Apps

Stop writing garbage HTML!


In a world full of broadband connections, it can be tempting to let your page weight to creep up a bit. While a bit more heft in a page is probably acceptable, it still is silly to write wasteful HTML. Wasteful HTML needlessly increasing bandwidth bills, increases load times, and can (depending on how it is done) increase the browser render times.

One of the things I noticed on a project that I am currently working on, is that the HTML generated dynamically is about three times as large (measured in KB) as it needs to be, primarily due to whitespace. It is not the kind of whitespace that HTML writers put in to make things easy like indentation. It is just wasteful whitespace. For example, in one generated table, for every table cell, there are about 40 lines with 30 – 50 spaces per line between the tags. On this particular page, just removing the uselessly generated whitespace would reduce the page weight by 50%. On the same page, there are tables with alternating row colors. Instead of defining two cell classes in an external style sheet which gets downloaded once as cached, and using the right class in the tag, the HTML writers used an inline style attribute on every row tag. Wasteful!

All said and done, this particular page is about three times as heavy as it needs to be, simply due to poor coding. And that does not even touch the JavaScript which could and should be stored in an external file. Another killer is that many dynamic Web pages are set to not be cacheable, which means that instead of being wasteful one, they are wasteful on every page view. I can understand that many dynamic pages should not be cached. But on these types of pages, it is especially crucial that the HTML be kept to an acceptable minimum.

These kinds of coding practices are what separate the “shake ‘n bake‿ programmers from even the moderately decent ones. There is absolutely no acceptable excuse for this kind of coding. Not only is your HTML or templates more difficult to maintain, but all of the inline JavaScript and CSS styling discourages reuse, standardization, and other good habits. It also makes a site significantly harder to maintain. It makes for a miserable user experience. And it sends the bandwidth bills through the roof. Not only should you be writing better HTML, but if your Web server has the CPU power to spare, you should turn on HTTP compression. HTML compresses quite well. In addition, you may want to investigate a post-processing engine (again, CPU needed for this) that strips all unneeded whitespace, comments, and other cruft from your HTML output. Even if none of that is an option, consider using such a weight reducer at the time of deployment on your static pages and templates, to reduce the page weight. Such a system would probably be under ten lines of Perl to write; for this particular project, this ten line Perl script can save my employer probably 50% on their bandwidth bills for this particular project. Who can object to that?

J.Ja

About

Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.

143 comments
jlanus
jlanus

The communications protocol takes care of this, up to a point. By compressing the text. This is not to say that one does not need to do things right.

nickpixel
nickpixel

The problem is most people who call themselves web developers are not. Most are just software developers who work on websites. I can use my stove to make a meal but that doesn't mean I'll do it right and it definitely doesn't make me a chef (even if I say I'm a chef on my resume). Just because you say you're a web developer on your resume or you work on web based apps doesn't mean you're a web developer. If you rely on an IDE like VS.NET to determine markup, write client scripts or control design, you're probably not a web developer. In fact, the one common trait I've noticed about (real) web developers who use VS.NET for development is they never use design view for web pages or user controls. So if you find yourself switching to design view when doing web development, you should probably leave the client-side stuff to someone else... like a web developer.

SnoopDoug
SnoopDoug

Most HTML generators can be used to write bloated code or lean code, depending upon the skills of the user. I've found that one way to keep your Web site lean and mean is to spend a few hours creating a good template/css set from which you can leverage the other pages. I use both FrontPage and Xemacs to edit HTML files. The only editor I refuse to use to created HTML is Microsoft Word. It insists on hard-coding EVERY stinking element with a bazillion attributes. doug

general
general

Well, I tried several times to create a simple site using html I learnt. It is not that easy, but I found html editors like Nandu, an extension for Firefox to work very well. Even Netscape composer allowed me to compose perfect websites, since I know little html. So just for beginners there are tools that can also help you learn. Nandu allows also CSS styles. Karl http://www.deletespyware-adware.com/

dwainwright
dwainwright

Our organization (http://www.cravencounty.com) currently uses Savvy that uses ColdFusion as the code base (.cfm pages). Unfortunately, as pointed out in previous posts, GUI based design/editing tools can generate a large overhead and can even have server performance issues. The issue on our web site is that the pages do render ok, but they are much slower than I would expect them to be. The data is read from an MS SQL database, and from what I have been told, each page is dynamically generated from the database each time a page loads. Does anyone else have any experience with Savvy and/or have you heard of any performance tweaks that can be performed to help? As for the editing, what a resource hog! It ties up my CPU at 100% constantly while logged in. I have a Pentium 4 1.7GHz Celeron. However, the software does exactly what we wanted it for and has not had any "major" issues since we went live Dec 2005. But any feedback on performance improvements or optimization that anyone can provide would be greatly appreciated. Great topic, discussion/posts. Keep up the good work and y'all have a Happy New Year! Don

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

two more issues, please? Thank you. 1. The over use of pdf (Pretty Dumb Format) documents. A lot of people use this for just about everything they put on their web site. What I find most funny, is the sites where they have an electronic form for you to download, fill in, and email back. they put it up in pdf and locked. With one mob I rang them up and asked how many Internet applications they got, and were amazed to find out that their highly paid web designer had done all there forms and documents as pdf files and that they could not be completed electronicly. Explained why they had no Internet applications. this is also a problem when doing research and you want to quote someone's paper in your article, if it's pdf you usually can't just copy and paste it. I've seen people just bypass such articles in their research and go to another that is in rtf or doc format so that it's easy to include in their assignment. 2. The use of proprietary files that require a plug in, like flash etc. I don't want them and if you are trying to sell me something you better not have any required for viewing your web site. If I can't see what I need to see on a web site without plug in, then I leave and never come back. If you want to design your web site so that it requires something extra, that's your right, but it's also my right to say I won't go near such sites. I want easy use and access with minimal trouble.

Justin James
Justin James

HTTP compression is an optional feature, and I would not count on it being turned on (it often is not)! J.Ja

alaniane
alaniane

I will let you have the webpage development part. I really detest having to switch from application development to web development. I prefer working on the backend with the database; however, not every organization can afford to hire a developer for each aspect. Also, outsourcing out web development often leads to other headaches. Like the web developer deciding that it was easier to setup user verification on a MS Access database than to try and tie in to your server database. Of course, it's easier for him because he doesn't have to figure out how to synchronize the data in the Access database with the server database so that what would have been a simple SQL query to return the customer's data has become an inefficient key translation algorithm. Instead of writing Select data from table where custid = id It becomes create an app to 1) get the info from the Access database 2) either write info to a table in server database or translate the key from the access database to the server key used to retrieve the data from the server database 3) hope that the two different databases don't get out of synch or manually update the server database with the info in the Access database or Rip the guts out of the web developer's app and redo it so that it uses the server database The kicker is that we had already setup the table for him to use and procs to read/write to that table.

The-Jetman
The-Jetman

The larger issue is that too many people try to do sophisticated technical things, incl and esp the mid-to-upper level decision-making types, and have *no* foundation for making those decisions. Take this forum sware. Regadless of how it plays WRT to Justin's orig comments, it sucks as compared to other forum systems. It's not a money or talent issue. The people charged w/ deciding chose poorly and created a awkward monster, that I refuse to use most of the time. Web development is an advanced sware development exercise, after you get past the small (

The-Jetman
The-Jetman

The larger issue is that too many people try to do sophisticated technical things, incl and esp the mid-to-upper level decision-making types, and have *no* foundation for making those decisions. Take this forum sware. Regadless of how it plays WRT to Justin's orig comments, it sucks as compared to other forum systems. It's not a money or talent issue. The people charged w/ deciding chose poorly and created a awkward monster, that I refuse to use most of the time. Web development is an advanced sware development exercise, after you get past the small (

Justin James
Justin James

We all know that programmers who know a bit of SQL are not the best people to be writing the database parts of a big project... thanks for making the point that just because you know the language that the Web stuff is written in that you are not necessarily a Web developer! J.Ja

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

It's design view that most of the comments have been about, and no I don't use it, it adds too much crap to the page. The GUI tools are basically founded on absolute positioning, a good web page is basically flow of control. Use the GUI, lose the flow and the control.

Justin James
Justin James

... like ASP/ASP.Net, PHP, JSP, etc. can generate some real garbage code or multiple problems, and you have no control over it. No matter how good your template is, the moment you drop a code generating object like a data grid onto the page, you just gave up control. PHP is relatively good about it. Sadly, if you want 100% control over the output, you give up 99% of what advanced Web frameworks bring to the table, you're basically writing a CGI script embedded into an HTML template and looping through data with handwritten code to make tables and such. J.Ja

SnoopDougEDoug
SnoopDougEDoug

And what web server do you use? Huge performance improvements are available if you tweak the cache properly. doug

Jaqui
Jaqui

redesign the database. generally it's a poorly designed database that will really slow down a site like this. naturally, it also means rewriting the entire site, to work with he new database structure. you could get some improvement by redoing the queries that the scripts are running.

Justin James
Justin James

Acrobat Reader 6 would take almost as long to install as XP... and Acrobat takes nearly as long to start as Windows! Right there, I want nothing to do with the format. I feel that PDFs should only be used for things that need to be printed, and then only for things where a precise format is required, like official forms. And user inout should be collected electronically and populated into the PDF for printing, having the user download the PDF, print it, and fill it out by hand is a cheap cop out at best. J.Ja

mindilator
mindilator

earnest i like you but you have some really odd complaints sometimes. i understand your aversion to flash. it is too often misused to the point that very few people know that it can be optimized and broken out into small pieces for easier browser chewing. what i don't get this time is your slam on the pdf format. you state an instance where it is obviously grossly misused and i feel like you're implying that the pdf format is stupid because stupid people use it the wrong way. pdf is not a pretty dumb format. with all the proprietary document formats out there, at least pdf is universal and the reader is much more ubiquitous than other readers, such as word reader or excel reader (yes they exist, you can view them but not edit). pdf's can be manipulated with javascript and generated dynamically very easily by most programming and scripting languages. earnest i have a double dog dare for you. the next time you see a technology that riles you up, i dare you to find a positive aspect for it. i dare you to find someone who is using that technology correctly. and please remember also that there are great many users who have broadband and have no trouble viewing even badly made flash sites and memory hogging applets, etc. you can't act like everyone on earth has dialup just because you do. and don't act like dialup is the slowest you can go. ever use satellite? should all designers build their sites for satellite users? no, there's not enough of them. alternatives should be available, but design/development companies can't often afford to shine it up to the same level as their broadband app. don't be surprised if the dialup-alternative site you download looks like crap in comparison to their broadband pages. after all, you're using f***ing dialup. sheesh.

Jaqui
Jaqui

content should always be html / xhtml on a website, anything else is just stupidity. I don't enable java, or javascript [ aka ecmascript ] by default. I don't install a single plugin / extention. because they are not needed on any well written site. I won't do business with a company that requires them to view the site. edited for typo

martyn
martyn

If white space compression is not active you will be truely surprised at how much space is genererated by some tools. Just view the source with a plain text editor (notepad). It is not unusual for the white space to exceed the real HTML code. While a lot of the graphics can be cached the white space is taking up band width. One of my projects serves 60000 klient PCs so the white space is a problem.

Justin James
Justin James

A developer who is really on the ball (as I am certain you are) sees that there are so many things to take into account with Web development, it is a nightmare. What truly scares me is that only a fraction of developers see the problems, let alone the need to deal with them. Things like handling record locking not just at the database level, but the application logic level too. It's pretty darned frightening. J.Ja

gwg300
gwg300

Yup. This is without a doubt the WORST forum experience I have had the displeasure of experiencing. Great!! It's not like all the other ones....ummm...the other ones are all alike for a reason....

mindilator
mindilator

there are good code editors that shorten the amount of time it takes to troubleshoot a process. i especially love Zend Studio. it has many great features while you're coding but for troubleshooting, color coding your matching parentheses and braces is priceless, regex search tool, and direct link to the PHP manual is a timesaver. Zend Studio will offer me a list of all possible functions and constructs as i begin to type one, narrowing down by alphabet, so i'm often reminded of a similar but better function to use. i even discover new functions i never knew existed. ever heard of the frenchtojd() function in php? it converts some old french calendar system to julian. that's badass if that's exactly what you have to do.there are somethings your plain text editor just can't do.i have used phpBB and i think despite the negative aspects, this forum looks much nicer. phpBB has been hacked so many times, it's no surprise TR rolled their own.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Massive resource hog written by a total idiot with 16 gig of ram in a quad xeon or some such.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

vulnerability in pdf files. Its become super evil.

Justin James
Justin James

I think the PDF format is excellent, particularly for making sure that a document always looks and prints the same. That being said, it is way overused. On the other hand, I think Acrobat reader is absolutely HORRIBLE. People confuse the format with the software. It's like saying that C++ is a bad languge because you wrote it in emacs and you really hate emacs (bad analogy, I know). J.Ja

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

our most common type of broadband, and sat broadband is expensive, and yes I've used a sat ISP at a friend's he paid the thousands to put the dish in. Even where ADSL is available, it costs more than dial-up. However, I don't believe anyone should be using any proprietary format on a web page, as they require extra software to run. There is nothing that you can provide in Flash that can not be done using a non-proprietary program that will run in a standard browser, i.e. one without a plug in. Also, many of the proprietary software items are not passed by anti-virus software as they can't be readily read and verified. The only possible use you could require pdf for is where you have a document that MUST remain unchanged at all times and none of its contents are to be used for any thing at any time, not even in a reference or quote. There is nothing you can do in pdf that you can't do as txt or rtf or other open formats. try viewing a pdf file in a basic browser without any pdf plug in and you'll see why they shouldn't be used in the Internet. And how will you feel if the people who own the copyright for any of this proprietary software suddenly decide that you have to pay royalties for using it now? On the other side, why should I spend money buying Adobe Acrobat or Flash to put a document or a pretty picture into a web page. I can do any document as rtf or a picture as an avi or mpeg file, and any browser can open it without getting any special reader. Also, why should I pay to download extra stuff just because you want your web site to look nice. By sticking with a simple web site and using the KISS (Keep It Simple & Stupid) principle you make the page quick and suits all people. About 6 years ago I was at a lecture where one of the current experts on web design stated that a well designed web page will download and be visible to the viewer within 30 seconds at 33.6 kbps, and that this was recognised as a world standard by all the good web designers. Seems this standard has been forgotten or there aren't that many good designers about any more. In short my main complaint s against pdf are: 1. The end user can't manipulate a pdf file for any reason, unless they have a pdf program and its unlocked. 2. It uses proprietary software and needs an extra plug in to be viewed. Simply not visible in a standard browser. 3. It's often bigger than the equivalent txt or rtf file. 4. I haven't yet seen a case where use of pdf was better than the use of txt or rtf. Most people grossly misuse it. Mainly because they don't understand it. Same applies to Flash and most other proprietary software. The Internet is for general usage and should be easy and simple, requiring plug ins negates that. technology should be an answer to a problem, not an end in itself. Regarding your contempt for dial up, remember around the world, there are more people using dial up to access the Internet than use broadband.

Jaqui
Jaqui

against those with a visual impairment or lower income level. sorry but page readers and braille terminals don't handle flash, javascript, java applets or pdf files at all. if your broadband site is not 100% accessable to someone visually impaired then you are discriminating on them for being physically handicapped. nice to know you have so little respect for anti discrimination laws. edited for typo

SnoopDougEDoug
SnoopDougEDoug

I try to avoid sweeping generalizations like "JavaScript is not needed on any well written site". You could make the case that HTML is not needed and all sites should be plain text as that would cut down on the bandwidth considerably, no? The issue is at what download speed do you expect most of your readers/users/customers to be? I suppose there are some folks still on dialup. I feel for them, I really do. But as a Web developer I am not going to restrict my work to the lowest common denominator. It's another story if I were developing a Web site for a 3rd world use, but I am not. doug

Ivy Clark
Ivy Clark

I believe there are some very bright and talented developers out there... but they may not be in the position to influence the decision making even if they see the problems. Sometimes, the developers are hardly consulted during the requirements and design phase. So by the time the project gets to them, all they get is piece-mill information for the module(s) they have been assigned. In some companies, a Change Management team takes care of getting the business requirements together, and IT project managers work with them to translate the requirements into functional specs. But as a lot of the discussions are rather high-level, many issues are only discovered when development takes place. Unfortunately, by that time, its too late to address some of the issues, as the project has either run out of time or there are just to many other dependencies that will affect final deliveries.

Jaqui
Jaqui

that pdf is simply a postscript format, and can be edited in any postscript capable editor. I know that I can open in some linux editors and change the postscript settings enough to change print settings. [ if I have a postscript reference card handy ]

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

I was had the misfortune of having to print off some pdf file, they were unreadable when printed. The original was 10 point font, single spaced and on foolscape (yes that old). When they converted the documents to pdf, they didn't repaginate so each pdf page was foolscap in size. Now, when you compress that to 'fit to page' and print on A4, it comes out a mite small. The fancy 10 point original font didn't help anything either. As a general rule, I've found being able to adjust the document to suit my local printing needs a much better alternative.

Jaqui
Jaqui

your server cpu for app logic. unless you obey international business law [ MS office online, sun's grid computing are examples ] and PAY FOR CPU TIME USED ON VISITOR'S computers. ditributed computing designed to make a company money rquires payment for cpu time. application logic is run on the server. that is the foundation of why flash will NEVER be installed on my systems. that is why java and javascript [ ecmascript ] will not be enabled in my browsers. your app, your cpu.

Jaqui
Jaqui

it supports our comments about accessability. with so little actually being sent down the wire for each page, it will be fully available even on an ancient system using old modem and dialup :D

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

Flash or pdf files as part of the standard browser, you have to download and add plug ins to do that - standard means just that standard, not standard plus plug ins. Once you give me a file with readable text or data in, confidential or proprietary or what, I can use that text or data anywhere else, all I have to do is read it and re type or re enter it into another program. By locking it in a pdf file your only making that slightly more difficult than if it was a txt file. As a txt file it's easier to cut and paste for a reference or reply, etc. Flash and pdf are proprietary software that you have to pay extra for to be able to use. At present they do NOT charge you to be able to read them as they want to get a good solid market penetration, but that doesn't mean that their readers will always be free, or free of other things. They are not necessary and what is done with them can be done otherwise. You just find it easier to bloat the page using them. BTW i9n the past, at work, I had to convert some .doc files into both .rtf and .pdf format, the .pdf always ended up noticeably larger than the .rtf.

mindilator
mindilator

is assuming that flash is nothing more than animation and zippy effects. nothing could be further from the truth. please learn the full capabilities of flash technology before making opinions based on flimsy assumptions. "There is nothing that you can provide in Flash that can not be done using a non-proprietary program that will run in a standard browser, i.e. one without a plug in." complete rubbish. you belie your ignorance with that single statement. flash's actionscript language is now a robust OOP language. it has objects that can send and receive data to/from xml, talk to nearly any script, query databases, and update information live with no page update. and much much more. it's like ajax if ajax wasn't a bitch to use. if you think ajax is easy you'll love the speed with which you can develop in flash. it can not only playback sound, but manipulate it as well with panning and fade-ins and fade-outs. and then there's the animation of course. no technology outside of flash and its imitators (swish for example) can do all that. i will say however, very few sites are appropriate for being built completely in flash. the plugin downloads automatically in the major browsers if you don't have it. you can view statistics on the flash plugin browser penetration at http://www.adobe.com/products/player_census/flashplayer/version_penetration.html. the vast majority of users around the world have no problem with the plugin. so drop that argument already, it's been invalid for years. also, when you say standard browser i think of the big 3, IE, FF and Safari. if you use anything else, you are not using a standard browser. pdfs have features like javascript integration and locking, so if it contains proprietary information that you're selling it becomes difficult to pirate. can you do that with .rtf files? didn't think so. another argument dead for good. going back to your argument about web development only being about what you NEED... that is just not true. maybe as a developer you don't want to do anything more than you have to, but there are millions of users who want the premium and have no trouble getting it. you have no solid argument against enriching the user experience as much as possible. and as for your car analogy, heh buddy you're not riding with soft seats and tv/dvd player...you're riding a bicycle. choose to use one of the most commonly supported and available browsers and you won't have a problem with flash RIAs. and i have stated numerous times before that flash can be developed for dialup by breaking the .swf files out into many pieces that only load when they're needed. your statistic of 30 seconds...i go by 10 seconds so i don't know what your point is there. that is why i disregard the dialup argument. it's not flash's fault if it loads slow, it's the flash developer. and yes i can't wait for the day when people use dialup as a novelty like ham radio. but that's not the consumer's fault, it's no one's really. it's just a matter of time. you also seem to assume that every web designer's (and their client's) demographic is worldwide, dialup based, and as anal retentive about their browser as you are. that is not the case, and if flash is not appropriate for a worldwide site, it may be very appropriate for a 1st world country. after all why should a company like, say, London Gold, give a crap if you can't see their flash header in the remote reaches of Somalia? they're not selling jewelry to the poverty stricken 3rd world. flash is not for all, but it is for many. same with pdfs. if it were truly a big a problem as you insist then the flash plugin penetration would not be so high, and the pdf format would not be so universal. obviously the problem is with you. the folks over at www.2advanced.com have proved the case (and raised the bar) for flash for over 7 years. you could only hope to aspire to develop flash in such a superior manner. and Jaqui, i took a look at that css site you showed me and i see nothing in it that is comparable to flash. you'll have to point it out. and i gotta say if it's not obvious, it's no big deal either. and don't take this too seriously but nobody put a gun to your head and said you can only use lynx. that's your personal preference and if it leaves you hangin in the wind then that's your choice. using text browsers by choice (and this should obviously exclude the impaired) is like choosing to swim with ankle weights. why would you screw yourself like that??

Jaqui
Jaqui

don't blink if you load my domain, you'll miss the load even on dialup. I even have a link on it to a few salient points about using open standards and bare bones minimalsite to IMPROVE company sales online. http://jaqui-greenlees.net

Ivy Clark
Ivy Clark

If it's just a simple web page presenting textual and graphical content, yup, I agree that html is good enough. However, if you are talking about internet banking, fund trading, shopping cart, bidding and payment applications; then html alone is definitely not good enough. This is where java comes in. (I assume we know that java is different from javascript here) Also, rtf is great for generic content that cab be shared and distributed freely... as you said, easy to copy and paste; although I don't understand why people need to copy and paste writeups from other people. Perhaps making references to those writeups would do? Anyway, i digress. PDF is a good means for sharing / publishing information which you want to allow your customers / users to download and refer to at their on time. Publishing PDF documents also allow owner companies to protect themselves against edit (accidental or deliberate) that can be detrimental to the company. Also, most established companies probably have a set of paper forms that have been approved by the corporate legal and compliance team. These forms are used in their day-to-day operations (e.g. subscription forms, application forms, etc). For consistency sake, and to allow accessibility of these same forms, they are then published as PDFs on the corporate web sites. Customers can download the forms without visiting the company branch offices. I see merit in this. Also, although we are well in the digital age, signatures on paper are still the only legal means of contractual agreement in most countries. So, there is a time and place for all things. Salt and pepper is great with steaks but I don't put it in my coffee...

alaniane
alaniane

who my target audience is. If I making a website that is to be accessed globally, then I may need to make it accessible to those using dialup; however, if I making a website that is to be accessed within a certain region, then dialup maybe a non-issue. Also, if my site is geared toward corporations that are using gigapop lines then tweaking a site to be assessible for person using dialup would be considered a waste of time.

overklokan
overklokan

recently i decided to check few SEO tutorials provided by Google and after 1 week of fighting their boring pages with tons of links to other boring pages i decided not to SEO my sites at all ! Not only would 100% commencing to Google's SEO make my pages bigger, but also it would require me to completely give up on many great things, both visual and functional, that STUPID bots do not get in the first place lol ... i would REALLY like to see what ranking would www.gmail.com, GoogleMaps and other heavy JavaScript (AJAX) sites get from their own bots (would proly fall in grey zone and be discarded from index altogether haha)

Justin James
Justin James

... clean HTML is very closely related to accessibility, due to the software and devices that disabled users use to operate PCs! Garbage HTML (as well as a lot of JavaScript and AJAX-type tricks) jams those things up. J.Ja

Zeroesque
Zeroesque

I guess I'm a jerk if I don't give up driving right now.

SnoopDougEDoug
SnoopDougEDoug

G*dd*mmit we are talking about writing clean HTML, not accessibility! If you want to start a new thread and discuss why/how to make your site accessible to the visually-impaired, I'm all for it. Just quit polluting this thread. And for crying out load, it's JavaScript, not Java! doug

Justin James
Justin James

Additionally, all of those things are not usable by the search engines. Why have great content if your AJAX/Flash/whatever prevents people from even finding it? I did a site a while ago that has been in every search engines top 10 results (multiple pages, too) for the most generic words possible for the site, with plain HTML. That customer is raking in hundreds of orders for FREE while his competitors are destroying their margins with paid search engine ads! J.Ja

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

fancy stuff - usually no. Like anything else its a case of intended market, if you don't mind saying, up front, I have no intention of chasing 70% of the available world market and will ignore them, then you obviously won't care about letting them reach your site. Going to the car analogy, yes there is a difference between a basic car and luxury model, but do you really need the luxury model with the built in satellite phone dish, extra cool fridge, two spare tyres, multiple tv sets and dvd players. Surely the basic soft seats, general issue bar, tv and dvd player is sufficient.

Jaqui
Jaqui

in the 1% of "Multimedia Web Designers" that don't then. until it's 1% that do, I'll continue to call multimedia web designers discrimnatory in their designs, it's the only way to get them to pull their heads out of thier a$$es. If I cannot view a website in lynx, it's broken beyong usability, and the company loses my business. lynx: no java, no javascript, no tables, no frames, no flash, no plugins, no images. exactly the limitations that a braille terminal or screen reader put on a site. lynx doesn't support css either, but that is for visual elements so isn't an issue with braille terminals or screen readers.

Jaqui
Jaqui

CSSplay by Stuart Nicholls: http://www.cssplay.co.uk/ all but sound effects for the "flash" interface style, with all the dynamic layout of javascript, and all done in CSS and XHTML so no clientside application logic execution, which is a smart thing, since you have to have server side checking anyway, duplicating it is a waste of YOUR time.

mindilator
mindilator

i do not believe you can get it just as fancy. that's like asking the fabulously wealthy why they don't all drive hondas. it gets you from point A to B right? everyone can afford one (anyone in the market for a car that is). both pdfs and flash offer unique features and abilities that the dumbed-down technologies can't match in quality. if you think so, you're settling.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

Why bother with special bells and whistles to make it fancy, and require a second page to allow others to use it, when you can get just as fancy using other options already available and can do both requirements in the one page? Html with rtf files can be readily accessed by all, where as Java and pdf can't. Simple.

mindilator
mindilator

i never said don't create alternative sites for other users. i merely said don't diss flash simply because you and your small demographic (dialup) can't use it. in fact, what i said was: "alternatives should be available, but design/development companies can't often afford to shine it up to the same level as their broadband app." nowhere did i ever say or imply that companies shouldn't make alternative sites for low bandwidth or physically impaired. do i discriminate? absolutely. i discriminate against everyone who whines against a technology simply because they themselves are unable to use it. i personally am not much for java, but a good many people are, so you don't see me clamoring for a moratorium on java. earnest calls for the death of flash every chance he gets and it's simply uncalled for. that is the real discrimination and that is what i was arguing against. just because there are low-bandwidth users and impaired users does not mean the rest of us who aren't shouldn't enjoy all the bells and whistles we can afford. should i quit walking just because there are other people who can't? get real.

overklokan
overklokan

let's face it, threats from JavaScript are much less dangerous than comfort one could lose with not using JavaScript (AJAX pwns all). also, statistics from http://www.thecounter.com/stats/2007/November/javas.php shows that only fraction of users don't have JavaScript or have it but it's disabled: Thu Nov 1 00:01:02 2007 - Fri Nov 30 10:58:00 2007 29.5 Days Javascript 1.2+: 19763842 (95%) Javascript

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