30 October 2005

Reviews: Teach Yourself German and Collins Gem English Grammar

Tis the Melbourne Cup long weekend, so here's a couple more mini-reviews: Teach Yourself German and English Grammar (Collins Gem Series).

26 October 2005

Review: Complete Guide to Learning a Language

Skimmed this book to see if there were better ways to learn another language other than listen, read, practice and analyze. As I wrote in my review, I wasn't impressed.

13 October 2005

Software: Data is King (was Elvis)

Two Mad Penguin interviews with OpenOffice developers discuss the importance of open data formats.

Gary Edwards explains why clean XML (or an open XML format) allows an organization to avoid being locked into a vendor's solution and then being left high and dry when that vendor goes belly up. Florian Reuter describes using XForms for OpenOffice's forms and the difficulties in writing importers for proprietary document formats.

It heartens me to find good arguments for developing open data formats. Data migration is a well-paying but messy task whose complexity is always underestimated.

04 October 2005

Software: IE6 Fieldsets Leak

When creating HTML forms with the <fieldset> element, I add some padding so that the elements within the fieldset do not touch their container's border. In the CSS box model, padding is the amount of space between a box's border and its contents.

Below is an example of a fieldset definition that has a legend in the fieldset, a label and a field:

<div style="background-color:9dbc80">
  Hello world
<fieldset style="background-color:#d1dfd6;margin:0px;
padding:4px;border:1px solid black">
  <legend>Test legend</legend>
 <label>Test:</label>
 <input type="text" value="This is a test"/>
</fieldset>
  Bye world.
</div>

And below is a rendering of the example defintion.

Hello world
Test legend
Bye world.

If you are using IE6, you should see that the background of the fieldset extends beyond the border to surround the legend text, while if you are using Firefox, the background is entirely enclosed within the border of the fieldset. Even worse in IE6, the amount of area beyond the margin depends on the padding value!