Trust me, I know of which I speak. "Why haven't you finished moving the redesigned site to its new servers" you ask? Because Voltaire died about a thousand years before he could tell me the above bit of wisdom and as a result, I had to pick it up on the streets.

Practical Example: Website design, specifically, taking a largish personal site and eliminating the unweildy and unworkable design you hate, transmogrifying and updating it, and putting it on a new server.

How about I create the pages in BBEdit, like I did years ago when I began Andy Ihnatko's Colossal Waste Of Bandwidth? Great idea. But hey, now there are great visual content-design tools out there. Why not re-do it all in PageMill? Done.

But boy, now that GoLive is out, I think I'd be better off with a package that offers full-blown site management features. Well, I redid it once…what's the harm in re-doing it again? I'll be actually saving time in the long run.

Oh, yeah, Dreamweaver.

Won't cost me anything to try it out, anyway. Wow, do I like the streamlined interface; all the time I was using GoLive, I thought of better ways to implement certain ideas but couldn't figure out how to do it in that app. Let's import the site into Dreamweaver and do it again. I mean, with this app, it'll be a piece of cake!

Good job writing those AppleScripts that automate YellowText, by the way. Amazing, isn't it, how just one script attached to BBEdit takes a somewhat complicated job and turns it into something as simple as typing the content and then hitting a menu item. Wouldn't I be better off writing my own creation tools, tools that worked just the way I wanted them to and were perfectly-tailored to running this site?

How could I make things better if I started writing JavasScript for some of its elements? I'd have to throw away a lot of work and do it over again, but...

Look what just came in the mail: the new edition of FileMaker and Lasso. What if I set up my own server and had FileMaker serving the web content? Think of the better and more dynamic ways I could handle content if…

Well, I've made my point. Better, better, better and bloody better is what I pursued, when in reality all I demanded was a site that was Good. Result: a year's work and only a handful of sections actually on the server, while millions of bytes of Tests and Trials and Demonstrations and Completed Sites have come and gone. Every few weeks I've tried something new and every few weeks I've gone back to that CD-R I burned of my original website's working directory to retrieve "virgin" copies of the content.

"Better" is the enemy of "Good." "Good" is a defineable goal; "Better" is an endless chase. "Bad" is a year passing and still not having the new site finished.

So here's what I've decided. F databases. F complicated site managers. F JavaScript, F frames. For now, I'm going back to HTML 3.0. See this top page? It uses nothing more advanced than tables. Looks real purty, too. Every page I transmogrify will be just as retro.

And F working out a good, solid site structure ahead of time. That's another thing that kept biting me in the butt. No method of organization I created survived the test of actual use. So I'm just gonna throw pages up here, and once they're all up, I'll collect them into categories and directories. Once everything's up, these simplified pages can be easily integrated into more complicated layouts. But that's for later.

Oh, and by the way, F dates and F schedules, too. I'm going to keep this here page up as a form of penance until the whole site is finally finished. I'm starting again, again, but hopefully now I'm starting again having finally learned the most important thing about site development: GET THE DAMNED SITE UP.


YellowText The weblog I've been doing since way before there were even weblogs, by cracky, gol-durnit... GO
Einsendrafthansa The big pile I'm making of articles and such as I transmogrify them from the old site's format. GO
Fridge Of Cinema My regular DVD reviews, reposted here as I think to re-rack them for HTML. Dash it, I need an intern or something... GO

Andy Ihnatko is a Boston-based geek and writer who works for anyone foolish enough to pay him. He's The Chicago Sun-Times' technology columnist as well as Macworld Magazine's back-page opinion guy, and his writings also appear in Playboy, Yahoo! Internet Life, CNN.com, and in the occasional book. Roger Ebert credits him for writing "at least a third" of his "Little Movie Glossary." He (Andy) would also like to point out that he made his indy film debut last year, owns two goldfish named Click and Drag, builds animatronic toys that can be controlled via telepresence to hassle cats, has one published credit contributing to a single issue of the "Ren & Stimpy" comic, that the column he wrote about modifying his girlfriend's coffeemaker is a true story, that while said girlfriend is no longer in the picture, the business with the coffeemaker was in no way at fault, and that he has had to say "No, really, this is probably the best you can do with my hair" to TV makeup people often enough that he's had the phrase printed on embossed pocket-sized cards for convenience.
Email me and say "Good Boy, Andy, You're On The Right Track Here, Finally, I Just Know It"