Category Archives: Web Design

Color-Switchin’ Coraline Apocalypse

Neil Gaiman remarked on his blog that images his agent emails from Germany end up with the colors inverted, and posts an example of a Coraline poster:

Coraline (German, inverted colors)

“…ah yes, I thought. That’s the sequel, all right. CORALINE APOCALYPSE”

I used to run into this with TIFF images when building websites. (No big surprise, given that there are a million variations on the TIFF format.) I think it was around 2000 or so that I was working on a website for a law firm, and they sent me their logo. The logo, as I received it, was yellow on light blue, so I built a site with black text on a white background for the main areas, and yellow on light blue (matching their logo) for the title, navigation, and borders.

I sent them a link to the test site. They looked at it, and said it was very nice, but could I try to match the color scheme on their logo instead?

It turned out that red and blue had gotten switched around (and possibly more, because I can’t remember how the yellow ended up in there), but anyway it was supposed to be white on light brown. I switched the channels, redid all the graphics and styles for the site, and they stuck with it for several years.

Back on the subject of Coraline, Gaiman adds in his post that the film has become “the second highest grossing stop-motion film ever” after Chicken Run. So why does it seem to be forgotten already? Just two months ago, commentators were falling all over themselves to say Coraline was the turning point for 3-D animation being part of the storytelling and not just a gimmick. Now everyone’s talking about how Monsters vs. Aliens is the turning point for 3-D animation being part of the storytelling and not just a gimmick.

Pop-Up Design, Bird Buzz, and What is…the Thing?

  • Running system restore on my Windows box at work. Just how I wanted to spend Monday morning. #
  • Dear HaloScan users: Please do not use the Javascript-only pop-up for your comments links. I can’t open that in a new tab. #
  • Grr. Dialog boxes should not pop up while typing. I hate accidentally saying OK or Cancel. Who runs only one app at a time these days? #
  • Just got buzzed by a bird on the way to the car. #
  • I don’t know why yesterday’s Real Life is so funny. #

Alternative Browser Alliance Update

Just a quick note: I finally got around to updating the Alternative Browser Alliance website. Not the full rewrite that I was planning to do two months ago, but at least it’s now current on things like Google Chrome, Firebug, Dragonfly, etc.

I’ve also released that site under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license, which should simplify matters for translations.

Finally, as a compromise between a full blog and little notes on the home page, I added another Twitter account, AltBrowser, where I’ll post not just site updates but random bits of news, comments, tips, etc. related to the topic.  I don’t have time to maintain yet another blog.  And I’m not convinced the net needs one.

I still hope to do that major rewrite, but this should bring it mostly up-to-date.

Double-Digit Danger

Andrew Gregory points out that some browser detection scripts might have trouble when Opera 10 eventually rolls around. (Edit: Hallvord also comments.) Why? Because one of the easiest, ways of testing for a version number is to do look for the the “Browser n” or “Browser/n” patterns. The problem is that this strategy only grabs the first digit of the version number. That works fine for 1–9, but once you hit 10, suddenly it looks like 1 again.

Firefox and Safari, currently at just before and just after 3, are likely safe for now, but IE is creeping up on 8, and with their new, faster release schedule, IE10 may only be a couple of years away.

I’ll admit, I’ve written code like that myself (not the specific example, but I’ve done regexp matches that only look at the first digit), but always on sites that I expect to be able to maintain. Of course, one of the lessons to learn from Y2K is that shortcuts get entrenched, and code you thought you’d have time to clean up long before it became a problem has a tendency to stay in use far longer than you expected. And we’ve seen the same thing with web script archives, where someone’s example code that mostly worked in IE4 gets enshrined as “the” way to accomplish something, even though there have been better ways that work more consistently for years.