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Stuff Tagged ‘web development’

The great divide

Published 4 years ago, in Blog, Technology, Web

Photo taken by Thomas Hawk

So this Flash vs. HTML5 thing is definitely turning some heads in the web industry. On one hand you’ve got Flash, a time-honored tool which helped propel the Web forward when all HTML did was clumsy tables. On the other hand there’s the spanking brand-new HTML5 spec, which some promise will deliver us from the evil Flash has become. (Disclaimer: yes, I have a Mac, and Flash makes my computer cry.)

Alas, this post isn’t about that struggle, that last paragraph was just for context (phew!). What I’d like to talk about is one of the main arguments people come up with when defending the viability of Flash:

Until there is a tool that allows non-developers to create nice HTML5, JS etc. without the need for code, Flash will still exist.

Ah, the Flash IDE. The sweet calming song of the timeline-based animation, the drag-and-drop magical controls. This stuff is exactly what gave Flash such a bad rep among the Web Development community. Overlooking the fact that these ready-made components are (sometimes) poorly coded, perform terribly and allow for little customization, I’ll try to make my point without sounding like an elitist jerk:

Why are “non-coders” developing websites/web applications anyway?

When did it become acceptable to program without actually writing a single line of code? I must’ve been too busy playing Halo 3 to notice. Last time I checked, hand-coding your application was still the way to go. Even popular Javascript frameworks definitely required some programming skill to be applied to a serious extent. Why should HTML5 be any different? Just because you can now animate stuff, all of the sudden everyone and their mother should be “developing” web experiences?

So I totally sounded like an ass back there. But hey, designers complain when developers try to design their own stuff (and most of the time they fail miserably at it), so why shouldn’t professional designers feel betrayed?. Why shouldn’t developers complain when designers want glossy ready-made controls that wholly trivialize the work of a programmer? As long as we’re at it, let’s allow architects to not only design houses but to engineer them and lay the bricks themselves. That would turn out awesome. No, totally.

What you should take away from this post is that we, as an industry, made up of designers, developers and everything in between, should learn to collaborate. Have this awesome idea but don’t know how to code? Find a programmer that is willing to do it. On the other hand, do you have mad backend skills but can’t develop the whole project on your own? Don’t try to design, just ask one of the many talented web designers out there. Respect the divide, don’t hop all over the place just because jumping is easy to do.

Hey, Google does fonts too!

Published 4 years ago, in Blog, Technology, Web

Yesterday, at the Google I/O conference, the search behemoth released, among other goodies, the brand-new Google Font API. This new API lets developers easily embed fonts into their pages for usage with the CSS font-family directive. And it’s really drop dead easy to include a font.

You can insert any font in Google’s catalog simply by linking to it as if it were a stylesheet:

<link href='http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Droid+Sans' rel='stylesheet' type='text/css'>

After this initial step, all you need to do is use the font as you’d normally do for regular, web-safe fonts:

body { font-family: 'Droid Sans', arial, serif; }

Easy as can be, right? Oh, and here’s the kicker: the behind-the-scenes voodoo allows browsers all the way down to IE6 to take advantage of linked fonts!
The catalog is pretty barebones right now, but this is Google, and this is sure to be a project that will soon gain traction and favour among the Web Development community. I’m sure pretty soon the list of available fonts (which are all open-source, by the way) will grow exponentially.

What does this mean for the upcoming CSS3 @font-face directive? It’s potential is definitively great, however browser adoption and legal issues have prevented it from becoming as commonplace as other CSS3 novelties. Will Google change the way we think about typography on the Web?

Learning to Love IE6

Published 5 years ago, in Blog, Web

Yesterday I gave a small lecture on designing and developing for the Web with IE6 support in mind. The presentation covers some of the most common bugs and techniques to circumvent or altogether avoid those little annoying issues that plague us all. Some of the bugs and their solutions were taken from Chris Coyer’s excellent post at CSS-Tricks on the same subject. Without further ado, here is the presentation:

Book Stack

After Part 1 and Part 2 of this series covered Design Fundamentals and Web Design, respectively, it’s time to focus on the actual implementation of a Web Site or Application. (…) more after the jump ›

Book Shelf

After Part 1 of this post focused on books about Design Fundamentals, in this post we’ll cover some books more directly geared towards the Web. (…) more after the jump ›