Academic Web Blog

Advancing the web for university departments, institutes, and projects

From PSD to Website: Top 6 Things to Know image

From PSD to Website: Top 6 Things to Know

If you're agraphic designer whose background has been mostly in print, there's afew things we can guess about you: You are much more comfortable and productive inPhotoshop than in Dreaweaver or other web tools; you feel overwhelmed by all the technology detailsthat assault you when you need to turn your designs into web sites; and more and more, web sites are what your clients areasking for. If thissounds like you, then finding an effective path to turn your designsinto quality web sites could significantly advanceyour career.

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Apple's iPad: The Third Big Platform?

Having spent a week now with an iPad, I'm convinced that it will be the foundation for the next major computing platform, joining Windows and the Mac. Unfortunately, Apple's foolish attempts to restrict innovation in development tools seems likely to be a serious handicap.

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SEO: The Low-Hanging Fruit

Search engine optimization (SEO) is perhaps the most confusing, ill-defined, and controversial part of web design today. The good news is that there are some simple things that will provide a huge boost to most of these sites. Follow the easy steps in this article, and you'll be way ahead of the average site.

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HTML5 vs. Flash: A Complex Political Battle

A few days ago, I wrote about what the iPad means for web design. One of the most controversial issues is the effect Apple's spurning of Flash will have on the future of that technology. This subject has been written about widely; much of the commentary is along the lines of "good riddance to Flash" and "HTML5 can do everything Flash can do", and is emotional and ill-informed.

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What Does the iPad Mean for Web Design?

Browsers have always been the primary driver of the technologies and techniques that are available to web designers. In recent years, mobile browsers have entered the fray, adding not only new, tiny screen sizes but also new sets of technology constraints. The iPad adds a new twist to the complex and evolving set of targets that web designers need to aim for.

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The Future of (X)HTML

Last week, the W3C officially threw in the towel on XHTML 2. This was a Good Thing, as the bulk of the web community has been behind HTML 5 and there was little apparent future for XHTML 2. Eliminating it just cuts out some confusion and largely fruitless effort.

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Build Your Web Site Around Information, Not Pages

When building a small web site, it is natural to think of it as a set of pages. As the site grows, however, this approach becomes problematic. Information that you want to show on several pages needs to be entered on each of those pages, so updates require making the same change multiple times, increasing the effort required and the chances for errors. Since the content and the HTML markup are intertwined, it is difficult for anyone to edit the content unless they have HTML skills.


There is a better way: store the site’s information in a database. Each page then is created from a template that provides the page structure, with content drawn from the database. This approach puts the information at the center of the site, rather than its presentation (the pages). It brings many powerful advantages over the static HTML approach:

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