May 2010

Why a tool is no replacement for a webdev

I’m a web developer. That means that I’m quite protective of my profession.

I hate Dreamweaver, Frontpage and (worst of all) MS Word’s “save as HTML” because none of them actually create webpages. I’m not alone in this.

What’s rather rarer is that I dislike a lot of the tools that allow users to manage their own content.

Done well, it allows unskilled users to keep a site up to date without needing to submit every change to an overworked (and probably bored) developer.

The rest of the time, you end up with things like this…

Yeah... I listen to Kiwi rock stations most days...

See that banner at the top? It looks bloody awful. If you can’t see what I mean, click the link and view it real size. See those jagged edges to the letters? How the hell did anyone let that through quality control?

The answer is, they didn’t. Those jagged edges are because the image has been scaled down by the browser.

Those of you who work with graphics and/or the internet may want to look away for a paragraph…

The banner size is 760px by 120px. It’s an unusual size for a banner, but if you’re getting your own advertising then it’s probably not a great problem. The original, however, is a frankly ridiculous 2987px by 472px being scaled to 25.4% by the web browser. Oh yeah, and it’s over half a megabyte in size.

You can look back now.

No, really, that's the original...

That’s the original banner in the same sized window as before. It actually looks pretty good. On the side of a bus…

The sad thing is that, with ten seconds work from a human with a brain, that banner’s file size comes down to 20kB (3.6% of the one they’re serving), actually looks half decent, and doesn’t kill your net connection.

On the flip side, it doesn’t get your banner on a two-bit ranty-bollocks website in the UK…

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