Friday, February 27, 2009

Making things work

I have been challenging myself to create websites without relying on programming code other than HTML, CSS (neither of which I consider "real" programming), or JavaScript. I have done away with all the ASP, PHP and other coding languages from the Church Of Doug website.

In so doing, I have been experimenting with clean, separated code, that is easy to understand. I have learned a few things:
  1. CSS does NOT, and I repeat does NOT, eliminate or otherwise clean up the content HTML document. Instead, it simply replaces tags like font, table, UL, and such with DIV and SPAN. This does not make the HTML easier to read. Instead it obscures organization and leaves the content equally cluttered with tags that all look the same.
  2. There is no easy way to live within the HTML, CSS, JavaScript world exclusively and still have a common menu on every page. SSI is not always an option in the real world, so I have been trying to avoid it.
  3. Google's bot does not like JavaScript. I have had to resort to a sitemap.xml file just to make sure Google sees the entire site. So much for simplifying.
It is a good learning experience. The Church Of Doug is a faster, prettier site than before. CSS does force a bit more consistency than I once had. It is both a blessing and a curse.

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