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FortNet HTML Quality Assurance Standards

Last Revised: Sunday, 03-Jun-2001 20:30:26 MDT


  1. HTML Version
  2. HTML Document Format
  3. Bottom of Page
  4. Use of Absolute and Relative Paths and Links
  5. Required Files
  6. Forms and CGI Scripts
  7. Graphical Images
  8. Image Maps
  9. Other HTML entities

This revision of the FortNet Hypertext Markup Language Quality Assurance (HTML QA) Standard reflects changes in the capabilities of web browsers since the last revision. It also is meant to foster use of HTML features that are rapidly becoming de facto standards in the changing realm of the World Wide Web (WWW). Notably, this revision:
  • Allows for use of HTML 3.2 and other developing HTML constructs in FortNet pages.
  • Re-affirms our belief in tools that put more power in the HTML author's grasp.
  • Asserts our continued support of text-only browsers while permitting a full range of multimedia HTML features for users of graphical browsers.
  • Helps the HTML author create documents that display nicely on a wide variety of browsers.

  1. HTML Version
    • HTML Version 4.0 is the basis for FortNet's HTML.

    • Essential content must be viewable with the most recent version of Lynx. This allows people using text-to-speech translators to view your information.

      Your pages should be tested by running lynx my_document from the Unix prompt while connected via a TELNET session, where my_url is the URL for the document to be tested.

    • Code must pass FortNet's weblint prior to being added to the system. You can run weblint through the graphical interface WebLint.pl. Additional checks are performed by HTML_QA.pl. This catches incorrect HTML that may not display as you wish on all browsers.

    • Colors for the pages should be selected so that they contrast nicely for readability. Most viewers are using monitors with 256 colors at 72 dpi.

  2. HTML Document Format
  3. All HTML files must conform to the FortNet Template Standards.

  4. Bottom of Page
    • The "Return to FortNet" Button (both graphical and non graphical) must be present at the bottom of the organization's home page for consistency:

      FortNet Home

      Use this code at the bottom of your file to achieve this.
      <!--#INCLUDE VIRTUAL="/FortNet/includes/trailer.html" -->

      If you need to use it in a frame or another case where it won't be the last element in a file, use:
      <!--#INCLUDE VIRTUAL="/FortNet/includes/fortnet_home.html" -->

    • We recommend that a pointer to the organization's home page be on each subsidiary page. This is so that someone following an off-site link to one of your pages can find your home page.

    • An address line, or some other method of contacting the provider of the page, must be readily visible on the page.

  5. Use of Absolute and Relative Paths and Links
    • Except as noted below, all local paths (data or graphic) must be RELATIVE PATHS to the current directory, that is, the paths do not start with the slash (/) character, and do not contain our server's prefix http://www.fortnet.org/.

      Examples of HTML code fragments using relative paths follow:

                  <A HREF="foo.html"> See the foo stats page </A>
                  <IMG SRC="images/foo.gif" ALT="">Foo Statistics Information
                  <A HREF="../index.html">Go back one level</A>
    • All items accessed via the FortNet home page start from directory /www/htdocs and are addressed via an ABSOLUTE RELATIVE PATH, that is, the full URL without the http://www.fortnet.org prefix. For example:

      PAGE             Directory                       HTML PATH   
      ServiceNet	/www/htdocs/ServiceNet/		/ServiceNet/

    • URL links specifying directories should end with a slash; some browsers will not mark the link as visited unless this is done.

    • Certain limitations of the Web server itself may require that the fully qualified URL path be used. This may include:

  6. Required Files
    • Each organization must have a index.html file which is the home page for the organization. This permits use of absolute relative paths, as discussed above, to reach the home page for the organization. We recommend that you have an index.html file for each subdirectory also.

  7. Forms and CGI Scripts

  8. Graphical Images
    • Graphics must be saved in GIF or JPEG format.

    • All GIF images must be interlaced.

    • IMG tags should contain WIDTH and HEIGHT specifications
      This allows display of text and helps prevent screen flicker during image loading.

    • Graphics should not be larger than 600x450 pixels.

    • We recommend that you use transparent backgrounds.

    • Inline images should be no larger than 64K, since it takes too long to display. Thumbnails (small versions of large images) must be used when an image is very large. The thumbnail can be linked to its large counterpart. Please indicate the size of a large image (in KB or MB) next to its thumbnail image.

  9. ISMAPS (Image Maps)

  10. Other HTML entities
    • Use of sound (e.g., .AU, .WAV, etc.) files in FortNet-resident documents is permissible. The size of the file and approximate running time (if applicable) should be listed adjacent to the anchor to the file.

    • Use of movie (e.g., .AVI, .MPG, etc.) files in FortNet-resident documents is permissible. The size of the file and approximate running time (if applicable) should be listed adjacent to the anchor to the file.

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