Yep, the layout of my page has changed again. In part because I found a new way to do what I wanted to do and in part because I came to decide that the last layout I did was, well, bad. The truth is, I’m not very good at designing web pages, at least the part about making them attractive and pleasing to the eye, and design has always taken a back seat to content in my mind anyway. I’ve switched from using Coranto to handle the backend of the site to using MovableType, a script more in line with what I wanted to do. MT comes with a number of pre-set templates and I’ve opted to make use of one of them until I can get my head around some of the new concepts I’ll need to design my own layout.
Of course, all of this is my wife’s fault. You see, Anne decided to make use of The Print Shop to do the design and layout of her webpages because she’s already used to working with it for making cards and stuff. She also thought it would make life easier for me. I did too, till I saw the code it generated.
I’m your classic jack-of-all-trades in that most of what I know about computers I only know because I needed to know for some reason. Either I had to know it for my job or because there was something I wanted to accomplish that I needed the knowledge for. When I first started designing websites I began using the built-in HTML editor in Netscape Navigator 3.0 and I thought I was pretty hot shit with it until I started writing for an online anime zine. That’s when the editor of the zine pointed out to me that my code was crap and didn’t work well in anything other than Netscape browsers. Why? Because it was made using a WYSIWYG editor that inserted a lot of extra crap in the code than was needed and was biased towards Netscape browsers for obvious reasons.
So, I sat down to learn to write HTML by hand and I learned what I needed to know to do what I needed to do. Happy with that, I didn’t keep up with evolving standards simply because I had no need to. It wasn’t a job I was trying to maintain and I was happy with what I was producing. I have mastered the art of using HTML tables for page layout to the point that most folks get dizzy trying to follow the layers of nested tables in my code, but it all works out in the end. It’s also a bad way to design webpages as tables were never met to be used for page layout, but that’s what everyone was doing and it worked well so that’s what I learned. Then my wife hits me with this code generated by The Print Shop and I see all these new HTML tags and codes I’ve never seen before.
It seems the folks who decide such things have come up with a new way to handle page layout called Cascading Style Sheets that allow for all sorts of new ways of doing things and attempts to seperate content from structure and The Print Shop makes heavy use of these new concepts. So, I set about the task of learning how this new stuff all works. In the process I realized how poor my current design really was and how much better it could be once I managed to master these new concepts. Add in the fact that I discovered a whole new world to explore in the concept of a website as personal journal, or a blog as it’s called, and the scripts that go with it and we end up where we are now. I’ve switched scripts and gone with one of the default templates it ships with so I can get started on adding in the content I want to add. Once I manage to learn what I need to know I’ll set about trying to make it look a little more unique. Until then, this’ll have to do.