Updated January 11, 2004
(see footnotes for changes)
1/11/2022: This page is about Version 10 of The Oo Kingdom. For history purposes, only the first part (What’s New at a Glance) and the sixth part (Broken Scripts Repaired or Eliminated) matter; the rest of the page is just a lot of technical stuff. After this page, site history resumes here.
Wendi and I (Charlie) celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary on October 16, 2003. The latest edition of this site went online one day earlier, on October 15.
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
longdesc attribute 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+xml to browsers which accept it.
Other browsers, including Internet Explorer 6 for Windows, will
text/html as before. Ummamum’s Picture Place
was first to receive this upgrade, on September
Creations followed three days later. The primary domain
had to wait until October 15.
New modular layout was achieved without nesting
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
q element 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. (The script and
q tags were removed
in favor of manual quotation marks in Version 10.6.)
acronym elements containing
title attributes get a dotted underline and a question
mark cursor on hover. This also works on IE, thanks to the same script.
New Access Keys (keyboard shortcuts).
Phrase elements were added where they apply:
strong were already in use)
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.
link elements in document
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.
What works and what doesn’t
abbrelements, but alternatives are provided via client-side scripting. The script may delay page loading or cause the screen to flicker. (The script and
qtags were removed in favor of manual quotation marks in Version 10.6.)
qelement is not supported, all quotation marks will be missing. (Since Version 10.6, all quotations are marked up with manual quotation marks which work on all 4.0 and higher browsers.)
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.
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
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.
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.
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" xml: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
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
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
Evan Goer’s fourth test
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:
DOCTYPEon the others, valid or not.
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.
name attribute 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.
div was nested inside the content
div, effective with Version 10.2
(November 10, 2003).
 The Home page greeting has returned (more at ), and the new Presentation Themes have replaced the earlier custom settings.
 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
 Entire domain is now in XHTML 1.0 Strict, effective with Version 10.1 (November 5, 2003).
 A simplified Home page greeting is now online, preceded by a UTC time stamp.
 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.
 More reasons for writing the site in XHTML are given at the bottom of the page entitled Or Not! and on Final Edit.