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View Full Version : semantic payoff?



Graft-Creative
02-06-2005, 02:06 AM
<tr valign="top"> <!-- row 4 -->
<td rowspan="3" colspan="2"><img name="leftbar_r04_c2" src="images/left-bar_r04_c2.gif" width="33" height="54" border="0"></td>
<td colspan="2"><a href="cruise/cruise-main.htm"><img name="leftbar_r04_c4" src="images/left-bar_r04_c4.gif" width="45" height="39" border="0"></a></td>
<td rowspan="10" colspan="2"><img name="leftbar_r04_c6" src="images/left-bar_r04_c6.gif" width="37" height="254" border="0"></td>
<td><img src="images/shim.gif" width="1" height="39" border="0" name="undefined_3"></td>
</tr>


Bring on the semantic web :p Might be getting this contract though - how to persuade the cigar toters there's a better way?

_Aerospace_Eng_
02-06-2005, 02:46 AM
that tr tag shouldn't have any formatting should it?

rmedek
02-06-2005, 08:23 AM
Don't they know <div>s have replaced <table>? Here's the proper markup you should be using...


<div class="image"><img name="leftbar_r04_c2" src="images/left-bar_r04_c2.gif" width="33" height="54" border="0"></div>
<div class="link"><a href="cruise/cruise-main.htm"><img name="leftbar_r04_c4" src="images/left-bar_r04_c4.gif" width="45" height="39" border="0"></a></div>
<div class="image"><img name="leftbar_r04_c6" src="images/left-bar_r04_c6.gif" width="37" height="254" border="0"></div>
<div class="image"><img src="images/shim.gif" width="1" height="39" border="0" name="undefined_3"></div>


:D

Seriously, though... it's a tricky subject for those "not in the know." A lot of times no matter what you explain, they see semantic markup as "newfangled code that will only work in the most modern of browsers." Reminds me of when tribes won't let National Geographic photographers take photos, because they're afraid of the technology. :)

Jalenack
02-06-2005, 09:05 AM
I think you guys missed what Graft was saying...or maybe I am. I think what he is asking is how to point out to clients that he can use semantics for the benefit of his clients bla bla bla.

I think the two main points for real-world semantic benefits are SEO and file size

Semantics greatly improves web rankings on search engines and brings in more customers...pound this into their head.

File size: Semantic XHTML is smaller..Even if the opening page download is the same size as the one before using semantics, the CSS file is cached as well as all the supporting images...saving tons of bandwidth server side and client side. What did I miss?

bradyj
02-06-2005, 09:35 AM
Not to mention ease of coding, and better control over the CSS.

...and I would argue it's not divs that are the replacement for tables, it's just CSS. Depending on how that looks, it may not be divs you need!

rmedek
02-06-2005, 09:40 AM
I think you guys missed what Graft was saying...or maybe I am. I think what he is asking is how to point out to clients that he can use semantics for the benefit of his clients bla bla bla.
I understood, I was just being silly-- and fatalistic. You've brought up several good points about the benefits of the semantic web; I was just pointing out that no matter how good those points are-- and how obvious they are to web developers-- it's an uphill battle convincing "old school" clients.

Case in point: A friend of mine recommended me to a company to maintain their websites. The website in question is a dreaded tangled mess of nested Dreamweaver tables. When I explained how difficult it would be to maintain, and how I could recode the site to standards-- at no charge to them, since I am being paid to maintain it-- they asked to explain the benefits. I talked my ear off... SEO... lower maintainance time and costs... better accessibility... forward thinking... future compatibility... etc etc. I even went as far as to ask them to ask for a change on one of my current sites so I could show them just how fast it would be to change opposed to their methods. They loved it.

Then they pointed out that they needed their site to look just as good on NS 4.0 as IE 6 (keep in mind the site has a 140kbFlash header... jeez) and although the benefits were obvious, they weren't ready to use those future methods. I explained it wasn't future methods, it was now, and has been for years.

Well, needless to say I am maintaining a site by adding margins and padding to nested table cells :). It's like talking to a wall... and I believe unless they are kept out of the loop they will continue to be afraid of what they don't understand-- which is funny considering this is web design, not necessarily a dangerous topic :)


...and I would argue it's not divs that are the replacement for tables, it's just CSS. Depending on how that looks, it may not be divs you need!
I know... I was just trying to make light of a little "divitis" :D

zoobie
02-06-2005, 11:47 AM
You don't need that shim.gif either.

chilipie
02-06-2005, 03:07 PM
I think these are some of the main points for the cigar-toting CEOs:

Search engines can find and index the site better;
Quicker to update/edit (remember: time means money);
Faster loading (therefore you retain more customers: yet again, time = money);
Smaller files: saves on server costs.

Puffin the Erb
02-06-2005, 03:32 PM
Also

<advantages>

<ceospeak tone="saywithvigour">
no lawsuits and / or bad publicity regarding equal opportunities legislation
as your pages will be more accessible.
</ceospeak>

<ceospeak tone="saywithvigour">
Greater portability cross-platform / device and greater readability = less
ongoing coding time = less man hours to pay for long-term.
</ceospeak>

</advantages>

bazz
02-06-2005, 06:31 PM
The website in question is a dreaded tangled mess of nested Dreamweaver tables. When I explained how difficult it would be to maintain, and how I could recode the site to standards-- at no charge to them, since I am being paid to maintain it-- they asked to explain the benefits.

This is a difficulty I experience everyday with clients who can just about download their email. Their IT knowledge is small, however in fairness, I couldn't run their business so I don't see that as a poor reflection on them. I see it mjore as a vulnerability where so many, are exploiting the ignorant.

My approach is apparently starting to annoy other so-called designers, who use tables like there is no tomorrow, haven't heard of a Doctype, who seem to think that you must use a wysiwyg editor to build a web page, who think divs are bad ( :confused: ) and that css is not all its cranked up to be.

Of course my approach is integarted and created by my overall product range and so may not fit with yours but I have found that I can tell them something along these lines:-

Whilst maintaining your site I can improve its performance, if you allow me to recode it. (after all you said you were providing this as a no cost option). Re-coding it will help to increase your return on investment (ROI), and will also make future maintenance costs and upgrading more cost effective. Ove rht eyear, I thne offer them a few other improvements at no cost which so far, have given them the impression that I offer ongoing value and they experience a warm and good busines relationship, which keeps them more loyal.

I can't say it'll work for you because I have a large-ish range of products and solutions that in thier own individual right, bring them extra value and of course, to benefit from them, they must put thier site on my server.

hth

Bazz

Jalenack
02-06-2005, 07:38 PM
Then they pointed out that they needed their site to look just as good on NS 4.0 as IE 6 (keep in mind the site has a 140kbFlash header... jeez) and although the benefits were obvious, they weren't ready to use those future methods. I explained it wasn't future methods, it was now, and has been for years.

Rich, I hear your pain. That situation would just drive me nuts, and I'm afraid it might happen in my first major job interview (http://www.codingforums.com/showthread.php?t=51448) on wednesday. The company I am being interviewed for uses dreamweaver tables to now end, as well as a large flash file (which in all fairness is appropriate). http://oneshare.com by the way.

I am 99.9% positive that they are going to bring up the point that they want it to look 100% beautiful in NS4 and the like...Which may be beyond me. I probably have 2 options: leave the main table (basic layout) and just recode all the stuff inside to semantics. Or (I like this one) I could point some browser statistics at them about NS4 and its obselete-ness. I may be able to get my friend within the company to get me a copy of their own statistics. Then, after showing how little NS4's share of the browser market is, I could tell them if I just forgot about NS4 and coded pure css layouts understood by everything else...How many more customers would find them on google and generate more money. So basically even if we lock out NS4, we would bring in so many other new users that it would outweigh any lost profit and probably gain some. Should I present both points?

I've had discussions with their current webmaster (who strictly uses dreamweaver) and he was totally out of the loop on CSS. He was under the impression that CSS is so inconsistent that it is unusable. Ignorance breeds distrust eh? Anyways, I told him he should read The Greatest Orange Book Of All Time by The Great Zeldman, and I offered to lend him my copy. If I can't convince him, maybe that can. So I'm coming to my interview armed with a copy and a copy of a CSS-ified copy of their homepage.

Of course, any bonus arguments I could bring to the table to plead the semantics case are open for discussion :).

edit:



My approach is apparently starting to annoy other so-called designers, who use tables like there is no tomorrow, haven't heard of a Doctype, who seem to think that you must use a wysiwyg editor to build a web page, who think divs are bad ( :confused: ) and that css is not all its cranked up to be.


Bazz I've experienced the same stuff. I had one guy lecture me about how <div>s are bad and i was so :confused: . He had this notion that IE couldn't understand <div> and refused to accept that it does.

Oo. Another thing about recoding dreamweaver layouts etc. I spent a fair deal of time working for a guy to code his site super-semantic...and I've posted the final version of my copy at http://jalenack.com/simm and he changed the code and everything to work with dreamweaver and came out with this: http://user.cs.tu-berlin.de/~noah/flight/index2.html

It didn't really piss me off or anything because I had already gotten paid...But anyways if I am going to be working with him jointly maintaining their site and he works specifically in dreamweaver, what am I to do? I think we might resort to some include files that allow the static parts of the page to be super semantic and whatnot. Maybe I'm just overspeculating!

Graft-Creative
02-06-2005, 09:55 PM
Case in point: A friend of mine recommended me to a company to maintain their websites. The website in question is a dreaded tangled mess of nested Dreamweaver tables.

Richard - this is exactly the situation I'm in (well hopefully, if I get the contract)

By the way, your ironic crack about divs replacing tables really made me laugh out loud :D

I think the approach has to be - selling the client on the benefits of re-doing their site with web standards but without actually mentioning 'web standards'.

I think maybe vague comments about 're-coding' or 'fixing the broken code' so the page downloads faster, complies with accessibility legislation etc etc - could work? Otherwise I might get into the situation that someone just brought up, that I'm having to convince him that, yes IE can read divs :p

rmedek
02-06-2005, 11:23 PM
I think I found the HOLY GRAIL of standards conversion discussion. This happened today:



"Hey [name withheld], let me just get this straight about our target audience... they're all on old computers with slow connections?"

"No, just some of them. We're just trying to reach as broad of an audience as possible."

"Oh, ok. So we should build a site that looks the same to everyone, including those with NS 4."

"Yeah, that's right."

"Ok, what about the disabled? Should they get to visit the website?"

"Of course they should."

"Oh, so we should build a site that's accessible to everyone, including those on NS 4."

"Yes, that's what I said."

"Which one do you prefer-- the site to look the same for everyone, or the site to be accessible for everyone, including the disabled?"

"Well, it needs to look the same... I guess... I mean, what's the..."

"Oh, ok, so we should just write off the disabled."

"No, no, of course not... I mean..."

"I mean, I don't think we should, it doesn't seem very nice, but if we have to..."

"Hey now..."

"I guess it wouldn't be very nice, or good for business if you did."

"No, we definitely do not want to write off the disabled."

"How about I make the site accessible to damn near everyone, the only difference is it might look a little less pretty in a really old browser (but it'll load five times as fast)?"

"Yeah, I guess... Yes, that sounds great. And it'll be accessible to more people?"

"Yep."

"Ok. Will it take very long?"

"Not at all. Give me a couple of days and I'll update this code and bring it into the new millennium."

"Was it that outdated?"

"Yes. Yes it was."

"Wow, Rich, thanks a lot."

"No problem."


End session. :)

P.S. @ Jalenack: Good luck on Wednesday :)

Jalenack
02-06-2005, 11:29 PM
**drools all over himself**

Graft-Creative
02-06-2005, 11:52 PM
Richard - now that's what I'm talkin' about :p pfffff what a salesman :D

Ah rikken a 'web business' sub-forum would be good too - could have all the interview/portfolio/marketing/self-promotion threads all in one place then? I spent ages tonight, searching for Todd Seal's example proposal/contract.

BTW J, good luck too, knock 'em dead man :thumbsup:

Gary

Jalenack
02-07-2005, 12:00 AM
thanx both of you!

As for a sample contract, I've never gotten my hands on any. Did you find ts's? brady's? want to email them to me? :)

Graft-Creative
02-07-2005, 12:19 AM
My email isn't playing nicely at the moment - Ollie has got it on file though :)

chilipie
02-07-2005, 07:27 AM
Good luck Andrew :) .

I'll email you the contract later.

bradyj
02-07-2005, 08:42 AM
You are welcome to have a sample contract if you'd like:)

email me at bfrey [at] dotfive.com!

chilipie
02-07-2005, 11:09 AM
I sent it him now :p .



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