What's this?…


It's the HTML source for the link to my page of links (as seen within Visual C++, with syntax highlighting on).  I've added an animated cursor in an attempt to fix a problem that became apparent the day I went "public" with my site -- a number of people thought the image on the front page was some HTML crud, that I'd missed a closing > or something somewhere.   My theme required some image that conveys "links" in a textual or printed way and a little HTML fragment seemed good to me, but I can see the possibility for confusion.  The hope is that the cursor will at least make the user pass the mouse over the link and see (1) the mouse pointer change, (2) the status line update and perhaps (3) the tool tip pop up.   Also, it's my first animated GIF.

All the HTML in this site has been hand coded and I've tried to stick to a consistent style.   All the keywords (tags and attributes) are uppercase but data is lowercase.  All URLs are lowercase.  Perhaps it comes from my early programming experiences (FORTRAN, BASIC,...) but I feel that language keywords (especially when interpreted) are supposed to be capitalised!   It just doesn't look right otherwise.  I carried this style on when I moved from BASIC to Pascal.  That was many years ago (anyone remember Turbo Pascal 3.0?) and syntax-highlighting editors hadn't been invented yet (or I hadn't seen any, I do remember starting to write one though...).   So my rational was that capitalising the keywords (and using MixedCase for VariableNames) helped readability because the general language part of the source and the specific program part of the source stood out because of their different capitalisation styles.  I persisted with it for quite a few years (just as I persisted with PC-Write as my editor of choice).  Eventually I graduated to C/C++ and lowercase keywords.

I've also tried to be consistent at a higher level in my HTML coding; I'm aiming for a common look to these pages (title, image on right, horizontal rule, "What's this?" etc).  As this look evolved, I was often faced with reformatting a number of pages to reflect my latest vision.   I came this close to writing a program to take input HTML with meta-codes and emit final "production" code.  The idea was (and I haven't completely abandoned it yet, all part of my fascination with languages) that it would be something like a C pre-processor and could expand a "macro" like

into HTML like
<TR><TD ALIGN="left" WIDTH="50%"><H1>Changes</H1></TD>
<TD ALIGN="right" WIDTH="50%"><A HREF="what.html"><IMG BORDER=0 SRC="../changes.gif" ALT="What's This?"></A></TD></TR>
with the bold items coming from parameter substitution and the rest coming from the macro's definition.   Perhaps it'll turn up here some day.