Open letter to developers: The IE6 Death Blow

The old school developers will remember, and for the new ones, a quick history lesson. In the 1990s, Netscape Navigator (Mozilla rendering engine) was the dominant browser. It “had a few bugs”, and as a result, when Internet Explorer started playing catch-up, there were a lot of reasons to start using IE instead of Netscape. Towards the end of the paradigm shift, we all started doing something deemed unacceptable by todays standards. The dreaded “Your browser is not supported” page.

Make My Logo Bigger!

My supervisor at work sent me a link to the following video the other day. It starts off kind of boring, and it’s a bit long, but it does get much better as the video goes on. It’s a great video for graphic designers. Enjoy!

http://www.makemylogobiggercream.com/

Cool game, but poor choice for site navigation

Okay, so Marble Madness was a really cool game back in the day. I am willing to admit that. However, using that same concept as the navigation for your Web site is a really poor choice.

Janet Jackson’s Web development team obviously disagrees, however, as that’s exactly what they’ve done with her site. I happened upon her official Web site a few weeks ago (please don’t ask me to explain why I was there, I’m really not certain) and found it to be the most horrendous site I have ever encountered.

Navigating Janet’s Web site is similar to playing a puzzle game like Marble Madness. You apparently have to move your mouse at just the right speed and place the pointer in just the right place in order to get anywhere on the site. It’s a skill I have not mastered, although I did take the time to try simply to see if I could figure it out. I didn’t.

If you visit the site and click on one of the initial links, good luck getting back to the main navigation.

I submitted the site to WebPagesThatSuck.com a few weeks ago, but I don’t know if it was ever published there or not. Regardless, I just had to share my experience with the public. Enjoy!

Tech Tags: HTMLCenter webpagesthatsuck marble+madness

CenterNetworks Redesigned

CenterNetworks, which, I suppose, is now considered the “parent” site of HTMLCenter, has been quietly redesigned. Although the previous design was attractive, and there was not really anything inherently wrong with it, the new design is quite a bit better.

Fixing the IE Text Selection Bug

This post is for those of you that use absolutely positioned page elements, or for those of you that might use DreamWeaver (I’m forced to use DreamWeaver on our current existing site, since that’s what was used to generate it in the first place), or for those of you that use “base” elements in your pages, and for quite a few other people as well, as this bug in IE 6 (and lesser) can be a real pain in the butt to figure out and get fixed.

My supervisor pointed out over the weekend that she is unable to select any snippets of text on our web site for some reason, and set me to fixing the problem. I opened the site in Firefox, and didn’t have a single problem. So, I decided to give it a shot in IE (still using IE 6 here at work). Sure enough, when I tried to select some text using the click and drag method, the whole darn page got selected, from the cursor all the way down to the bottom of my code. I knew immediately that it must be an IE bug, since it worked just fine in Firefox. However, it’s not good business practice to tell your supervisor to stop using inferior, though hugely popular software. Especially when anywhere between 50 and 75% of your public is using that same software.

Adobe Photoshop CS2

Adobe Photoshop CS2This review will focus on Photoshop CS 2 from the web designer/developer point of view. When it comes to creating web art, Photoshop still is king. There is nothing else on the market that even comes close. Yes, there are other tools, but there are no other industry-accepted tools. It is important to consider image output just as image creation and manipulation. All printers accept “psd” formatted files, and exchanging files between web designers is quick and easy. Even transferring a Photoshop file between the mac and the pc is effortless (except for potential font issues). Let’s start with a simple statement; Photoshop is King of web design applications.

Installation

I will start this review with the installation process. If I had to rate the program solely on the installation process, I would give it 1 star. This is based on having to install six (6) total cds. Why can’t Adobe provide the installation on a single DVD? If their argument is about piracy, that is hooey, their activation technology is rock-solid. (this is the installation process for the CS2 Suite, this review is about Photoshop and general Suite elements only)

One of the features I like from a web design standpoint is being able to save a file natively to PDF. This allows for easy comp creation and submission to the client for review.

New Features

photoshop cs2 font menuLove the font samples — finally you can see a preview of the font without having to play “which font was that”.

The next big new piece of Photoshop is actually not part of Photoshop at all. It is called “Adobe Bridge”. Basically it is the new file browser for Adobe applications and really is well done. The Bridge allows you to view all of the details about your photos and easily organize them. I like being able to view all of the characteristics of a digital photo or psd file by just clicking on the file. No application to open, all of the information is presented. Changing the size of the thumbnails is easy, using the Size slider, you can make them any size you want. You can also rate photos from 1-5 which is great for weeding out the poor images from your camera’s memory card.

One of the changes that you might be shocked by is the layers palette change. You can now Shift-click to select layers, or Shift-click layers in the image window. But the link column is gone. Takes a bit of getting used to. You can still highlight multiple layers and right-click to link.

The tools palette has remained basically unchanged. Which is a good thing considering that many designers use the keyboard shortcuts so any change could become a major issue. Probably the number one feature that Adobe is promoting in Photoshop CS2 is the new Vanishing Point filter. It allows you to edit, clone, and retouch images in perfect perspective.

Another great feature in CS2 is Image Warp. Image Warp is similar to Text Warp but for images! So take an image and wrap it around a product for quick product mockups or wrap a building or car easily.

Adobe ImageReady CS2 continues to be bundled as a separate application within Photoshop CS2. There is tighter integration of the two products in this release. Of course, today it seems that Flash has become a designer’s first choice for animation. I don’t hear the same buzz about ImageReady that I did 2-3 years ago.

There is a lot of support within Photoshop CS including many tutorials on how to use the features of Photoshop CS. It sure does seem that a lot of the links within the help push you to the ExpertSupport (fee) or to training cds/dvds (fee). A bit over the top if you ask me.

One thing of note, the specs needed to run Photoshop CS — this comes straight off the package so you probably should look to have at least 30% more to be safe (windows version):

  • Pentium III or 4 processor
  • 384MB Ram (1 GB recommended)
  • 3GB of disk space – more for additional add-ons, 1GB on primary disk
  • 1024×768 resolution (what designer is still working in this)
  • CD-ROM (grr!)

Final comments

Photoshop is still King. I suggest that anyone looking to buy a new packaged version of Photoshop, get this version. The new features make it worth it over picking up a CS or 7.0 version at a reduced price on eBay and the like. If you are already using CS or 7.0 and are just working on standard web design, I am not sure it is worth the upgrade. Adobe has lowered the upgrade price to $149 which might just be worth it for the new features described above.

Product Rating:

Company:
Adobe

Requirements:
see review

Pricing:
$649 full / $149 upgrade

Reviewed by:
Allen

Competition:
Paint Shop Pro

Pros:
The most widely used design application on the planet. Transferring files is a breeze.

Cons:
Price. Resource needs. Learning curve. Installation process is very slow.

Bottom Line:
Photoshop is still King among web design applications.

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