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Okay, gotta make a site update

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johnhattan

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I gotta fix thecodezone.com. Specifically the menus at the top.

First, a little history. My little top-menus used to be handled by a little Flash-applet. They were a blatant ripoff of the old Macromedia-style menus. If you wanna see what that looked like, check out Menu style #4 here.

It worked just fine, but it was limited to the number of menus that you could put on a single horizontal line. And I wanted my site to be as "flat" as possible, allowing you to the entire site from the top menu. I don't wanna make you drill down through a couple of layers of nested pages if you wanna play Confusebox and then read the blog.

So I went with a DHTML (read javascript) version of the menus that you see on the Code Zone site today.

And, unfortunately, that was just one bigass can of worms. First off, it turns out that Flash content renders in a window above the HTML content, which means that the javascript menus would pull down behind the games (which is why the gamedev pull-down menus pull down behind those purple "play my games" buttons on the gamedev-hosted edition of my blog). The standard fix for that was to set your embed parameters to "opaque" and/or "transparent", which instructs the browser to render the content directly on the HTML window and not in its own window.

And that, while it looks good, releases all of the browser incompatibility demons, especially regarding input. Firefox absorbs all key-up events, so any games I wrote that use those stopped working. IE doesn't absorb the events but instead passes 'em to BOTH the applet and the browser, so if you push the down arrow to move the bulldozer down, the bulldozer moves down but also the browser scrolls itself. And the new Safari beta absorbs all mouse-up events, thus making anything that uses drag-n-drop (like ChessCards or BaffleBees or Countdown Dice) unplayable.

And now I've found that it also absorbs all mouse-wheel events, which hampers gameplay of my new game.

So here's my newest HTML Commandment. . .

Thou Shalt Not use "transparent" or "opaque" for any Flash content that is interactive.


I ended up doing a couple of kludgy things to work around that, like putting a bigass noninteractive banner above the Bulldozer and Duck Tiles games so the menu wouldn't pull over 'em, but the whole situation's now just become more trouble than it's worth.

So I'm gonna go back to rectangular Flash-based menubars on my site and kill off the javascript ones. But now I need to figure out how to maximize the space up there. I don't wanna make the top bar any larger and shove the content down.

I do like the look, so I'll probably go with two rows of items under the bar. That should hopefully hit the balance between being able to get to the bulk of the site from one spot, not taking up too much vertical space, and NOT SCREWING UP ALL MY GAMES!




As for your homework, if you see any site menus that are compact and you particularly like, comment with the URL.





Oh, and
">do overweight middle-aged men playing the Wii look like goobers or is it just a cultural artifact that some things make you look like a goob?
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