Web site updated - after battling with iWeb 08

2008 Feb 28

As you might have noticed, I uploaded a new version of this website. This had been due for a couple of weeks, but I postponed it after I had upgraded to a new software version. I am not (and don’t want to be) a web designer, and I do like Apple’s iWork/iLife suites for their simplicity and elegant results. Therefore I used iWeb to create these pages.

While it's a great tool for creating good-looking web pages with little effort, the generated HTML files are at least questionable. The previous version of this web site was created with iWeb 06 which had a couple of severe problems: For example, it didn’t reuse images that are the same on multiple pages, and the URLs of blog pages were created out of non-speaking IDs instead of the blog page title. Luckily with the help of tools and scripts, many of these problems could be fixed.

As most Internet professionals know, Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 is another source of problems for many web sites, as it’s full of bugs in terms of compliance to standards. For example, it does not display PNG images properly. Apple uses PNG by default, and generates JavaScript code to fix this and other issues, but web sites take longer to load and if JavaScript isn’t active, these workarounds don’t work. As until recently, many large corporations still used MSIE 6.0 as their default browser, I decided to convert all PNG images to JPG images using scripts. On my website, no transparency effects (supported only by PNG) are used, so this worked fine.

After upgrading to iWeb 08, I noticed that Apple on the one hand had fixed at least some of the iWeb 06 problems. On the other hand, Apple now uses even more JavaScript than before. Now even basic navigational elements, such as the menu bar or blog summaries are created at run-time using JavaScript. After battling for some time with adjusting and reapplying my scripts to the iWeb 08 pages, I finally decided it's currently not worth the hassle to try to workaround iWeb to support outdated browsers or browsers without JavaScript.

MSIE 7.0 has been out for one and a half years now, and there are so many pages out there nowadays that do require JavaScript.

I hope that especially visitors from large corporations are still able to view my web site properly (here is a screenshot of the welcome page). In case of any problems, please contact me.

In that case, however, I would probably stop using iWeb, and instead use other tools, hand-code the HTML, or most probable, generate basic HTML out of a web site model.