– Mark E. Smith

One’s esteemed, if paranoid, colleague Mr. MICHAEL SURTEES continues to spend his time panicking instead of learning.

“Scores” are not being “settled” when a leading Web designer like Zeldman explains that a Web-native designer understands the medium better than – let’s use an example here – someone who expects the fonts he specifies for a Web page to be immutable like lapidary inscriptions.

I used to chide the lovely Michael for missing a few technical details here and there (foundational ones, but few in number nonetheless). Now I have a strong suspicion he simply doesn’t understand how the Web works. (Yet he’s still employed by Daylife!)

Here is how a Web site works, Michael. You start with content, typically text and images. You mark it up semantically with HTML – not just any HTML you can think of, but the actual elements called for by the content. You associate a stylesheet to suggest how the page should look in browsers and when printed. (That’s where you specify a list of fonts a browser must use if a preceding item on that list isn’t available.) If you want to go crazy, you use JavaScript to add behaviours to the page.

There. Now Michael Surtees knows how the Web works.

In our next lesson, we explain that blogging in public exposes Michael to public response, which he and his apologists mistake for “harassment.”

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2009.11.19 09:02. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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