February 7, 2005


Sometime in the last couple of weeks the official Ormsby House website, ormsbyhouse.com, finally launched. It’s still pretty bland, but that’s okay. It’s all right these days to launch a website kind of thin, just to get it out there, and then progressively redesign it until you’ve got a good-looking site. It’s happening around here every day. And they’ve got their tongue firmly in cheek about the remodel. Just check out some of this copy:

If you’ve driven down Carson Street recently, you’ve no doubt looked at the Ormsby House project going on and wondered: what are those maniacs trying to do?

If you bookmark this page for occasional visits you’ll be able to know the question, “when’s it going to open?” almost as soon as we do.

The rest of the trip will require you to engage your imagination and see this project through the eyes of a child (or more appropriately an architect—which in our opinion is about the same difference).

There’s a lot of good stuff there, and they’re going in the right direction with the conversational tone.

A little less good is that it looks like they went back in time to 1996 to recruit their web design team. Check a few of these under-the-hood gems from their site:

<meta name="GENERATOR" content="Microsoft FrontPage 4.0">

<body bgproperties="fixed" bgcolor="#F0D793">

<font face="Monotype Corsiva">

<p class="MsoNormal">

<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>


bgcolor? font tags? An MsoNormal class that doesn’t even do anything, because there’s no stylesheet linked? And don’t even ask me what the <o:p> tag is. You could look through several different versions of HTML and not find that one. In all the validator shows 63 errors. Is that all? Seems like there should be so many more. Well, that’s because there’s no DOCTYPE, so it’s validating to HTML 4.01. If we validate it again as XHTML Transitional, we get 147 errors. XHTML Strict? 199.

It’s been a while since I got up on my soapbox, but I’ve got to say: I’m tired of this crap. It’s 2005, for Christ’s sake. XHTML has been out for six years. CSS for nine. There is no reason for any web developer who has studied for more than a week to build a site like this. Really. Honestly. It’s obsolete, it’s sloppy, and it’s amateur. It’s like buying a new Ford, looking under the hood, and seeing a steam engine. Or a go-kart engine that the dealer strung up with bailing wire.

Most of all, it smacks of laziness. This is the kind of site that’s built when the web designer is too lazy, or too “busy”, or just too f-ing arrogant to keep up with the industry. And, like I said, it’s not like there’s new stuff coming out every week. XHTML is six years old. Six goddamned years. There is no excuse for anyone who builds websites for money not to be using it. We don’t build sites like this anymore, so grow up and join the 21st century. We’re all here waiting for you.

Now, there is a chance that this site was an inside job. They might have a given some secretary a copy of FrontPage and told him or her to whip up a site. And if that’s the case, I apologize. My little rant above isn’t aimed at amateurs, it’s aimed at the pros who build websites day in and day out. But even for the amateurs, I want to get the word out: there are better ways to build sites. What’s under the hood counts just as much as what can be seen by the eye. Sites aren’t built this way anymore. And since you have millions of dollars to build a casino, I think you can plunk down the money to buy a copy of Designing with Web Standards and spend a few hours reading it. It will be quite an education, and when you redesign your website it will turn out a lot better for it. Trust me.

Plus, search engines like well-designed XHTML. And using it will give you a better chance at knocking my Ormsby House site off the top spot. Good luck!

Filed under The Computer Vet Weblog

Comments (1)

Comments RSS - Trackback - Write Comment

  1. Kalrac says:

    You’re number 6 on Dogpile, but that’s after five sponsored links because we think that you’re planning on buying a house in the town of Ormsby, so you want a lot of links to realtors. Gotta love that IntelliFind™!
    Hmmm… I suppose it would be a bit of a stretch to ask them to change that for you…

    Posted February 10, 2005 @ 10:36 pm

Write Comment