Monday, February 07, 2005

Up to now

Here is the product of the past week of labor. Note it is far from complete, and the format still needs a bit of touching up - but I finally have something I can display.


Any comments and any feedback - especially from those of you gifted and/or experienced in web design - are more than welcome. Pat, as you can see I opted away from frames and jumped on the div wagon. It allows a lot of flexibility, but the biggest problem I run into is browser compatability. In a sense this website will be self-updating long after I leave, as various features I embedded will become active with new versions of ie.

For instance, those of you using ie 6 don't get to see my cool menus change on mouseover - that, apparently, is reserved for firefoxers. Your loss.

I am making this on a 400mhz hunk of scrap metal with no software. I downloaded dreamweaver but the license is about to expire. I would renew it but frankly all I am using is the text-editor to hand-script my code (I am sooooo 1337!) so I can delete it and get on with notepad. The real problem I have is image editing - I am limited to MS Paint for all image work here, which is why the top banners look shit and why you don't see much in the way of other pictures.

Now, don't judge the appearance yet, because it is amazing how much it will change when I throw in a horizontal line here and a pretty photo there. I guess I'm just trying to show ya'll what i've been up to for the past couple days. The real bulk of the work is in although that is a real mess right now.

One thing I would like to steal from the original page are the sideways text graphics on every section, but I would like to make new shiney ones more in line with my own aesthetic sensibilities. What I am hoping is, they will see what magnificant work I can do and decide to throw me a new computer with all sorts of cool specs. Har har.

In my defense, though, this is my first webpage in about 10 years. I may just start over, I have a few new ideas based on seeing other websites.

Have I told you guys how much I like working with html and css and whatnot? Makes me wish I had stuck with computer programming in high school cuz c++ and whatnot is exponentially more complex and exciting. But it's a lot like learning a language - html and css are really simple sets of grammatical rules. You want to set the background color of the cell of a table that you have your mouse over? That's like wanting to describe an active verb with an adverb, you have to know where it goes, what its scope is, whether or not the way you phrase it will spill over into other contents, etc.

In the end, I think, web design is a search for ultimate simplicity. Ironically, the more simply you learn to code, the more complex the product can become. If you keep everything clear, clean, and short, if you code efficiently, then it is really easy to keep track of things, know when and how to use them, etc. This is like what shelley said poetry does for language - you define new terms, perpetually attain new levels of abstraction. It's glorious brilliant magnificant, a good webpage written by a master is like kyoto station, a pillar holding up the future.

With the advent of css all of this became so much more clear - like, for example, if you look at the code for my blog, a lot of it is really simple, with the complexity carried in the css behind it.

I am getting all excited over something so silly as html and webdesign, why am I not studying programming? If I can feel like a minor deity after creating something whose sole function is aesthetic, imagine the empowerment of creating something functional, writing programs that do what you want them to do. I am not even any good at webpage design, though my skills double every minute I work on this. Were I to start over I think I would do away with tables entirely, the whole page would be so much more simple. I have picked out a way to do it in CSS, too - but this is my rough draft.

After I make nissen's page, I am going to make the internship page, and that will be gorgeous. I am envisioning a symphony of dark tones, sometimes blended and sometimes forced together. It will be a self-portrait, every division and every border reflecting the soul that creates it, every fusion of text and image a potent testamonial to the phoenix of creation.

I do enjoy grandiosity.

Two major points.

1.) Technically you're not writing your mark-up in HTML. The !DOCTYPE tag at the top of your page declares that. has a good tutorial on XHTML:

Basically, since you obviously know and enjoy HTML, it will take you about an hour to learn XHTML (it's simply HTML with a couple extra rules and some depreciated code). If you want to be up to current Web standards (thereby pleasing me to no end), it's worth it to take the time to learn it. You'll simply be that much more 1337. =P

2.) IE/Win is the worst browser ever. Basically the story behind it was when everyone else was developing Web standards and implementing CSS compatibility, IE decided it was going to make up its own rules and not follow anyone else. So not only does it not support some features, there's also countless bugs when it tries to parse your otherwise beautiful CSS. Ordinarily this wouldn't be a problem, but a stupid majority of page hits are IE-based. Therefore, always write your mark-up and CSS towards the gecko-based browsers (Mozilla, Opera, etc.), THEN look around for IE/Win bug work-a-rounds and 'fix' the code for IE/Win. It'll save you some unnecessary headaches. This site has the major ones you'll probably run into:

Otherwise, being a design major I should probably say something regarding the layout. Always think in terms of hierarchy. What's most important, what's not as important, etc. Then layout your title, navigation system, and content accordingly. A common pitfall is thinking everything on your site is important, because it unintentionally gives everything the same visual weight and value. You know what I mean?

Hmm.. hope some of that helps.


P.S. - The person I was asking found an apartment for himself, but there's someone else I'll be asking tomorrow, so I'll let you know.
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