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May 3, 2003

Can anyone help?
Posted by Patrick at 10:26 AM *

This is Patrick, not Teresa, and this is a plea to the Lazy Web. Making Light is suffering from two glitches:

(1) In all the browsers we can easily check on this Saturday morning, Teresa’s date headers have lost all their formatting; they’re merely coming up in the given browser’s standard serif font. It should be 11px Georgia (deprecating to your standard serif font if you haven’t got Georgia), inside a 1px rule box. I’ve looked at Teresa’s CSS stylesheet, MT template, and source code until my eyes spin, and I can’t for the life of me see what might be causing this.

(2) In Safari (beta 2), Making Light’s sidebar refuses to show, at least here in this household. See above: stylesheet, templates, eyes spinning.

If any of Making Light’s technically savvy readers would like to take a guess as to what’s causing either of these, we would both be in your debt. Along with viewing the raw source, you may also want to look at Teresa’s CSS style sheet and, if you know anything about Movable Type, her Movable Type front page template. (You may have to do a View Source on that one, since your browser will probably try to render it.)

UPDATE: Various problems fixed, thanks to several very kind readers, most particularly Erik V. Olson.

Comments on Can anyone help?:
#1 ::: Bryant ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2003, 10:52 AM:

For absolutely no reason I can discern, running your index.html through tidy (which just reformats everything) makes the sidebar show up in Safari. shows this effect.

#2 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2003, 11:00 AM:

And, in no help whatsoever, with Mozilla 1.3 (specfically, Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; FreeBSD i386; en-US; rv:1.3) Gecko/20030428), everthign Works Just FDandy. Well, I don't have Georgia, but it renders in my chosen serif font.

#3 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2003, 11:31 AM:

Bryant, the URL you give simply leads to your resume. Maybe you meant to paste in something else?

Using the "tidy online" at gives me no help; likewise the command-line implementation of "tidy" on Panix. The problem with all these validators and all this XHTML purism is that they all tell you you have 900 errors. But I don't give a damn about my 900 departures from pure fresh organic mountain-grown XHTML purity, I want to know which ONE SINGLE ERROR is suddenly breaking my damn web page, the one that wasn't broken yesterday. MT's default templates are riddled with broken XHTML, but most MT blogs render in all browsers. Making Light currently doesn't. That's our problem.

Sorry, I don't mean to be crabby, but I am moderately desperate not to get into the thickets of the standard-issue everybody-is-using-bad-XHTML-so-it's-your-fault argument.

#4 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2003, 11:31 AM:

This doesn't account for the problems, but I notice that your CSS for .date specifies "georgia,verdana,arial,sans-serif;", which isn't going to default to a serif font.

#5 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2003, 11:37 AM:

OK, I think I've caught the .date glitch -- missing { after ".date" in styles-site.css.

#6 ::: Bryant ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2003, 11:37 AM:

I did in fact. Sorry, late X2 night last night...

would work better.

I don't mean to get you into the XHTML argument, either. I know it's frustrating and I personally don't particularly care if my pages are pure or not. Sorry. :(

#7 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2003, 11:44 AM:

The primary value in syntax purity is that it allows you to use automated validators without drwoning in false positives.

Anyway, I don't see a missing { in #links, but the one in .date could just be throwing other random things off.

#8 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2003, 11:48 AM:

A recent entry in Hyatt's Surfin' Safari weblog notes a bug in the MT styles-site.css template stylesheet which causes headings to be formatted incorrectly due to a Safari bug which causes the browser to discard a whole rule rather than just the bad declaration it can't digest.

Based on this, I would guess that there might be a bad declaration in T's sidebar CSS rule, but I don't know enough about CSS to figure out what it might be. So consider this just an attempt at a clue, hoping it might focus someone more knowledgeable on the actual problem area.

Btw, dates are in non-default font in Safari for me now, about ten minutes before noon.

#9 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2003, 11:54 AM:

Scanning the source as delivered to Safari, it looks as if the "content" delimiters is closed before the "sidetitle" and "side" s are opened. Could this mean that the sidebar is not strictly part of the content to be diplayed?

#10 ::: David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2003, 11:57 AM:

Avram's right; it's the missing curly brace. I downloaded the page and the CSS file to my box and tinkered a little bit, and that seems to fix the problem.

Now here's the odd bit, and what made it a little difficult to figure out what was going on: when I downloaded the CSS file ten minutes ago, the curly brace was there, but now it's gone. Did you fix it in the "deployed" copy and then overwrite it again with a broken version from the templates directory?

#11 ::: David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2003, 12:00 PM:

Actually, now that I think about it, it's probably just that my browser had cached the old file.

#12 ::: Josh ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2003, 12:10 PM:

Incidentally, for me the sidebar's been broken in Safari ever since beta 2 came out. And the header on Electrolite doesn't render correctly either.

#13 ::: Fef2rag ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2003, 12:16 PM:

Works fine in Mozilla 1.3 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X Mach-O; en-US; rv:1.3), with the caveat that it's in my nice readable choice of serif font, and not anyone else's because I don't allow sites to change the fonts.

#14 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2003, 12:26 PM:

Um, I did not fix the missing curly brace after ".date" in styles-site.css, and neither did Teresa, and neither did Erik Olson (to whom I've given access to our site, and who is prowling around it even now). But it appears to be fixed.

This is making me a touch anxious. How could this have happened, if none of the three people with access to the site did anything?

#15 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2003, 12:28 PM:

Josh, try clearing your cache and reloading Electrolite again. I know Safari .72 handles Electrolite correctly for me now. I'm curious about other users.

Bob Webber: That note from Dave Hyatt was what set off my day. Fixing the broken declaration in the banner rule was what fixed Electrolite entirely. For Making Light, it seems to have fixed the banner, at the cost of making the sidebar vanish.

Maybe the elf who semi-fixed the date will fix the sidebar, too.

#16 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2003, 12:39 PM:

Erik on AIM: "You know, thinking about it...maybe I did fix that date { problem."

Oh, good.

#17 ::: Josh ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2003, 01:03 PM:

"This is making me a touch anxious. How could this have happened, if none of the three people with access to the site did anything?"

Welcome to my world. Granted, it's usually things spontaneously *breaking*, rather than fixing themselves, but that's been known to happen. This also seems apropos.

I'll try the cache thing later. I usually turn my cache off, though...

#18 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2003, 01:07 PM:

Josh, that link is chilling and oh so true.

#19 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2003, 01:50 PM:


The sidebar's there in Safari - it's just way down at the bottom of the page.

It's been like that, I think, since Safari b2 came out.

I think I've submitted the page as a Safari bug.

#20 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2003, 02:13 PM:

Actually Teresa's page looks ok to me, but Electrolite is screwed up. Content stops with April 12 and after that what whould be in the sidebar is over on the left hand side. Yes, I cleared my cache and reloaded.


#21 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2003, 02:40 PM:

Got it, fixed. On April 16th, T made a post with a final block quote that she didn't close (to be more precise, she tried, but forgot the slash, adding another level of Blockquote.) Adding the slash closed the blockquote, reducing the number of open blockquotes from 2 to 0, allowing the division to close and the other text to float over.

Safari Beta 2 doesn't consider a division closed until all nested elements within it are closed. I'm not certain if this is a bug or not, but I'm reducing it to a test case to send in, so Apple can decide what to do.

#22 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2003, 04:43 PM:

And, I think I've fixed the formatting goofs I put inwhile trying to dope the problem out. In particular, "who" is once again one line, not a block of white, and the time/comments stamp is back on it's own line.

Sorry about that.

#23 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2003, 04:56 PM:

Erik, thank you very much.

MKK, what you see on Electrolite isn't so much a bug as an artifact of the fact that I've posted very little for the past three weeks.

#24 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2003, 06:34 PM:

> is suddenly breaking my damn web page, the one that wasn't broken yesterday

I'd been having problems seeing Teresa's sidebar for a while -- probably in Sarari beta 1.

It's back now though.

#25 ::: aphrael ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2003, 04:09 PM:

Making Light seems to be fixed, but Electrolite is broken now: the things that normally appear in a sidebar are now, mostly, appearing across the bottom of the page. Here's a snapshot of the problem (warning, large file). This is under IE6.

I've seen this problem before at Matt Yglesias's site, but I don't know how he fixed it, or if he was even aware of it.

#26 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2003, 05:32 PM:

Electrolite's not broken -- it's just thing. Patrick, being swamped with travel and real life, hansn't posted much, and all but one story has automatically archived off the front page. Since his layout uses CSS floating, not tables, to create the sidebar, when his content on the front page thinned out, the sidebar floats completely around what little content there is.

When Patrick gets to a point where he's merely far behind, I'm sure he'll post a bunch of stuff, and thus, fix the problem.

Smaller type (our default)
Larger type
Even larger type, with serifs

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