Friday, November 26, 2004

disturbing comments

Disturbing Comment of the Week #1
Attending a presentation from an external company who are trying to get their feet in the door of the corporation I work for, I was called upon to explain how we were currently delivering some of our eLearning training content.

The demo was good but nothing we haven't seen before, which I explained and went on to say that this type of training (completely flash based), was quite time-consuming to produce and complex. In our industry, fast turnaround is essential; from product conception to engaging training resources to design and development and ultimately to rollout across the business can take a matter of days to weeks depending on the circumstances. In general, I only produce a full flash module for training that is long-term, not going to change much in the near future or can really benefit from the creation of a fully self-contained user-experience.

External companies usually don't handle this pace very well and warning signs always burn brightly in my mind when they start saying things like 'Oh, yes, you can edit the content yourselves - well, some of it - actually, only the really templated stuff'. We've been singed before with outside providers not sharing files and ultimately the content becomes useless because we can't change it, they disappear off the face of the earth, or demand some ridiculous fee to hand over the goods.

As I went on to explain the complexities of Flash to the management team, covering interface design, creativity, graphic design and actionscripting, I was horrified to hear them say, 'But we can just send a few people to a course, can't we?'

I shuddered on the inside.

Disturbing Comment #2
Perusing a Web Standards digest yesterday, I came across a thread concerning the take-up of Web Standards in relation to job-ads. The conversation was around the fact that either employers don't know about Web Standards and so promoting yourself as WS developer doesn't get you very far, or Companies that understand the importance of WS have given up expecting recruits to have this knowledge and are resigned to be expecting to train them in-house.

One reply in this thread bemoaned that 'all employers want is that you know Dreamweaver, and Dreamweaver spits out completely bad and invalid code, so we shouldn't be using it, and why can't employers realise this '.

Clearly, this person doesn't know Dreamweaver like I know Dreamweaver.

DW does not do this. Any program that generates code for you is going to need a little tweaking but really, the tweaking involved here is so minimal it adds nothing to my development time. I set it to produce XHTML and most of the internal checking is done for me. I set up my style sheets and validate them and off I go. No fuss. Most pages validate first go with the W3C validator, and if not, it's usually because I've done something silly.

People who make these comments don't seem to understand that you have complete control over the code in DW - you can work in a split screen mode or All code mode or Design mode; whichever you choose.

Yes, your Auntie Flo might use DW for the local Lawn Bowls Homepage and all she ever looks at is Design Mode (though at the price she's more likely to FrontPaging) and so the code is never massaged; but don't underestimate the power of this application in the hands of a true HTML'er - it boosts productivity and makes site management easy.

You go, good thang.

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