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MAGWeb Minutes
Feb. 17, 2005

Please feel free to invite some of your colleagues from your or another city/county if you think it would benefit them to be a part of our group.

Location
City of Overland Park
(Meetings alternate monthly between MARC in Kansas City and the City of Overland Park, KS.)

Attendance
City of Gladstone, MO................ Kelli Behr
City of Kansas City, MO............. Rich Lovett, John Sims and Jan Wilkinson
City of Overland Park, KS........... Chris Audano, Randy Ellis and Susan Waters
City of Shawnee, KS................. Sonya Fendorf
Jackson County, MO.................. Dan Davis and Joe Tanner
Johnson County, KS.................. Tom Erickson, Michael Morris, Anthony Oropeza, Sonia Smith, Karen Sorensen
MARC......................................... Julie Wittman and Barbara Hensley

Barbara Hensley began the meeting with a couple of short announcements:

  1. SoniClear sent us product information about MeetingPro Gov, a digital recording software with advanced note-taking and publishing features. For more info, please visit www.soniclear.com or email info@triosystems.com. The phone number is 626-584-0364.
  2. At today's meeting, a free copy of Studio.Net will be given away at the end of the meeting thanks to Microsoft.

Browser Compatibility
Attendees viewed a comparison of how web pages look in different browsers and how they work in a screen reader emulation program called Fangs.

The browsers tested are all free. Versions with advanced features, however, can be purchased. Sites for downloading browsers:

Internet Explorer v6 or higher for Windows delivers full support for HTML 4, CSS-1, and other important W3C recommendations.

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/default.mspx for Windows

http://www.microsoft.com/mac/products/internetexplorer/internetexplorer.aspx?
pid=internetexplorer for Macintosh

Netscape v7 or higher (all platforms)

http://channels.netscape.com/ns/browsers/default.jsp

Firefox (Windows) stemming from the Mozilla.org project.

http://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox/

Opera v7 or higher (Windows, Linux)

http://www.opera.com/

Some of the issues for webmasters

To find out which browsers support what features, check out these charts:

http://webmonkey.wired.com/webmonkey/reference/browser_chart/
http://webmonkey.wired.com/webmonkey/reference/browser_chart/index_mac.html
http://webmonkey.wired.com/webmonkey/reference/browser_chart/index_nix.html
http://webmonkey.wired.com/webmonkey/reference/browser_chart/index_other.html

The power of CSS
The good news is that, if you follow the standards guidelines, such as use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and Extensible HyperText Markup Language (XHTML), your design will look fairly similar in modern browsers like FireFox and Opera, not to mention being quick to load and easier to maintain.

Karen Sorensen used CSS to redesign Johnson County Wastewater's new site, www.jcw.org . Attendees noted that the design loaded quickly and looked similar in all the browsers.

Some basic principles mentioned by the attendees include:

Fangs
Fangs is a Mozilla Firefox extension that displays a text representation of a web page similar to how a screen reader would read it. This helps web developers finding accessibility issues at an early stage in the development process." Download from http://sourceforge.net/projects/fangs/ . Right-clicking a page and selecting Fangs from the Firefox context menu will open a popup window with the text representation of the page. To see what the output looks like, visit http://www.standards-schmandards.com/exhibits/fangs/fangs-sample.gif or http://www.standards-schmandards.com/index.php?2004/11/22/8-fangs-release-05.

General discussion included:

Other Business

Next Meeting
To be announced. The meeting will not meet as regularly scheduled since it falls on St. Patrick's Day, and annual festivities are held near MARC.

Meeting minutes: Karen Lynne Sorensen, Johnson County Wastewater.


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