What’s New at a Glance
Joe’s satellite sites were removed to a separate new top-level domain, joesportal.com, which opened September 22. (NOTE, November 8, 2007: Joe’s site was discontinued last month.)
Ummamum’s Surprise is now in its own folder; each presentation appears on a separate page. Legacy browsers (Netscape 3 or higher) will play the sound clips within the browser; the latest browsers (Netscape 6/7 and Mozilla) will open the files in the visitor’s default media player. The cover page and 26 sub-pages made their debut with the new edition of the site on October 15.
Computer Art by Victor Petitt (in Ummamum’s Picture Place) now includes a long description page which gives detailed descriptions of each picture. There are links to and from each picture page plus a link to the description page from the section cover page. In addition, the
longdescattribute in the
<img>tag provides additional access for JAWS users (and anyone else whose browser supports the attribute). The new page went online September 29.
Directories in the News Archive and Ummamum’s Picture Place have been restructured. A few old picture sections were removed September 22, citing privacy concerns.
Our markup (XHTML) is now served with the MIME type
application/xhtml+xmlto browsers which accept it. Other browsers, including Internet Explorer 6 for Windows, will be served
text/htmlas before. Ummamum’s Picture Place was first to receive this upgrade, on September 24; Petitt’s Creations followed three days later. The primary domain had to wait until October 15.
New modular layout was achieved without nesting
divelements or using a box model hack. Layout uses relative sizes but will not break when the window or the text is resized; it also renders identically in either quirks mode or standards-compliant mode.
That script makes the
qelement work on Internet Explorer 5 and 6. There are now no manual quotation marks on The Oo Kingdom. If scripting is disabled, IE will display quoted material as italicized text.
titleattributes get a dotted underline and a question mark cursor on hover. This also works on IE, thanks to the same script.
New Access Keys.
Phrase markup described under Text Level Elements.
Gone are the Home page greeting, Oo’s Almanac and the customizable layout, colors and fonts. These were considered trade-offs for the new features.
Links to other sites are highlighted in a pale silver on all browsers which support style sheets.
Several small button links have been replaced by text links. Validator links now only appear on cover pages.
linkelements in document
heads have been eliminated; only the more useful ones (Home, Up, Previous, Next) have been retained. First and Last
links are used in Ummamum’s Picture Place.
Browser Compatibility Issues
What works and what doesn’t
- Netscape 7 & Mozilla Firebird
- Everything works as designed.
- Opera 7
- Horizontal rules are missing on printouts; layout of printed pages may be wrong in some cases.
- Opera 6
- “Help” cursor does not work on
- Internet Explorer 5.5 & 6
- Everything works as designed; a float problem on the Family page
appears to be fixed. The browser does not support the
abbrelements, but alternatives are provided via client-side scripting. The script may delay page loading or cause the screen to flicker.
- Internet Explorer 5
- If italicized text runs across parts of two or more lines, a horizontal scrollbar will appear at the bottom of the page (only version 5 is affected by this bug). Also, the dotted underlines will not appear below abbreviations or acronyms, but the help cursor is displayed on hover. Everything else is the same as in later versions of Internet Explorer.
- Internet Explorer 4
- Same as Internet Explorer 5, except that page headers (which contain the title or logo) appear with the same background color as the rest of the page content (better browsers get a separate background color on most themes).
- Netscape 4.0 through 4.8
- Because of their limited CSS support, our normal layout is not available to these browsers. A special style sheet provides colors, fonts and some floating elements.
- Because the
qelement is not supported, all quotation marks will be missing.
legendelements are also unsupported; these will affect text rendering to some degree. For instance,
dfn(the defining instance of a term) and
legend(like a caption, but used on forms) are normally italicized on this site; not so on Netscape 4.
- Netscape 2 & 3
- The XML declaration will be displayed as text at the top of each page, along with the content of any embedded style sheet.
- Quotation marks will be missing as noted above for Netscape 4. In addition, any curly apostrophes (’), dashes (— and –) or ellipses (…) will be displayed as question marks.
- These browsers do not support CSS at all, so the site will appear entirely in block layout, in default colors and font.
DOCTYPEs in Use
- XHTML 1.0 Strict for primary domain and the long description page in Computer Art by Victor Petitt, on Ummamum’s Picture Place.
- XHTML 1.1 for all of Petitt’s Creations and all of Ummamum’s Picture Place except the page mentioned above.
MIME Types Served to Different Browsers
At the time of this writing, only current Netscape and Mozilla
browsers receive our pages as
which is the recommended MIME type for
All other browsers are served
text/html. See Using the correct MIME
type at our Writing in XHTML page
for more details.
Serving Documents as
On September 15, 2003 at 6:48 a.m. I accidentally tried opening
a normal HTML page
application/xhtml+xml, on Mozilla Firebird.
This is what I saw on my screen:
XML Parsing Error: mismatched tag. Expected: </link>. Location: http://www.ookingdom.com/ Line Number 14, Column 3: </head> --^
Because there was no closing slash in the first
element it found, it returned a parsing error instead of displaying
the page at all. Let the author beware of missing closing tags
Scripting works differently in an XML environment
than it does in normal HTML. Tried-and-true
document.write don’t work in
XML. I had to fix some of my scripts to get them to
work in the new format; others I determined were really unnecessary,
so I eliminated them.
- Changing Home page logos and greeting — just eye candy. Will use normal logos and swap images on a seasonal basis.
- Oo’s Almanac was eliminated since it mostly pertains to the changing logos.
- Email scripts were fixed to work in the new format. Completed October 1.
- Ummamum Guy that sleeps eight hours each night — replaced with normal image that doesn’t sleep.
- Ummamum’s Surprise — put images and text into a series of normal pages (now Lynx users can even read them!). Reworked script to open audio files in default media player for better browsers and use plug-ins for older ones. Completed October 14.
Tables Render Funny in XML
cellpadding attributes are
now ignored by good browsers. Solved by styling
td in the style sheet; I still
cellspacing="0" in the XHTML.
Completed October 1.
XML Declaration is Now Used
We now use the XML declaration (also known as a prologue) at the top of each page’s source, even knowing that Netscape 2 and 3 will display it as text, and it causes IE 6 (Windows) to render our pages in quirks mode instead of standards-compliant mode. The problem with IE is really no big deal in our case; the site is designed to render identically in either mode. Our primary reason for using the XML declaration comes from the W3C specification for strictly conforming documents, as quoted below:
An XML declaration is not required in all XML documents; however XHTML document authors are strongly encouraged to use XML declarations in all their documents. Such a declaration is required when the character encoding of the document is other than the default
UTF-16and no encoding was determined by a higher-level protocol. Here is an example of an XHTML document. In this example, the XML declaration is included.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> <html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en" lang="en"> <head> <title>Virtual Library</title> </head> <body> <p>Moved to <a href="http://example.org/">example.org</a>.</p> </body> </html>
In case some browsers do not support the
UTF-16 character encodings, we use the more common Western
ISO-8859-1) encoding instead. Our server will
not deliver a character encoding at the protocol level, unless the
type in use is a subset of XML; legacy browsers will receive our pages
text/html with no character encoding unless it’s
defined in the document.
Traditionally, we have used the
<meta http-equiv…> tag to specify both
the MIME type (
content-type) and the
character encoding (
charset) for our documents.
Because different MIME types are now being served
to different browsers, our
meta statement would be
incorrect in some cases. Anne van Kesteren makes the
point that the
meta http-equiv statement should not be used for
XHTML because user agents (browsers) do not read it;
they get the MIME type from the server, and the character
encoding is better defined in the XML declaration.
My Reason For Doing This
Evan Goer’s fourth
Evan Goer has a Web page entitled The X-Philes
on which there is a list of sites that are valid XHTML
and are served as
application/xhtml+xml to conforming
browsers. This site, added October 17, 2003, is listed as #41.
In his article, Mr. Goer describes three tests used to determine who is doing XHTML right and who isn’t:
- The Simple Validation Test: Check the home page of the site (or the one most often linked to) to see if it’s valid XHTML.
- The Laziness Test: Check three random secondary pages
to see if they validate also. This eliminates those who build a valid
home page and then slap a
DOCTYPEon the others, valid or not.
- The MIME
Type Test: Using Mozilla Firebird or equivalent, check “Page Info”
and see if the type is
application/xhtml+xml. This is where most fail the test.
He mentions a fourth test, not as concrete as the others: “Why are you using XHTML in the first place?” I will go the extra mile and attempt to address that here.
Admittedly, one reason I had for going to this extreme with a site this large and diverse, was to see if I could actually do it. But my primary reason (and what provided the real motivation) for converting to XHTML served as XML is longevity. I want to archive my content for a long time, and it needs to be both as forward compatible (for the future) and as backward compatible (for older browsers still in current use) as possible. HTML affords backward compatibility, but XHTML, carefully written and properly served, may provide both.
This is how I figure it: XHTML carefully written
to be backward compatible, will be parsed by legacy browsers as
HTML, which is fine. The
is faithfully used for all link targets so Netscape 4 and similar
classic browsers can find them. Documents are structured logically
so they still make perfect sense when linearized (which is how they
will render on older browsers). Newer browsers will read my
XHTML as XML and will process it accordingly.
Full styling is available to all modern browsers.
The next step for the Web (or so hopes the W3C) will be XHTML 2, which is not intended to be backward compatible at all. Jeffrey Zeldman doesn’t believe that XHTML 2 will ever gain popular support because it differs so radically from the HTML we all know and love; also, it may be too difficult for humans to edit as they do HTML today. If that be the case, HTML as we know it may never die, and this conversion will have been pointless—but our markup will still be supported and the site should still be usable.
If, on the other hand, XML becomes standard fare for the Web (as it already is for programming), The Oo Kingdom will be ready. Sites written in HTML may not be.
In either case, the markup on this site should not become obsolete for a very long time. This suits me fine, since I don’t relish the thought of another major edit any time soon.
A number of changes took place shortly after the 21st Anniversary Edition was introduced. Later site improvements are detailed on our Final Edit page.
 External link highlight color varies with the Presentation Theme in use.
 Layout problem on Opera 7 has been fixed.
 Internet Explorer 4 was not included in the original version of this page.
Revised styling for
dfn elements makes
them appear in bold small-caps on modern
 We decided that it wasn’t a good idea for someone visiting the site for the first time, to see a sleeping, snoring Ummamum instead of the normal one.