Etta James…and life is like a song.  While I did successfully upload my first two assignments, my type assignment was most definitely a placeholder until I could get something suitable put together.  After Tuesday’s class I was more than a little disheartened, since most of my classmates presented very mature and sophisticated sites.  Now it’s true that most of these sites had been the beneficiaries of much more attention than mine, but fortunately I didn’t have to present my site due to lack of time.  I’ve been crashing on the site for the past two days and have something decent put together.  It’s even W3C compliant.

The lesson learned here is a hard one to figure.  It’s true that HI697 is not a one-dimensional class.  In addition to learning the mechanics of HTML the course also has to be about design (which is REAL hard when you haven’t learned the mechanics yet) and also about information architecture.  All this and we haven’t even talked about content.  It would have helped a lot if I had come into the class already having a domain (which those of us who took Clio last semester did not have), but better late than never.  I feel like a hound dog trying to jump up on the back of a moving pickup truck, but at least I got aboard.  It remains to be seen whether I can hang on.

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Week 4 and Success at hand

February 20, 2007

As evidenced by the new links on the Blogroll, I finally managed to get my assignments posted on a website.  This operation was much more complicated than I thought it would be, and my experiences could serve as a sort of object lesson for how to do this.  The main thrust of the story is that to complete the assignments one needs to execute basically three separate operations, and the class material covers only one of them.  The operations are:

  1. Obtaining a domain or a site
  2. Creating and editing the files you want to post
  3. Transferring those files to the site

Though Step 2 has been covered and practiced in class, Steps 1 and 3 are another story.  I originally hoped to obtain a site through my ISP (Verizon) , who advertised the website capabilities I would need like uploading and HTML editing.  After a two weeks of trying on the computer and eventually the phone I finally determined that Verizon no longer features those capabilities and currently are busy purging their sites of any remaining references to them.  After rooting and asking around about alternatives, I applied for space through GMU, and though they advertised a 3-5 day wait I had my site in a day.  I had originally intended to use Ipswitch to transfer files to my ISP site, but I found that I had to use a secure service to do this on the Mason cluster.  I downloaded this last night and after a couple of false starts was able to upload my material.

There was probably a lot of ancillary discussion on steps 1 and 3 during both this class and last semester’s Clio Wired class, but I would have saved a lot of time and effort if there had been something like a “gouge sheet” regarding the sequence of things that need to be done before one can post.

PolyglotSince missing class this past week, I’ve been playing catchup both on the last assignment and this week’s readings.  The whole concepts of CSS now seems pretty simple – a style sheet is simply a separate file that a site links to for format rather than having the format syntax included in the site coding.
I’m not a real fan of Bickner’s style – there’s too much storytelling and belaboring of how quaint past efforts like presentational markup pages were.  We start to get to what I used to call “the gouge” (useful information) on page 160.  The CSS construction guide is helpful – it broke the code on typography, though I still have questions about the “justify” function referred to on page 180.  What sort of justify – left, right or center?  Looking at the example, my guess is that it means center.   Also, I was able to  break part of the code on validating, by using file upload.  I ran through the validation routine for last week’s assignment and got back two errors which I corrected.  Now I’m valid – still late, but at least valid.  I still don’t know how to upload an edited page to a server though.  As for the site visits, the tutorial sites look like they will be really useful later – I just hope I can remember that they are there.

As for the Polyglot Manifesto, it recalled some of the discussion we had last semester (which continues into this semester’s colloquium) regarding what it is to be a historian.  I have to admit that while I don’t have an answer either I get concerned over the use of the term “interpreter.”  The implied meaning of that term is an unbiased translation, while historical interpretation is anything but.

Good Afternoon All.  I would like to attach my assignments, but it appears that I can’t post .htm files on this blog.  I had more luck on Part 2 than 1, and as a result Part 1 is somewhat incomplete.  I was able to replace graphics and change fonts without too much trouble, but I had some difficulty with graphics alignments and formats.  I’ll have to say that I didn’t find Stylin’ to be much help in that respect, since the book examples just show the tags and not their positioning and connecting syntax with the rest of the code.  Also, I could get the validation badges because I don’t know how to upload the page onto a server.  I may be able to break the “code” by looking at the example sheets later, but I wanted to get this posted before I had to jump on the plane.

Now here in a hotel in lovely North Dallas I can report a little more progress, but Part 1 of the assignment still leaves something to be desired.  That will change with time and practice.  As for Part 2, the only aspect I fell short on was the background image in the header, which I could not get to appear.  I did look at the example sheets and they were helpful, but there’s one problem I still had with interpreting syntax.  I detailed that problem on the file itself.  As for uploading the files, that’s also a non-starter so I must resort to e-mailing.  Thanks all for the comments and suggestions – have fun tomorrow.

PS – my presentation format went a little haywire this week and I don’t know why, so I went back into my original presentation (which had also changed format, though in a minor way) and edited the header format to get it back to normal.  Call it extra credit.