Ruthsarian Layouts



Tank! is CSS-based web page layout. The goal for this layout was to incorporate several tricks/features that help further demonstrate the versatility of CSS. These include drop-down menus, theme switching, changing font size, source ordering, transparent images, multiple columns, and hopefully some nice style.

A Work In Progress

I'm releasing this layout a little early. It's still a work in progress. IE 5.0 (for Mac OS 9 and earlier) has some severe bugs that cause the text to not appear correctly; however IE 5.2 works just fine. Netscape 7.0 has a problem with the drop-down menus where they are displayed in the flow of the document, forcing the rest of the page's content down while the drop-menu is displayed. There is no Netscape 4 specific stylesheet at the moment. NS4 users will simply see a plain page. Oh, and if you figure out my not-completely-documented dropdown system and try to apply it to the vertical menu, you may run into some problems, so I wouldn't try it right now.

Feel free to send an e-mail to ruthsarian at gmail dot com if you find other bugs that you'd like to report.

No Zip (Yet)

I'm not yet providing an archive of the layout with all the necessary CSS and JavaScript and all the paths worked out, etc.. in a single ZIP ready to go. This is because I don't consider this layout to be ready enough. If you want to take this layout for a test drive, you'll have to figure out how to pull out the CSS, HTML and JavaScript needed. This isn't hard at all, but if you don't know how then you probably aren't ready to use a layout that may still be a bit... touchy.

Short on documentation

I'll try to add more documentation to this page as I have time. Right now I'm focusing in on the more important pieces of information about this layout, rather than worry about a full write-up on all the intricacies.

Gargoyles - Season 2, Vol. 1

Gargoyles - Season 2, Volume 1 was released on December 6, 2005. The DVD contains the first half (26 half-hour episodes) of the second seasion of Gargoyles. Special features include commentary on the 4-part "City of Stone", a featurette on the making of with new interviews of several cast members, and introductions of each episode by creator Greg Weisman.

Support / Donations

Every so often I hear from someone who offers to make a donation or asks about ways to support my work. My position, as outlined in the content of the Skidoo Too: Gargoyles layout, remains the same: I don't want money. I'm not trying to make money, I just want to share with others my own bits of work with CSS. I think the knowledge I gain from my own work is its own reward (regardless of how corny that sounds).

However, if you would like to support a cause near and dear to me, I would ask that you pick up a copy of Gargoyles - Season 2, Volume 1. Gargoyles is a great show, well written, and entertaining to both kids and adults. I would like to see the show continued in some manner, but to do that we need to first get Disney's attention. That can be done through increasing salse of the latest Gargoyles DVD. If it sells well enough to make a blip on the radar of Disney's executives, if they think they can make money with it, Disney might just start producing new content (episodes) of the show. That would be something I would really like to see.

So I ask that you pick up a copy of the DVD if you get the chance. I think you'll enjoy it if you take the time to watch the show. This is not just a kids' show and adults will absolutely enjoy it as much as (if not more than) children. But, if you've got no interest, the least you can do is give it to a family member or friend who might be interested, or have children. It makes a great holidy gift!

Everything To The Right

Key design issue is that the typical vertical menu you see in many web pages is included here. What isn't typical is that this menu is moved to the right side of this layout. The horizontal menu at the top of the page is also right-aligned.

Why is this?

This goes back to an old lesson in a Photoshop 3 book I read a long time ago. It recommended you move the toolbar over to the right side of your window. The reason being that it keeps the scroll bars closer to your toolbar, creating less distance for the mouse to travel and, thus, less movement for your hand. It helps relieve a small amount of work (and stress) on the hand. It's also easier to navigate, in general, for right-handed people, which make up the majority of the people in the world. And it's something new and different so I wanted to give it a try.

That large margin/gutter/gap on the left of the layout is there to help reenforce the eyes to the right side of the page. The empty space also is a nice spot to catch when reading left to right and moving down a line. I also think it's visually interesting, but you can go ahead and delete it if you don't like it. It doesn't serve any critical function except to free up an otherwise busy layout.

Utility Stylesheets

Several stylesheets used in this layout are part of my utility stylesheets collection. The point of these stylesheets is that they provide specific functionality that I use in several layouts. Rather than keeping several different copies of (basically) the same stylesheet, I've put them into one place. That way if a bug pops up in the drop-down menu stylesheet, I can fix one stylesheet and all my layouts that use it will be immediately updated.


The goal is to rely on CSS as much as possible and to keep the layout functional even without JavaScript enabled. Despite this constant goal with all Ruthsarian layouts, there is a fair amount of JavaScript used in this layout. A lot of it is there to provide a helping hand to some browsers that either don't support full CSS or have a broken implementation of some CSS features.

For example, IE does not support the :hover pseudoclass on elements other than anchor tags. As a result, the drop-down menus don't work. JavaScript is used to apply an extra CSS class to list items while the mouse is over the element to emulate the :hover pseudoclass. Position and appearence of the drop-down menus is handled by CSS. If/When IE supports the :hover pseudoclass, this bit of JavaScript can be removed and the drop-down will function completely without JavaScript. Drop-down menus will work fine with FireFox and several other new generation browsers without that JavaScript.

Other implementations of JavaScript in the layout bring functionality most likely already available through a browser menu option into the page itself. One example of this is the style switcher. Several browsers already support the switching or application of alternate stylesheets (if defined) to a web page. The style switcher provides a different interface to this feature. The same with the font size changing system. Almost all browsers offer a feature to increase the base font size of the browser. This font size system just brings that interface into the web page.

The point is this: you can remove all JavaScript from this layout and it will still function. The only thing you lose is some ease-of-use accessories for the user and/or minor compatibility issues that, by themselves, will not break the layout.

Quick Bits

Cookies are used to store the prefered font size and style so it remains through each page visit.

If the page has short content the footer will fill in the space between the bottom of the layout and the bottom of the browser window.

Style switcher and font size setter HTML are created via JavaScript document.write(). This way users who do not have JavaScript enabled will not see the interface for this JavaScript dependant features.

The name Tank! comes from the song by the same name recorded by the Seatbelts. It is the theme song to the anime series Cowboy Bebop. I was listening to that song when I decided to finally name this layout. If you haven't, I highly recommend picking up Cowboy Bebop, both the DVDs and the soundtracks (of which there are many).


Theme Styles



Menu Example