Thoughts on my minimalist site?

Discussion in 'HTML' started by Ian Rastall, Jan 19, 2013.

  1. Ian Rastall

    Ian Rastall Guest

    Since all the other eBook sites are busy and complicated, I've turned my
    own (http://bookstacks.org/) into just one page. A simple HTML page that
    links to the directory that holds all the PDFs. It seems to me like an
    elegant solution, because the list of PDFs is automatically created by
    Apache. (I'm in the process of giving them more meaningful names, and
    all I have to do is rename via FTP. No need for any HTML editing.)

    I have a few questions, though:

    1. Is this secure?
    2. Is it clear to an outsider how the site works?
    3. Is the minimalist look off-putting?

    Hope all are well.

    --
    Ian
     
    Ian Rastall, Jan 19, 2013
    #1
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  2. Ian Rastall

    dorayme Guest

    In article <MfrKs.39990$1.easynews.com>,
    Ian Rastall <> wrote:

    > Since all the other eBook sites are busy and complicated, I've turned my
    > own (http://bookstacks.org/) into just one page. A simple HTML page that
    > links to the directory that holds all the PDFs. It seems to me like an
    > elegant solution, because the list of PDFs is automatically created by
    > Apache. (I'm in the process of giving them more meaningful names, and
    > all I have to do is rename via FTP. No need for any HTML editing.)
    >
    > I have a few questions, though:
    >
    > 1. Is this secure?


    About as secure as giving any other link to your offerings from your
    server.

    > 2. Is it clear to an outsider how the site works?


    All they need to know seems simple enough. But it is hard to
    understand the mind of the man on the Clapham omnibus, no one here
    takes that bus.


    > 3. Is the minimalist look off-putting?
    >


    Is eating just an apple for lunch off putting to colleagues? Perhaps
    your minimalism gives a sense you are not the least interested in
    making a nice website. Which is fine, I just mention this because you
    talk of elegance which seems misplaced on something so simple. If
    someone was to ponder about your choices of design, they might think a
    lack of confidence or skill or a maybe little laziness and/or lack of
    interest in design are behind your choices.

    I don't the least mind your choice, have already sent the link to a
    friend with a new Kindle!

    --
    dorayme
     
    dorayme, Jan 19, 2013
    #2
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  3. Ian Rastall

    Ian Rastall Guest

    On 1/19/2013 3:33 AM, dorayme wrote:> Perhaps
    > your minimalism gives a sense you are not the least interested in
    > making a nice website. Which is fine, I just mention this because you
    > talk of elegance which seems misplaced on something so simple. If
    > someone was to ponder about your choices of design, they might think a
    > lack of confidence or skill or a maybe little laziness and/or lack of
    > interest in design are behind your choices.


    It does look that way. I just had to think about the relative value of
    adding in, say, a graphic, or a sidebar. Why would I need them? There is
    only one purpose to the site, and that's to get the PDFs from the server
    to the user. ... I thought of it as elegant in terms of solving a
    problem in the simplest way.

    However, it's true that it does sort of look like nuclear winter. I
    suppose adding some CSS, and leaving out any images, would still keep
    the load time to (practically) nothing.

    > I don't the least mind your choice, have already sent the link to a
    > friend with a new Kindle!


    Thank you! I have to admit, I don't mind it either. But I don't want to
    drive users away who think they've come across amateur hour. They
    probably aren't going to look at the source and go, "Ooh! Efficient!" :)

    Thanks for the insight. It's appreciated.

    --
    Ian
     
    Ian Rastall, Jan 19, 2013
    #3
  4. Ian Rastall

    Ian Rastall Guest

    On 1/19/2013 4:30 AM, 123Jim wrote:
    > What it needs is a blue sky
    > background with wispy clouds and maybe one corner can depict a slice of
    > beach (cliché I know) and a dramatic gif slapping a giant 'relax' meme
    > blinking in the foreground.
    >
    > OK I'm joking about the gif, and maybe if I viewed your site on a small
    > device I'd appreciate the design but my screen is 1600 by 900
    >
    > For background image I'd prefer to see something like this:
    > http://syque.com/ds/pix/maldives_07/island_blue1_800.jpg
    > but with more sky and less island. Elements of the graphic should also
    > appear on the pdfs.


    I'm definitely not going for a branded look. I barely mention the site
    at all in the files themselves. I just want the books to look good. :)

    It does look pretty good on my Kindle Fire. I set the max-width to be
    slightly wider than the Kindle (when vertical), so it always defaults to
    the width of the viewing area. My monitor is 1920x1080, though, and I
    agree. There is a ton of wasted space.

    I'm thinking that adding any images is going to slow things down too
    much. I love how fast it is. You're right, though. There has to be some
    style, or it just doesn't look peaceful. I think CSS might work.

    I guess I picked-and-chose from your advice, but thank you.

    --
    Ian
    http://bookstacks.org/
     
    Ian Rastall, Jan 19, 2013
    #4
  5. Per Ian Rastall:
    > (http://bookstacks.org/)


    >2. Is it clear to an outsider how the site works?


    Perfectly clear to me.

    >3. Is the minimalist look off-putting?


    Maybe a matter of taste.

    I like it a lot: No BS, gets right to the point.

    Hopefully, as the collection grows, all titles will still be on
    one humongous page so the user can search easily using the
    browser's Search facility.

    --
    Pete Cresswell
     
    (PeteCresswell), Jan 19, 2013
    #5
  6. Ian Rastall

    Mike Duffy Guest

    Ian Rastall <> wrote in news:MfrKs.39990$Ar1.29312@en-
    nntp-05.dc1.easynews.com:

    > Since all the other eBook sites are busy and complicated, I've turned my
    > own (http://bookstacks.org/) into just one page.


    It would be easy for you to modify the site to actually be just one page
    instead of the two it is currently.

    > 1. Is this secure?


    Just as secure as other web-sites.

    > 2. Is it clear to an outsider how the site works?


    Yes.

    > 3. Is the minimalist look off-putting?


    It might be to some. But Lynx users and small-screen users will like it.

    Take a look at my site. This was done more or less for fun, and to learn
    the basic HTML and Javascript techniques. Some have told me it is not
    "flashy" enough, but I despise any sort of distracting animation.

    Also, my ISP only allows us 5 Mb (this is not a typo) for their free
    service.

    --
    http://pages.videotron.ca/duffym/index.htm
     
    Mike Duffy, Jan 19, 2013
    #6
  7. Ian Rastall <> writes:

    > Since all the other eBook sites are busy and complicated, I've turned
    > my own (http://bookstacks.org/) into just one page. A simple HTML page
    > that links to the directory that holds all the PDFs. It seems to me
    > like an elegant solution, because the list of PDFs is automatically
    > created by Apache. (I'm in the process of giving them more meaningful
    > names, and all I have to do is rename via FTP. No need for any HTML
    > editing.)
    >
    > I have a few questions, though:
    >
    > 1. Is this secure?


    Yes, unless there is a serious configuration problem at the server (but
    that's as likely to affect any sort of site).

    > 2. Is it clear to an outsider how the site works?


    I think so, but I'm an insider!

    > 3. Is the minimalist look off-putting?


    I think it is a little. I like the idea of clean and simple, but a
    directory listing may be one step too far -- mainly because the file
    names can't be as expressive as a link. For example, poor old Balzac is
    missing his acute (that goes twice for Baha'u'llah) and the ASCII dash
    don't look brilliant as a separator. The server's file system might
    support a wider range of characters, but even then a little formatting
    would, in my option, help. You could avoid the repetition of the author
    with just a little processing.

    If it were mine, I'd have the listing generated for the directory by,
    say, a PHP script. That way you keep the "just upload" advantage.
    You'd have to define a format for the names, so the script could split
    off the author from the title, but I think that would be worth doing in
    any case.

    If the server can't include accents, a trick I've used before is to have
    a .txt file with the same base name as the .pdf file that contains the
    name you would like to have used. The script uses the PDF file name
    unless there is a matching .txt file in which case it uses the contents
    of that file.

    BTW, I find 60ems worth of text a little wide for comfortable reading.
    I don't know if this is just me. I wonder if there is a generally
    agreed value? (I use 45em).

    --
    Ben.
     
    Ben Bacarisse, Jan 19, 2013
    #7
  8. Ian Rastall

    dorayme Guest

    In article
    <>,
    Ben Bacarisse <> wrote:

    > BTW, I find 60ems worth of text a little wide for comfortable reading.
    > I don't know if this is just me. I wonder if there is a generally
    > agreed value? (I use 45em).


    Under 30 is most comfortable, a bit more is not necessarily so bad if
    there are good reasons aside from ease of reading the text itself.

    --
    dorayme
     
    dorayme, Jan 19, 2013
    #8
  9. Ian Rastall

    dorayme Guest

    In article <XnsA14D7D7BA589EUsewebformwebsiteins@94.75.214.39>,
    Mike Duffy <Use.web.form@website_in_sig.com> wrote:

    > Ian Rastall <> wrote in news:MfrKs.39990$Ar1.29312@en-
    > nntp-05.dc1.easynews.com:
    >

    ....
    >
    > > 3. Is the minimalist look off-putting?

    >
    > It might be to some. But Lynx users and small-screen users will like it.
    >
    > Take a look at my site.


    er... no, never mind.

    --
    dorayme
     
    dorayme, Jan 19, 2013
    #9
  10. Ian Rastall

    Mike Duffy Guest

    Mike Duffy, Jan 19, 2013
    #10
  11. Ian Rastall

    Ian Rastall Guest

    On 1/19/2013 4:46 PM, dorayme wrote:
    > Under 30 is most comfortable, a bit more is not necessarily so bad if
    > there are good reasons aside from ease of reading the text itself.


    Yes, I was trying to get the max-width slightly wider than the width of
    my Kindle Fire (in vertical mode). I figured tablets in general had the
    same dimensions (roughly).

    Thank you for all the insights. It's been a long day, so I just got back
    here. Hope all are well.

    --
    Ian
     
    Ian Rastall, Jan 20, 2013
    #11
  12. 2013-01-19 8:42, Ian Rastall wrote:

    > Since all the other eBook sites are busy and complicated, I've turned my
    > own (http://bookstacks.org/) into just one page.


    This sounds familiar. I think I have commented on your material. You are
    distributing an English translation of a work of Dostoyevsky without
    indicating the translator. This is barbaric, and probably a copyright
    infringement too, as it does not look like an old translation.

    So I think it would be immoral to suggest any improvements.

    --
    Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
     
    Jukka K. Korpela, Jan 20, 2013
    #12
  13. Ian Rastall

    Ian Rastall Guest

    On 1/20/2013 4:17 PM, Jukka K. Korpela wrote:
    > I think it would be immoral to suggest any improvements.


    In that case, Jukka, I have no reason to kow-tow. I will just be honest.
    You have been making an ass out of yourself on the Internet for as long
    as I've been here, which is more than ten years. As is the case on any
    of the computer-related ng's, those who can offer advice or help can get
    away with pretty much anything, in terms of rudeness and crass, ugly
    behavior. But it reflects *extremely* poorly on your character. Has it
    ever occurred to you that, on a newsgroup devoted to one of the most
    popular topics on the Internet, there has been surprisingly little
    traffic? Every potential long-term poster who comes by stands a good
    chance of running up against your arrogant, foolish attitude.

    I have no idea what you think you're doing here, other than blowing off
    steam. But that does have an effect, and if you don't care about all the
    negative feelings you've sown over the years, consider at least what it
    reaps you. And no, I don't really hang out here, so I can afford to be
    on your shit list, or ... to be honest, anyone's. It's just amazing to
    me how people with high intellects can feel superior to others, when
    that very ugly air they assume has turned them into fools.

    --
    Ian
     
    Ian Rastall, Jan 26, 2013
    #13
  14. 2013-01-26 9:15, Ian Rastall wrote:

    > On 1/20/2013 4:17 PM, Jukka K. Korpela wrote:
    >> I think it would be immoral to suggest any improvements.

    >
    > In that case, Jukka, I have no reason to kow-tow.


    When this (followed by strong personal accusations) is your reaction to
    a note about apparent copyright infringement on your pages, it more or
    less confirms the suspicions. It is fair now to assume that all
    translated works there are being distributed illegally.

    --
    Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
     
    Jukka K. Korpela, Jan 26, 2013
    #14
  15. Jukka K. Korpela wrote:
    > 2013-01-26 9:15, Ian Rastall wrote:
    >
    >> On 1/20/2013 4:17 PM, Jukka K. Korpela wrote:
    >>> I think it would be immoral to suggest any improvements.

    >>
    >> In that case, Jukka, I have no reason to kow-tow.

    >
    > When this (followed by strong personal accusations) is your reaction to
    > a note about apparent copyright infringement on your pages, it more or
    > less confirms the suspicions. It is fair now to assume that all
    > translated works there are being distributed illegally.
    >


    A quick scan of the list seems that all the books are out of copyright.
    For the book in question

    Crime and Punishment
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    Translated By Constance Garnett

    Is in the Gutenberg project and probably okay to freely distribute, if
    he got the source from Gutenberg I thing you are obligated to include
    their copyright info.

    <http://www.gutenberg.org/files/2554/2554-h/2554-h.htm>

    That said, it is important to verify copyrights and whether or not
    something is in the public domain before you "publish" it on your site.
    Rule of thumb, if *you* did not create it, you *must* check *before* you
    can use it. To the OP if all these works are in the public domain you
    should put a notice to such somewhere on the site.


    --
    Take care,

    Jonathan
    -------------------
    LITTLE WORKS STUDIO
    http://www.LittleWorksStudio.com
     
    Jonathan N. Little, Jan 26, 2013
    #15
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