Flutterby™! : David Siegel

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David Siegel

2001-02-18 18:34:53+00 by Dan Lyke 6 comments

Via Scripting News: David Siegel asks "How would you like to visit the Louvre with images turned off?" I wouldn't. But I'm quite happy that it doesn't have Las Vegas[Wiki] style blinking lights. And, true to form, his article has broken links. [Dan Hartung points out that this is a 1997 article]

[ related topics: Dave Winer ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:31:08+00 by: dhartung

Of course it has broken links, Dan. For some reason Dave was trawling the 1997 WebReview archives. Heck, not only is it in the URL, it's printed at the top! :) You were kidding, right? Or maybe you just skimmed?

This is an interesting artiface from the web at the point where design had matured, and Siegel's methodology (not all invented by him, but certainly advocated) of using tables to precisely place images was wholly accepted. It's also a signal of what was to come -- content management systems. You can't put that level of design effort into every page on Amazon.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:31:08+00 by: Dan Lyke

D'oh! Whoops. Yep. My bad. I guess I'm just way[Wiki] too ready to jump down the throats of the Siegels and Zeldmans of the world.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:31:08+00 by: Dan Lyke

On the bad links thing, however, when you compare the efforts of David Siegel to, say, those of Philip Greenspun, there's no question which one really gets the 'net. True, there are some links to Philip's original server that are broken (just as, alas, I couldn't keep beating on the maintainers of my original server to keep my old links active), but once he broke down with his own domain(s) old links now redirect to the appropriate new places.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:31:09+00 by: Mars Saxman

I get depressed when I read stuff like this. He seems to think that it's more important to make pretty pictures come out exactly as he intends them on my machine than to make sites that actually WORK.

Death to fascist web designers. Bah.

I also don't see why he is so upset about database driven web sites. What, does he actually expect people to maintain thousands of HTML files with links hither and yon by hand? What an incredible waste of time and creativity. My site is tiny, as such things go, but the only reason I can run it at all is that everything lives in a database and a bunch of PHP code does all the grunt work of rendering it into HTML when necessary. It's not a design statement, it's simple practicality - I couldn't do it any other way.


#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:31:09+00 by: Larry Burton

There's this thing called perspective that I keep trying to keep things in. I can understand, from Siegel's perpsective, how he would see a need to keep his visual message kept in tact. He's a visual thinker and he doesn't want to be misunderstood. There's millions of people like him out there and millions and millions more that like getting their information from people like him. His article has a point. If he hadn't of started using the single pixel graphic and tables for alignment and page layout someone else would have. What this illustrates to the rest of us is a failure to anticipate the need for a page layout markup language (PLML?) to go hand in hand with HTML when the web was first formed or at least when the <img> tag came along.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:31:09+00 by: Dan Lyke

I remember the early days of HTML, and I remember the arguments of the creators of a graphics standard called RIP (I actually wrote an HTML browser that output RIP at one point). I think this would've been late '93 or early '94. The RIP folks were selling a lot to BBS versions of newspapers, and their arguments in newsgroups against HTML were "but our clients want control over the output".

HTML won, of course, because the people actually creating the content that bootstrapped the web didn't care about control over the output, they wanted their papers and notes and such online and readable on a variety of platforms.

But Siegel is right from his perspective: When you've got clients who want to obscure the fact that they're just republishing product brochures or AP news feeds design is paramount. It's one of the reasons that I think the Cluetrain folks are pointing out the obvious, but also that their efforts are doomed to failure.