Return of the wooden table-esque webdesign



  • http://www.maths.surrey.ac.uk/interactivemaths/emmaspages/option3.html

    Btw I don't study there.. I was just looking up something.
     



  • That doesn't look so bad.  Without images, how are you going to guarantee the mathematical symbols that are used on those pages?



  • I don't think it's being seriously proposed that this should be done without any images at all... just that the images should be confined to the equations, instead of encompassing the entire discussion.

    This would also allow reasonable ALT tags compatible with screen readers for the visually impaired.

     



  • Looks like the usual output of latex2html. Nothing to worry about... you shouldn't be reading this anyway, you should use the PDF, PS or DVI file they offer for dowload. Unless they thought it wouldn't be needed...



  • WTF<font face="Times New Roman" size="3">? If they put all those formulas on the page as images, how am I supposed to paste them into excel to evaluate them?</font>



  • You wouldn't be able to paste them into Exel from the LaTeX notation either... but USUALLY (I wonder why it didn't do that in this case) latex2html sets the formula's LaTeX source as ALT attribute. Like this...

    <img src="..." alt="$\sqrt{x+1} - \sqrt{x}$">

    <stupidity/> 😉



  • [quote user="mercurysquad"]

    http://www.maths.surrey.ac.uk/interactivemaths/emmaspages/option3.html

    Btw I don't study there.. I was just looking up something.
     

    [/quote]

    It's been said before, but images are the most cross-platform way of displaying mathematical formulas in html pages. MathML is a nice toy, but not something I'd want to rely on. I know at least one other program that will generate pages like this: Mathematica. My guess is that Maple and other computer algebra systems do the same when exporting formulas and documents as html.

     
    What scares me is that everything on the page makes sense to me, as I've just had to study for a math exam on (amongst others) linear algebra. My prof actually covered the Jordan Form in the LA introductory class. I feel sorry for you for having to go through the same pain 🙂 Are you looking this up for work, for school or for pleasure?

     



  • Looking this up for school, Adv.Lin.Algebra & Stochastic Processes course.

    11) Thou shalt not miss classes. 

     

    Actually if you scroll up and down you'll see text as text and formulas as images, pretty standard, just like Wikipedia does (and the alt text is the latex code). I didn't understand the need to put the whole section as one image, though, including all the text which could simply be typed in as html. And not to mention the font aliasing burns my eyes..



  • [quote user="mercurysquad"]

    Looking this up for school, Adv.Lin.Algebra & Stochastic Processes course.

    11) Thou shalt not miss classes. 

     

    Actually if you scroll up and down you'll see text as text and formulas as images, pretty standard, just like Wikipedia does (and the alt text is the latex code). I didn't understand the need to put the whole section as one image, though, including all the text which could simply be typed in as html. And not to mention the font aliasing burns my eyes..

    [/quote]

    When I was studying in college I typically used mathworld.wolfram.com for looking up math stuff.   It also put the formulas in the alt tag for accessibility.



  • Huh, formulas?

    I don't really see any of the formulae there that could not be represented using straight HTML, though assuming that the end-user is running a relatively modern operating system with a modest quantity of fonts is probably not something they want to rely on.

    One WTF is the number of "&lambda"s spread around the page. I assume they meant those to be λ?



  • [quote user="benryves"]Huh, formulas?

    I don't really see any of the formulae there... [snip]
    [/quote]

    Latin
    is dead.  Long live Latin!  (I was going to actually respond
    in Latin, but then I realized I don't remember enough to translate even
    those simple sentences.  Something mortus est?)

     



  • [quote user="benryves"]Huh, formulas?

    I don't really see any of the formulae there that could not be represented using straight HTML, though assuming that the end-user is running a relatively modern operating system with a modest quantity of fonts is probably not something they want to rely on.

    One WTF is the number of "&lambda"s spread around the page. I assume they meant those to be λ?
    [/quote]

     

    Oh, sure, lots of that could be represented using 'straight' html, with lots of CSS hackery, ugly tables, and lots of  headache.

     

    Actually abusing HTML to display some of the matrices on the page would be a real WTF though. 



  • [quote user="mercurysquad"]

    Looking this up for school, Adv.Lin.Algebra & Stochastic Processes course.

    11) Thou shalt not miss classes. 

     

    Actually if you scroll up and down you'll see text as text and formulas as images, pretty standard, just like Wikipedia does (and the alt text is the latex code). I didn't understand the need to put the whole section as one image, though, including all the text which could simply be typed in as html. And not to mention the font aliasing burns my eyes..

    [/quote]

    That specific paragraph is half symbols.  And this page is only supposed to be seen by a few students, I would expect.  Using an image probably saved the prof at least a good 15 minutes.  The probability of this becoming an accessibility issue is rare, and if it did come up, well...  It's no less accessible than a textbook.  Which leads me to wonder if they publish many braile college-level math textbooks.

     
    I'm all for doing things the right way, when you're designing something that's going to see hundreds of pageviews a day, all year.  But in cases like this, you've just gotta get shit done, and it's okay to cut a few corners.


     



  • [quote user="Nandurius"]

    Actually abusing HTML to display some of the matrices on the page would be a real WTF though. 

    [/quote]

    Isn't that what HTML tables are FOR? I'd say using a HTML table to represent a matrix makes sense.



  • [quote user="merreborn"]I'm all for doing things the right way, when you're designing something that's going to see hundreds of pageviews a day, all year.  But in cases like this, you've just gotta get shit done, and it's okay to cut a few corners.
    [/quote]

    I've always taken a different approach:

    When you put something on the internet, it is forever. Everyone who wants to see it will see it, whether you think they need to see it or not. You cannot predict or anticipate how many people want to see it. You cannot predict or anticipate how many links will be made to it. If you ever remove it, all the links to it will break. This is Bad and should be avoided.

    Which is exactly why my website has redirect pages for URIs that haven't been active for ten years. I don't know if there's a wayward link to it out there, and if someone happens to find and click it, I want them to get to the right page. They don't know this page is several years old; they only just found it, and if it comes up with a 404 that makes me look bad no matter how old the page is.

    Not that your approach is necessarily wrong, I just don't share it. I'm probably just from a somewhat different internet generation than you are.



  • [quote user="CDarklock"]

    [quote user="merreborn"]I'm all for doing things the right way, when you're designing something that's going to see hundreds of pageviews a day, all year.  But in cases like this, you've just gotta get shit done, and it's okay to cut a few corners.
    [/quote]

    I've always taken a different approach:

    When you put something on the internet, it is forever. Everyone who wants to see it will see it, whether you think they need to see it or not. You cannot predict or anticipate how many people want to see it. You cannot predict or anticipate how many links will be made to it. If you ever remove it, all the links to it will break. This is Bad and should be avoided.

    Which is exactly why my website has redirect pages for URIs that haven't been active for ten years. I don't know if there's a wayward link to it out there, and if someone happens to find and click it, I want them to get to the right page. They don't know this page is several years old; they only just found it, and if it comes up with a 404 that makes me look bad no matter how old the page is.

    Not that your approach is necessarily wrong, I just don't share it. I'm probably just from a somewhat different internet generation than you are.

    [/quote]

     
    There's a lot to be said for that, and there's definately a time and place for it.  But you write (and design) for your audience.  I take shortcuts in writing letters to my friends, but I carefully read and revise a document intended for publishing.

    You probably wouldn't write 3 drafts of a quick letter to your buddy who lives 4 miles away, but you would certainly do so for your doctoral thesis -- because not all written word is the same.  Some of it is transient.  I know the original concept behind the web was indeed more permanent communication, but people use it in a similar, transient manner these days.

     



  • [quote user="Nandurius"]

    [quote user="benryves"]Huh, formulas?

    I don't really see any of the formulae there that could not be represented using straight HTML, though assuming that the end-user is running a relatively modern operating system with a modest quantity of fonts is probably not something they want to rely on.

    One WTF is the number of "&lambda"s spread around the page. I assume they meant those to be λ?
    [/quote]

     

    Oh, sure, lots of that could be represented using 'straight' html, with lots of CSS hackery, ugly tables, and lots of  headache.

    Actually abusing HTML to display some of the matrices on the page would be a real WTF though. 

    [/quote]

    Agreed.  No WTF.  In fact, not even close.  The site is fine as is.  I'm pretty sure the guy wasn't paid top dollar as a web designer to post this content online.  And the only text that is posted as in image contains a significant amount of formulas and symbols.  There's plenty of regular text elsewhere.  Look at the examples -- mostly text except for a few formulas here and there.  

    Anyone who wants to re-write these pages in full HTML that will render perfectly in all browsers (especially those that were popular in 2003, when the page was written), go right ahead.  I have a feeling you might not have the time. 

     


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