Presenting Athenian.org

After many weeks of intense coding and designing, and many weeks of neglecting this weblog, the website for the Athenian School is now finally finished and online. Check it out at www.athenian.org.

This site was developed using Dreamweaver MX and a PHP/MySQL server model. It features a full back end homegrown content management system, database driven content, and some very cool design techniques and coding tricks that I’ve wanted to deploy for some time.

I spent a lot more time on this site than the job was worth financially. In some part it was because I just had an opportunity to do something great and felt like it just needed to be done for the sake of it, but another part of me just wanted to somehow try to redeem myself after being such a poor student during my time there. Considering my attendance at the New England Conservatory of Music and finishing both my bachelors and masters degrees there with academic honors and a near 4.0 college GPA, I often wonder what would have happened if I had not fucked off so much in high school.

I give up

I switced back to Microsoft Entourage today after finding Apple’s Mail program that comes bundled with Mac OS X pretty much inadequate.

The management of email contacts is klunky in the seperate Address Book application. There was no way to specify a character set in an outgoing message, which was really annoying. I found features such as Instant Message Status Indicators nearly useless, and at the same time the application was missing what I consider to be important features such as a BCC line and message priority indication.

Stuff like Mail, iCal, iChat, and the Address Book are all very cool ideas with the whole integration thing and all, but the stuff is just too rough around the edges right now. I’ll keep an eye on it and hope it all improves over time.

Usability

I don’t how the National Cancer Institute got so involved with web design guidelines, but they have put together a very good website on website usability. Check it out!

I am still confused why this is under the National Cancer Institute. And for that matter since we are talking about usability, they need to change the title tags to something more descriptive of the content that lies within… Hmmm… OK, it’s a good site despite that one little nit.

Browsers and Form Tags

Let me just go on record as saying that I hate all web browsers. Why? Just you try to design a page that has a functional text field with accompanying form tags, and an inline image submit button, and try to make that sit in a semi-precise layout that looks good on both Netscrape and Micro$loth Intermittent Exploder. I often ask myself why I even bother to try and make this work any more. Each freakin’ browser does weird shit when you add a form tag to the HTML. This is supposed to be an invisible, non-rendering tag, and yet each browser has it’s own little way of screwing up your design once it detects that this tag is somehow embedded in your layout. At least Mozilla/Gecko gets it right most of the time. Don’t even get me started on what Opera and OmniWeb did here.

I love my job, I love my job, I love my job, I love my job…

I swear, this is the one issue that will make any web designer go nuts. Trying to find a common ground between web browsers and still have an exciting design. (Read: Still have a site that has pictures and tables.)