(2 replies, posted in HTML Discussion)

Guys and gals:

I'm working on a website for my son, who's 11. He's a Sonic the Hedgehog fan, and so I'm creating a themed site for him.


Unfortunately, I'm stuck because I'm doing something I've never done before: a "full-width" site. The background elements are all in their own div's, with height and width of 100%.

When you scroll down, the content area moves up...showing some background color. Obviously, I'm doing something wrong. I hope it's simple. Can you spot the problem?

Thanks in advance!



(5 replies, posted in PHP Discussion)

No, I'm pretty sure there's NO way to integrate a desktop program as your live web editor. There's certainly no off-the-shelf solution for what you need. The closest thing would be a desktop widget that's tied directly into a unique account, like the MSN Live products that allow you to update your blog from your desktop. There's no available solution that would work with "any" website, like a CMS.

There are some new jquery editors out there that you might google...I hear good things about them!


(4 replies, posted in PHP Discussion)

A CMS has some drawbacks that might be of consideration for anyone, especially a church:

1. Design
As churches seek to gain new credibility with strangers, they necessarily look at their facilities, bulletins, website, etc. Most Content Management Systems are built on a templating system...you have to use, or hack, an existing template to make the site look the way you want it to. For some, this isn't an issue. For others, it's a deal-breaker. Fortunately, my own CMS isn't template-dependent </shameless plug>. I think a church's design should match their personality and the personality of their ministry area.

2. Search Engines
The point of church is to SPREAD THE GOSPEL. A church's website should help. That means that a church website, as much as any business site, should be the kind of site that search engines love. If it is, strangers looking for a church will find it...if not, fewer strangers will visit your church. A typical CMS template is NOT search engine-friendly. Some great templates can be found for each system, and the quality is getting better all the time. Fortunately, my own CMS outputs standards-compliant code that search engines love </shameless plug>.

Those two alone should tell you whether you should use a CMS for a church site. If you can find a CMS with great templates (or hack one to make it great) and if that CMS outputs quality code, you've got a winning combination. If not, you may not be doing your church a favor by installing and implementing it.

Wow, Rodger...you're pretty much a one-trick pony, aren't you? Every one of your 15 posts is on the same topic. Unfortunately, all 15 of your posts seem to be in error. What you wrote leads the informed reader to the inescapable conclusion that you understand neither Arminianism nor Calvinism...and that you haven't even thought through your own position, either. Some simple examples from this post:

>> The eternal torment theology of the Arminian Christian relies on so-called “free will” and luck.

This exposes your ignorance of Arminian theology. You're arguing a point that's not at issue. If you're not aware of the Arminian position on ignorance of the law, you're not in a position to be criticizing that position...are you?

>> I created most of you for the purpose of torturing you forever.

This exposes your ignorance of Calvinist theology. If you think that Calvin's God created people in order to torture them, you haven't read much of what Calvin actually wrote. Before you run around claiming such things, you should do your homework.

>> Christian Biblical Universalism

If you think those three words go together in any spiritually meaningful sense, you haven't spent enough time reading the Bible. As you said, anyone can believe anything they want...but not all ideas have equal merit. In this case, it appears that you've chosen to believe that which makes you comfortable, rather than that which is supported by the evidence. A thoughtful reading of the pages you've linked to should lead most Christians - mature or not - to see that the authors are creating their own little world, ignoring or distorting entire passages of Scripture.

I wish you God's best, Rodger. I mean you no harm, but encourage you to be a Berean: don't take a position because you like it...take a position because it makes the most sense after reviewing the evidence.

A registration DB isn't really that complicated. You could add a Reg form to any page in most CMS's and link to a custom DB. My partner and I created our own CMS, and we make custom forms and Reg DBs all the time.

It's possible that Wufoo's service would work, but I'm not sure of the cost.


(7 replies, posted in Content Management)

carrot wrote:

The reason for having it online for staff is access.

That's a great idea, of course...especially for larger churches, or churches with more than one campus. smile


(7 replies, posted in Content Management)

I think an important question is WHY you're building an online church directory? I've never heard a good argument for putting a church directory online, as privacy concerns always come up. Is there a compelling reason for you to have a directory?


(0 replies, posted in CSS Discussion)

Wow. After spending 2 days on this one, I decided to ask for help. I'm sure it's a bug, but haven't been able to find any documentation on it.

This page shows the problem: http://godwords.org/temp/table_problem.html

It works as intended in
Chrome 4+
Opera 9+
Safari 3+

Both HTML and CSS are valid:
http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http% … mp;group=0
http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/vali … mp;lang=en

Note how, in IE7, the table doesn't stop. I believe it's related to the way IE7 renders table cells...note the 'stray' lines in the middle of every other cell (not in the code), and how the table doesn't stop. It keeps going and going, beyond the footer. It's not the footer, by the way...it's valid code, and every modern browser renders it right. I'm lost. Has anyone else seen this?

I've tried all kinds of workarounds on the table, like height: 1%; and display: block; and clear: both; and so on...with no luck. Does anybody else see something I'm missing?

Thanks in advance for your help, folks!



(1 replies, posted in CSS Discussion)

I'm at a loss.

On my church's home page, note the space between the two content columns and the footer. The HTML is very straight-forward, and the CSS is as well. In IE, the space is as I've coded it: 21px. In FF, it's about 3 times that size. Using Firebug in FF, I see that the extra space comes from #primary, the left-hand column. I don't understand why that is.

#primary {
    float: left;
    left: 27px;
    width: 580px; }

I have a robust reset in my stylesheet, by the way. It's almost as simple as it can be, but it's not acting in any kind of consistent way. Can anyone give me some insight? I doubt this is a bug, but I can't see ANYTHING that would cause this space to magically appear. Can you? Note that the spacing is correct on every other page.

HTML http://columbinehills.org/
CSS http://columbinehills.org/templates/DCO/misc/style.css

Thanks, folks!

I'd have to agree with Nathan...it's probably best to establish an "identity" for the church as a whole, and to let every visitor know that each site is PART of the same ministry.

A few thoughts:

1. http://seven30seven.com/ ...the background image doesn't fill my browser window when using IE8. One solution I've used is to put the image in the html and not just the body. Different browsers calculate the "viewport" differently.

2. http://hpmen.org/ ...I'd NEVER make a website with sounds (like music) that start automatically, unless it was a website for a band. Most people (right or wrong) surf at work, and it's a good bet they'll close your site immediately after the music starts playing. If you're going to do it, you'll want to make sure that the controls are CLEARLY marked.

3. http://www.hilandpark.org/hpkidz ...the nav images aren't in a horizontal line when viewed in IE8. Yes, I know...IE still isn't the best browser around. It IS the most popular, however, so every website should be checked thoroughly using it.

4. http://hpstudents.org/ ...looks pretty good. Definitely the best of the bunch!


(3 replies, posted in Content Management)

Zamzar.com does all kinds of file conversions. It's not exactly what you're looking for, of course. I'm also aware of a PHP script that will do it on the fly...you might google that and install it on your own server.


(9 replies, posted in Theology Discussion)

Sticking up for the Greeks here...let's not fall into the trap known as the Genetic Fallacy. That is, let's not discard any Greek ideas or positions simply because they're Greek. Each idea must be considered on its own merit, of course. Because the Greeks were also made in the image of God, they were certainly capable of the same kind of great insight that others have had. Having studied philosophy in college (to go with my Religion major) I can tell you that there's a lot in ancient Greek philosophy that Christians should value.

On the other hand, let's not think like the Hebrews simply because they were Hebrews. Aren't they the ones that God constantly chastised for being unfaithful? Aren't they the ones that missed the prophecies about Jesus, the Christ? I do think that we should try to think in ways that God has shown to be valuable, of course...and because His primary communication at that time was with the Hebrews, it's from their history that we can learn it. However: Jesus' words in the New Testament bear repeating here:

"You have heard it said...but I say"


(5 replies, posted in Website Critique Area)


I really like the website! It's cool to see churches in 'my area' doing a good job with tech. I grew up down the road in Edmonds, and went to church in Lynnwood. I know exactly where they are, and am sure they're grateful for your hard work.

On a related note, I *ALWAYS* check out a designer's website when I like their work. Your site is missing a whole bunch of pictures...in case you haven't checked on it lately. smile


(568 replies, posted in Shoot the Breeze)

Thanks, Mas...you're so kind!


(4 replies, posted in Prayer Requests)



(568 replies, posted in Shoot the Breeze)

I've missed you guys.

My last post here was almost a year ago, and until this morning I didn't realize what I was missing. A nice person emailed me yesterday to give me props on one of our discussions...so I thought I'd check in. Here's what I found:

The time I spent here in years past had a sharpening effect on me. I was forced to think clearly about my craft, and to consider how to be the very best web designer I can be. No other forum has had that kind of impact on me both personally and professionally, and so I'm back. The past few months have been very difficult and have made me wonder why I'm not as enthusiastic about my work as I once was. I think that some of my enthusiasm came from being sharpened by sharp people like you, and I've missed it.

Thanks, Nathan...


(31 replies, posted in Theology Discussion)

Knight wrote:

Why must those be the only two options?

You're right, of course. JustLikeThat has presented a false dichotomy.

First of all, neitehr one of those options is supported by ANY evidence.

You're wrong, of course. You and I are surrounded by evidence...the difference is in how one interprets it.
Some see all that is and conclude that someone must have created it.
Others see the same everything but draw different conclusions.

I've examined (and keep examining) the evidence that God does not exist. I find it less than compelling. You apparently find the evidence that God does not exist more compelling than I do. Can you express why that's so?


Nice work!


(4 replies, posted in Website Critique Area)

I just spent 30 minutes on the phone with the company in question. It seems I've misjudged them! I (fortunately) found the only person in the company who could carry on an intelligent conversation about this with me. Here's what he told me (and I'm paraphrasing):

These people have no idea what they're doing.

That's right. They present themselves as a professional web company, and they don't realize that they've turned off traffic to all of their clients. They did this out of utter ignorance, without any strategy at all. The man I spoke with was very helpful and candid...he's been working with them for 6 months, and they're just getting started trying to figure out how to fix the problem. He's doing beta testing on a GoDaddy server because their setup is so incredibly bad.

He was honest: if one of their clients needs a fix, it's going to be six months minimum before they can even begin to address the problem.

In the meantime, they're going to lose at least one client because they offered website services that aren't worth the money they're being paid. Thanks for your input, Montgomery and C.Barr!


(4 replies, posted in Website Critique Area)

Thanks, Chris.
I was 99.9999999% sure that I had it right, but wanted to make sure my facts were right before I went around accusing anyone of anything. I spent a little time on the phone with two of this company's "technical" folks (including the tech support manager) and neither knew what a robots.txt file was, let alone what it could/would do.

I got second-hand information from their CTO through that manager...he said that all of their links go through cgi-bin, which should be secure. He also said that they didn't want their perpetual calendar to be indexed, as that would result in thousands of pages being listed unnecessarily. While I understand the point of both, it seems incredibly short-sighted of them to build a web app that makes their website invisible to the general public.

That also doesn't explain the existence of the file, which has to be written and placed specifically into each account. It blocks all indexing/spidering from all search engines that respect the "site owner's wishes". I'm awaiting a call from their CTO to let him explain it.

An interesting side note: the manager said this to me, which I consider to be the dumbest thing I've ever heard about a website:

"Our clients wouldn't care about the robots.txt file. As long as their home page works, they're going to be happy."

I did indeed tell him, with all due respect, that that's the dumbest thing I'd ever heard about a website. Almost every one of their clients have regular, public-facing websites that deserve/need search engine traffic to achieve their goals...like churches and non-profits. As it stands, the only way you can find their websites is to know their domain names. If you know that, you don't need to search for them.

I was flabbergasted that the people who are selling themselves as technically sound web designers - and ethical ones at that - either know or care so little about their products and the successes of their clients.


(4 replies, posted in Website Critique Area)

I need some input from you web professionals. Here's the situation:

A prospective client needs a complete redesign/recode for their website. In the process of analyzing their existing site, I found the following in their robots.txt file:


User-agent: Googlebot
Disallow: /cgi-bin/
Disallow: /images/
Disallow: /scripts/

User-agent: MSNBot
Disallow: /cgi-bin/
Disallow: /images/
Disallow: /scripts/

User-agent: Slurp
Disallow: /cgi-bin/
Disallow: /images/
Disallow: /scripts/

User-agent: *
Disallow: /


From what I can tell, this tells search engines to not index the website. I have two questions:

1. Have I understood it properly, and
2. Can you think of ANY reason to do this for a website whose owners want search traffic?

You see, it looks like the company who made their current site is ripping them off. It looks like they've turned off their natural search traffic so they can sell Search Engine Marketing and Optimization services. I can't think of any situation where this could be considered ethical behavior by any web design company, but I'm willing to listen to any argument to the contrary.

I won't name the website or company at this point (in case I'm wrong). If there's no legitimate reason to create and place those instructions on a normal website, I'm going to go public with the information.


(31 replies, posted in Theology Discussion)

Ka-Mai wrote:

I can't understand making such a fundamental leap based on what is essentially a very old book. How many times has it been translated from the original transcripts? What of the contextual inconsistencies that people have found. What makes this holy text more correct than the others for you?

Interesting. What contextual inconsistencies are you talking about? It's one thing to say "there are inconsistencies" and another to lay them out for inspection. If these inconsistencies are bugging you, I'd like to know what they are. If they're compelling, you might be able to convince others (like me) to share your point of view.

Could you be specific?


(31 replies, posted in Theology Discussion)

Ka-Mai wrote:

Ahh, this was something I was hoping to read. I essentially agree with your articulation of our limits when it comes to understanding the nature of a Creator. This is where I differ from almost every Christian (or any devotee of a Western religion). I have no problem conceiving of the possibility of God. I simply feel that many of us spend far too much time trying to define the infinite, the inherently undefinable. This is a problem. I can't understand the arrogance of so many that feel they've found the way and the nature of the universe and the afterlife has been outlined and solved to the point where they can confidently espouse dogma as if humans have already figured most of it out. We don't really get these answers 'till the end, folks. In my opinion, most would be much better off trying to keep an open mind and admit that different faiths and their requisite holy texts cannot be taken for granted.

Hello again, Ka-Mai!

While I'm with you on humanity's inherent limitations, I think there's a flaw in your logic. You concede the possibility of God, but seem to discount the notion that God might reveal Himself to us in a way that we can understand. The very common idea that God is unknowable is one form of agnosticism...but, when you concede that an infinite being might exist, you must also - logically - concede as well that He is able to convey truth about Himself in any way that He chooses...whether by communicating at the limited level of His audience or by increasing the capability of His audience.

Essentially, many religions consider God unknowable. That's one of the things that sets Judaism and Christianity apart: the acknowledgement of our limitations coupled with God's revelation of Himself.

You're right when you say that we get the answers in the end...but it's not logically accurate to say that we cannot have preliminary or incomplete answers right now.

Wouldn't you agree?


(31 replies, posted in Theology Discussion)


Welcome to Godbit, and thanks for the kind words!

How can we reconcile free will with an omniscient God? That's really, really easy: knowledge is not causation...knowing what will happen is not the same as causing it to happen. I see no conflict at all between a God who knows everything and the complete moral culpability of those He created.

That's a fairly simple answer. Is there some facet of the argument that I might have missed? Being the devil's advocate sometimes requires a follow-up question or two, and I want to make sure that I've adequately answered your question.

Have a great day!


(2 replies, posted in CSS Discussion)

Thanks, James...I'm having the client talk with his IT folks to see if that's it. I appreciate your help!