Alright, I'm working on emulating the current look&feel of TSS using only plain HTML and CSS. It is going very well (much better than I anticipated), although IE5 is only capable of emulating the exact same l&f. If you have a Mozilla-based browser, or any other browser that is CSS2 enabled, you will have a much better TSS experience. It's a *HUGE* difference.
Example: with Mozilla, the lefthand menu will be fixed, as will the top logo and section list. The main news list and righthand bar will both be scrollable, but separately. You will still be able to bookmark individual threads though, and if all goes well you should be able to bookmark individual messages too. And all of this with a significantly reduced amount of HTML being sent along, since all the l&f info is in CSS, so the site will be much faster.
The only trouble is browsers. I have tested on IE5, latest Mozilla, and Opera 6. Opera 6 is not perfect yet, but I'll get it to work eventually. Are there any other browsers that need to work? AFAIK these are the top three, with up-to-date HTML and CSS support.
Any insights you can provide would be helpful.
Congrats on joining TSS! Plain HTML (XTHML?) and CSS is truly a step in the right direction.
I personally use Opera 5.12 as my primary browser (love those mouse gestures :)) although I'm sure Opera 6 is very similar if not better in CSS2 support.
The browser's I believe you would need to target (in order of importance are):
1) IE5.5 *and* IE6 (IE6 is much better at CSS2 support than IE5.5 but far from perfect, most people will be using IE6 within a year I predict)
2) Opera 5.12 and Opera 6 (Opera has the best CSS2 compliance out there IMO ... did I mention that Opera rocks ;-))
3) Mozilla and Netscape 6.* (haven't tried either to be honest but Mozilla seems to be gaining momentum from developers I talk to and has good CSS2 support as you have mentioned)
4) lynx (not important for most people but using HTML and CSS should make TSS accessible to these browsers too)
If you can get TSS to appear correctly in 1), 2) and 3) then you will have done a great job (you will probably end up having to create diff CSS's for each browser group but who knows).
Good luck and look forward to hearing on your success!
That's weird.. I have emulated the TSS look&feel with HTML+CSS, and when I added CSS2 stuff (fixed positioning of the menus mostly) it only worked on Mozilla. Opera6 didn't like it at all :-( With the common stuff it looked (by far) best on Mozilla, second best on IE 5, and worst on Opera. I might have done something wrong though. The good news is that it worked without having to do browser specific stuff. I want to avoid that as much as possible (except for the CSS2 stuff for Mozilla and possibly Opera). I will make a printable option too, and possibly a "minimalistic" option for lynx, but I'm not sure of the value in that. Currently 90%+ of TSS users use IE5-IE6.
I'm hoping to be able to get an extra "beta TSS" site so that I'll be able to try out new features for those who are willing to take the hit of problems once in a while. That way the "normal" TSS should always work well for all users. That is, if there's any interest in the "beta TSS" version (which I hope, since there's a LOT of cool new features in the pipe).
FYI, I reworked the layout to use tables and skipped the fixed menu thingy. I might add it later. So, right now it looks almost identical on Mozilla, IE5, and Opera6. The only thing that differs is what happens when the window is resized, but all three behaviours are ok.
Only CSS1 is used at the moment, but it covers all the needs of TSS so far. Pretty neat :-) The HTML has been *vastly* simplified. The only tags used are h*, a, img, p, div, and the table tags. Everything else is in one CSS file. CSS rocks :-)
This will make it much easier to rework the site, and also make it easier to (eventually) OpenSource the code, since all look&feel stuff can now be easily replaced. Kewl. :-)
Great work! I've had troubles using CSS2 as well with the major browsers so it's no surprise you had troubles - I usually end up having to send browser specific stylesheets which is a maintainence PITA.
CSS1 is a good compromise. I think it will take another generation of browsers before all the features of CSS2 can be reliably used which is unfortunate. Sounds like Mozilla is leading the way which is good.
And yes CSS rocks!! I wish more people would use it instead of designing amazingly convoluted HTML code in Frontpage, Dreamweaver etc and sending it to the client. You get much faster downloads when using a separate CSS file/s, *much* easier reworking of an entire website - you can even do cool stuff like letting people create their own homemade CSS stylesheets to give them their own l&f.
I'm hoping to be able to get an extra "beta TSS" site so
> that I'll be able to try out new features for those who
> are willing to take the hit of problems once in a while
I forgot to add ...
I'd definitely be interested in a beta TSS and would gladly help out with reporting any problems, suggestions etc. I'm sure many others would be too.