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First Summer ’10 Post

June 20, 2010

Just a brain dump after the first two weeks of class (no particular order of importance):

  • If you are truly stuck, ask for help. Frustration is instructive in the right amounts but can be very destructive when we get into that “head banging against wall” mode where nothing seems to work.
  • When requesting help from me do not send files attached to email; send a link to the work in question so I can look at the code directly.
  • Asking for help on the day an assignment is due after 5pm is not likely to get you much assistance—normally I will not help anyone on the due date but the summer term is different so I will give assistance if you contact me before noon on the day in question.
  • Be VERY specific about the help request; “it just doesn’t work” doesn’t mean much to me.
  • When using my code examples make sure you aren’t just doing a C/P from my source demonstrated in the lecture. I used code this past week which had no formal link to elements in the document (e.g., the <hr> element is defined in my demo CSS but there is no <hr> element in the document, the same with span.no_italic and span.small_caps). I didn’t ding anyone points this week but in the future I will. My examples are for guidance and all students should be able to make their “own” versions without wholesale copying from me (especially when I give templates away as support materials).
  • Take care with character encoding when saving your documents (mostly this will apply to PC users). Many students had validation warnings from UTF-8 WITH BOM; we all should be using UTF-8 NO BOM.

Each semester the CSS exercises really make the students stretch for more and each semester I’m always surprised at how students teach me something new. The <li> element with text-decoration is a good example. When presented with stubborn styling rules we resort to class and id definitions. Also, one student did the hanging indent with <li> elements with no marker which is the preferred method for navigation elements and dynamic style. Very cool.

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