Web Design: Would you design a PDF by writing Postscript in Notepad?

Discussion in 'HTML' started by fgdg, Feb 15, 2007.

  1. fgdg

    fgdg Guest

    Why do we put up with web design software? Nobody makes a PDFs by
    writing Postscript in Notepad, but that is what designer's working for
    the web are expected to do. That is how far web design has come.
    Postscript is a page description language like HTML or CSS. By now we
    should have a Quark Xpress or Indesign for the web, but the only
    morsel the software industry has thrown designers after a decade of
    the web is CSS coding and a choice of Georgia or verdana. It's beyond
    the joke.
     
    fgdg, Feb 15, 2007
    #1
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  2. fgdg

    TaliesinSoft Guest

    On Thu, 15 Feb 2007 10:10:25 -0600, fgdg wrote
    (in article <>):

    > Why do we put up with web design software? Nobody makes a PDFs by
    > writing Postscript in Notepad, but that is what designer's working for
    > the web are expected to do. That is how far web design has come.
    > Postscript is a page description language like HTML or CSS. By now we
    > should have a Quark Xpress or Indesign for the web, but the only
    > morsel the software industry has thrown designers after a decade of
    > the web is CSS coding and a choice of Georgia or verdana. It's beyond
    > the joke.


    There is indeed software, available now for the Macintosh, that allows one to
    construct a website using WYSIWYG methods and with no requirement that the
    user should have any knowledge of such as HTML. That software is Freeway
    Express and Freeway Pro. Freeway works much like InDesign in that the website
    author concentrates on appearance and action and not upon the underlying code
    that makes things happen. As an aside, the resulting HTML of a Freeway
    generated website is quite good, usually passing the strictest of code
    verification.


    --
    James Leo Ryan ..... Austin, Texas .....
     
    TaliesinSoft, Feb 15, 2007
    #2
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  3. fgdg wrote:

    > Why do we put up with web design software? Nobody makes a PDFs by
    > writing Postscript in Notepad, but that is what designer's working for
    > the web are expected to do. That is how far web design has come.
    > Postscript is a page description language like HTML or CSS.


    There's a fundamental difference between PS/PDF and HTML+CSS. PS/PDF are
    exact (as far as possible) representations of a printed - and thus fixed -
    document. In this context WYSIWYG makes sense - pretty much indeed.

    But the HTML+CSS combo has to deal with different user-agents,
    screen-/fontsizes, user stylesheets and a gazillion of other factors that
    influence how a document is seen/heard/felt by a user. And this is an
    advancement over printed media.
    Applying WYSIWYG to web-documents just creates the *illusion* of simplicity,
    moves the focus to presentational details while hiding semantics. This
    reduces HTML+CSS to a bad PDF replacement.


    --
    Benjamin Niemann
    Email: pink at odahoda dot de
    WWW: http://pink.odahoda.de/
     
    Benjamin Niemann, Feb 15, 2007
    #3
  4. fgdg

    Ed Seedhouse Guest

    On 15 Feb 2007 08:10:25 -0800, "fgdg" <> wrote:

    >Why do we put up with web design software? Nobody makes a PDFs by
    >writing Postscript in Notepad, but that is what designer's working for
    >the web are expected to do.


    That's because the web is not paper. PDFs are a medium designed to be
    printed on paper. The Web isn't. There is no useable "wysiwyg" editor
    for the web because there is no one "wyg".

    >That is how far web design has come.
    >Postscript is a page description language like HTML


    HTML is *not* a page description language. It is a *document*
    description language and that's entirely different. More generalized.

    > It's beyond the joke.


    The joke is on you because you don't understand the media. TV is not
    Radio and the Web is not paper, and never will be. You are like a Radio
    producer moaning that your TV programs won't work properly when you use
    your well understood radio methods.
     
    Ed Seedhouse, Feb 15, 2007
    #4
  5. fgdg

    Andy Dingley Guest

    On 15 Feb, 16:19, TaliesinSoft <> wrote:

    > That software is Freeway Express and Freeway Pro.


    Nicely standards-compliant, it has to be said. However "layout" relies
    on a massive over-dependence on CSS absolute positioning, and with
    pixel units at that. To quote Computer Arts mag, "creating
    proportional rather than fixed-width layouts is almost impossible".

    Freeway Pro is a competently implemented page-layout tool using valid
    HTML and CSS. For fixed-pixel layouts it's great, but as a web design
    tool it misses the point entirely and cannot be recommended at all.

    There's still a shortage of WYSIWYG web site design tools with any
    concept of semantically-based CSS that's an overall site feature, not
    just a sequence of one-off page layout tasks.
     
    Andy Dingley, Feb 15, 2007
    #5
  6. Re: Web Design: Would you design a PDF by writing Postscript inNotepad?

    fgdg wrote:

    > Why do we put up with web design software? Nobody makes a PDFs by
    > writing Postscript in Notepad, but that is what designer's working for
    > the web are expected to do.


    You are comparing apples with oranges here. PostScript is[1] a language for
    describing what pages look like. HTML is a language for describing what
    pages *mean*.

    People can auto-generate postscript documents from visual tools and the
    generating process will accurately create a document conveying the user's
    intentions.

    When people auto-generate HTML documents from visual tools, the tool needs
    to guess what the user really meant. Is does this text begin a new
    paragraph (<p>), or is it really just two line breaks (<br><br>)? This
    series of several short lines, should it be marked up as a bullet-less
    list? Do these italics signify a citation (<cite>), some emphasis (<em>),
    or a Latin phrase (<i lang="la">)? Is that a single-line paragraph of bold
    text (<p><b>) or should it really be a third-level heading (<h3>)?

    There are, as I see it, three solutions to this conundrum:

    1. To hell with semantics! Forget <em>, <cite> and so on, just
    use <i> all the time!
    2. Write a tool that's really, really good at guessing
    semantics.
    3. Write a tool that doesn't have buttons and short-cut keys
    for things like bold, italic, different colours and fonts
    and so forth, but has buttons to insert citations, quotes,
    diagrammes and so forth, has options to mark certain chunks
    of text as either more or less important than the rest.

    Most recent visual HTML editors use the first approach, creating
    semantic-free documents. In my opinion authors using this sort of
    tool have no business writing HTML at all. If all they care about is
    the visual appearance of the document, they should probably switch
    to publishing in Flash, which is far more suited to their ideas.

    The second solution has been attempted once or twice, but tends to get
    things wrong as often as it gets them right.

    The third solution is a good idea, but using the current attempts at
    this sort of tool tends to be no easier to use than typing the HTML
    by hand anyway, rendering them rather useless.

    As an aside, some people *do* write postscript by hand. And whatsmore,
    this usually results in much smaller files, which load much more quickly.

    ____
    1. PostScript is actually a fully-fledged scripting language, but it's
    commonly used as a page description language and as a transmission format
    for print jobs.

    --
    Toby A Inkster BSc (Hons) ARCS
    Contact Me ~ http://tobyinkster.co.uk/contact
    Geek of ~ HTML/SQL/Perl/PHP/Python*/Apache/Linux

    * = I'm getting there!
     
    Toby A Inkster, Feb 15, 2007
    #6
  7. fgdg wrote:
    > Why do we put up with web design software? Nobody makes a PDFs by
    > writing Postscript in Notepad, but that is what designer's working for
    > the web are expected to do. That is how far web design has come.
    > Postscript is a page description language like HTML or CSS.


    Postscript is a page *format* description language. HTML is a page
    *structure* description language.

    > By now we
    > should have a Quark Xpress or Indesign for the web, but the only
    > morsel the software industry has thrown designers after a decade of
    > the web is CSS coding and a choice of Georgia or verdana. It's beyond
    > the joke.
    >
     
    Harlan Messinger, Feb 15, 2007
    #7
  8. Harlan Messinger wrote:
    > fgdg wrote:
    >> Why do we put up with web design software? Nobody makes a PDFs by
    >> writing Postscript in Notepad, but that is what designer's working for
    >> the web are expected to do. That is how far web design has come.
    >> Postscript is a page description language like HTML or CSS.

    >
    > Postscript is a page *format* description language. HTML is a page
    > *structure* description language.
    >
    >> By now we
    >> should have a Quark Xpress or Indesign for the web, but the only
    >> morsel the software industry has thrown designers after a decade of
    >> the web is CSS coding and a choice of Georgia or verdana. It's beyond
    >> the joke.
    >>


    Also, CSS *can* be applied like PostScript, including a STYLE attribute
    with every tag to define that element's appearance alone, and in that
    case a CSS editor can apply the styles that will make an element look
    exactly has you defined its appearance using WYSIWYG tools. But CSS is
    best used to define entire style sets based on element tags, classes,
    and IDs. It's hard to use CSS in that manner when applying formatting to
    individual page elements one at a time with a WYSIWYG editor.
     
    Harlan Messinger, Feb 15, 2007
    #8
  9. fgdg

    dorayme Guest

    In article
    <>,
    "fgdg" <> wrote:

    > Why do we put up with web design software? Nobody makes a PDFs by
    > writing Postscript in Notepad, but that is what designer's working for
    > the web are expected to do. That is how far web design has come.
    > Postscript is a page description language like HTML or CSS. By now we
    > should have a Quark Xpress or Indesign for the web, but the only
    > morsel the software industry has thrown designers after a decade of
    > the web is CSS coding and a choice of Georgia or verdana. It's beyond
    > the joke.


    You have some things wrong. You surely must have heard of
    Microsoft Frontpage and Microsoft Publisher and seen the web
    export or 'save as' features in just about every modern word
    processor and image software package. And then, of course, there
    is Dreamweaver. In other words, there _is_ more than notepad.

    And there is an implication in what you are saying that the false
    (see above) situation you paint is for lack of trying. Not so.
    You might be very surprised to learn of the considerable efforts
    teams of clever people have made to improve the situation but
    without the success you would be wanting. This should suggest
    that what is being attempted here is orders of magnitude harder
    than you imagine.

    To put it simply, it is very hard indeed to design machinary to
    deliver content in a reasonably effective and where possible
    elegant way to all the devices that are made to receive such
    content from the internet. It still requires educated earthlings
    to do it well. Some of these WSIWIG programs can save website
    makers who have mastered the software some time but in the end
    this is because they know how to get by without it, they know the
    limitations of such software and can compensate for it.

    --
    dorayme
     
    dorayme, Feb 15, 2007
    #9
  10. fgdg

    dorayme Guest

    In article <>,
    TaliesinSoft <> wrote:

    > As an aside, the resulting HTML of a Freeway
    > generated website is quite good, usually passing the strictest of code
    > verification.


    If you mean validation, then this is not much evidence of
    goodness...

    --
    dorayme
     
    dorayme, Feb 15, 2007
    #10
  11. fgdg

    TaliesinSoft Guest

    On Thu, 15 Feb 2007 11:54:47 -0600, Andy Dingley wrote
    (in article <>):

    > Freeway Pro is a competently implemented page-layout tool using valid HTML
    > and CSS. For fixed-pixel layouts it's great, but as a web design tool it
    > misses the point entirely and cannot be recommended at all.


    If Freeway Express or Freeway Pro are capable of the WYSIWYG production of
    webpages to the complete satisfaction of the author then how is it that "it
    misses the poiint entirely?" There are undoubtedly nuances in website
    creation that are not addressed by Freeway, but unless these nuances are
    needed/wanted by the website author than there absence is irrelevant. It is
    almost like saying that a piano is a musical instrument that can't be
    recommended at all because it can't produce a continuous slide through the
    scale as can a violin.

    --
    James Leo Ryan ..... Austin, Texas .....
     
    TaliesinSoft, Feb 15, 2007
    #11
  12. fgdg

    dorayme Guest

    In article <>,
    TaliesinSoft <> wrote:

    > If Freeway Express or Freeway Pro are capable of the WYSIWYG production of
    > webpages to the complete satisfaction of the author then how is it that "it
    > misses the poiint entirely?


    The author is not the one to be satisfied here. It is not his or
    her needs that are paramount. It really is a fundamental mistake
    to be thinking this.

    --
    dorayme
     
    dorayme, Feb 15, 2007
    #12
  13. TaliesinSoft wrote:
    > On Thu, 15 Feb 2007 11:54:47 -0600, Andy Dingley wrote
    > (in article <>):
    >
    >> Freeway Pro is a competently implemented page-layout tool using valid HTML
    >> and CSS. For fixed-pixel layouts it's great, but as a web design tool it
    >> misses the point entirely and cannot be recommended at all.

    >
    > If Freeway Express or Freeway Pro are capable of the WYSIWYG production of
    > webpages to the complete satisfaction of the author then how is it that "it
    > misses the poiint entirely?" There are undoubtedly nuances in website
    > creation that are not addressed by Freeway, but unless these nuances are
    > needed/wanted by the website author than there absence is irrelevant. It is
    > almost like saying that a piano is a musical instrument that can't be
    > recommended at all because it can't produce a continuous slide through the
    > scale as can a violin.
    >

    Give them credit that unlike MS they actually use their software to
    built their site! That said, neither impressed with the output of their
    site nor their gallery of sites. Agree with Andy here....

    --
    Take care,

    Jonathan
    -------------------
    LITTLE WORKS STUDIO
    http://www.LittleWorksStudio.com
     
    Jonathan N. Little, Feb 15, 2007
    #13
  14. fgdg

    Bergamot Guest

    dorayme wrote:
    > In article <>,
    > TaliesinSoft <> wrote:
    >
    >> WYSIWYG production of
    >> webpages to the complete satisfaction of the author

    >
    > The author is not the one to be satisfied here.


    Indeed. Too bad those who should be satisfied, i.e. the web site users,
    often get the short end of the stick. :(

    --
    Berg
     
    Bergamot, Feb 15, 2007
    #14
  15. fgdg

    the red dot Guest

    "fgdg" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Why do we put up with web design software? Nobody makes a PDFs by
    > writing Postscript in Notepad, but that is what designer's working for
    > the web are expected to do. That is how far web design has come.
    > Postscript is a page description language like HTML or CSS. By now we
    > should have a Quark Xpress or Indesign for the web, but the only
    > morsel the software industry has thrown designers after a decade of
    > the web is CSS coding and a choice of Georgia or verdana. It's beyond
    > the joke.
    >


    which reminds me of the story of the americans who spent millions of dollars
    making a pen that worked in zero gravity, the russians just used a pencil.
     
    the red dot, Feb 15, 2007
    #15
  16. fgdg

    TaliesinSoft Guest

    On Thu, 15 Feb 2007 16:22:38 -0600, Jonathan N. Little wrote
    (in article <16e7a$45d4dd14$40cba7b7$>):

    [commenting on the Freeway website]

    > Give them credit that unlike MS they actually use their software to built
    > their site! That said, neither impressed with the output of their site nor
    > their gallery of sites. Agree with Andy here....


    I find it interesting, er, uh, amusing, that Adobe, the marketers of not one,
    but two high priced website development tools, GoLive and Dreamweaver,
    apparently don't use either to develop their own website. So, what is it
    about the Adobe website that would set it apart from the Freeway (Softpress)
    website?

    Incidentally, the W3C Markup Validation Service found 0 errors with the
    Freeway site but 19 with the Adobe site. Oops, I forgot, validation is
    apparently useless. But isn't it adherence to standards that should bring
    about uniformity in presentation of a website amongst all browsers?

    --
    James Leo Ryan ..... Austin, Texas .....
     
    TaliesinSoft, Feb 16, 2007
    #16
  17. "the red dot" <> writes:

    > "fgdg" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    > > Why do we put up with web design software? Nobody makes a PDFs by
    > > writing Postscript in Notepad, but that is what designer's working for
    > > the web are expected to do. That is how far web design has come.
    > > Postscript is a page description language like HTML or CSS. By now we
    > > should have a Quark Xpress or Indesign for the web, but the only
    > > morsel the software industry has thrown designers after a decade of
    > > the web is CSS coding and a choice of Georgia or verdana. It's beyond
    > > the joke.
    > >

    >
    > which reminds me of the story of the americans who spent millions of dollars
    > making a pen that worked in zero gravity, the russians just used a pencil.


    My understanding is that story is apocryphal. The space pen, which
    both use, was developed by a private company.

    And I use a space pen, together with a waterproof pad, for taking
    notes while working in the woods. It costs somewhat more, but its
    well worth it.


    --
    Bill Mitchell
    Dept of Mathematics, The University of Florida
    PO Box 118105, Gainesville, FL 32611--8105
    (352) 392-0281 x284
     
    William Mitchell, Feb 16, 2007
    #17
  18. fgdg

    dorayme Guest

    In article <>,
    William Mitchell <> wrote:

    > And I use a space pen, together with a waterproof pad, for taking
    > notes while working in the woods. It costs somewhat more, but its
    > well worth it.


    I use it to write love letters to alt.html members when going
    back home for my holidays...

    --
    dorayme
     
    dorayme, Feb 16, 2007
    #18
  19. fgdg

    dorayme Guest

    In article <>,
    TaliesinSoft <> wrote:

    > Oops, I forgot, validation is
    > apparently useless.


    To point out the limitations of validators, what they can and
    cannot do, what their real purpose is and what you can profitably
    use them for, should not invite this reaction. It is a rather
    complicated thing but basically a validator will tell you if a
    document conforms in certain respects to the declared or assumed
    standard for that doc in a narrow formal sense. It says nothing
    about semantics, the meaningfulness, neatness, easy readability
    or accessibility of your efforts, much less the quality of being
    easy to upgrade. All these latter mentioned qualities are
    notoriously difficult for earthling created machines to
    understand. Not impossible but difficult.

    Earthlings, on the other hand, are meaning machines par
    excellence. That is what they are good for apart from killing.
    And even then, note, earthlings have meaningful reasons to do so
    (I said meaningful, not good reasons.)

    --
    dorayme
     
    dorayme, Feb 16, 2007
    #19
  20. fgdg

    TaliesinSoft Guest

    On Thu, 15 Feb 2007 19:17:55 -0600, dorayme wrote (in article
    <>):

    > In article <>,
    > TaliesinSoft <> wrote:
    >
    >> Oops, I forgot, validation is apparently useless.


    That was my not so good momentary attempt at being a bit cynical!

    > To point out the limitations of validators, what they can and cannot do,
    > what their real purpose is and what you can profitably use them for,
    > should not invite this reaction. It is a rather complicated thing but
    > basically a validator will tell you if a document conforms in certain
    > respects to the declared or assumed standard for that doc in a narrow
    > formal sense. It says nothing about semantics, the meaningfulness,
    > neatness, easy readability or accessibility of your efforts, much less the
    > quality of being easy to upgrade. All these latter mentioned qualities are
    > notoriously difficult for earthling created machines to understand. Not
    > impossible but difficult.


    I'll certainly agree that validators are essentially limited to to verifying
    that a site's code adheres to established rules and not on the quality and/or
    neatness and such of the code. But they do provide a hint at how well the
    code will process on standards conforming browsers.

    > Earthlings, on the other hand, are meaning machines par excellence. That
    > is what they are good for apart from killing. And even then, note,
    > earthlings have meaningful reasons to do so (I said meaningful, not good
    > reasons.



    --
    James Leo Ryan ..... Austin, Texas .....
     
    TaliesinSoft, Feb 16, 2007
    #20
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