Skazka - Russian Society of Trondheim >   Russian Pyccku  

FAQ

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Technical info about this site

The site is a bunch of hand-written plain HTML pages. It is currently hosted at pair.com (physically located in US) on their "Webmaster" hosting plan. Few pages also use external free services.

I would really like to make this site a database-backed thing with a lot of functionality (e.g. users can change their details, add links/comments/news items automatically, search, order films, participate in a discussion forum, etc.). However, I don't have time for that yet :-(

The club owns the following domain names: skazka.no, russia.no, russian.no, russland.no (registrar: Agdernett) and skazka.org (registrar: EasySpace). All these domains are hosted on the abovementioned account at pair.com.

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FAQ

When do you defend your dissertation, and what do you do after that?
(this question is overwhelmingly popular)
I do not know.
How many people per day visit your site?
Not many, probably because our target audience is very narrow. If you want a more accurate answer, you can look at fresh server statistics.
May we publish on our site article X from your site?
No, please don't copy the article to your site. This is because the content of our site is constantly maintained, i.e. updated as necessary, reader comments and links can be added, etc. I don't want to see old copies of the pages from our site elsewhere.

You can always make a hyperlink from your site to the article X on our site. I guarantee not to break your links.
If your site uses frames, you may display pages from our site in your frame (please don't take this tip as an endorsement to use frames in Web design).

Why do you write your emails in translit (i.e. in Russian using Latin letters) and ask us to do the same?
Norway is presently a rich country with relatively old IT tradition. Unlike Russia, it is flooded with strange gadgets that don't understand Russian encoding: Unix and Linux boxes, Macintoshes, 20-years-old ASCII terminals, etc. To make it worse, the native population is totally uninterested in proper russification and in buying keyboards labelled with Russian letters.

I read my email on different machines (via UNIX shell login, i.e. Telnet/SSH/MindTerm, NOT via webmail), and I always use translit for all communication.

Yes, I can decipher emails in Russian encodings, in all six of them, but it makes me no joy. It's quite a bit of extra typing, and in the end I see it on the screen in translit, anyway. I'd be grateful if you use translit when you write me. Thanks.

Please note that I'm not able to view attachments (Word files, images, fancy HTML etc.) when I'm away from my office PC.

I won't edit that page, because I don't have Russian keyboard.
I won't edit that page, because I don't have support for Russian keyboard installed in Windows.
If you don't have Russian input locale installed in Windows or can't touch-type, you still can edit Russian documents by copying-and-pasting Russian letters from some other text that has them, one by one. For example, you can go to Russian version of this page and copy Russian letters from the browser window (use the Russian alphabet I put there, so that your job is little easier).

See also: Cyrillic <=> Translit converter

How to install support for Russian keyboard: Go to Start > Settings > Control panel > Keyboard > Input Locales > and add languages you want. To do that, however, you will need a version of distributive of Windows that contains requires files for the languages you are adding.

You don't need to install Russian fonts. Since Windows 95, fonts in all versions of the operating system always include Russian characters (I think).

By the way, if you absolutely can't replace those three non-Latin letters in Norwegian texts with aa oe ae, here they are for cutting-and-pasting (may display incorrectly if you haven't picked Western encoding/charset in your browser):

    
Alternative way to enter any character: ALT codes. Hold down ALT key, type four digits starting with zero on the numeric keypad (Num Lock mode ON), release ALT key. Try it:

 0198       0230
 0197       0229
 0216       0248
(full list of codes)

Note that you can't have these letters and Russian letters on the same Web page at the same time. You choose either Windows-1251 encoding (Russian charset), or ISO-8859-1 encoding (Latin with   , etc.) for a single page, that's it. English pages on this site, including this page, don't even specify encoding (and use substitutions aa oe ae), thus my note above on picking charset in the browser.

See also: Modifying Russian keyboard layout, including russification links

How do you write Web pages in Russian on Skazka site?
Firstly, Russian characters on Web pages should be in a certain encoding. There are several Russian encodings in use. Skazka uses Windows-1251, just as most of the Russian sites abroad.

You can edit HTML source in this encoding in WordPad (a simple text editor included in standard Windows installation). First, select all text (Ctrl+A) and manually set a font with Russian code page, e.g. Courier New (Cyrillic). Save file as Text Document (with .htm or .html extension, of course).

Secondly, the correct encoding should be listed explicitly in the HTML source of the page and/or in the Web server settings. In the <head> section of HTML source, you include the tag:

  <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=windows-1251">
Indeed, if you look at the source of any Russian page from this site, you see this tag. This is sufficient to set the proper encoding in most situations, but for the best reliability you should also configure your Web server to list the same encoding in the HTTP response (transmitted to the browser before the page source). The possibility of configuration and the way you do it depends on the Web server program your provider is using and on your user privileges. If your provider is running Apache and allows .htaccess files, here is the relevant fragment of .htaccess code from skazka.no.

HTTP response can be seen with the help of this "browser": SamSpade Safe Browser. In particular, you can use it to check that the header stuff does not contain a charset definition conflicting with that in the <head> section of your page.

I've seen hosting providers that had strange problems with Russian pages viewed in Netscape (double page loading, etc.) Don't forget to test your site in different browsers.

Notes:

Are there other ways to represent Russian characters on the Web?
Can I have both Russian and these three special Norwegian letters on the same page?
There are four solutions that I know of. None of them is ideal.
  1. The one explained above: keep Russian and Norwegian text on separate pages, specifying proper encoding for each of them.
  2. You can encode Norwegian letters as &aring; &oslash; etc. or as &xxx; (where xxx is a three-digit number) on a page in Russian charset. This will work in Internet Explorer, but not in Netscape 4.x (it displays ? instead of letters encoded this way on Russian pages).
  3. You can encode Russian letters in &xxxx; Unicode notation (where xxxx is a four-digit number) on a page in ISO-8859-1 charset. Again, Netscape 4.x will displays ? instead of these letters, and the file size increases considerably if there is much Russian text on the page.
  4. You can specify UTF-8 as page charset and keep the page source in Unicode (where you can combine any characters on the same page). This will work in most browsers, but possibly display in ugly-looking font, and people (including you) will have problems reusing pieces of the pages, because most text editors do not support Unicode.
If this short description is not enough, write me and I can put here a more detailed one.
Why don't you use Netscape Composer to prepare Web pages? Isn't it simpler than editing HTML source?
Firstly, if you use a weaver program like Netscape Composer, you will never understand how HTML works. Well, if you did understand it, you wouldn't be asking this question.

Secondly, Netscape Composer has no clue of many basic tags that I use to control page layout. As soon as you load a page into the Composer, it simply throws away everything it doesn't understand, adds a lot of garbage and also turns the page source into unreadable mess by removing 'unnecessary' line breaks.

Just try to load the main page of this site into Netscape Composer, save it without doing any changes and open the result in a browser. Then open the original page in another browser window. Can you find 10 differences?

Of course, there are more professional HTML weavers out there, but I'm feeling no urge to use a weaver at all. Can you articulate why you need one?

P.S. Micro$oft Front Page is much worse than Netscape Composer.

We have established a Russian club. How do we make a Web page for it?
It's simple (and free). Read two articles:
  1. Already mentioned Learn to Program HTML in 21 Minutes (except subsection Now That You Know How to Write HTML, Don't)
  2. Static Site Development - you may just dip into this one for now
Now start WordPad (if you won't use Russian characters, then Notepad will suffice) and write your HTML page. To avoid creating a page from scratches, you may save any page from this site to your disk and then replace its content with your own. Then save your page on your disk and open it there with a browser. Is it working?

If so, it's time to upload your page to a Web server where it will become accessible to the whole Internet. For instance, I can offer you to upload it to our server (URL would be something like http://www.russia.no/yoursomething/). Just ask me.

Didn't you write everybody should have own domain name? What the hell are you offering us then, in the paragraph above?
Here is the difference between a big free hosting provider and russia.no, when you have to move your site to another provider:
We are Russian tourists. Where do we get visas? How do we get to Norway? What would you recommend us to see there?
There is a separate FAQ for you.
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