FTP FAQ document standards (was: Re: [ntp:questions] Re: Trimble Setup Question)

Ulrich Windl Ulrich.Windl at RZ.Uni-Regensburg.DE
Mon Sep 1 12:35:07 UTC 2003

"David J Taylor" <david-taylor at blueyonder.co.uk> writes:

> > > "Better" here is subjective - I find the garish colours both
> > > amateurish and very distracting! Some very subtle shading for sections
> > > would be OK, but in this document there are places where almost every
> > > other word is a different colour. This reduces the readability of the
> > > document very considerably.
> >
> > What garish colours? Where does the text change colour word-by-word?
> http://www.ntp.org/ntpfaq/NTP-a-faq.htm
> To me the colours are garish.

When using "w3m" in a GNOME terminal, I see no colors at all. Anyway
let me quote from the document you quoted:

1.5.1. I don't like the look of the FAQ. What can I do?

You are lucky: Actually the source of the FAQ uses no formatting rules at all,
even the DSSSL code relies on HTML classes and style sheets to do the
rendering. All properties like borders, colours, and font attributes are taken
from a cascading style sheet (CSS).

In practice, this means you don't have to change the HTML source to change the
appearance. Instead simply provide your favourite user style sheet to do the
formatting. If you prefer no fancy attributes at all, just empty the
docbook.css file.[2]

If the output looks extraordinarily odd, you may have a broken HTML browser.
See also Q: 1.5.2..

If you think colours are inconsistently chosen, please make a suggestion for
future improvement. If you dislike single colours or combinations thereof,
please suggest a change. Doing that job is more an art than a science.

I'm aware that some elements are not rendered the best possibly way. As I don't
waste much time (at least not even more time) with rendering of elements, I
strongly rely on Norman Walsh's competence in JADE programming. I'm hoping that
things will improve over time.
Example 1. Style Sheet Entry

*.ACRONYM { color: #5838d0 }

This entry causes all HTML elements with attribute class=ACRONYM (i.e. all
acronyms) to be output in a kind of royal blue. The example shown does not use
official WWW colours. It's strongly recommended to use official colours for

If your browser goes mad, and your vendor allows you to report bugs, feel free
to report the problems to them. If you think I went mad, feel free to tell me
too ;-)

> The first two words have different colours - and that's in the title!  The
> title itself has three different colours and a mixture of italics and
> plain letters in five words.  Doesn't this look gross to you?

I'd call it "uncommon". You are referring to
<title>The &NTP; &FAQ; and <phrase>HOWTO</phrase></title>

where "NTP" and "FAQ" are entity definitions like this:
<!entity FAQ "<abbrev>FAQ</abbrev>">
<!entity NTP "<abbrev>NTP</abbrev>">

So both, NTP and FAQ are abbreviations, while HOWTO is a phrase. The
rest are fill words of the title.

I think a CSS guru can make a stylesheet that ignores formatting
directives within class "TITLE".


> David

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