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comments much appreciated - thank you for your help

P: n/a
Hi Folks

I have just completed a project for an accommodation finder in New Zealand - much with your help - thank you again.

I would appreciate any constructive or deconstructive comments.

The url is

http://switch.hosts.net.nz/~admin64/index.php

Thank you

- Nicolaas
Jul 17 '05 #1
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12 Replies


P: n/a
> From: "windandwaves" <wi*********@coldmail.com>
Organization: Xtra
Newsgroups: alt.html,comp.lang.php
Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2005 11:10:51 +1300
Subject: comments much appreciated - thank you for your help

Hi Folks

I have just completed a project for an accommodation finder in New Zealand -
much with your help - thank you again.

I would appreciate any constructive or deconstructive comments.

The url is

http://switch.hosts.net.nz/~admin64/index.php

Thank you

- Nicolaas

It looks quite nice in IE 5.1.6 on a Mac. But it is a bit disastrous in
Mozilla 1.3 (a very reliable Mac browser I have found) with any window size
that is "bigger" than what is needed for your content: paradoxically it only
half appears when browser is opened up bigger than "needed" (from
"Discerning..." to the right, nothing to the left of these words in the
heading). So there is serious trouble. It looks very complicated code
considering the content? JS and stuff... are you browser (and user window
size) sniffing somehow? If so, it is not working)

I won't comment on the code here, the tables or anything like that, nor on
things I am not experienced in, just on the look in the browser and take the
comments how you will.

1. I had to enlarge the browser font size to read the text. (I went to 120%
and it was ok for me then). True, there are quite a few sites where I have
to do this but not sure you have so much info on your page to have to go
quite so small?)

2. I found it hard to see the white text clearly on the yellowish bottom.

3. The whole contents are carefully constrained and do not grow to take
advantage of a bigger monitor, the white canvass "goes to waste" as it
were...

4. In particular there is a lack of grace in the lack of padding on the
right side. "Balmoral Lodge - Queenstown", in particular, comes to an abrupt
edge.

It does resize nicely unlike so many sites (this is an independent point to
the one made at the start). In other words, once the site is viewable in the
browser, changing the browser font-size view is graceful enough.

Only looked at the main page...

dorayme

Jul 17 '05 #2

P: n/a
> I would appreciate any constructive or deconstructive comments.

10 minutes playing with this tells me you have some major issues...

I find websites that leave 40% of the browser space blank, then use a tiny
font to make things fit really annoying. I use a large monitor at 1600x1200
and this site is hard to read unless I get my nose against the screen.

It's slightly alarming that using a URL like:

http://switch.hosts.net.nz/~admin64/listing.php?t='&p='

results in "Table Undefined" being printed on screen. Is that a bad choice
of error message on your part or is it a system error which you're not
catching? If I were looking to break the site I'd be homing in on this.
Turns out that's not necessary - see below.

The login page tells me that if you "forgot your password then please enter
your username and click submit", which would be a challenge because there
isn't a submit button.

When you go to refine a search, the criteria you started with aren't
reproduced in the search screen, so you have to start again from scratch.
Most unhelpful.

I logged in with a username of "'''" and a password of "'''" (i.e. 3 single
quotes). I'm not entirely sure what happened. I was presented with a list,
of which I clicked the top one - "Christopher Brown Associates". It then
said "You are now logged in for: Christopher Brown Associates (property
code: cba)"! Either I don't understand what's happening, or what is
supposed to be happening securitywise, or your idea of a completed project
isn't the same as mine. But then, it says at the bottom that I'm not
currently logged in, and there's no logout button.

A bit more playing found me looking at the page for administrator's entry
for "The Cove", complete with password in plain text (not even starred
out). I added the string "Fred<script>alert(&quot;hello&quot;)</script>" to
para 1 of the Cove's description, and went back to the viewing page. I got
a PHP error: "Parse error: parse error, unexpected $
in /var/www/html/_snippets.php on line 196".

I don't go around trashing websites, but there are a lot of people out there
who do. If you don't want this one crapped all over, you're going to have
to start again with its security.

BTW, I couldn't get that string out of the Cove's entry. I've broken it.
Sorry... :o)

--
The email address used to post is a spam pit. Contact me at
http://www.derekfountain.org : <a
href="http://www.derekfountain.org/">Derek Fountain</a>
Jul 17 '05 #3

P: n/a
dorayme wrote:

Thank you so much for your comments, much appreciated. I am stoked.
It looks quite nice in IE 5.1.6 on a Mac. But it is a bit disastrous
in Mozilla 1.3 (a very reliable Mac browser I have found) with any
window size that is "bigger" than what is needed for your content:
paradoxically it only half appears when browser is opened up bigger
than "needed" (from "Discerning..." to the right, nothing to the left
of these words in the heading). So there is serious trouble. It looks
very complicated code considering the content? JS and stuff... are
you browser (and user window size) sniffing somehow? If so, it is not
working)
To be honest with you, making it compatable in all these browsers drives me mental - even when pages validate (using strict) with
W3. Whenever I use float commands in the stylesheets then there is definitely trouble. So I go back to tables (ugly design), which
makes it slightly better, but there are still places where it aint working. For example, in strict HTML you are not allowed to align
a table in the centre. So I use the stylesheet, which basically causes the error you list above. The good news is that there will
be very few people using Mozilla 1.3 on a Mac. I will check it out thought
I won't comment on the code here, the tables or anything like that,
nor on things I am not experienced in, just on the look in the
browser and take the comments how you will.

1. I had to enlarge the browser font size to read the text. (I went
to 120% and it was ok for me then). True, there are quite a few sites
where I have to do this but not sure you have so much info on your
page to have to go quite so small?)
Good, yes, we like it small and because all the fonts are set as em, users can resize them anyway they want.
2. I found it hard to see the white text clearly on the yellowish
bottom.
Good point.
3. The whole contents are carefully constrained and do not grow to
take advantage of a bigger monitor, the white canvass "goes to waste"
as it were...
Because we want to keep some control over the look. For the vast majority of the users, it will look fine. Most geeks on here have
huge size monitors, but most "normal" people have "normal" screens.
4. In particular there is a lack of grace in the lack of padding on
the right side. "Balmoral Lodge - Queenstown", in particular, comes
to an abrupt edge.
Can you explain?
It does resize nicely unlike so many sites (this is an independent
point to the one made at the start). In other words, once the site is
viewable in the browser, changing the browser font-size view is
graceful enough.


I think that is due to only using em as font-size (rather than, for example px)

Thank you once more for your comments.
Jul 17 '05 #4

P: n/a
Derek Fountain wrote:
I would appreciate any constructive or deconstructive comments.

Thank you so much for your comments, much appreciated. Really useful. Looks like you have gone for the deconstructive ones. Thank
you - very useful.
10 minutes playing with this tells me you have some major issues...

I find websites that leave 40% of the browser space blank, then use a
tiny font to make things fit really annoying. I use a large monitor
at 1600x1200 and this site is hard to read unless I get my nose
against the screen.
Point taken. I designed it for the standard screen size, but I do not really want to look at this point now, as there seem to be
more pressing issues.... If you have such a large screen then you do not need to maximize the screen. Like, for example, on the
Mac, the window size is automatically set to the standard size of the website. Font-size are set as em, so they are easily to
adjust. I may look at providing the option for a larger font as many users will be older people.
It's slightly alarming that using a URL like:

http://switch.hosts.net.nz/~admin64/listing.php?t='&p='
Did you create that url or was that a link?

results in "Table Undefined" being printed on screen. Is that a bad
choice of error message on your part or is it a system error which
you're not catching? If I were looking to break the site I'd be
homing in on this. Turns out that's not necessary - see below.
What would you do?
The login page tells me that if you "forgot your password then please
enter your username and click submit", which would be a challenge
because there isn't a submit button.
Well spotted. I changed it. Thank you

When you go to refine a search, the criteria you started with aren't
reproduced in the search screen, so you have to start again from
scratch. Most unhelpful.

I logged in with a username of "'''" and a password of "'''" (i.e. 3
single quotes). I'm not entirely sure what happened. I was presented
with a list, of which I clicked the top one - "Christopher Brown
Associates". It then said "You are now logged in for: Christopher
Brown Associates (property code: cba)"! Either I don't understand
what's happening, or what is supposed to be happening securitywise,
or your idea of a completed project isn't the same as mine. But then,
it says at the bottom that I'm not currently logged in, and there's
no logout button.
- fixed it. I am not sure how what happened there, but it sure not like that anymore...


A bit more playing found me looking at the page for administrator's
entry for "The Cove", complete with password in plain text (not even
starred out). I added the string
"Fred<script>alert(&quot;hello&quot;)</script>" to para 1 of the
Cove's description, and went back to the viewing page. I got a PHP
error: "Parse error: parse error, unexpected $
in /var/www/html/_snippets.php on line 196".
Fixed that

I don't go around trashing websites, but there are a lot of people
out there who do. If you don't want this one crapped all over, you're
going to have to start again with its security.

BTW, I couldn't get that string out of the Cove's entry. I've broken
it. Sorry...


No worries. I love your work. Could you try to login again? Without breaking the entire site...

PS I never lock my door and I usually leave my keys in my car when I park it somewhere for a few minutes, that is, security is not
very high on my list of priorities as I figure that if people want to break in, they will anyway (e.g. it is pretty easy to start my
car even without the keys in it).

Having said that, I should probably improve it a little on the security front. I have been looking at SQL injection as well. Do
you know of any smart ways to cater for this? I saw some functions, but they were so complicated that I decided to keep looking for
alternatives until I found something that is easier to implement and maintain.

Cheers
Nicolaas
Jul 17 '05 #5

P: n/a
> From: "windandwaves" <wi*********@coldmail.com>
dorayme wrote:

Thank you so much for your comments, much appreciated. I am stoked.
It looks quite nice in IE 5.1.6 on a Mac. But it is a bit disastrous
in Mozilla 1.3 (a very reliable Mac browser I have found) with any
window size that is "bigger" than what is needed for your content:
paradoxically it only half appears when browser is opened up bigger
than "needed" (from "Discerning..." to the right, nothing to the left
of these words in the heading). So there is serious trouble. It looks
very complicated code considering the content? JS and stuff... are
you browser (and user window size) sniffing somehow? If so, it is not
working)
To be honest with you, making it compatible in all these browsers drives me
mental - even when pages validate (using strict) with
W3. Whenever I use float commands in the stylesheets then there is definitely
trouble. So I go back to tables (ugly design), which
makes it slightly better, but there are still places where it aint working.
For example, in strict HTML you are not allowed to align
a table in the centre. So I use the stylesheet, which basically causes the
error you list above. The good news is that there will
be very few people using Mozilla 1.3 on a Mac. I will check it out thought


You have errors in your html code, missing </a> in line 17:

<TD><A HREF="friars.php?PHPSESSID=20729430e8de123bb58829a 164d82228"><IMG
SRC="o/logo.gif" ALT="Friars Guide to New Zealand Accommodation for the
discerning traveller" TITLE="Friars Guide to New Zealand Accommodation for
the discerning traveller" ID="log">***************</TD>

I'm unaware you can't centrally align tables (width-wise). When I do use
tables I get down and dirty while at it with a quick look up and down the
street and use <table align="center" ...>, I use css for finer control of
borders and colours. You must be careful with all your absolute controls, in
the HTML 4.01 specs it says things like "If a table or given column has a
fixed width, cellspacing and cellpadding may demand more space than
assigned. User agents may give these attributes precedence over the width
attribute when a conflict occurs, but are not required to." Why buy trouble?

Well, I cannot study your code and css too closely for now, but I would not
set the bbb table css so rigidly, certainly not the width at 733. Frankly,
whenever I use tables, it is out of frustration at failing to get the result
I want with what is becoming more of an ideal these days: simple html with
mainly divs and lists, and css to box these bare and sparsely elegant things
into shape! There being nothing sparely lovely about the css though!
Notwithstanding the admirable cleverness of the creators and I do mean this
as a compliment). It seems to me, you are suffering the worse of both
worlds. Tables are clever enough themselves and need not so much
constraining in such details. Best to not set absolute widths for the table
or tds (% fine often). Then, given an appropriate design, it will be good
for any screen or browser size.

I won't comment on the code here, the tables or anything like that,
nor on things I am not experienced in, just on the look in the
browser and take the comments how you will.

1. I had to enlarge the browser font size to read the text. (I went
to 120% and it was ok for me then). True, there are quite a few sites
where I have to do this but not sure you have so much info on your
page to have to go quite so small?)


Good, yes, we like it small and because all the fonts are set as em, users can
resize them anyway they want.


OK, but are you sure that *most* people would like it so small (esp the menu
on left). I have my screens at relatively large resolutions, I bet people
with more pixels and finer would see your fonts especially small. The world
has gone a bit mad in this respect. Almost no one uses normal font size
anymore. Even I held out for a long time and now give in often to the desire
for smaller than "normal" (which means simply "as browser default" which is
usually set at a default and to me rather big 16pt, sensibly as it were,
because most web designers make such small fonts! If they did not, the
defaults would come down out of the factory, which most people do not much
change).
2. I found it hard to see the white text clearly on the yellowish
bottom.
Good point.
3. The whole contents are carefully constrained and do not grow to
take advantage of a bigger monitor, the white canvass "goes to waste"
as it were...


Because we want to keep some control over the look. For the vast majority of
the users, it will look fine. Most geeks on here have
huge size monitors, but most "normal" people have "normal" screens.


OK, you want to keep control and minister to average screens... Lets say a
15" I run many screens at once and while your site fits on my 15", it only
just squeezes in and to make it so no sideways scrolling is needed i adjust
a bit. One has to scroll down anyway. I say let go and let the content
determine the width and height. But anyway, as I said, it does look nice and
good luck to you...
4. In particular there is a lack of grace in the lack of padding on
the right side. "Balmoral Lodge - Queenstown", in particular, comes
to an abrupt edge.
Can you explain?


Simply that when a bit of text say, is jammed up against a visible margin as
all is when I view your right side, I think a bit of breathng space, some
margin or padding looks nicer, that's all. Maybe things are not looking like
the way they look on my screens. I will turn on my PC sometime and take a
look further maybe.
It does resize nicely unlike so many sites (this is an independent
point to the one made at the start). In other words, once the site is
viewable in the browser, changing the browser font-size view is
graceful enough.


I think that is due to only using em as font-size (rather than, for example
px)


I understand on a PC using px has this effect, not on my Macs mercifully, (I
hate not being able to resize). You are over-modest, it resizes without
playing silly bugger tricks (as so often happens for all sorts of other
reasons). The table, in my opinion, is cleverly helpful in this respect. I
have said before that I use tables myself occasionally for layout of non
tabular material but I am increasingly uncomfortable with tables within
tables ...

dorayme

Jul 17 '05 #6

P: n/a
dorayme wrote:

You have errors in your html code, missing </a> in line 17:
Thank you - corrected.
I'm unaware you can't centrally align tables (width-wise). When I do
use tables I get down and dirty while at it with a quick look up and
down the street and use <table align="center" ...>, I use css for
The way to do it in css is <TABLE STYLE="position: absolute; left: 50%; margin: Xpx;">

Where X = 0.5 x TABLE WIDTH
finer control of borders and colours. You must be careful with all
your absolute controls, in the HTML 4.01 specs it says things like
"If a table or given column has a fixed width, cellspacing and
cellpadding may demand more space than assigned. User agents may give
these attributes precedence over the width attribute when a conflict
occurs, but are not required to." Why buy trouble?
Because looks are important too. Have a look at www.friars.co.nz/hosts/corstorphine.html

That is the old page, far too wide in my opinion. I often find that I disagree with people in newsgroup as I place a lot of
emphasis on looks and I am not changing that emphasis. While code is imporant, looks are always more important to me- I can see
that others see this different though.
Well, I cannot study your code and css too closely for now, but I
would not set the bbb table css so rigidly, certainly not the width
at 733. Frankly, whenever I use tables, it is out of frustration at
failing to get the result I want with what is becoming more of an
ideal these days: simple html with mainly divs and lists, and css to
box these bare and sparsely elegant things into shape!
Great idea, but that means that your design does not work with older versions of browsers.
nothing sparely lovely about the css though! Notwithstanding the
admirable cleverness of the creators and I do mean this as a
compliment). It seems to me, you are suffering the worse of both
worlds. Tables are clever enough themselves and need not so much
constraining in such details. Best to not set absolute widths for the
table or tds (% fine often). Then, given an appropriate design, it
will be good for any screen or browser size.
Probably true, but I like the look and I am going to keep it like that

OK, you want to keep control and minister to average screens... Lets
say a 15" I run many screens at once and while your site fits on my
15", it only just squeezes in and to make it so no sideways scrolling
is needed i adjust a bit. One has to scroll down anyway. I say let go
and let the content determine the width and height. But anyway, as I
said, it does look nice and good luck to you...

yeah, that is a trade-off

Simply that when a bit of text say, is jammed up against a visible
margin as all is when I view your right side, I think a bit of
breathng space, some margin or padding looks nicer, that's all. Maybe
things are not looking like the way they look on my screens. I will
turn on my PC sometime and take a look further maybe.


Good point

Thank you again for all your comments. Great
Jul 17 '05 #7

P: n/a
in alt.html, windandwaves wrote:
dorayme wrote:

You have errors in your html code, missing </a> in line 17:
Thank you - corrected.
I'm unaware you can't centrally align tables (width-wise). When I do
use tables I get down and dirty while at it with a quick look up and
down the street and use <table align="center" ...>, I use css for


The way to do it in css is <TABLE STYLE="position: absolute; left: 50%; margin: Xpx;">


That is bullshit, and works no browser. You propably meaned to have minus
on margin, but that works even worse.

Proper way is
table {margin:auto;}

And IE5 needs something else. But if this is layout table, align="center"
is just as good, or maybe better.
finer control of borders and colours. You must be careful with all
your absolute controls, in the HTML 4.01 specs it says things like
"If a table or given column has a fixed width, cellspacing and
cellpadding may demand more space than assigned. User agents may give
these attributes precedence over the width attribute when a conflict
occurs, but are not required to."
The fact is that you can't set width of table, and then think that it
will not exeed it.
Well, I cannot study your code and css too closely for now, but I
would not set the bbb table css so rigidly, certainly not the width
at 733. Frankly, whenever I use tables, it is out of frustration at
failing to get the result I want with what is becoming more of an
ideal these days: simple html with mainly divs and lists, and css to
box these bare and sparsely elegant things into shape!


Great idea, but that means that your design does not work with older versions of browsers.


Which is great, as it works usually much better on older browsers, which
are very often run in older computers, with not that big screens.
Probably true, but I like the look and I am going to keep it like that


The look of you page is easy to make work with CSS on IE5+, and with
correct tables from NN2. But it won't work in my current browser

--
Lauri Raittila <http://www.iki.fi/lr> <http://www.iki.fi/zwak/fonts>
Utrecht, NL.
Jul 17 '05 #8

P: n/a
Lauri Raittila wrote:
in alt.html, windandwaves wrote:
dorayme wrote:

You have errors in your html code, missing </a> in line 17:
Thank you - corrected.
I'm unaware you can't centrally align tables (width-wise). When I do
use tables I get down and dirty while at it with a quick look up and
down the street and use <table align="center" ...>, I use css for


The way to do it in css is <TABLE STYLE="position: absolute; left:
50%; margin: Xpx;">


That is bullshit, and works no browser. You propably meaned to have
minus on margin, but that works even worse.


yes sorry, a minus one. This is quiet an accepted way to put something in the middle I think.
Proper way is
table {margin:auto;}
What does margin: auto; do?
And IE5 needs something else. But if this is layout table,
align="center" is just as good, or maybe better.


That is what I have done now, but that means that I can not make the pages strict any longer, which is a shame.

finer control of borders and colours. You must be careful with all
your absolute controls, in the HTML 4.01 specs it says things like
"If a table or given column has a fixed width, cellspacing and
cellpadding may demand more space than assigned. User agents may
give these attributes precedence over the width attribute when a
conflict occurs, but are not required to."
The fact is that you can't set width of table, and then think that it
will not exeed it.


No, but you can be pretty sure, it does not matter if it gets a little bigger anyway. It needs to be something that is larger

- i know how big the images are, so no chance there
- text needs to be really large for only one word to fit in the thing, fine, go for it.
Well, I cannot study your code and css too closely for now, but I
would not set the bbb table css so rigidly, certainly not the width
at 733. Frankly, whenever I use tables, it is out of frustration at
failing to get the result I want with what is becoming more of an
ideal these days: simple html with mainly divs and lists, and css to
box these bare and sparsely elegant things into shape!


Great idea, but that means that your design does not work with older
versions of browsers.


Which is great, as it works usually much better on older browsers,
which are very often run in older computers, with not that big
screens.


So are you recommending to use DIVs instead?
Probably true, but I like the look and I am going to keep it like
that


The look of you page is easy to make work with CSS on IE5+, and with
correct tables from NN2. But it won't work in my current browser


What do you mean?
Jul 17 '05 #9

P: n/a
in alt.html, windandwaves wrote:
Lauri Raittila wrote:
in alt.html, windandwaves wrote:
dorayme wrote:
You have errors in your html code, missing </a> in line 17:

Thank you - corrected.

I'm unaware you can't centrally align tables (width-wise). When I do
use tables I get down and dirty while at it with a quick look up and
down the street and use <table align="center" ...>, I use css for

The way to do it in css is <TABLE STYLE="position: absolute; left:
50%; margin: Xpx;">
That is bullshit, and works no browser. You propably meaned to have
minus on margin, but that works even worse.


yes sorry, a minus one.


Which will cause content to be unaccessible, when browser window is
smaller tahn table width.
This is quiet an accepted way to put
something in the middle I think.


Yes, then just wrap lines to something like 75 chars.
Proper way is
table {margin:auto;}


What does margin: auto; do?


Sets all margins to auto, which practically centers element
horizontally.
And IE5 needs something else. But if this is layout table,
align="center" is just as good, or maybe better.


That is what I have done now, but that means that I can not make
the pages strict any longer, which is a shame.


As long as you use table for layout it is irrelevant if it is strict or
not.
Which is great, as it works usually much better on older browsers,
which are very often run in older computers, with not that big
screens.


So are you recommending to use DIVs instead?


Yes. Also has advantages on new, high tech stuff. Mobile internet is not
that fast, nor have mobile phones big screen...
Probably true, but I like the look and I am going to keep it like
that


The look of you page is easy to make work with CSS on IE5+, and with
correct tables from NN2. But it won't work in my current browser


What do you mean?


It would fit fine to my window, if you did use better layout. Now it
don't fit it. I can force it to fit, but I can do that for most pages
anyway. And not everybody can force...

--
Lauri Raittila <http://www.iki.fi/lr> <http://www.iki.fi/zwak/fonts>
Utrecht, NL.
Jul 17 '05 #10

P: n/a
windandwaves wrote:

To be honest with you, making it compatable in all these browsers drives me mental - even when pages validate (using strict) with
W3. Whenever I use float commands in the stylesheets then there is definitely trouble. So I go back to tables (ugly design), which
makes it slightly better,


Have a look at the css at

http://webhost.bridgew.edu/etribou/layouts/index.html

It's very well commented and may help.
Jul 17 '05 #11

P: n/a
windandwaves wrote:

Have a look at
www.friars.co.nz/hosts/corstorphine.html

That is the old page, far too wide in my opinion.
It looks just fine to me in my preferred text size, which is rather
larger than average, at my usual window size, which is about 900px wide
at the moment.

The trouble is when the designer thinks the width should be contrained,
but makes the mistake of setting dimensions in px. If you're going to
restrict width of text blocks, a much more logical unit is em. And, IMO,
it's often best to set widths in % of window and just set paragraph
max-width at 40-45 em.
that means that your design does not work with older
versions of browsers.


Your job should be to ensure it is usable in older versions of browsers.
That does not mean it has to look the same. Or do you have such a high
number of Netscape 4 users that you feel compelled to give them more
than a plain, unstyled page?

--
Reply email address is a bottomless spam bucket.
Please reply to the group so everyone can share.
Jul 17 '05 #12

P: n/a
Lauri Raittila wrote:
[..........]

What does margin: auto; do?


Sets all margins to auto, which practically centers element
horizontally.


Great, it works magic!
And IE5 needs something else. But if this is layout table,
align="center" is just as good, or maybe better.


That is what I have done now, but that means that I can not make
the pages strict any longer, which is a shame.


As long as you use table for layout it is irrelevant if it is strict
or not.


The only problem is that if you use align="center" then it does not validate in strict html
Thank you for your responses
Jul 17 '05 #13

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