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Thinking about a realign

Tuesday (29/11/05), 1:44 pm. 20 comments.

I’ve been thinking about doing a realign here at elliotswan.com, and I’m now taking requests.

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Pepper Gallery — Freshness for your Mint

Saturday (17/9/05), 1:13 pm. 14 comments.

With the growing amount of Pepper for Shaun Inman’s Mint, I’ve decided there really needs to be a Pepper Gallery. There’s been a thread about the idea over on the Mint Forum, incase you’re interested.

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I Got Framed — if you’re using the PHP mail() function, add some security to that thing

Tuesday (13/9/05), 4:29 pm. 32 comments.

I didn’t do it.

Really, I didn’t–I was framed. And you could be too if you’re using the PHP mail() function to handle your contact form without taking any extra security measures.

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You may now Have A Mint.

Monday (5/9/05), 6:41 pm. 4 comments.

There’s been much hype surrounding Shaun Inman’s new product this past week as sneak peaks and news of it’s near release have come out. Well, the new stats program Mint 1.0 has finally been released.

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Design Studio Mag Launched Today

Thursday (1/9/05), 3:18 pm. 6 comments.

A band-new design and develpment magazine, Design Studio Mag, just launched today with its first official article. A new article will be released every few days.

There should be a lot of great stuff on there (including my own SEO column), so this is definately something you’re not going to want to miss out on. There will also be a monthly giveaway available to members only (more info on this month’s to come), so make sure to sign up. ;)

Articles will be on a wide veriety of design/development related topics including:

  • ASP
  • Basics Corner
  • Web Applications
  • CSS
  • Software Review
  • Graphics 3D
  • PHP
  • SEO General
  • SEO Ask-the-expert

Using CSS, DOM, and AJAX to Create Websites That Function Like Applications

Tuesday (9/8/05), 8:56 pm. 3 comments.

As a web developer I have often envied those who get to create software such as operating systems–this type of functionality hasn’t been done well on the web. What if a website could be created that looked, felt, and functioned more like an application? Imagine the possibilities. Seriously, try to imagine them. Think of what could be done if we could take the functionality and interactivity that is currently common in non-web applications, and combine that with the even further interactivity and possibilities the web offers. That could equal some awesome website.

Server-side languages such as PHP and ASP.NET do allow for much interactivity, but since it’s server side it is limited to refreshing the page every time the user wants to do something new. Flash has been used to do this as well, but Flash applications tend to be 1) annoying and 2) not very search engine friendly.

However, using CSS (especially 2, and 3 once more of it is supported) and the DOM is becoming increasingly popular and can also be quite effective. And now with AJAX, I think we are well on our way to being able to develop websites that both look and function like an application.

Check out Jake Tracey’s use of AJAX on his sidebar. That’s just the beginning. If we combine things like that with all the other great technologies out there, I think we can actually start getting closer to creating websites that are able to have the functionality and interactivity of applications.

Innovation in Design — Finding Problems to Fix

Thursday (4/8/05), 7:21 pm. 1 comment.

I was reading Innovation, Progress, and Imagination by Steve Smith the other day, and I thought this was an awesome statement:

Now, to make things even more difficult, innovation, to me, is not just solving a problem. It�s finding new problems. Sure, you can innovate an existing concept, but to me, true innovation goes beyond our current scope of knowledge. To do this we need to understand the tools which drive our innovation.

I think in order to find new problems we must not take anything for granted. Normal must not mean acceptable. If Thomas Edison had considered candles an acceptable source of light, we might still be using them. Somebody had to be determined that there’s a better way to make light than a piece of string with wax on top.

What problems can you think of that have yet to be solved? What things can you think of that have been considered normal and even acceptable that should no longer be? What could be changed on your sites (and mine) that would make them more accessible, even if the things that would be changed are currently common to most sites?

I believe it’s people constantly asking questions like these that make the most successful sites and designs.

My First Offical Post In Which I Tell You About The New Site

Sunday (24/7/05), 2:52 pm. 145 comments.

Well, first off welcome to elliotswan.com. And second off, I encourage you to bookmark this site (or even subscribe to my RSS feed), and keep on comin’ back. There should (hopefully) be lots of good content.

As my first official post, I’ve decided to give a list of “whys” about the new site and design, including why it doesn’t validate.

Why I used WordPress

To be honest, I picked it because it was easy to install and it looked like a fairly good piece of software. Now that I’ve been using it, I’m pretty impressed. Very nice to theme.

The Colors

Over at MorgueFile I found this awesome photo by Zach Carter of a door with a 3 painted on it, so I had to use it. I put it in my header, and most of the colors came from it as well.

I had used pink on my last blog, and actually put up quite a fight for it. I remember having comments posted on it such as this:

It’s…like…PINK…o_0

But seriously, I didn’t overdo it at all, just some accents…So anyways, I eventually won that battle, and I just had to keep it in this new design.

WHAT??!! IT DOESN’T VALIDATE!!11!!

Nope. And the basic reason for it can be spelled out in two letters:

IE.

But for a more detailed explanation:

Standards and validation were made for a reason, and that reason wasn’t bragging rights. It was to create accessable, cross-browser sites. Most of the standards were well thought out, but Microsoft, of course, didn’t want to follow them and along came IE. Things like transparency can’t be done on IE using standard code (as it can on more newer browsers), but Microsoft does recognize non-standard code to do the same thing. Then why not use it? To follow the book of validation but not the idea just plain doesn’t make sense.

Don’t get me wrong, I put this site through the validator several times. The validator is a good tool, but it is nothing more than exactly that–a tool. It’s not a designer, it’s not a developer, and it doesn’t know what you are trying to achieve.

Follow the rules of validation, and you can have a pretty good site. Follow the ideas of validation, and you’ll have an even better one.

If you want to read more about it, click the button over on the sidebar or read Mike Davidson’s post on it.

Well that’s all for now.

Entries in the future...