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ajt (2546)

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UK based. Perl, XML/HTTP, SAP, Debian hacker.

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Journal of ajt (2546)

Wednesday November 26, 2003
04:08 AM

Friends don't let friends use FrontPage

[ #16013 ]

This weekend a sub-group in the parish launched a web site for the village. I don't know the people involved, but I do know that the village has a number of IT consultants and new-media people who work up in London and along the Thames Valley, so there is no shortage of actual skill in the village.

The web site is funded by money from the small business association, and I believe the Parish Council coughed some money up, so I think they did have some kind of budget - though I do intend to find out how much.

The web site is hosted on a BSD box and runs Apache, which is about the best thing I can say about the site, alas it's about the only good thing to say about the site.

Ignoring the look and feel, which I think is awful, but others may like, it's a FrontPage monstrosity. The pages are huge bulky low grade non-standard mark-up, with a gigantic and utterly diabolical style sheet, and poor quality un-optimised graphics littered about like confetti.

My better half sent them a very polite email saying that there were a lot of poor design choices, and that with a little care, things could be improved. She was much more forgiving that I would have been, and was doing her best to be constructive, and helpful. She was rebuffed by someone who clearly didn't understand a word of what she had said.

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  • It really is quite horrible isn't it. The W3C validator can't work out what to make of it. It tries to be XTML (namespace declarations on the "html" tag) but then it doesn't even close tags like "meta".

    Maybe you should offer to lend the designer your copy of Designing with Web Standards.
    • It's quite bad, I don't really know where to start...

      I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, someone has put a some effort in, but it's all for nothing. They clearly don't know what they are doing, and all that FrontPage has done has allowed them to take disorganised thought, and produce a poorly coded, disorganised site.

      If they used proper tools the site would be cleaner, and thus render faster. Going forward it would be easier to maintain, which saves money, important as there isn't a lot to go around

      -- "It's not magic, it's work..."
      • One more suggestion - you could run the site thru HTMLTidy [] and send them the clean version.
        • Tidy is your friend! Even Tidy may struggle, the markup is so dire, only a Microsoft product could produce a web page that is this bad.

          Plus is there CSSTidy, GIFTidy, JPEGTidy, TasteTidy.....

          Interestingly the site actually looks worse on IE because it tries to do some MS voodoo that Opera and Mozilla ignore! Recently I realised that Microsoft is so incompatible with Microsoft that switching to Linux at home full time was utterly painless.

          -- "It's not magic, it's work..."
      • Clearly lots of enthusiasm - someone has got off their arse and done something

        You have to wonder whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. It's a bad thing because whoever got off their arse and JFDI is a twit. It's a good thing because - well, at least something got done, and while it did indeed get done badly, actively user-hostile misdesign is so common these days that people might not even notice!

        If you want to mutter at parish councillors, it will help if you can show them how such a site shoul