A proposal to de-table Wikipedia infoboxes

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A proposal to de-table Wikipedia infoboxes

Håkon Wium Lie
Andrew Gray wrote:

 > 2009/3/3 David Gerard <dgerard at gmail.com>:
 > > By Hakon Wium Lie of Opera:
 > >
 > > http://www.princexml.com/howcome/2009/wikipedia/infobox/
 > >
 > > What is the likelihood of making as much as possible CSS? How to make
 > > infoboxes degrade gracefully for non-CSS browsers and IE users?
 >
 > Youch, that's messy in IE7. Lovely though it may be, that 30-50% of
 > our audience would not be happy...

Right. I agree that graceful degradation for IE6/IE7 users is an
issue. The purpose of the case study was first and foremost to explore
how Wikipedia's markup can be simplified and improved when CSS 2.1 is
fully implemented -- like it is in Opera, Firefox, Safari and IE8. I
didn't even test in IE6/IE7.

I think it's possible -- with some careful crafting -- to make things
look ok, but not pixel-perfect in legacy browsers. In lynx, the
table-free version looks better than the original one, but IE6/IE7
users outnumber lynx by a some magnitudes.

I'll look into tweaking the style sheet to aim for graceful degradation.

However, I also think the web should not be hostage to IE6/IE7
forever. Some designers have declared war on IE6 for this reason:

  http://blog.wired.com/business/2009/02/norwegian-websi.html

Cheers,

-h&kon
              Håkon Wium Lie                          CTO °þe®ª
[hidden email]                  http://people.opera.com/howcome

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Re: A proposal to de-table Wikipedia infoboxes

Mathias Schindler-2
On Thu, Mar 5, 2009 at 9:01 AM, Håkon Wium Lie <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Andrew Gray wrote:

> However, I also think the web should not be hostage to IE6/IE7
> forever. Some designers have declared war on IE6 for this reason:
>
>  http://blog.wired.com/business/2009/02/norwegian-websi.html

There has been a debate about this recently at wikitech-l:

http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikitech-l/2009-February/041587.html

And I think I remember that there were proposals earlier to add at
least a infobox on wikipedia sites with text like

"It looks like you are using an Microsoft Internet Explorer. You can
get better results when you use a web browser instead, here are some
suggestions [link-ff], [link-op], [link-chr]"

There were many objections to this, including the question how to deal
with browsers that pretend to be the MSIE in order to access pages
that otherwise wouldn't let them visit the page and the omnipresent
neutrality mantra.

Mathias

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Re: A proposal to de-table Wikipedia infoboxes

Ray Saintonge
Mathias Schindler wrote:

> On Thu, Mar 5, 2009 at 9:01 AM, Håkon Wium Lie wrote:
>  
>> Andrew Gray wrote:
>>    
>> However, I also think the web should not be hostage to IE6/IE7
>> forever. Some designers have declared war on IE6 for this reason:
>>
>>  http://blog.wired.com/business/2009/02/norwegian-websi.html
>>    
> There has been a debate about this recently at wikitech-l:
>
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikitech-l/2009-February/041587.html
>
> And I think I remember that there were proposals earlier to add at
> least a infobox on wikipedia sites with text like
>
> "It looks like you are using an Microsoft Internet Explorer. You can
> get better results when you use a web browser instead, here are some
> suggestions [link-ff], [link-op], [link-chr]"
>
>  
I would find such a notice insulting, and so would a lot of users with
minimal net sophistication. Sure, there's a problem with off-the-shelf
computer systems that come with IE prepackaged, but many of those users
approach this problem with the phobia that changing browsers will cause
a complete system crash.

I can understand how the nationalistic and marketing interests of
Opera's home country would want to wage war on Internet Explorer, but
that doesn't change the fact that some form of IE retains a plurality of
users.  I'm using Firefox myself (meaning that I would not receive the
message), and have no technical arguments in support of IE, but we still
need to distinguish between serving Microsoft and serving Microsoft's
users.  It's not for us to suggest that there is something inferior
about someone who uses IE.

Ec

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Re: A proposal to de-table Wikipedia infoboxes

Håkon Wium Lie
In reply to this post by Håkon Wium Lie
I wrote:

 >  > > http://www.princexml.com/howcome/2009/wikipedia/infobox/
 >  > >
 >  > > What is the likelihood of making as much as possible CSS? How to make
 >  > > infoboxes degrade gracefully for non-CSS browsers and IE users?
 >  >
 >  > Youch, that's messy in IE7. Lovely though it may be, that 30-50% of
 >  > our audience would not be happy...

 > I think it's possible -- with some careful crafting -- to make things
 > look ok, but not pixel-perfect in legacy browsers. In lynx, the
 > table-free version looks better than the original one, but IE6/IE7
 > users outnumber lynx by a some magnitudes.

I've updated the document to better support IE6/IE7. To ensure
graceful degradation for these browsers, an additional style sheet is
added by way of IE's proprietary "comment" syntax. The resulting
rendering leaves dt and dd elements on separate lines, and the infobox
is therefore somewhat longer. I believe this rendering to be
acceptable and it will serve a subtle hint to upgrade to a more
standards-compliant browser. (IE8 was officially released last week,
and there are other offerings, too :)

  http://www.princexml.com/howcome/2009/wikipedia/infobox/

The main benefit of this approach is vastly cleaner markup and reduced
size of the resulting HTML code.

Cheers,

-h&kon
              Håkon Wium Lie                          CTO °þe®ª
[hidden email]                  http://people.opera.com/howcome


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A proposal to simplify and improve image markup in Wikipedia

Håkon Wium Lie
I've spent the last few days analyzing Wikipedia's HTML code for
images and captions. The current code is quite good, but verbose and
it has redundancies. Here is a proposal that describes how to simplify
and improve the code:

  http://www.princexml.com/howcome/2009/wikipedia/image/

The proposed solution reduces the number of elements from 10 to 6 and
the code size is reduced by more than 50%.

Cheers,

-h&kon
              Håkon Wium Lie                          CTO °þe®ª
[hidden email]                  http://people.opera.com/howcome

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Re: A proposal to simplify and improve image markup in Wikipedia

Michel Vuijlsteke-2
Great stuff, all of this. Seriously, thanks.

2009/4/3 Håkon Wium Lie <[hidden email]>

> I've spent the last few days analyzing Wikipedia's HTML code for
> images and captions. The current code is quite good, but verbose and
> it has redundancies. Here is a proposal that describes how to simplify
> and improve the code:
>
>  http://www.princexml.com/howcome/2009/wikipedia/image/
>
> The proposed solution reduces the number of elements from 10 to 6 and
> the code size is reduced by more than 50%.
>
> Cheers,
>
> -h&kon
>              Håkon Wium Lie                          CTO °þe®ª
> [hidden email]                  http://people.opera.com/howcome
>
> _______________________________________________
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> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>
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