Designing for Psion Web - Scion

This is a discussion on Designing for Psion Web - Scion ; Hello everyone, Realising the limitations of Web I tried to design my new Psion web pages so that they'd display well in Web. I cut down on large graphical displays and tried to do as much as possible using colour ...

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Thread: Designing for Psion Web

  1. Designing for Psion Web

    Hello everyone,

    Realising the limitations of Web I tried to design my new Psion web
    pages so that they'd display well in Web. I cut down on large graphical
    displays and tried to do as much as possible using colour (well, grey)
    backgrounds and a few icons and thumbnails. I've also used tables with
    HEIGHT and WIDTH tags for layout control.

    The results aren't particularly successful in my view. What I've ended
    up with are pages that still don't display properly in Web.
    Compatibility is excellent - the pages look equally drab and
    uninteresting in all browsers.

    The problems I've found are various. Subtle colours don't work well
    with the 256-colour palette (and are obviously worse with 4 greyscales),
    but too much variation in backgrounds makes for unreadable text. Web
    seems to have its own criteria for interpreting WIDTH tags, and seems to
    ignore HEIGHT tags altogether. Some images are clipped rather than
    scaled.

    All this leads to my question: are there any ideas or techniques for
    creating visually interesting pages that will display properly in Web?
    Presumably Web must have been able to cope with what was on line in
    1999, and there were some visually interesting pages then. I'd be
    really interested in doing something that looks good in Web AND on
    modern PC-based browsers. Are there any sites that appear to do this?

    --
    Damian - http://psion.snigfarp.karoo.net/psion/
    Put "sausage" in the subject of email replies to avoid my spam trap.

  2. Re: Designing for Psion Web

    In article
    ,
    Damian Walker wrote:
    > All this leads to my question: are there any ideas or techniques for
    > creating visually interesting pages that will display properly in Web?
    >

    You're going somewhat off-track making your pages use shades of
    grey. The people with Psion programming skills will be able to
    elaborate, but to a first approximation the graphics engine in Psion
    (and underlying Web) will resolve the luminance of each pixel of an
    image to a value appropriate for the display. EPOC can (IIRC) handle 16
    distinct colours, which in the Psion 5 (family) are mapped onto 4 levels
    of grey while the NetBook/ Psion 7 family can actually display colours.
    What you need to do is choose colours expressed as RGB (Red Green
    Blue) triples, where the components combine pleasantly in a
    colour-capable browser, don't strobe too badly in a dithered 16-colour
    display (7 series), and which have luminances ( Lum = (R + G + B)/3 )
    which will map to appropriate levels of grey (5 series). That would then
    allow the page to display legibly and pleasantly in all the targeted
    range of pages.
    Your web server should be able to interrogate the browser for an
    identification string, so that by using an appropriate CSS style sheet,
    different colours or images could be sent to the requesting browser.
    That might be simpler than choosing your colour so carefully.

    ISTR there were help documents about this in some of the
    programming guides for the Psion, but I've not got any of those to hand.

    While I love my Psions and make a lot of use of them, I don't
    dispute that the 4-level grey screen is a huge step down from modern
    systems. Having said that, since I do a lot of work at the command line,
    I still appreciate the difference between 1-bit per pixel and 2 bits per
    pixel.
    What is an open question to me is - can the
    fortnight-on-2xAA-cells endurance so important to Psions be achieved
    with a colour screen? Maybe, maybe not. But it's definitely an important
    question.

    --
    Aidan Karley,
    Aberdeen, Scotland
    Written at Sat, 05 Jan 2008 11:51 GMT, but posted later.
    09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0


  3. Re: Designing for Psion Web

    In article
    ,
    Damian Walker wrote:

    > All this leads to my question: are there any ideas or techniques for
    > creating visually interesting pages that will display properly in Web?


    If I recall rightly, I used fairly bold but web safe colours (an
    obsolete idea, but there are still good articles available on web safe
    colors). The Psion Web seemed to be able to handle the translation to
    grey (and on a Psion 7 looked fine ... but was that using the Opera
    browser?)

    I think I left all the type sizes to the default setting of the browser.

    The html was all left very simple, with really only the six heading
    levels, and paragraph markers. I did use some borders around some items.
    I never tried more than two columns set by divs (I had a lot of
    navigation). Minimal styling was in CSS. As I recall, Web could handle
    simple CSS.

    However it has been a long time since I wrote anything specifically for
    a Psion browser. These days I keep my HTML very simple. I don't use
    tables. Then I add minimal divs for areas like headers, footers. I style
    everything with CSS. If a browser can't handle CSS at all, it still
    usually does a good job with the HTML.

    I really must go though and clean up my old Psion Epoc pages. A lot of
    links have (alas) disappeared over the years. I like leaving the URI
    without a link however, so that if they wish, people can use the Wayback
    Machine to try to find Psion sites that have now disappeared.

    I really dislike the idea of browser sniffing. Although these days with
    the very rapid rise of iPhone browsing, I am thinking of setting a meta
    for viewpoint to the default display width and height of any Webkit like
    device, so they can decide how to handle my content. That won't affect
    any other browser.

    --
    http://www.ericlindsay.com

  4. Re: Designing for Psion Web

    Quoting Aidan Karley's message of Yesterday:

    > You're going somewhat off-track making your pages use shades of grey.
    > [...] What you need to do is choose colours expressed as RGB (Red
    > Green Blue) triples,


    Thanks for your reply. I understand about the colour - the choice of
    grey was nothing to do with monochrome screens (I tend to test Web
    compatibility on an S7), it was just a design choice. I had considered
    using different colours as a way to thematically distinguish between
    different areas of the site.

    I didn't bother in the end, simply because I think the design is dull
    whether in monochrome or colour. My own personal homepage
    (damian.snigfarp.karoo.net/damian) uses grey in a far more interesting
    way, but these are completely invisible in Web, which displays the whole
    lot terribly (even if you go straight to the main frame home.html, even
    if I changed the PNG email address for a GIF or JPG).

    What I'm hoping to find is a bit of advice on how to make a page like
    damian.snigfarp.karoo.net/damian/ (or even /home.html) display as well
    in Web as in, say, Firefox or IE. I tried to do this by simplifying the
    pages so as not to use anything Web didn't have, while keeping the
    design reasonably attractive, and it's in that attempt that I failed.

    > ISTR there were help documents about this in some of the
    > programming guides for the Psion, but I've not got any of those to hand.


    I'll have a look around for these as I get time. Do you have a starting
    point that would speed up my search?

    --
    Damian - http://damian.snigfarp.karoo.net/
    Put "sausage" in the subject of email replies to avoid my spam trap.

  5. Re: Designing for Psion Web

    Hi Damian,

    Maybe this can be of help? :
    http://www.pscience5.net/PsiDat.htm

    Richard


    "Damian Walker" schreef in bericht
    news:Pine.LNX.4.64.0801041055410.16429@nero.devel. snigfarp.karoo.net...
    > Hello everyone,
    >
    > Realising the limitations of Web I tried to design my new Psion web pages
    > so that they'd display well in Web. I cut down on large graphical
    > displays and tried to do as much as possible using colour (well, grey)
    > backgrounds and a few icons and thumbnails. I've also used tables with
    > HEIGHT and WIDTH tags for layout control.
    >
    > The results aren't particularly successful in my view. What I've ended up
    > with are pages that still don't display properly in Web. Compatibility is
    > excellent - the pages look equally drab and uninteresting in all browsers.
    >
    > The problems I've found are various. Subtle colours don't work well with
    > the 256-colour palette (and are obviously worse with 4 greyscales), but
    > too much variation in backgrounds makes for unreadable text. Web seems to
    > have its own criteria for interpreting WIDTH tags, and seems to ignore
    > HEIGHT tags altogether. Some images are clipped rather than scaled.
    >
    > All this leads to my question: are there any ideas or techniques for
    > creating visually interesting pages that will display properly in Web?
    > Presumably Web must have been able to cope with what was on line in 1999,
    > and there were some visually interesting pages then. I'd be really
    > interested in doing something that looks good in Web AND on modern
    > PC-based browsers. Are there any sites that appear to do this?
    >
    > --
    > Damian - http://psion.snigfarp.karoo.net/psion/
    > Put "sausage" in the subject of email replies to avoid my spam trap.




  6. Re: Designing for Psion Web

    Quoting Eric Lindsay's message of Yesterday:

    > If I recall rightly, I used fairly bold but web safe colours (an
    > obsolete idea, but there are still good articles available on web safe
    > colors). The Psion Web seemed to be able to handle the translation to
    > grey (and on a Psion 7 looked fine ... but was that using the Opera
    > browser?)


    I'll have to try your pages on Web, next time I'm on line. I know that
    they look good in Firefox. I never thought of CSS before starting this
    discussion. Given Web's difficulties with tables, I hadn't even
    considered that it would handle CSS.

    > I don't use tables.


    I think that's the key. They might work fine for tabular information,
    which is of course what they're meant for, but I'm coming to the
    conclusion that unlike with other browsers, Web isn't particularly good
    at rendering the kind of table used for formatting purposes.

    > I really dislike the idea of browser sniffing.


    I don't really have the option even if I wanted to use it. As I'm using
    ISP web space, there are few server-side facilities, and JavaScript of
    course wouldn't work at all in Web.

    --
    Damian - http://damian.snigfarp.karoo.net/
    Put "sausage" in the subject of email replies to avoid my spam trap.

  7. Re: Designing for Psion Web

    Quoting Richard van Stappershoef's message of Yesterday:

    > Maybe this can be of help? :
    > http://www.pscience5.net/PsiDat.htm


    Thanks! I'll try that when I'm online again this evening.

    --
    Damian - http://damian.snigfarp.karoo.net/
    Put "sausage" in the subject of email replies to avoid my spam trap.

  8. Re: Designing for Psion Web

    In article
    ,
    Damian Walker wrote:
    > Do you have a starting
    > point that would speed up my search?
    >

    http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=psion+epoc+SDK

    Leads me to http://www.garethjmsaunders.co.uk/ps...loads.html#sdk

    --
    Aidan Karley,
    Aberdeen, Scotland
    Written at Mon, 07 Jan 2008 01:52 GMT, but posted later.
    09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0


  9. Re: Designing for Psion Web

    Quoting Aidan Karley's message of Yesterday:

    > http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=psion+epoc+SDK


    Ah, I have the OPL SDK, I didn't realise there were documents in there
    about HTML. I'll have a browse and see what I can find. Thanks!

    --
    Damian - http://psion.snigfarp.karoo.net/
    Put "sausage" in the subject of email replies to avoid my spam trap.

  10. Re: Designing for Psion Web

    Quoting Damian Walker's message of Jan 7:

    > I think that's the key. They might work fine for tabular information, which
    > is of course what they're meant for, but I'm coming to the conclusion that
    > unlike with other browsers, Web isn't particularly good at rendering the kind
    > of table used for formatting purposes.


    I've finally found a way, and it still uses tables - and nested tables
    at that. The result is at the link in my signature, if anyone's
    interested.

    The limitations I had to work around for Web are mainly: it doesn't show
    background images in tables; it doesn't honour the VALIGN tag; it
    doesn't honour the HEIGHT tag in tables; it doesn't honour BGCOLOR in
    tables or table rows, but it does in table cells; transparent GIFs have
    transparent areas filled in white. I noticed that Internet Explorer
    doesn't always honour HEIGHT tags either.

    I've worked around most of these by specifying a background colour as
    well as a background image for table cells that use backgrounds. I've
    also abandoned the idea of designing pages to fit, centred, on a single
    screen. The lack of transparency in GIFs is still a problem, but I like
    my rounded buttons so I'll put up with that problem.

    Problems that remain affect only Opera and IE. In Opera 5.14, if you
    zoom out to fit everything width-wise on the screen, then background
    images are neither scaled nor repositioned for the new layout. IE5
    doesn't honour the HEIGHT tag on the sidebar, so very long pages (like
    http://psion.snigfarp.karoo.net/psion/psiongames.html) will have the
    sidebar background graphic repeated. Opera and Firefox render this
    properly.

    So while the results in Web look like some badly-made lego construction,
    at least everything is where it should be, and the results in other
    browsers are much more interesting.

    --
    Damian - http://psion.snigfarp.karoo.net/psion/

  11. Re: Designing for Psion Web

    In article
    ,
    Damian Walker wrote:

    > So while the results in Web look like some badly-made lego construction,
    > at least everything is where it should be, and the results in other
    > browsers are much more interesting.


    As a matter of interest I checked it in an Apple iPod Touch, and the
    results were just fine for reading. Your buttons looked OK, for example,
    and zooming text worked fairly sensibly.

    --
    http://www.ericlindsay.com

  12. Re: Designing for Psion Web

    Quoting Eric Lindsay's message of Today:

    > As a matter of interest I checked it in an Apple iPod Touch, and the
    > results were just fine for reading. Your buttons looked OK, for example,
    > and zooming text worked fairly sensibly.


    I'm glad to hear that it's working in browsers I've not even heard of!
    I've also checked it out in links and lynx. Lynx in particular works
    better with this than with any other site that I've done, so I'm quite
    pleased. I've yet to try it out with Konqueror.

    --
    Damian - http://psion.snigfarp.karoo.net/
    For email replies, substitute "psion" for "damian" in my email address.

  13. Re: EPOC32 Puzzle Games

    Damian Walker wrote:
    > Hello everyone,
    >
    > Time for a fun if pointless thread, I think. Looking in the EPOC game
    > database I see over 60 games in the Puzzle and Quiz category, some of
    > which are of very good quality, and the latest of which was released
    > just last October.


    Care to share the name?

    >
    > So, which is your favourite EPOC puzzle game, and why? And which one do
    > you happen to be playing at the moment?


    pSameGame is my alltime favorite. Vexed was very good but I solved it.

    --
    Oliver

  14. Re: EPOC32 Puzzle Games

    Oliver N. Kuehlwein wrote:


    > pSameGame is my alltime favorite. Vexed was very good but I solved it.


    I use a netBook and like Vexed
    Did you solve #8 in the Confusion Pack?
    I'm completely vexed...



  15. Re: EPOC32 Puzzle Games

    Quoting Oliver N. Kuehlwein's message of Yesterday:

    > Care to share the name?


    I was alluding to Frozen Bubble, but with further consideration I'm now
    thinking that ought to be classified as an arcade game (even with the
    speed it runs on the S7).

    > pSameGame is my alltime favorite.


    This being a version of what became Cascade on the Revo. As I first saw
    the Cascade version I'm a fan of Jon Read's SameGame version. I think
    it's that one that made it into the Revo's ROM. There are quite a few
    variants of this game available for EPOC32: Psame by Mark Wiggins,
    pSameGame by Jon Peat, Same by E-Noveus, and SameGame, off the top of my
    head. Unfortunately none of them scale up or down to the Osaris or the
    Series 7.

    --
    Damian - http://psion.snigfarp.karoo.net/
    For email replies, substitute "psion" for "damian" in my email address.

  16. Re: EPOC32 Puzzle Games

    Quoting Iordani's message of Yesterday:

    > I use a netBook and like Vexed
    > Did you solve #8 in the Confusion Pack?
    > I'm completely vexed...


    Are level packs compatible across all versions of the game? I'll be
    impressed if I can play recent level packs on my EPOC32 machines.

    --
    Damian - http://psion.snigfarp.karoo.net/
    For email replies, substitute "psion" for "damian" in my email address.

  17. Re: EPOC32 Puzzle Games

    Damian Walker wrote:

    > Quoting Iordani's message of Yesterday:
    >
    >> I use a netBook and like Vexed
    >> Did you solve #8 in the Confusion Pack?
    >> I'm completely vexed...

    >
    > Are level packs compatible across all versions of the game? I'll be
    > impressed if I can play recent level packs on my EPOC32 machines.
    >

    I don't know. I downloaded 10 different packs from somewhere years ago.
    I've solved all but the Confusion one...

  18. Re: EPOC32 Puzzle Games

    Quoting Iordani's message of Friday:

    > I don't know. I downloaded 10 different packs from somewhere years ago.
    > I've solved all but the Confusion one...


    I noticed on the FreEPOC web page that there are level packs for
    different platforms, which would suggest that they're not compatible.
    But that doesn't matter, as all the level packs for later platforms also
    appear to be available for EPOC32.

    --
    Damian - http://psion.snigfarp.karoo.net/
    For email replies, substitute "psion" for "damian" in my email address.

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