DIY Web Building Pitfalls

Article

Thanks to web page editors like Dreamweaver, getting a website on line is now easy. Building a GOOD website is still difficult.

Web page editors are initially attractive to people with no prior knowledge of coding in HyperText Markup Language because they offer a “What You See Is What You Get” (WYSIWYG) environment similar to the Microsoft Word and Excel products that they already know. However, there are some important downsides to this approach as well:

Bloated slow loading pages

WYSIWYG HTML editors typically generate underlying code that mixes content instructions with presentational instructions. The result is mountains of inefficiently written web code that takes up many more lines than more efficient design techniques. Good web designers these days are almost unanimously agreed on the benefits of placing presentational information into separate “Style Sheet” web files. This produces a major benefit in smaller file size and faster processing times.

“Table Tag Soup”

Browse a few websites and take a quick look at their underlying source code (from your browser menu select “View/Page Source” in Firefox, “View/Source in Internet Explorer”). If you see masses of code instructions like <tr> and <td> you are probably looking at a page written using a coding technique now almost universally disapproved of by good web designers.

Using <tr> and <td> (called “tables tags”) is fine for the purpose they were intended i.e. displaying tabular data such as schedules. However many inexperienced website creators use WYSIWYG editors to produce designs that are entirely table based. The bottom line is that trying to maintain or modify the resulting mess of table tags can be a nightmare.

If you employ a web design agency, make sure they use modern “hand-coding” techniques rather than relying on discredited WYSIWYG creation methods.

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