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Upcoming XHTML/Accessibility Slash theme

posted by Krow on 05:36 PM September 17th, 2002   Printer-friendly   Email story

I'm working on a theme based on the slashcode theme from CVS. The main goal with this theme is making Slash (more) accessible, usable and comply with the W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0.

This includes:

  • Make Slash valid XHTML 1.1
  • Control layout with a external style-sheet ( should be valid Cascading Style Sheets, level 2 )
  • Remove all tables that are used for design
  • Use <th> tags in all tables
  • Add the <label> tag to all form labels
  • use <h1>..<h6> to add structure to pages, not to get larger fonts
  • add <abbr> and <acronym> tags where needed
  • Remove light mode, since it won't be needed anymore

I hope that I can finish this and do a first release real soon. This will also include a more complete list of changes.

Since many of the users have their own Slash sites, it would be interesting to hear if someone has some experience in making Slash more accessible / usable that they are willing to share. Any questions about the theme should be added as comment to this story and/or mailed directly to me.

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  • My use is medium-heavy I would is on my list of things to do to make it more standards compliant, but not urgent. An earlier version of my site had more use of CSS and less tables, but my beta users rebelled at the lack of NS 4.7 support. I don't expect to keep that support available forever though I was persuafded to make it at least display something for now...
    -- News | Tools | Process for Global Software
    • Since the CSS support in Netscape 4.7x is really broken, this have not been a priority for me especially since Mozilla have reached a stable version.

      One of my goals with this theme is that all pages should work fine both with a style-sheet and without one. So if someone runs a Slash Site with my theme and have a lot of users that have Netscape 4.7x for whatever reason it should be possible to 'hide' the external style-sheet from the browser so that it doesn't load it. Some might complain that the pages look boring, but they should still work just as good as they does when you have a browser that does load the style-sheet ( minus whatever HTML bugs Netscape 4.7x might have ).

  • Yeah! I'd love a more streamlined theme to base things off of. Slashcode theme is ok, but it has a lot of waste in it. Like the little *.gif files it uses to do boarders around boxes, etc, etc....

    It's either on the beat or off the beat, it's that easy.
    • Yes, all of those small gif files used for borders ( together with tables ), padding and stuff will be removed in my theme. I'm using CSS to get the same effect.

      However image files are still needed if you want rounded corners on the story titlebars for example.

    • Yep, I hate those too.

      You can't grep a dead tree.
  • A few people have attempted to do this before, and I've heard lots of people asking or better CSS compliance, but no one kept at it as long as it sounds like you have. This is a wonderful thing. Thank you!
  • My site ( []) has used CSS for layout for ages now. Though I'm not doing it as a project with a finish date in mind, I occassionally go through and rid the templates of a few more tables.

    It's hard yakka. There's a hell of a lot of tables in there.

    I've thought about trying to get the site to comply with the W3C XHTML standard, and although the layout is written in XHTML, user comments are not, so I do not display the W3C link for my XHTML.

  • Well? Wouldn't that make more sense? Using CSS instead of light mode? I mean, CSS should be "lighter" anyways right?

    How many users use light mode anyways?


    It's either on the beat or off the beat, it's that easy.
    • Oh, for example. If I use Dreamweaver MX's CONVERT TABLES TO LAYERS, I get get a Page on my site that, according to Dreamweaver, is 117K (33 secs) to load, compared to the 125K (35 secs) to load the old page.

      I'm sure if we got rid of those sl.gif files and such, we'd be set!


      It's either on the beat or off the beat, it's that easy.
      • I'm on a GNU/Linux system so I can not use Dreamweaver.

        Slash's 'light mode' is according to the option to enable it, about making Slash output less complex HTML for use with browsers on PDA's or text-based browsers like Lynx. Or just making pages smaller so that people with a slow connection can download pages faster / cheaper.

        CSS can absolutely be used to make pages smaller, however I'm not so sure that all possible ways of using CSS will make pages smaller.

        There are three ways of using CSS:

        1. Using