I read somewhere that print designers have it easy, as compared to web/screen designers. I agree with that statement and the fundamental thing that gives gives web/screen designers fits is the screen itself.

Yes, browsers (actually, only a certain one) are a big issue for web standards and designers, but I even if you are not designing with web standards, you still need to consider the display. Here's are three reasons why it's harder more than ever for designers:

  1. Screens nowadays are no longer confined to the usual 4:3 screen ratio; 16:9 screens are increasing. It's hard to design liquid layouts to fit a huge gap.
  2. There are now monitors that swivel so the display is actually in portrait orientation (i.e. 3:4 ratio or 9:16). Now, thats a real bummer in adding design considerations
  3. Resolutions, the original web design baffler, now range from 800×600 pixels to 1280×1024 (or even greater). Plus, add to that the weird combinations in between. It used to be designing for 640×480, 800×600 then 1024×768.

Ah, print designer do have it easy.

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Westciv is offering a free course entitled HTML and XHTML for CSS. I've seen the first installment and it's a very nice introductory course on web standards.

Macromedia annouced the launch of its new Studio product suite and boy am I excited. What I am really keeping an eye on is Dreamweaver 8, the upcoming incarnation of my favorite web IDE.

I visted the features section of the Dreamweaver sub-site and I'm really impressed how much Macromedia has moved towards Web Standards based development since MX 2004. Yes, CSS has been implented since Dreamweaver 4, but the little things that are slated to appear on Dreamweaver 8 are really bringing the app to new heights.

Here's some key features I like (from the feature tour):

  1. Better CSS visualization: There are some nice widgets that would visualize the padding and margins on elements.
  2. Improved CSS coloring mechanism
  3. Display of nested CSS schemes
  4. More Accessibility test and reviews
  5. RSS integration! 😀

It has been well documented how Macromedia has worked with the Web Standards Project in improving the Web Standarsd capability of the Dreeamweaver product line. Dreamweaver 8 is definitely showing that the collaboration is bearing fruit.

It was 1999. I just installed Netscape Navigator on my Pentium II computer and I have just been bitten by the interent bug. I immersed myself on the web almost everyday and night and I dreamt of having a personal site where I could post my thoughts.

Then I discovered a nifty little app called Netscape Composer as part of my Netscape installation. WYSIWYG rocks! Playing with the Composer was a joy, especially when I learned my layouts could be done with tables! I fondly rememer an animated Itchy & Scratchy image that showed them bonking each other that was part of my home page. I also remember the TD's and the TR's peppered on my code, embedding table after table and borders to boot!

Tables definitely freed a lot of designers from most of HTML's limitations and transformed graphic designers in to web designers, myself included.

(To be continued…)

IE7: It must be stopped!

August 3, 2005

IE7 has yet to see the light of day but it's already casting a big shadow on developers.

WindowsITPro has an article that apparently does not pull its punches. Some excerpts:

"Web developers are hamstrung into writing to it at the expense of established standards which work equally well"

"My advice here is simple: Boycott Internet Explorer. It is a cancer on the Web, and must be stopped…"

My take on this is this: IE7, whether we like it or not, is slated to inherit a good portion of the existing IE users. And this represents at least two-thirds of the total browser market. It would be unrealistic to expect its user-base to totally disregard the "standard" (Ugh! I cringe at that idea) browser.

However, it is my dream that the majority of browsers will NOT give me headaches in terms of rendering Web Standards-compliant sites. That is why I'd like to see Firefox as the de facto standard browser.

I've recently had a chance to get a beta copy of IE7 (don't ask me how :D) and it promises a lot but also gives a big caveat to developers and designers, especially the web standards kind.

The Good: tabbed browsing, which seems to be the darling feature right now in web browsers. The interface is tweaked a bit (it's sleeker and actually looks like Firefox) and the anti-phising feature seems to target novice net browsers.

Another improvement is the corrected CSS box model rendering (AT LAST!) This is probably the feature that may alter the course of web design history.

The Bad: Despite the big improvements, IE7 fails miserably WaSP's ACID 2 test. This test checks whether the browser can display key CSS features. The final output of the test is a smiley face. The screenshot below is how IE7 renders the test:

Hmmm… Doesn't look like a smiley face to me.