KillerSites Blog

Web Design

Nerds – you can’t know it all.

June 21, 2008

I’ve been a professional nerd for many years now, and over that time I’ve learned to use many different technologies including 8-9 programming languages, a few operating systems and a whole bunch of frameworks, database programs etc …

… The sad truth

Recently, I was challenged with some tech problem, and to be honest about it, I forgot the specific steps to solve it!!

🙁

This always bothers me – when you forget how to do something you once knew so well.

I am now resigned to the fact that I’ve probably forgotten more than I now remember. I guess there is only so much room in your brain ..?

You can’t know it all

This brings me to my larger point: as a professional nerd, it is not realistic to think you will learn everything that is out there. There is simply too much and you have to pick your battles.

That said, that doesn’t mean you should learn one or two things and then just rest on your laurels. No, you have to keep learning otherwise you will fall behind and you won’t stay competitive.

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Here comes IE8

June 21, 2008

ie8-beta

The web design magazine is slowly taking off.

… We have our first article from John Beatrice who has given us a sneak-peek at the new IE8:

Internet Explorer 8 is Microsoft’s response to the growing interest in interactive web services and rich online experiences. This is Microsoft’s second attempt to build a browser that follows standard compliant HTML and CSS. So, will designers and developers embrace this new Internet Explorer?

You can read more about the Internet Explorer 8 beta in the magazine section of the website.

I hope you’ll find it interesting.

Stefan Mischook

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Microsoft Expression Web 2 is out.

June 17, 2008

Microsoft recently released Expression Web 2, their new web design program.

Frontpage is old news:

For those of you who don’t know much about it, Expression Web replaces Frontpage and as such, you won’t be seeing any new versions of Frontpage.

… You can read more about Expression Web 2 in the magazine.

Thanks,

Stefan Mischook

www.killersites.com

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Cleaner code is better than faster code

May 11, 2008

I can’t tell you how many times that my programming experience (in Java, PHP etc) has guided me in my web design work … and strangely, even in other aspects of my life not at all related to topics ‘nerd’.

… Ah, nerd wisdom prevails in all aspects of life.

🙂

Anyway, here yet again, is another example where programming guides me: this time, it’s all about web design and code.

Over the last few years, the consensus in the web design community has been to streamline code. In real terms, that comes down to:

  • collapsing html
  • collapsing css
  • … and consolidating css code into one file, to minimize the number of server hits.

… The idea is to speed up web page load times and to reduce web server loads.

This is an important goal and something all web designers should be concerned about. The problem is that if you are concentrating on optimizing your CSS or HTML to speed things up, you are concentrating on the wrong parts of your websites.

The fact is, that most of the optimization opportunities is actually found in your images, Flash movies and other multimedia content – not the code.

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Use Dreamweaver CS3 templates to save time

May 1, 2008

Hi,

When I was working on the redesign of the killersites.com, I found (as a starting point) that the templates that ship with Dreamweaver CS3 useful.

Dreamweaver CS3 starter templates

Dreamweaver has a nice collection of bare-bones web templates. One thing I found cool about these templates, is that they contain a lot of notes that describe why they (the web-nerds at Adobe) have certain things in place – like the specific code they used to deal with a given CSS layout issue.

… This is another good way to learn more about CSS.

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How to organize your css code: the ‘killer’ css structure

April 29, 2008

I can’t stand articles that make you read two pages before getting to the point. With that in mind, let’s look at how I think css code should be organized.

php-video-tutorial

In a nutshell: css code should be divided up into at least 4 separate pages:

  1. page-structure.css
  2. text-styles.css
  3. misc.css
  4. ie-styles.css

How about we call this the ‘killer’ css structure.

🙂

Before I go into the details of what each css file contains (if it’s not already obvious), I want to quickly cover WHY you might want to use this basic css structure for all your websites.

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Killersites.com get a facelift.

April 28, 2008

Hi,

I’ve been a busy little bee lately.

This past week, I finally got around to re-skinning killersites.com. Yes, after about 5 years of using the same basic layout, I finally decided that an update was needed.

I think when someone said:

“… killersites.com kinda looks … 2000 ish.”

… I was pushed over the edge and began the design work. You can see the new layout on the home page now:

www.killersites.com

Later on, I will be rolling this out throughout the rest of the web site and on other sites as well:

– killerphp.com
– how-to-build-websites.com

etc …

To build this new look, I spent about 50 hrs and about 15 public revisions. As I went along, I released early drafts of the new look for people to comment on in the forums. You can read the thread and see the progress of the redesign here:

killersites redesign discussion

Now that I’ve got this in place, I can go back to creating new videos.

Thanks,

Stefan Mischook

www.killersites.com

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The 3 Master Principles of Web Design

February 27, 2008

php-video-tutorial

Floating around the universe, are certain universal principles that transcend disciplines. I would like to explore a few of them here, and talk about how they can be applied to web design.

The Three Master Principles

#1 Simplicity

This is such an important principle, that it can easily be made into the top three web design principles, just as location is to real estate:

– location
– location
– location

… we could say the same thing about simplicity in web design:

– simplicity
– simplicity
– simplicity

The important thing to take to heart, is that your web sites should be designed to be as simple as possible. You want to keep it simple for two main reasons:

  1. To make it easy for you to update.
  2. To make it easy for visitors to navigate the web site.

The simplicity principle applies to design, structure and the code.

What do I mean by ‘structure’ of the web site?

I am simply referring to the URL structure. So we are talking about directory structures, page names etc. I’ve detailed this in my article on intelligent paths in websites.

I think the other two (design and code) are self evident.

… Now let’s look at principle number two:

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Intelligent Paths Make Websites Friendlier.

February 22, 2008

ie7 screen shot

Killersites.com is an old site, nearly 12 years old now!

Over that time (as we added more articles and tutorials), our directory structures and file naming styles changed as conventions changed. So now I have a huge mess to clean up.

… There is a lot of information buried in killersites.com that people just don’t find.

🙁

Fortunately, over the last 12-13 years of building websites and web applications, I’ve been able to figure out the best way to organize a website:

In this article, I discuss how to create an easier to maintain, more user friendly website by way of using intelligent paths.

So what are ‘intelligent paths’?

I’m talking about URL structures of course! So that means a few things:

  1. Building a SENSIBLE website directory structure.
  2. Using meaningful words in page names and directories.
  3. Using lower case text for page and directory names.
  4. Using dashes between words in both page and directory names.

… Let’s go over the details.

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