Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Brachiating through the web

In a previous post, I needed to show two items of a list, intersperse some text and then resume the list with item 3. I knew there was an incantation for this, but I couldn't remember what it was. So I visited my old friend WebMonkey, whose HTML cheat sheet has remained unchanged for many years, but which still proves useful from time to time (WebMonkey also has more current material, but, leaving my webmastering to others wherever possible, I don't find myself referring to it).

Unfortunately, Ye Olde Cheate Sheete only documents HTML 2.0 or so. So I then fell back on my other standby, googling "HTML RFC". That brought up the RFC for ... HTML 2.0 (RFC 1866), dating to 1995. That's as far as the IETF goes. If you want more up to date than that, you have to go to the W3C. Sure enough, they have the HTML 4.01 spec, and that has the lowdown on lists [*], including the advice that I shouldn't be giving list items numbers anyway. I should be using stylesheets. Unless I should really be using XHTML. Oh well.

What caught my eye, though, was the definition given there of the Web:
The World Wide Web (Web) is a network of information resources.
It then goes on to mention the intertwined roles of URIs, HTTP and HTML. That seems impeccable, as far as it goes, and you can't question the source, but it tends to leave one wanting more. Which is why I don't feel too bad about having tried to go further, once or twice (or thrice).

[* What I really did was compose a new email with Thunderbird, use its GUI to set a list to start at item 3, save the result as a file and discover that the magic words are
<ol start="3"> ...</ol>
It took a couple of tries to get that to show up correctly, but that's a different story]

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