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  1. #1
    SitePoint Member Janne's Avatar
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    Javascript / DHTML reliant website, morally wrong??

    I'm currently building myself a new website, and as ofcourse it's for me I want to make it a bit special. As a result of some hair brain idea I've come up with this flashy automated interface powered by DHTML. Which looks all well and nice, but when I try to sleep at night Im haunted by ghostly echo's of design puritans whispering things like..

    "but what about the poor Netscape 4 user, whos internet life you've crushed? and mr paranoia who turned off his javascript, now he will never view your wonderful site"


    Now, in this day and age should I really worry that some version 4 user may not be able to view my site. I mean arent these users extinct by now? Surely the web must be a nightmare if they do.. Personally I forgot about the font tag a while back.

    Or am I just being ignorant of the silent masses
    When you can't see the angles no more..no more no more no more.. You're in Trouble..
    ..trouble ..trouble ..trouble


  2. #2
    Sidewalking anode's Avatar
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    Forget about them..they'll close the window and not shed a tear.

    Honestly, it depends on whether this is a vanity project or you're trying to reach an audience. A lot of people find most DHTML annoying (me for one) even though they don't use NN4.X.

  3. #3
    Web-coding NINJA! silver trophy beetle's Avatar
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    Good question, Janne.

    I've recently redone my website with the opposite goal. My old site is DHTML-flashy, IE-only, that sort of thing. I still really like it alot for what it is, but based on what I know now, I feel it showcases what I didn't know back then just as well as what I did know.

    My new site strives for compatibility in as many cases as possible via the implementation of web-standards. Now, I don't specifically cater or make special considerations for any specific browser save a few CSS hacks. But, any browser, even text-only browsers, can access my new site. NS4, for example, receives the un-styled version that is less pretty, but delivers ALL the content in a still readable, usable manner.

    Alas, my old site and new site have two different purposes. My old site was made strictly as a portfolio. I just wanted something fancy to showcase my work, and reveal some of my experiment's with Microsoft's DHTML fanciness, which I feel it did pretty well. My new site, however, is designed as my professional business site. It is less portfolio-centric and designed to reach as many people as possible and communicate what I have to say about web-design, which I also feel it does pretty well.

    So, who's your site for? I knew when I made my old site I was completely shutting out any Netscape or < IE5.0 users, but that was a conscious decision because I knew what I wanted the site to do. All my compromises were in favor of the site. With the new, all my comprimises are in favor of the user.

    Which do you prefer to favor?

    P.S. I wouldn't lose sleep over any NS4 users. I've been doing web-design fore over 2 1/2 years and have yet to once make any special arrangements for NS4.x users. I've never looked back.
    beetle a.k.a. Peter Bailey
    blogs: php | prophp | security | design | zen | software
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  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard Bill Posters's Avatar
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    Originally posted by anode
    ...it depends on whether this is a vanity project or you're trying to reach an audience
    ...which could just as easily refer to a section of 'other' web users who are drawn to sites that contain a more visual and/or playful sense of interaction.

    There are more than two kinds of users using the web today.
    If appealling to the largest possible audience (and accounting for all their technological limitations) isn't a priority, then go for it!

    ...and welcome to the free-thinking world.

    (but then I *would* say that )


    p.s.
    Fwiw, there's actually little reason you *can't* include NN4 in the audience for your dhtml site.
    It's not's the simplest browser to code javascript for, but it's not rocket-science. It's entirely possible to reproduce much of the experience for them too. But, as you're probably beginning to understand, few people actually bother nowadays.
    New Plastic Arts: Visual Communication | DesignateOnline

    Mate went to NY and all he got me was this lousy signature

  5. #5
    Sidewalking anode's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Bill Posters

    ...which could just as easily refer to a section of 'other' web users who are drawn to sites that contain a more visual and/or playful sense of interaction.
    Well, those users wouldn't be using NN4, would they?

  6. #6
    SitePoint Member Janne's Avatar
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    thanks my conscience feels a little better, I know what you mean about finding DHTML irritating. I can't stand a lot the static positioning and flying boxes Ive seen recently. I am trying to keep it as classy as possible, I cant show mine as its not up yet, but the most similar example is on youngpup.net (the way the interface behaves when you switch between an 'articles' page and a 'snippets' page) Although a little less dramatic .. what do you think about think kind of thing?
    When you can't see the angles no more..no more no more no more.. You're in Trouble..
    ..trouble ..trouble ..trouble


  7. #7
    Sidewalking anode's Avatar
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    It's cute. I think that sort of thing is a bit more suited towards Flash than DHTML(it'll either work(user has Flash player intalled) or not(they don't), no browser compatibilty issues to worry about.

  8. #8
    Web-coding NINJA! silver trophy beetle's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Bill Posters
    It's entirely possible to reproduce much of the experience for them too.
    I think that largely depends on exactly what your experience is made of.

    <editorial>
    Netscape 4(.x) is about 5 years old. Tell me of any other place in the software world that a product that old still gets so much consideration. There is no logical reason why More people use NS4.x than NS6.x, but that statistic is true. I'd be surprised if someone could point me towards another piece of software where the 5-year-old version is still more popular than than any following version. The more you do to accomodate NS4, the longer it will be around, haunting us
    </editorial>
    beetle a.k.a. Peter Bailey
    blogs: php | prophp | security | design | zen | software
    refs: dhtml | gecko | prototype | phpdocs | unicode | charsets
    tools: ide | ftp | regex | ffdev




  9. #9
    SitePoint Member Janne's Avatar
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    eck there were a load more responses just while I wrote that!

    I would say that yes this site is a bit of a vanity project, as I've always been a showoff at heart.

    I would tend to agree with you Bill
    Fwiw, there's actually little reason you *can't* include NN4 in the audience for your dhtml site.
    It's not's the simplest browser to code javascript for, but it's not rocket-science.
    If someone hadnt stole my old dhtml book I may well, but as Im already using server side scripting for a million other tasks all this coding is becoming a bit of a headache. But then some effects I have no idea of how to replicate in Netscape 4, so Im wondering if I should bother at all.

    I feel like a newbie who's bitten off more than I can chew (probably because I am and have).
    When you can't see the angles no more..no more no more no more.. You're in Trouble..
    ..trouble ..trouble ..trouble


  10. #10
    SitePoint Member Janne's Avatar
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    as much as I should like to use flash from a design perspective anode, somewhere along the line it's been drummed into my head that flash is an evil format. Maybe something the w3c said? I try not to put any relevant content in a .swf ..so therefore I end up going about things the hard way *sigh*

    Having said that, my site navigation is a flash menu (some may argue the relevance of that !) But don't worry I have a fallback

    All this crossbrowser tomfoolery is enough to make me want to design for a different format, maybe posters. It seems the web has got itself into quite a tangle and the sooner nasty old browsers go away the better. Hopefully one day everything will be standard compliant.. ahhh

    ps.
    I think thats the most tasteful dashed border I've ever seen Beetle.
    When you can't see the angles no more..no more no more no more.. You're in Trouble..
    ..trouble ..trouble ..trouble


  11. #11
    Sidewalking anode's Avatar
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    Flash is OK with the accessibility people now, since MX came out, FYI. I think you'll be hard pressed to find anyone who thinks that Flash is a more evil format than DHTML(from this perspective, at least.)

  12. #12
    Web-coding NINJA! silver trophy beetle's Avatar
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    Both Flash and DHTML are tools, and like any tool, are only as effective as the skill of the wielder will allow. DHTML can be done right. Flash can be done right. However, despite these de factos, both are oftentimes done wrong. A far better measure of a tool's effectiveness is to judge the implementation, not the technology.

    P.S. Thanks
    beetle a.k.a. Peter Bailey
    blogs: php | prophp | security | design | zen | software
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  13. #13
    ♪♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪♪ ♪ ♪♪ Markdidj's Avatar
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    Your only limited by imagination!!!

    I think that javascript has some brilliant uses. How else could you teach how to play the drums through an easy accesible medium? You can describe how to play a drums in words but its not very easy, books or written text isn't that good no good. Video's of myself playing a djembe would be an absolute massive file. If I was to use flash I would still have to set up a seperate animation for each rhythm. By using javascript and dhtml I can "borrow" pics, sounds, behaviours from other parts of my website. As you go through the site you can use the objects from a previous page to build the current, so it downloads reasonably fast even on a 56k modem. Interactivity is a definate plus in my eyes, but it depends if you want a somber site or not. The speed of everything electronic is increasing, so if you have the imagination it can be done. A 3D walkthrough shop, that lets a caracter pick up and view objects. If you have the know-how it could be done.

    if you use IE, take a look at my drum page on my website (javascript must be on) It might take a while to load the first sound samples, but once they are in all rhythms use the same sounds.

    I have to remeber that I have to have one of the best website's in my field to get the clients to keep returning to the site. If you have something cool on your site that you charge for, someone else will put it on free.

    So you must think about what you can offer people apart from the basic data, something that keeps them interested in YOUR site. If I just created a website that sells drums and didjes, then once people have shoppped from there whats the point of coming back?

    I know there are a few people that leave a site when they see moving graphics, but I leave a site if I don't. I love to see interactive websites, and think that they are the way to go. I get bored with long pages, whereas with dhtml you can animate the content, so people only read what they are looking for.
    LiveScript: Putting the "Live" Back into JavaScript
    if live output_as_javascript else output_as_html end if

  14. #14
    ********* Wizard silver trophy Cam's Avatar
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    Ignore this post

  15. #15
    Wanna-be Apple nut silver trophy M. Johansson's Avatar
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    Originally posted by DJ P@CkMaN
    Ignore this post
    Ok.
    Mattias Johansson
    Short, Swedish, Web Developer

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  16. #16
    SitePoint Addict
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    search engines cannot read Flash and javascript. so if your goal (or one of yor goals) is to rate high on search engines, you might want to consider that fact carefully.
    as a workaround for you flash or dhtml-based navogation, you could use text links at the bottom of your page, for example, but when the main content of your site is in flash you are setting yourself up for problems with being visible on search engines.
    Goals are dreams with deadlines
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