Jul 10

Cross-Browser Compliant Rich Text Editor: A Start

It seems that DIY rich text is not just far from impossible but it’s cross-browser compliant as well. With the World Cup giving me more down-time between matches, I’ve had some time to tinker with my homework; and with the only match today at 1:30 (that’s 2:30 for those of us on DST), I’ve also got a little time to share it.

Starting from a base example at http://html5demos.com/, I’ve generated something that caters a little bit more to my needs. Not to belittle the work of the original author but after testing the example, I was a little surprised that he claimed it was fully cross-browser compliant. In a sense it was; the text could be manipulated by simply selecting it and typing away, but the way it behaved in Firefox was suspect.

While in Chrome it performed admirably (all the CTRL + B/U/I/… shortcuts worked fantastically), this was not so in Firefox. So there was no way to truly apply formatting to the text. Additionally, designmode was applied to the whole document instead of only the element that was to be editable. This meant that the whole document was editable. It’s true that nothing behaves perfectly across every browser and compromises must be made but, in this case, I believe the editor’s cross-browser behaviour can be fairly consistent across them all.

Before I get into the details, see what I’ve done so far with Rich Text Editor 0.1.

Continue reading →

Jun 10

DTDs Just Got So Much Easier

I’ve been playing around with HTML and various other web technology for about seven years now. When I started I didn’t even know what a Document Type Declaration (DTD) was. Soon I found that specifically declaring one at the beginning of the HTML / PHP file solved so many problems. I’ve gone through various phases, beginning with xHTML and most recently ending with HTML 4 Strict.  Now it’s on to HTML5, and I’m ecstatic with how simple the DTD statement has become.

Before, when I started a new page I would always copy the statement from a page I previously created. Really, who’s going to remember this:
And if you want to see what some of the other DTD statements look like, there’s a fairly exhaustive list over at Wikipedia.

HTML5 has a much simpler format, and here it is:
It’s simple; it’s clean; and, most importantly, I’ll remember it any time I need to start a new project.

Jun 10

Modernizr: Compromise Number 1

Okay, maybe it doesn’t have to be 100% DIY.  I just found my first reason to compromise: Modernizr.  It seems that this open source script automatically detects which fun new features of HTML5 and CSS3 are supported by the viewing web browser.  This may come in very handy.

As a side note, check this out:

Modernizr Menu Hiccup

I would have hoped that a web site promoting a fancy script to help web programmers with CSS wouldn’t break like this in Chrome, supposedly one of the better browsers when it comes to CSS3 & HTML5 support.

Jun 10

Rich Text, Poor Me

It seems that I’ve come across my first little hiccup in my little DIY project.  The ugly cross-browser compatibility issue has shown itself.  Actually, in this case it’s less cross-browser compatibility and more cross-browser consistency.

As I said before in the article introducing the overall plan for Mashed Bits, one of the features that I’d like to include in addition to all the proposed social networking fare is a full-featured blog (or as close to it as I can manage given my DIY mentality).  Of course, no blog worth its salt will ask a blogger to type out articles in a simple text box.  Text box? Ridiculous.  It’s all about the rich text editor.

Yes.  Before you start, I know about CKEditor, TinyMCE, YUI and the various other great, customizable and already full-featured possibilities I could choose from.  But remember, DIY.

Continue reading →

Jun 10

Do It Yourself

I talked about what I want to do with Mashed Bits in my last article.  Admittedly, to get it right is going to be quite the undertaking.  Just thinking about it is daunting.  To add an even more unreasonable level of difficulty to the task I’ve placed in front of myself I’m going to complete at least most of it on my own.  Let’s just say that given certain prospects, I’d like to hone my web coding skills and something like Mashed Bits can give me lots more experience than what I’ve already got.

I’m not sure how long this incarnation of the site will last.  I’m going to try and get Mashed Bits running on a non-WordPress system fairly soon (ie sometime within the next two years) and for now this blog will be the documentation of that process.  Other bits and pieces will be mise din as well.

Until next time…

Jun 10

The Start of a New Site

Now that I’ve finished my thesis, which I’ll upload soon, I now have some more free time to do other things.  I think that bridge and this site will be the two major competitors in terms of how to use that free time.

In terms of Mashed Bits, I’ve had various plans for what will become of it ever since the domain name was registered in 2007.  Three years on those plans have slowly changed and evolved into something I think I would be proud to see through.  I’d like this site to become a hub of sorts for all my online interactions.  Anything public that I do on twitterfacebook or any other social network will be shown here.  Equally, anything private that I would normally see on any of those networks will be here as well.  But to see that, I’ll have to sign in with a password.  In addition to this, I’ll be able to write articles and share links and images and all that jazz.

I don’t think it’s anything novel, but I am hoping that it will do for my social networking what Google Reader did for my regular web reading.  Right now this is more of a passion project than anything and, given that the seed that started all this was sown almost three years ago and so far has only resulted in an idea that could be, the future of Mashed Bits is still very much up in the air.

Still, I hope that my recent thesis completion (keeping my fingers crossed to hear that I’m officially awarded that MSc) and the quasi-good feelings I have regarding what I’ve done with that project will give me a little more motivation than what I’ve had in the past.

May 10


Oh how the site has changed

Things are changing around here.  We’ll see how things continue.

May 10

And It Begins…

I’ve finally decided to dust off the old domain name and put to some sort of use.  We’ll see where it goes from there.

All the best,