Not a Professional Web Developer!The most recent Daring Fireball post brought a little grin to my face. Of all the people that pick up a keyboard and type out their thoughts about about the Mac landscape, John's easily one of the sharpest. So if I'm going to be taken down a peg, it might as well be by him.
In this post, John recaps the MWSF2006 announcements (I guess the "SF" is redudant now), referencing my comments about iWeb's HTML/CSS output. In essence, what I said is that the output is "pretty good." These words triggered a little bit of a backlash in the comments on Theocacao. Just when I thought it was over, I read the following line John's writeup:
Scott Stevenson likes the photo gallery feature and his first impression was that iWebís markup was pretty good. Stevenson is a very smart guy, but heís not a professional web developer...
The brutality! I get a compliment and an insult all in one breath. While there are plenty of people I've worked with that would get a chuckle here, the truth is that I actually am a professional web developer (or at least put up pretty good appearances), and I've been the lead on some big-ish sites.
I was the lead for Mplayer.com -- which had over four million members during my stay -- and was also the lead for AltaVista's original intranet. Of more interest to people here, I designed MacNN's identity with the blue/white/yellow scheme, spyglass icon and the "read me first" tagline. I also implemented the first prototype of their content management system, though I have no idea what they use now. I just started doing some web work for a major mobile phone carrier. Let's not forget the cunning use of CSS in Cocoa Dev Central's tutorial pages either.
Does that sound too defensive and self aggrandizing? Most certainly.
I was going to email John directly -- and maybe would have done that if I was actually insulted -- but decided it would more fun to reply via blog.
In any case, I obviously didn't make my thoughts about iWeb very clear at all. Yes, I am aware that there are tags like p, h1, and so on, I just don't feel that lack of them is anywhere near the worst thing that a site or site generator can do.
The web's biggest problem from a browser perspective is syntactically valid content, and a lot of the blame for that falls in the lap of graphical web tools. The fact that iWeb, a consumer tool mind you, generates valid markup and style information is a step in the right direction.
The main point of the app is that it's easy for normal people to make great sites. The comment about the output was preliminary and really just a footnote. The ideal case, of course, would be using paragraph tags and whatnot, but that's why I said pretty good. John echos that:
My point being that iWebís XHTML generator is not atrocious; it is trying to do the right thing but has fallen short. It should be improved, not scrapped.
Reflections on Other Macworld Stuff
While we're on the topic, though, a few other points about the post I found interesting:
1. There's no AppleWorks on the new Intel-based Macs. It was one of the first Carbon apps, and seems out of place in the the iWork world. The only problem is that there's no spreadsheet in iWork. To be honest, I was really expecting and hoping to see this, but no luck. Back to Excel I suppose, but maybe this isn't a coincidence considering Microsoft's announcement of the continued development of Office.
2. I was surprised that the industrial design for the Intel-based Macs is very similar to the previous PowerPC models. John smartly points out that this could be a psychological play on Apple's part to smooth the transition. In other words, you don't want people to see a radically different exterior and get concerned about how different an Intel-based Mac might be to use. In fact, Steve drove home the point about how similar the Intel iMac is in overall function to the G5 model.
3. Finally, I share the enthusiasm for the new Intel Mac TV ad, and particularly like the the fact that it forced Intel to apologize for the "dull little tasks" comment. In an industry that is often as exciting as dirt and ruled by PR spokespeople, it's nice to see small victories for those who knowingly say the wrong thing simply because they want to.
Not a Professional Web Developer!
Posted Jan 23, 2006 — 12 comments below
Posted Jan 23, 2006 — 12 comments below