View Full Version : To <font> or not to <font>

07-18-2005, 06:45 PM

I am trying to redo a very old web page. I am the sales/marketing person so web design is not really my main thing.

The original page is here http://www.motion-labs.com, what I am working on for the new page is here http://www.motion-labs.com/demo. (FreeBSD, Apache web server, PHP module, and use MySQL for databases).

Objective is to make a page that works for as many people that still looks nice and can contain a wealth of info. Also having search engine friendly inner pages is highly important.

This is a challenge partly because we are a global company and many of our customers are on old Linux computers or very old windows PCs, using dial-up with outdated browsers. So the lets make a cool page and “hey they should go get the latest stuff to surf the web in order to view my so cool page” mentality just won’t work.

CCS seems easy enough. But it looks like all browsers old and new support <font=whatever> while only a new and select browsers support CCS type controls. Am I wrong? From a management point of view CCS may be easier, but it is not a huge web page and major updates will be less frequent.

So my question:

From a compatibly standpoint should I keep doing what I am doing (CCS on page controls and a lot of <font>)? Take a look at the code on the new page- see it combines old and new elements, how terrible is it? Any comments would be great.

Keep in mind I don't have to much of an idea about what I am doing.


07-18-2005, 06:48 PM
Not to font. Most older browsers support CSS1 enough so you could use color:#somehex for your text. However a tableless design might be a different story. Some older browsers don't render them too well.

Bill Posters
07-18-2005, 06:55 PM
Support for the basic CSS font styling properties goes way back ,so you're covered in IE3+, NN4+, Opera 3.5+, Mozilla/Firefox/Gecko (all versions), Safari…
You can rest assured that anything created in the past 5 years can handle the CSS equivalents of font element attributes.
(fyi (http://www.blooberry.com/indexdot/css/supportkey/font.htm))

Ditch them. Ditch them now, if not sooner.
By sticking with font elements, you're actually hampering the way some users are viewing your site.

07-18-2005, 07:05 PM
Any harm or benefit of putting the CSS code in each page, instead of a single referance file, other than making maintance harder?

Tristan Gray
07-18-2005, 07:14 PM
Just a bad habit in my opinion and defeats one of the best reasons to use CSS. As for using it on such a site, I would be very careful with how much you use CSS for layout if a lot of people are on old linux/windows boxes. One thing that helps a lot when trying to get browsers to render your page similarly is looking at www.quirksmode.com and seeing what doctype triggers what browser setting. Most browsers today have different 'modes' in which they will attempt to render a page. Just based on what you've said you want browsers to read yours in 'quirksmode' so that it renders similarly on new browsers and old.

For font stuff CSS has most compatibility there although if you are talking old enough maybe not. Test it on the oldest machine you can find heh.

I encourage you to use an external style-sheet because if you make a change it just takes forever, and if you are trying to offer a 'wealth of information' then I suggest that for the sake of future contribution you use an external style sheet.

Oh yeah, and the menus are kind of clunky, but better than the design that looks like it is from 1996.

07-18-2005, 07:20 PM
You could even serve up multiple stylesheets. NS4 doesn't understand the @import rule so it would ignore that style sheet, meaning for the users who do have browsers that support CSS better, you can give them a better looking site. check out this link to explain what I'm talking about. http://www.mako4css.com/csstwo.htm I'm not too sure on how many browsers don't support the @import rule.

07-18-2005, 07:34 PM
What makes you think you need to put the CSS within' each page?

07-18-2005, 07:34 PM

Bill Posters - I like the http://www.blooberry.com/indexdot/css/index.html page, thanks for that link...

Tristan Gray - the old page is from 1996 nice of you to notice. :)

Also, the menu on the new page is using an umd4 menu, I can't find anything else that I thought would work across a lot of old browsers. This one has the menu structure built into the web code (a bit of a hassle but I wrote a script to plug updates into notepad) any other suggestions from you guys would be cheerfully received

I have not stuck my head into doctype yet, it confuses me to much at this point. Unless you have some one line answer I can plug into the code or some doomsday threat against doing nothing with it, I am leaving it blank and I will try and figure what’s what about the doctype another day.

Aero- one that looks bad for all is proably better than 2 that suit each

07-18-2005, 07:36 PM

That just how I started doing it. I can't remember why, maybe something to do with the web server not supporting the external page? (FreeBSD, Apache web server, PHP module, and use MySQL for databases). It is outsourced and they have a tendency to be restrictive for what they will and will not allow.

07-18-2005, 07:47 PM
So using the external CSS file wont conflict with the file I have for the menu?
<STYLE TYPE="text/css" media="print">

<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="udm-style.php" media="screen, projection" />

(Because I just have no idea)


07-18-2005, 07:54 PM
Depends on your file for your menu is that like an include file or something? What is in that file? I'm guessing the external stylesheet wasn't supported because you didn't pass the right type. Why don't you just use text/css instead of .php?

Grant Palin
07-18-2005, 07:55 PM
Any harm or benefit of putting the CSS code in each page, instead of a single referance file, other than making maintance harder?
Some good answers on this point so far, but here's another. By including the embedded stylesheet in each page, every time a page loads, the embedded style sheet must be loaded as well, and they are not used across pages. So if you go from one page to another, even if the embedded stylesheets are the same, they are loaded along with each page. When using the external stylesheet, the stylesheet file is loaded once, and then CACHED, so it doesn't have to be loaded again. Another one of the beauties of CSS. :thumbsup:

Tristan Gray
07-18-2005, 08:05 PM
Yeah, *slaps head with palm*, another huge advantage of CSS. Lightning-fast load times on big sites.

07-18-2005, 08:24 PM
Couldn't you split the site in two. Either use an intro page that asks for older browsers to access the older page (or a newer page that isn't using standards) and a newer page that is using standards.

For example a lot of sites use flash but have a link to an 'HTML' page.

This could give you the best of both worlds...with the newer and 'hip' clientel being able to experience the 'cutting edge' of your corperation. While the older generation can rest assured that you are meeting their needs.

Of course you could also use Javascript to load the pages dynamically depending on what browser (or OS) is used to access the site.

Of course this may all be a lot more work than your willing to do, but I thought I would throw this option out there.

07-18-2005, 08:29 PM
Thank you all.

As for a two pages of any kind- "a lot more work than your willing to do" Yup, you said it.
We are okay for the most part with sacrificing looks and style for compatibly/accessibility/usability.

I will play with CSS and make an external sheet and see how things go with that.

I am sure I will be back in an hour, a day a week- with some huge dilemma or another