On 404s and Coding

More pointless techno-geekery!

I hadn’t pulled a 404 report off my server in a while. A 404 report, say you? What’s that? Basically, it’s a report that tells me when people tried to access pages that don’t exist on the server. If it’s a full page, they get a message saying that the page has been exterminated and they need to get the hell of Skaro. (No, really, they do.) If it’s something like a graphic that’s loaded into a page, then the graphic just doesn’t show. And that’s called a 404.

Being the curious person that I am, I had to see—what kind of 404s were being hit?

A lot, it turned out.

Some of them are unavoidable, unfortunately. There are still links out there in the interwebs—none on this website, as best I can tell—that link to pages from the old Greymatter structure, and those pages just don’t exist in that form any longer.

But I noticed that I was seeing a lot of 404s coming from my stylesheet. Literally hundreds a day. At first glance, I thought it wasn’t loading for people. So I fired up my blog, and there it was, in all of its properly rendered glory. So, what was going on?

There was a bad graphics link in the stylesheet, that’s what. It’s fixed now, but I’ll pull the report again in a week or two and see if the number of 404s have dropped significantly (as they should).

With that problem fixed, I turned my attentions to writing up a print stylesheet for the blog. I’m a firm believer in print stylesheets—if I want to print out something, I want the content, not the nonsense like sidebars and blogrolls. It’s just good design, because what looks good on the screen just isn’t going to work right on the page. A sans-serif font on the screen, a serif font on the page. Blank lines between paragraphs on screen, proper paragraph indentation on the page.

Good design. :)

Bugs fixed, print accessibility. It’s fun working under the hood, y’know. ;)

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