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Posted 28 January 2005 - 01:12 PM
FrontPage used to be notorious for rewriting your code for you, inserting font info on every instance for example ... making it nearly impossible to control your results outside of the graphic editor. FP'03 fixed that for the most part, but still is guilty of adding code if you make a mistake, rather than returning an error. It can be frustrating.
<edit> Sorry for hijacking your thread </edit>
Posted 31 January 2005 - 05:13 AM
Unfortunately, the Dreamweaver/ hand-coded question isn't going to get you anywhere. I, too, use DW but hand code everything.
There are much better questions.
Many posts earlier, Nathan was on the right track when he recommended that your site meet these requirements:
-- xhtml strict
-- css used for layout/presentation
-- at least meet the requirements for 508 accessibility guidelines
I'd be hesitant about hiring a developer who is still using PhotoShop create site by slicing and dicing. The sites that use that technique usually end up being heavy and slow. Current practice tends to create sites that use fewer images, but make up for it by letting CSS handle the layout.
What I'd look for is a developer who understands marketing and who has kept up with web standards.
I've got an article about choosing a web developer, including eight questions to ask your prospective developers. I'd be happy to send you the URL.
In your last comment you mentioned the possibility of doing the site yourself. Yes, you can learn all of this and you might enjoy it. None of it is extremely hard, but there are many different aspects to learn about. Even if you're a detail person, your first sites will almost certainly be mediocre. We've all been there. If you stick with it, you could be creating great sites in a couple of years.
So you might ask yourself: Can you afford for this site to be mediocre?
It's kind of like when I did my first clutch replacement on my old Fiat. I didn't have any training at mechanics, so I just followed the skimpy instructions in the repair manual. I had no idea that I should have resurfaced the fly wheel. I discovered that after doing the third clutch in three years. For me fixing the car was fun and I was proud of myself. It's too bad I was too green to know that I was messing up! Pretty embarrassing.
Posted 31 January 2005 - 09:36 AM
Mind if I ask why? If done properly (and depending on the visual layout being worked on), this is very effective & can save a bit of time. This seems to me to be equivalent to saying that using DW results in poor, bloated coding. While both statements are potentially true, DW / Photoshop / etc. are merely tools. How the developer uses the tool is the deciding factor on the quality of the end result.
Posted 31 January 2005 - 02:20 PM
I agree, if done properly...there a lot of great designers out there who code with standards starting out with a psd file.
the bottom line is it doesn't really matter what you use to get there (dw, fp, ps, notepad) as long as you get there. bloated code can come from any of those sources. Even if you require that the site be designed in xhtml and css...it is still possible to have bloated code a large css file can be just as bad on the inital load time of a site as a site laden with nested tables.
I'll state again, just because I believe it's important - and will help anyone looking to design themselves or have designed by a professional:
css for layout / presentation
and meet some assessiblity stantards
and I'll add:
if you're concerned with a designer handing you bloated code, put a file size reqirement on the design. (that'll at least get you started out on the right foot)
just my 2 cents.
Posted 31 January 2005 - 02:28 PM
Additionally, you could ask to see samples of his / her / their work & then view the source & even visit the designers own site & do the same.
Posted 31 January 2005 - 02:40 PM
ah yes...I meant to mention that too.
the best way to see what kind of code you're going to get is to look at some of the latest work in their portfolio. (that is unless they just steal their css from other sites, but that is for another thread )
Posted 31 January 2005 - 02:43 PM
I've had to edit FP pages in the past and convert them into CSS and found myself re-creating the entire page all over again. That had made a huge difference in ranking for those pages as well.
My 2 cents: Learn HTML and use an HTML editor. This will allow you to write and learn code even not being proficient with the language.
I'd agree with this recommendation: to learn HTML code and use an HTML editor. Aside from the graphical design requirements, it's easy to create sharp-looking, user-friendly, and se-friendly websites with a very basic knowledge of HTML. You don't need to learn and apply a bunch of advanced techniques--in fact, the simpler you can keep it, the better. The most important thing to learn is how to setup tables properly. IM) properly setting up tables is the key to setting up good websites.
I'm pretty big on the idea of online content management systems. I hand-code the templates for my content management system. When I want to make changes to the overall look/features of a website, I just edit and upload the template and press the "compile" button. I can make changes to 1000+ pages with the touch of a button.
My two cents, whatever they're worth.
Posted 31 January 2005 - 03:21 PM
Don't say that round here, they're all CSS-addicts here
Raph, who is still a big fan of tables, but has probably been coding websites too long to change much now.... old dogs, new tricks...
Posted 31 January 2005 - 03:42 PM
Like you, I've been hand coding from back before there even was a FrontPage or a Dreamweaver. If I'm an addict of anything Web-related (other than the Web itself ), it would be HomeSite.
Call me a pragmatist. I tend to code and mark up with what works.
CSS is wonderful for many, many things, but when it comes to setting up a multi-column layout I'd rather just use a simple table and be done with it rather than going through all the hacks and tweaks necessary to get CSS to display the way I want, especially on middle-aged browsers (I gave up on the old ones awhile back, but I still have to support MSIE5, for instance.)
And yes, I'm well aware of accessibility issues and try to make sure the tables linearize well and all that. But CSS just isn't all the way there for positioning just yet, at least not for my purposes.
Posted 31 January 2005 - 03:59 PM
The reason we did slice and dice was because we used table cells to layout our sites. CSS can do that for us. Unlike tables, in css you can have a background that extends across what would be multiple cells in a table layout.
The main disadvantage to switching to CSS layout is that many sites done in CSS won't look as good in Netscape 4.X. But I don't think we should be terribly worried about a browser that's something like 6 years old. Netscape 4.X users can still read the page, they'll just see a relatively unformatted page.
When I clean the tables out of my site layout, pages sizes drop from about 9 kb to about 4 kb. The css files may grow by about the same factor, but most users only download that one time. Maintenance becomes a lot easier if the css file is well-organized.
I'll still use tables for tabular data, but I don't see any reason for us to be using them for layout any more. I, too, had gotten really comfortable with tables. Getting used to css has taken a lot of time and energy. It's pretty clear now, though, that tables are the past. Eventually people will compare table layouts to scrolling marquees. When that time arrives, I'd rather be up to speed than running to catch up.
So, that's why....if I were looking for a developer who was up-to-date, I'd make sure they weren't still using table layouts.
Posted 31 January 2005 - 04:13 PM
Well Torka, I guess neither you or I will ever be working for / with zollerwagner...
Seriously though, from where I sit it all depends on what the client wants & what their priorities are. If a client feels that appearance is more important than speed, then that is what they will get, although I will make every effort to make the markup as clean & optimize the graphics as much as possible. Likewise, if the client favors accessibility / speed / compatability over asthetics, then that is what they will get.
Posted 31 January 2005 - 04:25 PM
Unfortunately, I'm not sure there any good books describing how to do CSS layout. People like Eric Meyer show how to do a few layouts, but don't give much guidance on general principles. There are, however, people on various forums who are helping us learn these things. I'd recommend reading what SuzyUK on WebmasterWorld has to say. She's an amazing CSS master with excellent advice.
Once you do get one of these layouts to work, you've got that one nailed down for good. After that, it's often a matter of restyling it with the CSS.
To be honest, I've sometimes assumed that I had it nailed for good, but when I tried to adapt it later discovered that it still contained a few errors. The truth is, though, that I've always been able to get it to work eventually. I'll be the first to admit that getting CSS working is labor intensive in the beginning.
Learning to work with tables was the same. I can remember pulling my hair out for days trying to get simple table layouts to work. With help, I eventually got it and then I was able to use the same basic skills for most of my work. CSS has that same learning curve, or maybe a bit steeper, but it's fully capable today.
Posted 31 January 2005 - 04:35 PM
The funny thing, though, is that the customer usually gets what the designer wants or knows. One client wanted me to change his navigation bar in a tables-based layout. I explained that I'd have to create new images for the entire bar and that it would cost XX amount...and I explained that had it been done in CSS, it would take a lot less time. Guess what kind of site he wanted for his next site revision?
My point here is that we sell--usually very effectively--what we're comfortable doing.
Posted 31 January 2005 - 04:37 PM
I'm far from a beginner where it comes to CSS. But I work on a corporate website that HAS to work with IE5 and the like. And by "work", I mean that for reasons of branding, it has to look fairly consistent across platforms and browsers. Presenting an unformatted or even semi-formatted page is not an acceptable option as far as our marketing department is concerned.
When we stop having to use "faux columns" to make CSS columns look as though they extend all the way down to the bottom of the page even when they don't because browsers don't know from height; when I can set a max-width and min-width and have a reasonable chance of them actually being observed consistently in every current browser; when I no longer have to remember all the box-model hack variations to keep IE5 from barfing all over my layout; then I'll start using CSS postioning more extensively.
Until then, I'll give up my table layouts when you pry them out of my cold, dead fingers...
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