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Secular Web HTML Standards

 

Overview:


General Guidelines

1. Avoid using web editors or word processors: they tend to change and overwrite important features and do other nasty, unexpected things. If you know HTML, text editors are far better. Some recommended text editors for Windows: EditPad, NoteTab, UltraEdit; for Mac: BBEdit (includes built-in HTML validator to check for coding errors), SubEthaEdit, Tex-Edit, If you absolutely must use a web editor, use only Microsoft Frontpage when creating or editing Secular Web documents. However, before you open a single file, ensure that the "preserve existing HTML" setting is checkmarked in the Page Options. To check this setting, click on "Tools," then on "Page Options" and select the "HTML Source" tab.

2. All HTML code should be in CAPS so as to easily distinguish it from basic text. Never leave spurious tags that do not belong: keep the code clean and relevant. On any page using a STYLESHEET, you must take care to follow these rules: (a) never use the align="center" attribute: use the class="center" attribute instead (but never do this on a nonstylesheet doc; when in doubt, you can include both attributes in the same element); (b) never use the FONT element and avoid the TABLE element as much as possible.

3. Every directory within the webspace must have an 'index.html' file This file's URL should be referenced as the directory containing it; i.e. there should be no reference to '.../index.html' anywhere other than as a redirect to the 'index.html' file.

4. Any discrete work or section of a work having at least 5 parts should be separated into its own subdirectory.

5. When moving files all pointers must be updated to reflect the change. A symbolic link must be made from the old position to the new position for 14 days. After that, a file in the old position should be created with an HTML pointer to the new position. This file should be left in place for a period of 28 days.

6. All footnotes shall be converted to endnotes. Endnotes shall NOT be displayed as superscript text; rather endnote numbers shall be placed within square brackets ([ ]). For example:

Michael Martin has already refuted this position in his book The Case Against Christianity.[5]

...

[5] Michael Martin, The Case Against Christianity (Philadelphia, Temple University Press, 1991).

When an endnote refers to a URL the reference should follow this example:

[<A NAME="5">5</A>] Jeffery Jay Lowder, "<A HREF="http//www.infidels.org/library/modern/jeff_lowder/empty.html"> Historical Evidence and the Empty Tomb Story: A Reply to William Lane Craig</A>," 2001 (URL:http//www.infidels.org/library/modern/jeff_lowder/empty.html), spotted June 4, 2001.

The hyperlink preserves the utility of the web with easy click-through, but conceals the actual URL when the document is printed or copied and pasted, so the URL should be spelled out as it is in the example above. Also, due to the ever-changing nature of the internet, links often change, pages are revised or updated, or documents disappear altogether. It is therefore necessary to indicate when the author viewed the document in question, as shown in the example above.

7. In listing essays on Author or Subject pages, if the essay is off site, include after (%%year written%%) the following HTML code:

(Off&nbsp;Site).

8. If an essay-type link (i.e., anything using P CLASS="at") on an Author or Subject pages is actually a link to another index (such as a table of contents or list of related essays), you should include [&nbsp;Index&nbsp;] before the "by" author feature (or as simply the last feature for essays on an Author Page).

9. Note for those who type code quickly: the CLASS="articletitle" attribute is identical to the CLASS="at" attribute, and CLASS="articledescrip" is same as CLASS="ad"; you can use either class. the one is easier to remember, the other requires less typing. The templates below use the longer class ID only for example. Both class ID's will be kept identical in the stylesheet so that they will always mean the same thing.

10. When using the <BLOCKQUOTE> element, always leave it outside any <P> elements, e.g. <BLOCKQUOTE><P></P></BLOCKQUOTE> is correct, but <P><BLOCKQUOTE></BLOCKQUOTE></P> is incorrect. Note, however, that <P CLASS="quote"> and </P> produce the same result as the BLOCKQUOTE element and should be used in all documents which reference the CSS.

11. Pages fall into three general types: Essay Pages, Subject Pages, and Author Pages. Templates for headers and body elements follow, but all three use the same footer, except that essay pages do not include the last updated code. For all the templates below, text in red indicates the type of information that needs to be inserted (do not include the %%%% symbols: those are only there to help you identify text that needs to be inserted after you cut and paste from the template). An example document will be made available upon request.

12. The Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) defines parameters for all documents which reference it, thus making it easy to change the appearance of all such documents with a simple change to the CSS. The CSS, which is called by the following link, must be included in the header of all author, essay, and subject pages, per the standard examples below, either when they are first created or, in the case of an existing page, when first revised. It should also be used for any other pages where its use is appropriate (i.e., does not distort the intended look of the page):
<LINK REL="stylesheet" TYPE="text/css" HREF="/styles.css">

13. HTML validation. All code should be checked for errors using an HTML validator. There are several commercial HTML validators on the market. The Mac text editor, BBEdit, for example, includes a built-in HTML validator. CSE HTML Validator is an excellent product for the PC. There are also free HTML validators available on the Net: WDG HTML Validator, W3C Markup Validation Service, Weblint Gateway.

14. Exemptions. The following pages are exempt from these standards: pages in the /org, and /infidels directories, as well as other already-extant pages where these standards obviously would be inappropriate (e.g., the Secular Web front page).

 


Essay Pages

The header of every essay page must look as follows:

  <!-- II-INIT -->
  <!DOCTYPE html>
  <!-- II-HTML -->
  <head>
    <meta charset="UTF-8" />
    <title>%%Title of Essay%%</title>

    <meta name="description" content="%%Brief, one sentence description of page content.%%" />
    <meta name="keywords" content="" />
    <meta name="robots" content="index,follow,archive" />

  <!-- II-HEAD -->

  </head>

  <body>
  <!-- II-TOP -->

  <H1 CLASS="center">%%Title of Document%% (%%year%%)</H1>

  <H2 CLASS="center"><A HREF="%%Link to Author's Library Page%%">%%Author's Name%%</A></H2>

  <P>&nbsp;</P>

  <P><I>[%%source of the document, if relevant (see below)%%]</I></P>

source:

Articles, Books, and Other Written Material:

<P><I>[The following {article/book/speech/etc.} was originally published in %%source%% {on/in} %%date%%.]</I></P>

Debates:

<P><I>[This debate was held at %%location%% on %%date%% and was transcribed from %%source, videotape or audiocassette%%.]</I></P>

Speeches:

<P><I>[The following is a transcription of a speech given before %%audience%% on %%date%%.]</I></P>

 


Subject Pages

The header of every subject page must look as follows:

  <!-- II-INIT -->
  <!DOCTYPE html>
  <!-- II-HTML -->
  <head>
    <meta charset="UTF-8" />
    <title>%%Subject%%</title>

    <meta name="description" content="" />
    <meta name="keywords" content="%%Brief, one sentence description of page content.%%" />
    <meta name="robots" content="index,follow,archive" />

  <!-- II-HEAD -->

  </head>

  <body>
  <!-- II-TOP -->

  <H1 CLASS="center">%%Name of this subject page%%</H1>

  <H5><A HREF="%%URL/hyperlink%%">%%First category%%</A></H5>

  <H5><A HREF="%%URL/hyperlink%%">%%Second category%%</A></H5>

  %%{etc.}%%

  <P CLASS="at"><A HREF="%%URL/hyperlink%%">%%First essay%%</A> (%%year written%%) by <A HREF="%%URL of Author's Library Page%%">%%Name of Author%%</A></P>

  <P CLASS="ad">%%Brief description of the essay's content in one to three sentences.%%</P>

  <P CLASS="at"><A HREF="%%URL/hyperlink%%">%%Second essay%%</A> (%%year written%%) by <A HREF="%%URL of Author's Library Page%%">%%Name of Author%%</A></P>

  <P CLASS="ad">%%Brief description of the essay's content in one to three sentences.%%</P>

  %%{etc.}%%

 


Author Pages

The header of every author page must look as follows:

  <!-- II-INIT -->
  <!DOCTYPE html>
  <!-- II-HTML -->
  <head>
    <meta charset="UTF-8" />
    <title>%%Author's Name%%</title>

    <meta name="description" content="Collection of essays by %%Author's Name%%." />
    <meta name="keywords" content="" />
    <meta name="robots" content="index,follow,archive" />

  <!-- II-HEAD -->

  </head>

  <body>
  <!-- II-TOP -->

  <H1 CLASS="center">%%Author's Name%%</H1>

  <P CLASS="bio">[&nbsp;<A HREF="/library/%%location%%/%%authorname%%/%%filename.html%%">Author Bio</A>&nbsp;]</P>

  <P CLASS="at"><A HREF="%%URL/hyperlink%%">%%First essay%%</A> (%%year written%%)</P>

  <P CLASS="ad">%%Brief description of the essay's content in one to three sentences.%%</P>

  <P CLASS="at"><A HREF="%%URL/hyperlink%%">%%Second essay%%</A> (%%year written%%)</P>

  <P CLASS="ad">%%Brief description of the essay's content in one to three sentences.%%</P>

  %%{etc.}%%

 

Notes on SW Author Pages:

(1) If there is no author bio, then in place of that entire hyperlinked feature simply put <P>&nbsp;</P>.

(2) Author essays are sometimes grouped on the author page under their own subject headings. This may be done either at an author's request or without an author's request if there are numerous (10+) essays listed on the Author page. If subject headings are employed, use the following HTML code for the headings:

<P>&nbsp;</P>
<H2>Name of Heading</H2>

Standard subject headings include: "Books," "Essays," "Debates," "Book Reviews," and "See Also." The "See Also" heading may be used to list links somehow related to the author, including Real Audio interviews, recordings of debates in which the author has participated, and links to essays about the author himself. Depending on the number and variety of essays, the subject heading "essays" may be replaced with several subject-specific headings. For example, Michael Martin's author page lists atheism, theism, and other. "See Also" should always be the last subject heading. "Book Reviews" should always be the next to last subject heading.

For an example of a correct author page with subject headings, please see Robert M. Price's author page.

(3) The current author pages are numerous and very inconsistent in the way they are coded. You may have to fit additions instead within the apparent style of a given author page unless you have time to recode the page to fit the above guidelines. If you do not have time to do that, notify the board that it needs to be done so the job can be delegated.

(4) In the past, the names of some authors were hyperlinked to their email address. This is now prohibited for the following reasons.

  • In terms of privacy and safety, it isn't necessarily a good idea to post e-mail addresses of authors.
  • They become obsolete.
  • We want feedback to go to the Feedback Forum where all can benefit, rather than directly to the author.
  • I have been removing e-mail addresses when I have reason to update an author page or author's bio.

(5) If the author has published one or more books available for purchase online, then the following line of HTML code should be added after the line containing a link to the author's bio.

<P CLASS="bio">[&nbsp;<A HREF="/kioks/author%%.html">Purchase Books by this Author</A>&nbsp;]</P>

You will need to replace %% with the author's Author ID on the kiosk server (www.infidels.org/kiosk/). Use the search feature on the kiosk server, click on the relevant search result, and then grab the AuthorID from the URL string visible in your browser window.

(6) If the author has a personal website and the website is not objectionable, a link may be embedded within the <H1 CLASS="center"> element near the top of the author page.

 


Comments on META Tags:

index/noindex:

Use index if you want robots to index the page. Use noindex if you do not want robots to index the page.

follow/nofollow:

Use follow if you want robots to follow links on that page when searching for additional pages to index, otherwise use nofollow.

archive/noarchive:

Use archive if you want "Archive" robots to archive the page, otherwise use noarchive.

 


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