Ffffffliping floats!

I’ve been having various problems over the past few days with CSS floats. more specifically, either background images on containing elements not appearing or floated elements acting as if they’ve run out of room in the parent element and dropping down on to “the next line”.

The cause of this is the fact that I haven’t cleared the float before closing the containing element. I have found two ways of curing the problem.

  1. Clear the float.
  2. set a min-height on the parent (containing) element. Remembering of course to add a height in your IE specific stylesheet.

This is pretty basic stuff, but it’s been a while since I’ve hit a problem like this in CSS so it makes sense for me to blog it to help me remember next time; and who knows it might help someone else too.

Web Standards Project announces “Street Team”

Details are sketchy (or non-existent) at the moment but WaSP have recently announced a new initiative called “Street Team”. The idea is that together we create a number of tasks – challenges if you will – to help the promotion of web standards in your local community. Things that will help get the word out to the businesses, educational institutions, web shops and individuals who live and operate directly near you. As a central group it’s hard for us to reach those people, but as a distributed team, it’s easy.

I’ve signed up to the mailing list, it’ll be interesting to see exactly what tasks they have in mind.

Good golly miss Molly!

Molly E. Holzschlag knows her stuff; She’s been working in the webstandards arena since before there was even an arena to work in! I’ve seen her speak a couple of times, first at CSS for designers back in 2005 and then last year at @media 2006 where she spoke about internationalisation. Molly never fails to inspire with obvious passion for her subject. Molly has written several books on web technology & is the out going Group Lead for WaSP (the Web Standards Project). She also writes a popular blog.

Earlier this week Molly announced that she’s signed on with the Internet Explorer team on a contract basis to work on standards and interoperability issues.

I think this is excellent news, anything that sees MS developing with standards in mind and gets us closer a more interoberable web has got to be a good thing. As part of her work with Microsoft Molly has started a new blog “The Daily Molly“. I hope that it lives up to it’s name. Molly doesn’t post nearly as often as I’d like her to on Molly.com, so knowing that there’s another place to tap into her knowledge is a good thing.

Molly’s announcement follows hot on the heels of news that Chris Wilson, Platform Architect of the Internet Explorer Platform team at Microsoft (and ex-Group Program Manager) is going to be the initial chair of the W3C’s new HTML Working Group. In some circles this new has been greeted with dismay. For the life of me I cannont understand why this should be. Microsoft may have been extremely slow to adopt W3C standards in the past, indeed the gap between IE6 & IE7 was far too long; however they are now working hard to comply with standards, Chris has shown that he personally is commited to the cause and I beleive that under his stewardhip the W3C WG will do the right thing for developers and end users.

Web Accessability Petition

It’s not like me to post anything political, but I’ll make an exception for this.

In the UK the Disability Discrimination Act (1995) covers access to services for disabled people; the part of the act that covers websites came into force in 1999.

The act states that “reasonable adjustments” to ensure that their service is accessible to people with disabilities.

A widely accepted measure of accessibility is the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). There are three levels defined in the WCAG A, AA & AAA. Any site claiming to be accessable should really meet the AA standard as a minimum.

It may come as a surprise that the government launched a new website in June last year that fails to do this.

In June 2006 the DTI launched their new website. Despite an approximate cost of £200,000, the website failed to meet basic accessibility standards. In short, this meant that the information on the website was inaccessible to some UK citizens – this is absolutely inexcusable. Further work (requiring further taxpayer money) was promised to bring the website up to Level AA of the Web Accessibility Initiative. The purpose of this petition is to ensure that all future government websites meet basic accessibility requirements from launch.

Clearly this is wrong. At best it can be seen as negligence on the part of the DTI; for a government department to ignore the guidelines like this is inexcusable. That’s why I’ve signed this petition, and you should too.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to ensure that any website launched by the government complies with accessibility standards (WCAG AA at least).

Sign the petition.