Squeak UI and toolkit commentary: (was: Re: Who has no job? (was Re: O'Reilly Squeak book?))

Göran Hultgren gohu at rocketmail.com
Wed Apr 24 20:26:56 UTC 2002

Hi all!

This post grew out of proportion - not trying to trigger off a discussion though. It's not really
about Squeak.

--- Jim Benson <jb at speed.net> wrote:
> Göran,
> Don't take my comment too personally. I just have a strange sense of humor
> ;-)

Hey, none offense taken!

> Having worked in the computer industry for so long, your comment just struck
> me as an exemplary example of how programmers think about things and how
> marketing types 'think' (fill in your own amazingly clever remarks
> disparaging marketing types here). After observing people trying to bridge
> the programming/marketing chasm in the wilds for so long, it's interesting
> in this case to see how programmers try to market to each other.

Yes, it is definitely interesting.

> Obviously I'm not against well formed HTML or good web sites or such, I was
> just struck by the fact that people apparently look at HTML source code on a
> web page and form any opinions about something totally unrelated because of
> that. I think that's funny. They must have a tough time when they go

It is funny - I agree very much. But I am one of those "geeks" that actually do that sometimes.
Not always of course - and often there is no point in drawing any conclusions since most sites are
not built by the company/organization itself.

But I often "draw conclusions" I admit - let me give some examples:

- A flashy site with small text, lots of animations, no respect for low bandwidth and using Java
or other plugins like Flash. This is the typical "web firm showoff". If it is the site of "Swedish
Railways" I don't draw any conclusions about the trains. If it is the site of a software product
company then I might wonder about their competence - either if they built it themselves or if they
actually paid someone else to do it and accepted the result - which they ought to have better
knowledge not to.

- An open source project with the developers themselves obviously crafting their own pages. Ok, if
the site is simple, respects low bandwidht and at least seems to follow the most obvious standards
(doesn't need to be the latest) then they seem to have a clue. If the site has a "Viewed best in
IE 5.0" or some other crap, too small orange text on a black background with spelling mistakes and
silly effects etc then they loose a lot of my respect and interest right there. Of course - the
software might be brilliant, but if that is so - why didn't those developers - who obviously
should know better - fix the website? Either they don't care (which is bad, because it means they
don't care about me as a visitor) or they don't think anything is wrong (which is even worse).

Anyway, when I crafted www.bluefish.se I took some great care to make it standards compliant.
I had to back down from my valiant attempts to use CSS positioning though, because it's quite
impossible to get to work crossbrowser IMHO. But the site is XHTML and uses CSS in a hopefully
compliant way. It uses ems for fontsizes as, again IMHO, sites should, and so on.

The reason I tried to really make it "solid" and still keep some form of "good looks" is because I
want the site to show that:

1) We care about webstandards.
2) We do have some knowledge about them.

Of course - Joe Schmoe doesn't care - in fact he might get pissed off that it looks like crap in
Netscape 4.x (very poor CSS support if any). But hopefully developers interested in working at
Bluefish or customers that knows a bit about these things will think "Ok, not totally clueless."

> shopping on the web. "Let's see, I can buy that CD here for 13.99 but one of
> their HTML tags was a little off. It's 14.17 over there but their page is
> *perfect*. The guys over there must really know what's up in the music
> retailing business".

Well, of course not. :-) These things do not prove that "the trains are bad".
But if the product is software...

> You're one of the good guys, you don't need a defence against what I say,


> Jim

By the way - again - I really enjoyed your "cult of the dead" post. It's a classic by now.

regards, Göran

Göran Hultgren, goran.hultgren at bluefish.se
GSM: +46 70 3933950, http://www.bluefish.se
"Department of Redundancy department." -- ThinkGeek

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