professional web development tool to help keep track of the changes. Apple, too, could benefit from the use of INCLUDE tags too, though. Just click on the ".mac" tab at the top of the page -- see how the "iTunes" tab that was originally to the left of it now changes to a "Music" tab? Obviously someone forgot to update one of the pages. :) This was actually a recent change.

For Apple's website, the content is always tied to one specific tab. If you go to the PowerBook main page, you'll always be presented with the main Apple tab, and the Hardware tab highlighted. So, the problem that Bryce pointed out wouldn't apply.

There *IS* a tiny problem, though. Apple's website highlights the tabs when they are selected, so while the INCLUDE tag would indeed work, it wouldn't be too beneficial over they way they are currently doing it, except that it would separate the navigational bars from the content itself. This actually might be good, because then they could drop all the different selected navigational bar pages in one folder, and then it'd be obvious as to what to update -- since Apple already just drops the navigational menu into the pages themselves, this wouldn't be too much trouble.

When I originally created my proposal for the INCLUDE tag, I knew that it wouldn't be able to replace frames totally. When I first thought up the INCLUDE tag, I deliberately made it impossible to replace the content inside one INCLUDE tag with a link -- if you can do this, then you just have frames again, and you inherit all the problems of not being able to link to specific pages. A small side effect of this deliberate design decision is that it eliminates the usefulness for pages that use a menu system like Bryce's page. (Feel free to post a link to the page in the comments, Bryce, if you feel like it. I don't have the link anymore.)

I don't think that makes the INCLUDE tag useless, though. As I've demonstrated, it can be incredibly useful for pages that use frames solely to make updating pages easier. Instead of requiring server-side technologies to gain the benefits of frames without actually using them, you could use this method instead.

Because of that, I stand by my proposal. I want INCLUDE tags! Are you listening, W3C?


So my experiment to raise awareness for the state of education in our state failed miserably. However, there's hope in a small candidate that is just about perfectly aligned with my views, is a great speaker (or at least a great writer), and is upfront and honest with all the issues.

Her name's Georgy Russell, and I think she'd be a great candidate for California governor. Just read her opinions on the issues at her campaign website, and also her recent Slashdot interview. With a campaign motto of "Brains, Beauty, Leadership", how can you go wrong? :)

Oh, by the way, you DO remember that the special election is on October 7, right? And this applies to ALL California residents, not just people in Mountain View, as was the last election I voted in. So, if you haven't already, I'd STRONGLY suggest that you go and register to vote. You must register to vote 15 days before the election, which means your registration needs to get in by September 22. The countdown is on (see the sidebar :) )!


And now for just a few minor things. First off, there's now a general chat link in the sidebar. It uses the regular comment system, but it's just there if you want to leave a general message. That way, you don't have to clutter up the most recent entry with a comment that doesn't relate to it. :) The sidebar also has the voter registration countdown, as I mentioned above.

Finally, don't worry: the answers to the first Simone History Quiz are coming soon.

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