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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • You would think that making a good web site was hard. Most web sites are so awful, you would be mistaken into thinking that it is difficult!

    In my experience most sites are poor, either because the person paying for the site doesn't know what they are doing and the so-called professionals simply do what they are asked to do, and churn out utter rubbish. Or the amature looks at other sites, reads one of the many terrible books, and uses one of the many poor tools (FrontPage...?). Result, most web sites are dire.

    It's not actually hard to make a good site:

    • Start with good content. Text must be well written and make logical sense. Images must be crisp and go with the text. It's just like writing at school, good grammar, and spelling helps, sloppy poorly structured writing does not!
    • Mark up the text in a logical and standard compliant manner. This helps with long term maintainance, and any mechanical processing or templating. You also get predictable behaviour across browsers, and a certain degree of future proofing.
    • Design for usability and accessibility. Don't tag them on at the end! A useful design can be made beautiful, but it can be hard to do the reverse. Poor usability is a constant gripe of all web users, get it wrong and you could loose a lot of money... ....?
    • Finally add your eye-candy. A functional site that isn't pretty, isn't pretty, a pretty site that isn't functional isn't functional. Function is more important! A beautiful car that never starts is no use to anyone as a car, an ugly but reliable one has a use!

    Get everything right and you have a fantastic site, get anything wrong and you are in trouble. The closer to the core the failure the worse the problem. Alas most marketing executives and amatures concentrate on the least important element - the look, while ignoring the more important construction and content.

    -- "It's not magic, it's work..."
    • It may seem self-evident to any rational person that a non-functional site is no use. Corporate marketing and communications people frequently look at things somewhat differently however. In my web development career I encountered numerous clients who would rather have a very attractive but completely useless website that 'supported their brand identity', than a fully functional site with no eye-candy. Some were even prepared to spend thousands on flash animations to deliver the 'coming soon' or 'under c

      • I could not agree more. I work in marketing department, and it's a constant battle to put something fuctional out of the door, over something pretty. Thankfully I do a lot of useful Perl programming for internal projects too, so I care less about our web site than I use to, but I'm happy that our unit has a more functional web site than our parent company....

        -- "It's not magic, it's work..."