This desktop- and mobile-friendly website has been live since the mid 1990s.
It hosts hundreds of pages spanning software-related topics including programming,
technical education, and industry trends, and all of its code and content has always
been both free and advertising free. This site has also always been more about
substance than style; while it does keep pace with web fashion, its main focus
is on providing tech material for tech readers.
This site works as you'd expect today, but here are a few quick tips.
All of this site's content can be reached from its bottom-of-screen
toolbar and search page. Scroll or swipe the
toolbar on smaller screens to access all its links (tap first to activate
its leftmost "Python Powered" image jumps to this site's home
page. Some pages also have floating "Top"
that jump to page content lists, and neither specific browsers nor
or only if the latter is enabled (including "Top" and image
This site has started using CSS media queries to implement a dark theme,
where supported by both browsers hosting the site, and devices hosting
the browsers. Initially, this is implemented only on the
prior white background is now a
darker grey in dark mode, and
a lighter grey otherwise.
Dark mode works on recent smartphones,
macOS, and Linux;
it's available on Windows but not (yet?) in all browsers
More pages here may go dark over time, but there's
a reasonable argument to be made that text-heavy content,
like books, is better in boring black on white.
The latest Android Firefox has a new and nasty bug related to its
dynamic toolbar, which can both leave
empty space and make this site's
own bottom-of-page toolbar slide up into
This has been seen on Firefox versions 81 through 85; happens when its
"Scroll to hide toolbar" is toggled on; and can be triggered by
scrolling to hide the browser's toolbar and then changing device orientation.
The GUI seems to believe a phantom browser toolbar is still present at page bottom
(and in some cases, renders an empty strip for it). To work around, either set
the toggle off, or use any other Android browser until this is fixed (which may
be soon, given the flurry of reports:
With the toggle-off fix, pages look like
On the bright side, Android Opera now has a great
multi-page fullscreen mode in landscape orientation that maximizes space
for content; tap the rectangular icon all the way to the right on its toolbar.
Here's the effect
after the tap.
Chrome could really use something similar; its address bar won't hide
on pages that don't
Android Opera also fixed an
odd bug reported by this site,
which truncated pages at a /* in a <pre> block.
Stuff gets better too.
This site renders well in portrait (vertical) orientation on mobile-device
screens as small as 4"; here's its home page on a 4"
That said, some pages may require horizontal scrolls on smaller devices
if you use the new
page-zoom option in iOS 13
This impacts a handful of pages on this site—including its
For such pages, the new Safari option is not a font zoom; it's really a
screen zoom that works like a pinch/spread with fixed stops.
Specifically, this site's home page fits well in portrait mode up to 125%
page zoom on the latest iPhone SE's 4.7" display, but only up to 100%
on a 4" iPod. At higher zooms, your best options are a minor scroll where
required; rotating to landscape for fit-to-screen
viewing; or simply
lowering your page-zoom level. Page redesigns or browser changes
may address this someday, but the work-arounds are easy, screen
zooms are tough to accommodate in full, and minuscule displays will
never be ideal for text-heavy websites.
It's worth adding that this issue—arguably an iOS Safari bug—does
not occur in Android Chrome at any practical font or screen zoom.
Here's this Chrome's
zoomed display; unlike
Safari, fonts are increased without overflowing the viewport. Though
no vendor is flux free, Apple's track record of breaking sites and
programs with opinion-based morph is much too large an insert for this
iOS Safari users: this site works best if you hide Safari's toolbars
using the new "aA" menu
in iOS 13.
Without this setting, this site's bottom-of-page toolbar buttons must be
once to restore Safari's toolbar, and again to activate the button.
With the new setting, this site's page toolbars work
perfectly in iOS Safari,
and as they do in all other browsers today. As a bonus, the new setting
also fixes landscape
of thumbspage image galleries.
This site is now jaw-droppingly faster, thanks to its new home on an
VPS. Its former GoDaddy
became frequently and unusably slow,
plan upgrades didn't help, and tech support did little but
slam the account with bogus fees.
The image-size reductions of the next note are still a win; even though
large images were not the culprit behind speed issues, it's still not
great to push 6M images on people with limited access.
In light of recent testing on new hosting and broadband providers,
the larger images in this site are being shrunk for quicker downloads,
using a custom script.
Read the story behind the script
This change is being rolled out over time, but should appear
in a browser near you soon. It was long resisted for quality,
but smaller images are politer to users with quotas,
and demand for the web's bandwidth grows as fast as
Some of this site's larger pages have grown floating
and a few can now toggle their
table of contents.
These tools are being rolled out to more recent and popular pages first.
replace numerous static image
but sacrifice screen space for a subjective improvement in
feedback on the tradeoff is
Subtle thing: the new Top
may slightly overlap page-bottom toolbars like
when viewed with desktop browsers in smaller PC windows (except when
using the scrollbar-hiding default on Mac OS). This is intentional:
it allows more space for content in this atypical and cramped context,
site usage—an explicit anti-goal here.
This site now has a privacy statement.
Per that page, this site has also changed its traffic-analytics policy to
anonymize IP addresses received by analytics hosts. Analytics is a useful
tool that helps focus website work, but IP-address obfuscation is a crucial
privacy protection; without it, analytics could be easily misused as a profiling
Trojan horse—especially when run by entities that profit from your
personal information (yes, that means
Android Chrome just sprouted a
toolbar which can reduce space for actual
and make page-bottom toolbars harder to
To disable the new toolbar and reclaim your phone's
open Chrome, enter "chrome://flags" in the address bar,
search for "Chrome Duet" in the result, select "Disabled"
in the entry, and restart Chrome. This isn't required for this site,
but content should never take a back seat to
This site now grudgingly uses
HTTPS, because Google's desktop Chrome browser
began rudely branding every page here Not Secure.
As a result, this site won't work if its SSL certificate grows unusable.
This was both pointless and ironic: this site's sole user input
is a search term—a datum upon which Google built its financial empire.
But who could hate a company that can manage to blend monopoly and
hypocrisy in a single step? It's a good thing we have Google to look
out for our privacy.
Terrific company, Google. Terrific...
Microsoft's Edge has finally fixed its toolbar-overlay bug.
Version 42 correctly displays URLs above
hovered-over links, unlike
version 41 and earlier. Since there's
not much Windows 10 users can do to avoid the update that includes the fix,
Edge has joined the ranks of desktop browsers usable for this site. Read more
about the 3-year saga and its
Most of this site is now explicitly
mobile friendly and
device neutral, thanks to
HTML viewport settings; CSS magic to scale images and scroll toolbars,
tables, and code; assorted page redesigns;
and the copious free time of the site proprietor.
The CSS tricks also provided a temporary workaround for a
toolbar-overlay desktop caveat noted below.
This site grew up with and marginally prefers to be viewed on
It has been verified to render well on all desktop browsers in
Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, Internet Explorer, and Edge.
Per the updates above,
a desktop-only caveat regarding toolbar overlays on URL
hovers in Edge and Firefox
was initially addressed by redesign, and later made moot
by fixes in these browsers.
This site can also be read on and has been optimized specifically for
Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Opera.
Although nearly all content here is now
some pages may still be best viewed in
landscape mode, due to this
site's wealth of text-oriented material
(see also the Safari notes above).
There's more on mobile-browser usage ahead.
Some of the above is orchestrated by the site's
analytics, photo viewers,
and in-page navigation if enabled (to see how, view the
source of this page, an image
a page with navigation
Mobile-device support employs additional HTML and CSS techniques,
per the next section.
This site is readable on all mobile browsers, and as of February 2018
has been heavily tuned to support smaller screens
Mobile viewport settings alone worsened as many aspects as they improved, but
usability issues were fixed with extra design changes, including:
Desktop users: shrink your
to simulate these changes'
or use your browser's responsive-design developer views;
they are especially helpful on smaller screens.
You can also browse mobile-device screenshots
That said, despite the redesign, a few parts of this site
are still less than ideal on mobile devices, and others may never be optimized
for mobile use. Code listings, for example, may require swipes to view in
full; the class
workbook is legacy desktop content generated
by Word that cannot be easily changed; and the HTML user guides and screenshot galleries
programs here have been converted, but for
online use only.
In addition, given the volume of content here—most of which
is text based and some of which dates back to the
may work better for some pages on smaller
screens. Naturally, performance and
preference may vary per device, browser, and user, and some browsers have reading-mode
converters and text-scaling settings that may further improve user experience.
Like them or not, smaller screens are convenient but
the goal here is to accommodate by enhanced style, not to pander by reduced substance.
traffic is currently 75–85% desktop
browsers (depending on when it's checked), and its main reason for being is to support
readers of books and learners of code.
If you're not interested in reading words, well, how did you ever get this far?...