RSVP (no really)

When we set an RSVP deadline (trying ever so hard not to actually call it a deadline), we allowed leeway for the inevitable fact that there would be some people who didn’t reply on time, or would forget to give us food choices or what have you.

That deadline was nearly two weeks ago. We started chasing people up in spare moments at work (having not got the internet here yet at that point). A few more have replied, including the best man and his girlfriend. A few still have not. Not huge numbers, but probably more than can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

You have to allow for the fact that I am tired and stroppy while writing this post due to a combination of exhaustion and depression and stress. But still – is it me, or is it just really rude? We’ve put a lot of effort into making this wedding as ‘user-friendly’ as possible, and at the end of the day we’re inviting people not because we have to but because we want them to be there. I can understand uncertainties over clashing commitments or travel plans or whatever and that’s fine – but they could at least have the courtesy to tell us! If they can’t be bothered to reply (even after a reminder) then I can’t be bothered to have them there. Sounds harsh? Do I care?

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The Final Website

So apart from the @font-face issue, the website is done. Finished, finito!

It’s not perfect – there are niggles. But I’m afraid that good enough will have to be good enough because we have to start sending out invitations in the next day or two.

I’d love to post a screenshot here because I’m really proud of what I’ve done. Unfortunately that would involve presenting an unknown proportion of the internet with a significant amount of the information that one might use to commit identity fraud, and certainly enough to make stalking a doddle; so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

I’m feeling oddly accomplished. Built a website from scratch? Yeah, done that!

Why, If I Had Any Sense, I Would Not Be Using IE

, “IE” standing for “Internet Explorer”, for those of you unfamiliar with the abbreviation.

Progress is being made on the website, and I am learning bucketloads as I go along.

I got @font-face to work, meaning that even if the viewing computer does not have the fonts in question installed (Gill Sans (MT), Abadi Condensed Extra Bold (MT), and Bickley Script, if you were interested), the browser will still display them. Nifty indeed. I used font-squirrel for the generation of the relevant files, although for some reason my computer would not support their website, and after a long series of emails with its developer, I ended up using J’s – a certain irony, there?!

What has followed next has been the quest to pull up my big girl panties, so to speak, and make the site cross-browser friendly. I put pretty much everything into containers after discovering that it makes positioning a lot easier in percentages, and have been getting my head round the tricks needed to get things to behave as they ought – for instance, persuading a PNG image that just because it is semi-transparent for aesthetic purposes, that doesn’t mean that I want it to overlap other elements.

Where I really hit a block however, was in the different behaviour of apparently identical browsers – namely J’s version of IE8 and my own. Eventually, I realised that what my browser considered to be 0% was completely different from his, and having identified this problem, promptly got so fed up of the whole thing that I ignored the website and its creation for about a month. Luckily it was Quakers To The Rescue again – I mentioned it in conversation at one of the Birmingham Young Friends meetings that has started up on Wednesday evenings, and found rather to my delight that I was talking to a hobbyist web designer. S knew exactly what I was talking about, and suggested that I Google “Eric Meyer reset css”, a wonderful piece of code which resets the default style settings on your browser. So simple, yet so effective!

What I’ve discovered, though, is that Eric Meyer’s code takes you rather too far back to basics. “I know!” I thought. “I’ll just find the default stylesheet settings for my brower, link them into the top of my stylesheet, and then everyone will see what I see. None of the endless experimentation to get everything back to how it was before. Genius!”

Unfortunately, Microsoft seem to have hidden the said default stylesheet somewhere within the Operating System. It’s one of those things that just has to be true to be believed. I know, let’s write a browser which is really difficult to web develop in so nobody in their right mind will use it…

Pray tell, WTF???

x

In other news, it’s six months exactly ’til the big day. Aaaargh?!! 😀

Web Design

J is still alive, I promise. Just seems to be me that’s blogging at the minute.

As a reflection of the fact that the vast majority* of our guests are computer literate and have internet access, we decided to create a wedding website. This means that we can display travel information and what have you without having to print off reams and reams of paper – saving on both printing and postage costs. As you will discover when organising these events, apparently little costs multiply and mount up like nobody’s business.

J had created a simple website once before (for an event that he ran while at university) and he’d had a good experience with a particular hosting company. Fine, I said. Sounds good. Even better they offered templates so all we would have to do was input the content, select a colour scheme or two, and bang!… our website!

I bet you can hear my hollow laughter now.

Basically, the templates were just awful. Even having found one that we both liked the basic aesthetics of, we found them all hideously restrictive. For instance, there was a (ridiculously low) character limit on subheadings. You couldn’t have a single column of text rather than two. And, and I think this was the ultimate deal-breaker, if you wanted more than five sub-pages then it split up the links on the home page in an incredibly bizarre fashion, arranging five at the top before sticking the rest in a corner down the bottom.

I think J might have gone with it to be honest, but he doesn’t have any experience of coding and his geekery pride was not at stake. So yes, you’ve guessed it. I decided to code our wedding website, from scratch, using my limited knowledge of HTML, slightly better knowledge of CSS, and a couple of really good online tutorials.

For those of you who haven’t built a website before, let me explain. The real issue is not getting it to work and look good, per se. The real issue is getting it to work and look good on any computer using any operating system running any browser.

I’ll be honest, I’m quite enjoying it. I’d forgotten quite how addictive coding was or how satisfying it is getting something to work, but believe me, it gives you quite a buzz when it goes well! The problems come when it doesn’t go well, and the point at which I start to blog is the point at which I am avoiding tackling thorny issues. So my current major issues are as such: (- any techies reading this are very welcome to offer solutions)

  • trying to get @font-face to work
  • coverting everything from pixels to percentages (grrrr)
  • inserting dynamic content frames for the main text on each page
  • finding a (free) site on which to host a discussion forum for people wanting to lift-share

On the plus side, it’s keeping me out of trouble and off the streets…

*Obviously we’ll do printed information for the handful of elderly friends and relatives