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Changing font formatting within a word...
Can you have a large first letter in a word?
Robert Charlton

 5:37 am on Apr 20, 2001 (gmt 0)

I've wondered how changing font formatting within a word would affect search...

Something that's often done by designers to class up the look of a first word in the text on a page is to make the first letter larger, and sometimes in a slightly different color... as in:

[big]W[/big]idget solutions for the internet professional...

If "widget solutions" is my target phrase ;), how will the large "W" affect how search engines see the word?



 7:08 am on Apr 21, 2001 (gmt 0)

[6]T[/6]he large W would have to have markup that is different from the rest of the word, something like this <p><big>W</big>idgit</p>. So the search engine is going to see the words "W" and "idget". You could search for "idget", though.

Robert Charlton

 4:53 pm on Apr 21, 2001 (gmt 0)

>>You could search for "idget", though.<<



 9:03 pm on Apr 21, 2001 (gmt 0)

>> [6]T[/6]he large W would have to have markup that is different from the rest of the word <<

[6]A[/6]lthough you can't count on very wide browser support at this time, there is a CSS pseudo-element for "first-letter" that allows manipulation of the initial letter from an external style sheet, instead of using in-line markup.

[6]M[/6]icrosoft began support with MSIE 5.5. Link [msdn.microsoft.com]

[6]N[/6]etscape did not offer support through 4.7, but version 6 "should", because this is CSS1. So there's hope for the future.


 9:19 pm on Apr 21, 2001 (gmt 0)

Yeah, forgot about that. Unfortunately, it would not show up in the vast majority of browsers today. The CSS solution would give the spider "Widget".

Robert Charlton

 10:17 pm on Apr 21, 2001 (gmt 0)

So... if the designer and client were satisfied with the large first letter on newer browsers only, we could get away with this CSS approach...

Not to change the subject, I can't believe that I wasn't aware of the MSDN Online Web Workshop, [msdn.microsoft.com] a page of which Tedster linked to. On the Workshop default page I noticed a very sexy use of rollovers to control the appearance of what looks like plain HTML text, not graphics, on the page... and I noticed also that most of that text is not to be found in the source code. Can someone tell me briefly what they did? I assume, with regard to optimizing such a page, that only the text that appears on the default.asp page is visible to spiders, so this text that appears during the rollovers wouldn't be indexed (and those links, which don't contain href, would never be followed).


 11:18 pm on Apr 21, 2001 (gmt 0)

That is a sexy effect, and I'd like to know more myself.

The links are all pretty straight, like this:

<A HREF="/workshop/components/default.asp" ID="menu-1">Component Development</A>

I assume that the ID="menu-1" must be where the magic lives, but it's a devilish thing to sort it out.

I can see that it's MSIE only (Netscape gets a different page with no rolloevers and different copy) and the code calls a host of css and js files, so it looks like a project to untangle. Especially since the code is browser-specific. Makes me wonder what the spiders see!

There's one file with the intriguing name "stealth.js", but all it does is deal with old browsers.

There is a .css file called msdn-online/shared/comments/css/ie5.css that establishes the class (.clTeasers) for the rollover blurbs and defines their container.

I still can't find the source for the actual text in the rollover blurbs. /msdn-online/shared/js/navlinks.js looked promising, but no-go.

The rollover text isn't in the HTML source page, so you're right, the spiders won't index it either.


 12:19 am on Apr 22, 2001 (gmt 0)

Wow! I just spent the last 20 minutes looking through all the JavaScript code. I still didn't identify where that text came from. I sure am glad I don't have to support that JavaScript! There are pages and pages of it. Not only that, they sniff out the browser server-side and pump down the appropriate page in the beginning based off your User-agent field. So with a different browser you would get a totally different experience.

This code has got to be very difficult to maintain.

Robert Charlton

 6:09 am on Apr 22, 2001 (gmt 0)

It really does look great, though. Maybe one of the most elegant rollovers I've seen. I wonder if the designer got stock options....


 6:47 am on Apr 22, 2001 (gmt 0)

I think does what you're looking at there.

<script Language="Javascript">
<!-- Hiding

if (bname=="Netscape")
var x=0;
var link=new Array();

function dspl(msg,bgcolor,dtop,delft){

// Put message here )

link[0]=new dspl('<RIGHT><Font face="Arial" color="#000000"size=2><B>blah blah blah</B></Font></RIGHT>','#FFFFFF',130,380)

link[1]=new dspl('<RIGHT><Font face="Arial" color="#000000"size=2><B>Blah blah blah</B></Font></RIGHT>','#FFFFFF',130,380)

// Do not edit anything below !!!!

function don(x){
if ((bname=="Netscape" && bversion>=4) ¦¦ (bname=="Microsoft Internet Explorer" && bversion>=4)){
if (brows){

function doff(){
if ((bname=="Netscape" && bversion>=4) ¦¦ (bname=="Microsoft Internet Explorer" && bversion>=4)){
if (brows)

// done hiding -->

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