Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Online classes and random stuff like that

Through my work, I've started an online class to learn basic and then advanced HTML (HyperText Markup Language), XHTML (eXtensible HyperText Markup Language), and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). It's been a blast so far (possibly because I've passed all of my assignments so far). Right now, we're just starting with the basics of how to create and stylize web pages (HTML 4.01). Here are links to my assignments so far:
And now you're probably thinking "Wow, big deal. The blog looks much cooler than that stuff!" True, but the blogging template is set up for me here. I mostly just type in what I want it to say, and use a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor to change font, color, style (bold, italics, underlined, etc.). I can go into the HTML and change some things, but not everything. In the class, I'll not only control the content, but every aspect of how it looks. It's really fun. With the blog, I chose the theme, but I didn't create it.

Most interesting thing I've learned so far:
One of the funnest aspects of web design is playing around with fonts and how to use them properly. Most of us have access to hundreds, sometimes thousands, of fonts we can use in word processing programs (like Word, Word Perfect, Pages). They're fun and we can get a little crazy with them. When designing web pages, you have to take into consideration that not everyone is going to have your favorite font loaded on their computer. One thing you have to do is have a contingency plan. When you choose the font you want to use, you need to have one or two back-up fonts listed as well, just in case. And in the event that someone doesn't have any of the fonts you've picked, their browser default font kicks in, and that can ruin a perfectly beautiful web page.

Here's an experiment. I'll list some of my favorite (and not so favorite but still very usable) fonts, and if they look different to you, then you've got that font on your machine (you lucky devil, you). If can always troll the internet looking for a free version of it (yeah, good luck finding one with the EXACT same name). Let me know which ones you can see and which ones you can't. (Hey, this is an experiment, after all.) Here we go:

Starting easy:
  • Arial (If you don't have this one, please, please, please update your computer and learn to live beyond the 1970s)
  • Curlz MT (This one should be easy. Most people have Curlz MT.)
  • Papyrus (Last of the fonts most people have access to. Overused by college-age guys around the world--don't ask me why. I can't tell you.)
Now for some harder ones:
  • Chalkduster (Just picked this one up because one of my classmates used it and I loved it!)
  • Scriptina Pro (Love this one, but it's really hard to read.)
  • Feathergraphy Clean (There's a really good chance that everyone but me is seeing Helvetica on this one.)
Well, we can't control least, not yet.

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