[thelist] Compact definition list

Clive R Sweeney clive at designshift.com
Sat Oct 11 14:56:16 CDT 2003

I'm trying to create a glossary page. The original page contains a few
thousand entries (I'm told) and the resulting download size for this one
page is over 900KB. Apparently it was created from a Word doc and so
there is some nasty "msonormal" markup/css. Obviously I could reduce the
page size significantly by optimizing the markup and CSS. A first short
sample of what I'm thinking of is at:
http://www.designshift.com/problems/glossary1.html. I like this
formatting - with the definition beginning on the same line as the term
being defined - but it seems to require that I not use a definition
list. In a normal definition list the definition starts on the line
following the term. (See
http://www.designshift.com/problems/glossary2.html On a page containing
a hundred or more terms, these extra lines would add considerably to the
length of the page and reduce the content visible at any one time.

Question 1: Is there a way to achieve my preferred formatting with a
definition list? I've tried using the deprecated "compact" attribute -
http://www.designshift.com/problems/glossary3.html - but it only seems
to work if the term is shorter than the definition's left margin.

Question 2: To get the glossary page sizes down to something much more
reasonable, I'm planning to break it up into one page per letter.
Obviously there are trade-offs involved here. Does one page per letter
seem to be the reasonable way to go? Are there other options for me to

Note: the glossary pages only need to work properly in more modern
browsers (i.e. don't worry about IE5, NN4).

::. clive
Clive R Sweeney

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