Web Guidelines for the Promoters Web Site

When making an update to this Web site, please follow these general guidelines to ensure visitors have a pleasant viewing experience. For specific technical details, view the ~promoters/README file.

  1. All HTML content should be valid XHTML 1.1 markup. Use W3C HTML validator to check each page after modification. This will keep this site compatible with all browsers compliant to the W3C guidelines.

  2. Any changes to this site's style sheet should also be validated with W3C CSS validator.

  3. All pages should be in unix text format. To convert from Apple or Windows text formats, on bioinformatics.cs.vt.edu, use the command

    $ vim -c "set ff=unix" -c wq [filename]
  4. For internal links, unless deliberately linking to a file of a specific format, use canonical resolution. For example link to "images/note" instead of "images/note.jpg". This will allow easy migration to different formats and prevents some browsers from making improper assumptions based on file extensions. For example, the papers section of this site links to different journal articles in PDF, and access is limited to addresses with a reverse DNS entry ending in "vt.edu." However, a browser does not know before receiving the MIME type whether it will receive an HTML error page or the PDF file. Older browsers sometimes interpret the PDF file extension and attempt to save the HTML error as a PDF file.

  5. Use correct URIs. A protocol (like "http://") is required, and if linking to the index of a directory, a final "/" is also required. For example, "bioinformatics.cs.vt.edu/~promoters" is not correct, but "http://bioinformatics.cs.vt.edu/~promoters/" is; "http://www.google.com" is not correct, but "http://www.google.com/" is. (The final "/" specifies the root directory.)

  6. All links should have meaningful names. Assume a visitor knows nothing about this site's structure and naming schemes. Make sure that visitor knows to where all links point.

  7. Open all links in the current window. This is the default behavior and is what users expect. Most graphical browsers have an open-in-new-window option, and visitors can use that option if they want to open a link in a separate window.

  8. Avoid unnecessary distracting features like Java applets, JavaScript content, and anything that moves or blinks. In the very exceptional case where JavaScript content is appropriate, place the JavaScript code in a separate file from the Web page, and link to it.

  9. All pages should have the same general look-and-feel. Look at other pages on the site to see how items like lists should be written. Also, create each new page with the template for this site.

  10. After completing an update to the Web site, please add an entry to the updates page.