HTML and CSS Reference
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the fancy tricks to a minimum, and make sure everything you can do without Java/JavaScript/Flash/and so on is
done without those technologies. This Flickr message is a lot less troublesome:
To take full advantage of Flickr, you should use a JavaScript-enabled
browser and install the latest version of
the Macromedia Flash Player.
The key difference is that I saw this on a page that still managed to show me the content I'd come to see,
despite disabling JavaScript and Flash. I may not see everything, or have full functionality, but I'm not locked
out. This is much friendlier to the reader and to search engines such as Google.
As a site developer, I'd still take a second look at this page to see if I might be able to remove some of the
requirements on clients. However, it wouldn't be my first priority.
Smell: Your Company's Home Page Suddenly Says, "Pwned by Elite Doodz"
Web-site defacements are a major wake-up call, and one that gets everybody's attention really quick. This can
happen for a number of reasons, but by far the most common is a code injection attack directed at a poorly
designed form processing script.
Frankly, if all that happens is that your web site is defaced, you're lucky and you should thank the hackers who
pointed this out to you. More serious attacks can steal confidential data or erase critical information.
Smell: Your First Appearance on Google Is on Page 17
Search engine optimization is a major driver for web-site refactoring. Search engines value text over images
and early text over later text. They don't understand table layouts, and they don't much care for cookies or
JavaScript. However, they do love unique titles and maybe even meta tags.
Smell: Readers Send E-mail Saying Your Site Is Broken
This is one of the absolute best ways to find out you have a problem. For example, I recently received this e-
mail from one of my readers:
The links in the "Further Reading" section of Cafe au
Lait to "The Next Big Language?" and "Testing HopStop"
are broken.
Best regards,
That was a bit of a surprise because the section Kent was complaining about was automatically generated using
XSLT that transformed an Atom feed from another site. I checked the feed and it was correct. However, Kent
was right and the link was broken. I eventually tracked it down to a bug in the XSLT stylesheet. It was reading
an element that was usually but not always the same as the link, rather than the element that was indeed the
link. Five minutes later, the site was fixed.
Ninety-nine percent of your readers will just grumble and never tell you that your site is broken. The 1% who do
complain are gold. You need to treat them well and listen to what they say. Do not make it hard for them to find
you. Every site and almost every page should have an obvious person to contact for any problems that arise.
These responses need to be carefully considered and acted on quickly.
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