What do you guys think of my websites?

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by JHacker, Oct 9, 2006.

  1. JHacker macrumors 6502

    JHacker

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2006
    Location:
    East Coast
    #1
    I'm currently 20 years old and in college. I took an intro to computing class that introduced us to web design, and went on to learn most of what I know by myself.

    Both of these websites were coded 100% by hand. No Dreamweaver or anything like that. I would like to start using Dreamweaver eventually, but I want to get a grasp of coding by hand first.

    The first site I built for a friend who owns a DJ company. And the second I built for my own band.

    I also would like to start learning flash as well. Let me know what you think. Remember, I'm not a professional so don't be too harsh!

    AJH Entertainment
    Where's Patty?

    Thanks-
    J
     
  2. Stampyhead macrumors 68020

    Stampyhead

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2004
    Location:
    London, UK
    #2
    They look good, nice and clean. My only criticism is with the first one, where the music starts playing when the site loads. That's a pet peeve of mine, and bad form in general, to have loud music start playing when the site loads. It's best to allow the user the choice whether or not they want to listen to the music after the page is loaded.
    Since you do so well with hand coding, Dreamweaver probably won't offer you much, except allowing you to work faster if you are a visual person. If you're good and hand coding and relatively fast at it I would just stick with that and save yourself $300.
    But overall, good work. Keep it up!
     
  3. billyboy macrumors 65816

    billyboy

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2003
    Location:
    In my head
    #3
    The first impression of the site looked fine, but as the music fired up unexpectedly and woke up my wife, I havent returned from the dog house yet to take a second look
     
  4. JHacker thread starter macrumors 6502

    JHacker

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2006
    Location:
    East Coast
    #4

    Ahh I'm sorry! I should have mentioned that! It only does that on the AJH site, being that it's a DJ company.

    On my band's site you actually have to launch the media player!

    Sorry again! But thanks for looking!
     
  5. iGary Guest

    iGary

    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Location:
    Randy's House
  6. Lixivial macrumors 6502a

    Lixivial

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    Location:
    Between cats, dogs and wanderlust.
    #6
    Auto-playing media died out with MIDI's and the 1980's (more like the 1880's). Lest you wish to be whipped by a thousand web-elitists, leave them in their cold dead coffins.

    Personally, I'm not certain I appreciate having key information hidden in pop-up DIVs (ala example here ), because (*checks* -- yep as I suspected) it's hidden when you go to print the page. To me, this is where a table ought be handy and this is also where information should be visible at all times.

    One last thing: in your corporate events page, I'd think that the "E-mail for Pricing" ought be a link, even if there is a link in the footer.

    Couple of bugs: Speaking of the footer, you got a typo in the mailto links. mailto:%20jhacker@umd.edu does work, but I'd suggest getting rid of the spaces in your footer sections:

    Code:
    <a href="mailto: adam@ajhentertainment.com"> adam@ajhentertainment.com </a> | 
    	Web Design by <a href="mailto: jhacker@umd.edu"> Jordan Hacker </a>
    See where those spaces reside?

    I didn't do extensive testing, but on your first site, in Opera 9, when I hover over "Party Extras" for the dropdown, my horizontal scrollbar appears.

    I'm happy to see you use a tableless design. It's nice to see this effort hitting mainstream. I'm happy to see that you left the credit in the javascript files; that's not commonplace. Kudos, kudos for the great sites! You obviously put a lot of work into these and they turned out just fine, good job.

    Take my opinion for what it's worth -- probably less than two cents. :)
     
  7. ThunderLounge macrumors 6502

    ThunderLounge

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    #7
    Site 1:

    - Unnecessarily large page size resulting in wasting of bandwidth. 100k - 120k per page is a good max size. less than 100k is great.

    - Failed validation with 34 different errors.

    - No tables, +10. ;)

    - Loud, loud, and did I mention loud music? Tsk, tsk, tsk.

    - Needs better use of semantics, and proper tags and attributes. Examples: paragraph tags, title att. and alt att.



    Site 2:

    - Better load time.

    - Splash page... nah, just get me to the content please.

    - Again, no tables. +10 again.

    - Failed validation with 15 different errors.

    - Needs better use of semantics, and proper tags and attributes. Examples: paragraph tags, title att. and alt att.





    Overall, seen MUCH worse attempts.

    If you can code by hand, forget dreamweaver. Grab Taco for free, and have at it.


    Added:

    As a parting thought... putting an email address on a website is just asking for increased spam. Even with a filter on the box, it uses up unnecessary resources. There are other ways, such as a simple contact form, to use for contact purposes.
     
  8. JHacker thread starter macrumors 6502

    JHacker

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2006
    Location:
    East Coast
    #8
    Thank you guys for your replies! I'll definately take everything into consideration as I am pretty new to web design and I'm definately still learning.

    One question that I do have is what are PHP files? I know CSS and HTML, but what can I do with XHTML that I can't do now?

    Also - do you think I should start learning Flash to improve the GUI of my websites?

    Thanks again!
    -J
     
  9. JHacker thread starter macrumors 6502

    JHacker

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2006
    Location:
    East Coast
    #9
    What is verification and how can I do this?

    Right now I'm coding everything right in Terminal, Secure Shelled into my web server.
     
  10. JHacker thread starter macrumors 6502

    JHacker

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2006
    Location:
    East Coast
    #10
    I know the music is annoying - but it is the wish of the client.

    I much prefer having a link to launch a media player like in the second site!
     
  11. panoz7 macrumors 6502a

    panoz7

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    #11
    PHP files allow you to use server side scripting to create dynamic pages. It's basically just a simple programming language that your server interprets to produce the standard html that the end user sees. It interfaces very well with mySQL to create database driven sites.

    Download the flash demo, go the library and get some books, and give it a try. Personally I hate flash and only use it when a client requires it.

    Explain that as an experienced web developer (or that you asked some experienced web developers) that you know better. The client should respect your opinon if you do a good enough job convincing them. Explain that it is driving people away from the site.

    I'm assuming they're talking about validation in which case you can use this tool: http://validator.w3.org/ . Don't get too hung up on the results though. Work on cross browser compatibility first.
     
  12. ThunderLounge macrumors 6502

    ThunderLounge

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    #12

    This book will show you the way.
     
  13. ThunderLounge macrumors 6502

    ThunderLounge

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    #13

    Correct. I find it easiest to first write valid code, and then sort out the cross-browser stuff (which mostly means tweaks for IE) second.

    It would be a good idea to read up on IE's conditional comments as well, so that if you need to add css fixes for IE all you have to do is target IE with a second stylesheet. This will not break validation, keep you from needing hacks in your main css file, and also keep all the tweaks for IE in one central place for when you need to edit them again.



    On the topic of flash, panoz hit it right on. It's worn out its welcome pretty much. There's a time and place for it, but not in the majority of sites that use it.

    With flash, remember that a search engine can't read or see what's inside the flash movie. It could be "the world's greatest contnent" or the "cure for cancer" and google won't have a clue. With that in mind, neither will people that are blind or have poor vision.

    There are circumstances for flash, like interactive games or something of the sort, but in everyday sites it really isn't useful. There's only so much you can do with tags to try and tell someone what's contained in the file. Unless it's an absolutely got to have it deal, just skip over it. At the same time it's not a bad skill to have, and learning is always a good thing.
     
  14. JHacker thread starter macrumors 6502

    JHacker

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2006
    Location:
    East Coast
    #14
    The reason I would like to use flash would be to build my own media players and picture galleries, rather than borrowing from others.

    Is there a way to have a song play on a page and change content without stopping the song without using Flash (and not using frames)?

    For example, how is this site built: http://www.patmcgeeband.com/flash/index.html ?

    Is the entire site built in flash? Or are specific elements of it like the clicking over the buttons on the left and the interatcive news menu built in flash and then implemented into normal HTML?
    If someone could please clarify how this site is built I would be really grateful.

    What would you suggest I learn next after CSS and HTML? What would be the most helpful to me as a web designer?

    Thanks-
    J
     
  15. ThunderLounge macrumors 6502

    ThunderLounge

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    #15
    If the page changes, it will reload the player. So it would need to be in a frame. Personally, I'm not a fan of frames. The alternative to this would be using java to open a small player in a new window, but pop-up windows are generally annoying. Regardless, it's always best to allow the end user to control as much of the experience as possible. If they want to hear some tunes, let them turn them on. If they want to increase their font size, let them. Etc.


    After you read Zeldman's book, Php and MySql. They both go hand in hand.


    Don't worry about ASP and .Net, or Cold Fusion. They're proprietary, and not every box can run what they require.

    Dabble with Flash and action script (Flash's scripting language) a bit, the more knowledge you have never hurts.

    Might want to look a PERL a bit, just in case you have a need for it.

    You'll also want to play with Photoshop as well.

    Then there's always Ruby on Rails and Cake as well. Even some C++, cocoa might be fun down the road.


    For starting with Php/MySql, don't overlook the open source community. It's a wealth of knowledge and learning opportunities just waiting for you to tap. Start out with something simple, like disecting a new mod for SMF or a similar project. Then, find a need in their community, and write your own mod. Along with some good reading material as well. Be sure to study multiple coding styles, as most people write their code a little different. In an environment like SMF's, they set guidelines for mod's, etc. Doesn't necessarily mean that's the only way to do it, it's just the method they want used for adding to the codebase. There's other open source web projects out there as well, this was simply an example. ;)

    Php by itself doesn't have to interact with MySql either. However, when it does, that's when its true power can be utilized to serve fully dynamic content.


    There's tons of things you can learn, but getting a good, solid foundation with HTML, (x)HTML, CSS, Php, and MySql will get you headed in the right direction and give you a great aresenal of capabilities as well. From there, you'll find what you like and write your own path.


    But remember to start with Zeldman's book first, and never stop learning. ;)
     

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