jueves, 25 de septiembre de 2008

Html/WYSIWYG/Garbage code

Two years ago I had to design a website for a journalism course. It was not technically a web design course, but an optional project. A friend and I made a site about the Spanish film director Pedro Almodovar (which I cannot link here, as it's unfortunately no longer online), and although it was not perfect, I loved the result. For all the work, I used Macromedia Dreamweaver, a WYSIWYG webpage design editor. And that's just what I wanted to talk about today, now that I finally could install Homesite on my PC (I can't use Bbedit, because don't have a Mac) for the phase 1 of my project.

On that occasion, the professor explained to us that for a webpage creation wasn't really necessary to know how html code worked (a relatively easy to grasp language, but rather unwieldy), and that was better and faster to use programs that allow you to "see what you finally get." Canada has changed my perspective: not only for the website design, but especially for a html-based art project, it makes little sense to use a software that writes the code itself.

Moreover, one of the problems that some WYSIWYG editors have is the so-called “garbage code”. The garbage code is that unnecessary code the software automatically generates and that slows down the webpages loading from the Internet or their appearance in web sites lists by search engines like Google. Regarding this, I've found out this interesting article that demonstrates how Frontpage editor truly adds unnecessary, useless code to web pages created and modified with this software. Here I show you a very funny excerpt from the article:

"Author Dori Smith did a comparison of editors and how much code they produce. "The goal was to produce a simple Web page containing just a single linked image that rolled over to another image." The summary of the results:

- Macromedia Dreamweaver MX: 49 lines, 1,733 characters
- Adobe GoLive 6: 55 lines, 1,453 characters
- Microsoft FrontPage 2002: 730 lines, 16,380 characters !!!
- Hand-coding: 29 lines, 858 characters

http://www.backupbrain.com/ 2002_11_17_archive.html#a003122

If anybody out there thinks that 10 to 15 times more code will not slow down a page upload on the Internet, well he should look well at those number above and make a few simple calculations."

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