1. Playing with Footnotes and Javascript

    jake on 2005.12.05
    at 12:23 am

    A while ago lots of people were talking about footnotes and subsequently sidenotes on the web. There were lots of different opinions.

    John Gruber and Richard Rutter defended the idea that using built in HTML anchors is a perfectly acceptable method of creating footnotes. Joe Clark responded that not only are they not actually footnotes and that nothing exists to represent footnotes. Joe also was frustrated that John was getting heaps of praise for pointing out a fairly obvious solution to the problem. I’d say it wasn’t exactly obvious, it felt more like a brain teaser where when you see the solution you smack yourself on the forehead and go, “ohhhhhh, now I get it.”

    I had a little experience with the sidenote idea back when I was in college. I had a project in English where I created pop-ups with Javascript to show off the explanations my partner created for the project. It was a little messy and not semantic at all but it got the job done for 1999.

    I decided to play with the idea a little bit. I came up with a couple variations in my head to use Javascript to snazzy up the end result. The first variation uses a script to sift through the footnotes at the bottom of the page and when you mouseover the superscripted numbers you get a tooltip with the footnote. And it degrades nicely into a list similar to Gruber’s. Just try turning off Javascript.

    I’ve tested it in many browsers and the only problem I’ve found is that in Opera the tooltip can fall off the edge of the screen. I plan on cleaning it up, but let me know if you see anything I can do to fix it up but still keep it as simple as possible. I also hope to turn it into a full on Behavioral style script.

    So for now you’ll just have to live with the thrown together code. ;)

    Playing with Footnotes

    Posted in: Software · Web


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