The Chess Variant Pages

Preferred html-form of contributions

If you send a text to this website, it helps a lot if it is already in html-form. If you want to help even more, you can use the following guidelines for the form of the html-code. (Comments on the contents can be found on another page.)

If you feel that following the guidelines is too difficult for you, don't worry: read below.

The advantage of following the guidelines is that all pages of this website have the same look, and also look reasonably good on any kind of browser, machine. Not everybody uses the same browser as you!

Post Your Own Game

If you are a contributing member of these pages, you can post your own material (currently text-only). Just go to the following link: Post your own game, and follow the directions.

Use plain html-code

Unless there is a rather specific reason to do so, use no frames.

Use standard html-commands for headers like <h2>, etc.

Font-commands that set the size of characters, and the font (e.g., set the font to Arial) are deprecated. These mean that the webpage gets a layout, different from the others, and may be badly readable on some kind of systems (e.g., a small font may be badly readable on a machine with a screen with many pixels per inch; a large font may be too large for some small screens). The only exception to this rule is a font command that makes a relative change to the size of characters, e.g., <font size=+1>Written by Author</font>. Do not use this kind of command for titles and headers however (see above.)

Tables are good, images are better

A table may be a good way of displaying a board. However, they tend to get messy and use a lot of html-code. An image may be better. Consider using Game Courier to make a single graphic image of your game. Although it is primarily for playing games online, its ability to draw boards, as well as the variety of piece and board images that can be used with it, make it an ideal tool for drawing diagrams you can use on webpages. Just download the image it creates, or use a screen capture, then name your image appropriately. It is best to avoid the use of javascript tools for displaying diagrams, since these require the use of javascript to view your diagram.

Use relative links

Instead of using an absolute link like
<a href="">chess</a> or
<a href="">Shogi</a>, use a relative link instead.

Most files will be located in a directory or folder, located on level below the directory/folder that contains the main index files. Thus, suppose you write a text about XYZ-chess, and you want to refer to the text with the main rules on chess. Then, you could write something like:

In XYZ-chess we follow some of the rules of <a href="../d.chess/chess.html">orthodox chess</a>, but none of the rules of <a href="../shogi.html">Shogi</a>.

Note that some files are located at places two levels deep. The advantage of relative links is that the links also work when the files are moved, e.g., when people are reading the website from the `offline' CDrom.

Use the standard template

All webpages have the same kind of yellowish-white background color, and the same colors for links (followed, unfollowed), and black text. It depends on the depth in the directory/folder hierarchy what kind of header you can use:

Check links

Try to make sure that the links that you have will work.

Do not waste space and time of others with large images

A rendered background of squares that give them a wood-like or linen looks may be nice, but squares with one color give drastically smaller filesizes. Not everybody has a fast connection to the Internet, and it is possible to make nice-looking images of board-setups that do not carry with them large file-sizes. Overall, try to keep the size of an image below 30K, or if that is too hard, just a little more. Many boards actually have size less than 15K, and the setups shown in the rules of chess have sizes around 5K each. For diagrams, usually the size of a gif-file is smaller than that of a jpeg-file. For photo's, jpeg-files are better. Experiment with the quality: about every program that lets you handle these kind of files has an option to decrease the quality and size of file. A small almost unnoticable decrease in the quality makes it usually possible to bring down the size dramatically.

Use the UTF-8 character encoding

If you use any foreign characters, such as accented or umlauted letters, Chinese characters, Hangul, etc., please use the UTF-8 character encoding. All the pages on this site are set to use the UTF-8 encoding. UTF-8 is a variable-width form of Unicode that stores all the ASCII characters as single bytes, using multiple bytes only for other characters. Since the pages on our site are primarily written in ASCII, using UTF-8 will not appreciably expand the size of our files, yet it still gives us the advantage of a single character encoding that includes a wide variety of the world's languages, as well as various symbols. Although you might be comfortable with Latin-1 (ISO 8859-1), consistently using the same character encoding for all our pages, and telling the browser what character encoding to expect, makes all our pages readable on any browser. Since UTF-8 combines compactness with the variety of Unicode, and since all ASCII documents are already UTF-8 documents by virtue of ASCII being a subset of UTF-8, UTF-8 is the best character encoding to for us to use for this purpose.

A common error

If you want to use a < or > in the text, like in the following mathematical sentence: if 5x < 10, then 2 > x, then you cannot just use a < or > in your html-code: while some browsers (depending on version) display this as you wanted, others expect a html-command and may display the webpage not as wanted (e.g., skip some part of the text.) The correct way to resolve this is to use the code &lt; for the < sign, and the code &gt; for the > sign.

This is too hard for me.

If you feel that it is too hard for you to follow all these guidelines: Don't worry - we'll manage. Just send in your text in another form, and we'll try to edit it. Some deviations of these form-rules are acceptable, and depending on time, we'll try to resolve some others. In case of doubt, just contact us.

Written by Hans Bodlaender.; Revised by Fergus Duniho
WWW page created: April 24, 2000.