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Converting a DIV table to an AJAX-compatible data entry grid

July 14, 2009

In a previous article, Sample HTML table using DIV layouts, Cascading Style Sheets, we built a customized table on our web site using DIV elements and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), all to avoid the rather ugly stylings, the inflexibilities, and cross-browser issues imposed by the <TABLE> tag and its relatives.

In Creating a cross-browser-compatible data entry grid using HTML DIV tables, we transform this same table into an AJAX-ready data entry grid.

Again, we show the actual source code for the CSS and the DIV table. And we've made sure that it performs properly across browsers: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, and Safari.

Finally, we show you how to create this table using PHP, i.e. to size it automatically to fit a MySQL database table, or to "grow" the table as a user POSTs new data to a form.

Creating complex HTML tables using DIV and Cascading Style Sheets

July 11, 2009

Tables present complex information in a simple fashion; they allow analysis that is otherwise not possible. And the web is all about information ...

Ironically, complex data tables are just not possible using the standard <TABLE> tags. Even paired with specific Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), these often render poorly. Also, a functional design in Internet Explorer might break horribly in Firefox, Safari, or Chrome.

Complex table design is an area where web page authoring software frequently still fails. But hope is not lost. In Creating complex web page tables using HTML, DIVs, and Cascading Style Sheets, using an example from an article on selecting an HTML-based email newsletter solution, we show how you create complex tables using DIVs and style definitions, ones that render identically across browsers.

Finally, we also present the full CSS and DIV table code for a basic sample table.

Good luck with your project!

Templated email newsletters - finding a solution

July 11, 2009

Sooner or later, webmasters will be asked to create newsletters for their clients. Something clean, elegant, informative - something that matches the clients' site design.

Easy, right?

It won't stop there. Your client - whether a large corporation, a small business, a non-profit organization, whatever - will want to be able to quickly build new newsletters based on a template or templates you've designed. They'll want to send appropriate, topical content to different groups of people, and will want to be able to easily manage multiple large and small mailing lists.

Of course, you'll need to be sure this stuff isn't tagged as spam - spam is hateful to receive, and can get your client a nasty reputation pretty quickly. You want to steer clear of anti-spam legislation, as well.

So people should be able to unsubscribe. Interested folks should be able to subscribe to your newsletters, as well. You will want to track those. You want to know when newsletters bounce. Etc.

Requirements for such newsletters quickly escalate. Our article on HTML-based email newsletter solutions get you started on determining your needs, and a process for finding programs to meet them.

In Evaluating email newsletter solutions: Get Ruthless, we apply those criteria against twenty email newsletter programs to find the one best suited to a specific project, in this case, for a local school.

Finally, we pick a winner. There are some very good, very reasonable solutions out there - there's sure to be one for you!

Building a Multi-Browser Web Page Testing Suite, 2009

May 14, 2009

Things change.

Netscape is dead.

Other browsers are faster, cleaner. Internet Explorer 8 and Firefox own most of the market. Google Chrome is rising fast. Safari and Opera continue to have their loyal supporters.

And some things haven't changed. Microsoft dances to its own tune and still has embarrassingly-bad compliance with web standards. Others have varying levels of compatibility with HTML, CSS, W3C Document Object Model (DOM) and Javascript.

What certainly hasn't changed is that you need to test your web page designs in all of them. Hence my Multi-Browser Web Page Testing Suite - 2009 Update, with download links, percent market share per browser, and Acid2 and Acid3 test results for current and prior versions.

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