Monthly Archives: June 2012

HTML/CSS Frameworks: pro and cons

Recently I’ve been thinking about the way I build websites and I realized that I could get much more effective if I developed some sort of process or method. So, naturally, I turned to css frameworks. But what I found, was a whole lot of discussion and contracting views. It seems that with frameworks, like with…well pretty much everything else on the web, you either love it or hate it.

Proponents of frameworks point out that frameworks organize and speed up your coding. They save time and make you a better web professional. They are also designed to keep the website looking the same in all modern browsers and even deal with the pesky ones (we all know who I’m talking about).

The opposition on the other hand argues that these frameworks are bloated and you will always end up stripping half of the code anyway. Another argument mentions the use of un-semantic and presentational class names.

Being a do-it-yourself kind of girl, I am not super excited about using a ready-made code. After all we all consider Dreamweaver to be the evil incarnated so aren’t frameworks a step in the wrong direction? And can a one-size-framework really fit all? Isn’t it better to spend a little bit more time and treating every website individually?

Dan Cederholm in Handcrafted CSS argues for writing one’s own framework. He gives an example of a very simple, bare-bone code for index.html, master.css and reset.css. He writes that ready-made frameworks are great for learning and quick and dirty prototyping. They can teach you some good code skills and challenge your coding habits. However, for the reasons mentioned above, he does not recommend them for actual development.

It seems that frameworks work for some people and for some types of websites but not for everyone and not always. It all depends on the context and maybe it’s good to have both options to work with. To really have an informed opinion,  I will try (and write about) several of the most popular frameworks. The next post will be about 960 grid system, but I will also look at blueprint and probably one or two others. Unless, during the trial period, any of the frameworks manages to completely change my worldview, I hope to finish this series with a home-made, bare-bone framework. It will be based on Dan Cederholm’s suggestion and what I’ve learned from the other frameworks.

So stay tuned for more on frameworks in the coming weeks.

Umbraco: The King is Dead, Long Live v4

Codegarden 2012Codegarden 2012 (official Umbraco conference) is now over and it is time to sum things up. As many, if not all of you, have already heard this years conference was all about the big announcement to pull the plug on Umbraco v5. The announcement was delivered by Niels Hartvig, the founder of Umbraco, in his keynote address you can see online.

Umbraco v5 was released earlier this year and was trumpeted as the best thing that ever happened to humanity since sliced bread. But, as it now turns out, the many performance issues were partly caused by the complexity of the code. This complexity made it impossible for Umbraco core developers to quickly solve problems or to have the community help out (which was the practice in v4). And therefore the surely difficult decision was made to revert focus to v4. Resources will now be spent on improving v4 by rolling out new features, also these intended primarily for v5. Umbraco HQ is hoping to enlist the help of the community and work in short development cycles to show the progress.

The announcement was met with mixed reactions from the community.  Developers and web agencies who already invested time and money are deeply disappointed, hurt and angry about the decision. They stand to loose some business over this unfortunate turn of events. Others, and they seem to be more vocal, support the decision and are happy to see the resources brought back to working on v4, a mature and stable platform. 

Codegarden 2012

Now it seems that the future of Umbraco rides on how fast and how well can v4 be developed. Some people have certainly lost confidence in Umbraco and need to be persuaded

that they can trust the same team with the future of their businesses. However it doesn’t seem like the “hardcore” supporters and developers are ready to give up on the project just yet. The next couple of months will show if the brand can still stand for quality and be a respected as a business solution.

If you are interested to read more about the topic and people’s reaction, check out our.umbraco.com blog.

Coming Soon Pages

I am currently working on updating the look and feel of my portfolio. Because it happened so that in the last few weeks I was asked for my portfolio address and I am really not happy with the old design, I started thinking about using a “coming soon” page.

What makes a successful “coming soon” page? Let’s see:

  1. It needs to be branded/designed to look like the coming page
  2. It needs to explain who you are and what is this website going to be about
  3. It needs to provide either
    • a way to contact you (email/phone/skype)
    • or a way to find you elsewhere online (social networks/portfolio galleries etc.)
    • or an option to sign up for updates
    • or at least a counter showing when is the website going to be ready
And most of all, it needs to be memorable enough for the visitor to want to go back and check it out again.

Below 4 outstanding inspirations I found this week:

Moses Mehraban

Moses Mehraban's coming soon page

http://www.mosesmehraban.com/

Designatr

Designatr coming soon page

http://designatr.com/

Five Second Projects

Five second projects coming soon page

http://fivesecondprojects.com/

Birdbox

BirdBox coming soon page

http://birdboxx.com/

And at the end a bit of resources. A really good check-list-style article from Smashing Magazine on the topic of building “coming soon” pages.