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Re: Menus, navigation, and simplicity (Perhaps slightly off-topic)

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@sidar.org>
Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2003 09:56:26 +0200
Cc: Kevin A Sesock <sesock@okstate.edu>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
To: Jonathan Chetwynd <j.chetwynd@btinternet.com>
Message-Id: <D5D8DA83-B699-11D7-8A1C-000A958826AA@sidar.org>
Yep, not having access to the tools the web was based on is a problem.

There are a few approaches to solutions:

The HTML working group has produced a specification called Xframes, 
that is meant to solve most of the problems of frames. The Xsmiles 
browser (an open source project from Helsinki University of Technology) 
actually implemented it recently I believe - http://www.xsmiles.org to 
find out for sure what they do. But I wouldn't rely on it just yet...

You can use object (or for that matter img) to include content in a 
page. However, it is not well defined how that content should then 
interact with the rest of the page - again there has been work in the 
area, leading to the Component Extension requirements - 
http://www.w3.org/TR/CX - here the problem is that Microsoft don't seem 
to be very interested in the modular architecture other major players 
would like to see available. Maybe it has something to do with their 
"we want to control everything on your desk, and the devil take the 
bugs" approach to architecture. They also have a pretty bad 
implementation of object, insisting that you use a particular plugin 
for some type of code, rather than letting you choose the one that 
suits your needs. So this isn't likely to help in the short term as a 
mass-market solution either.

Another possible solution is to look for a local tool. HTML grinder is 
a little shareware macintosh application that does search and replace 
across directories, so if your blocks are exact matches textually you 
can use that (there are windows versions, and in Unix it is pretty 
common to make this kind of thing as a shell/sed script). Many years 
ago I used it on sites built for CD, where everything had to be a 
static page without using frames, and was very happy with it.

But as you say it is hard to use a rich medium with no tools. I try to 
be a rich man without money, and that doesn't seem to work either...



On Tuesday, Jul 15, 2003, at 00:16 Europe/Zurich, Jonathan Chetwynd 

>> The problem, however, still exists for those people without any type 
>> of content management solution. It's tedious and ineffective to 
>> update the <div class="menu"> section of every top-level page of 
>> their site. If you don't have PHP, a content management solution, or 
>> something, anything, you're in trouble.
>> For those of us with little to no control over the server itself, and 
>> can basically only put up .html pages that are just straight html (no 
>> server-side anything), we are in trouble. I've been unable to find a 
>> way to have the User Agent to "pull in" or import an additional html 
>> file, or content, or whatever, in much the same way as the User Agent 
>> requests an external css file with the appropriate code placed neatly 
>> in the headers.
Charles McCathieNevile                          Fundación Sidar
charles@sidar.org                                http://www.sidar.org
Received on Tuesday, 15 July 2003 03:57:06 UTC

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