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The personal blog of Michael Ashby

Category / web design

Making Shoes

There’s an old adage that I often repeat because I find it to be so very, very true – at least when it comes to me.

“The cobbler’s children have no shoes

Since the bulk of my day is spent at the office working on the web, when I get home the last thing that I have energy for is taking on another web project. It’s not that it’s hard, mind you, it’s simply that I don’t have the mental bandwidth to fire up another process. It’s for this reason that I’ve been unable to get off my duff and re-do Holly’s web site.

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Codecademy – This Is Just What I Need

I have been wanting to learn JavaScript for some time now. Currently, I’m up to my ears on an HTML5/CSS3 project and there isn’t a lot of bandwidth to figure out what book I should buy to get started, much less have the time to read. Then today I came across a link from SwissMiss […]

Mashby 4.0

My head has been swimming with thoughts of the new Apple iPhone 4, so I guess the number 4 has been rattling around so much, I decided to revamp the blog to a new template. Thus, we have Mashby v4.0! The template is called “Manifest” and was created by Jim Barraud. It’s brilliantly simple and […]

Death To Hotlinking!

No More HotlinkingRecently, I’ve been working off-and-on redesigning this weblog. I’m tired of the look and it’s time for something new. While I’ve been thinking on how the site should look, I’ve also been thinking about how to make it function better. MovableType has evolved since I started this blog and my knowledge of how it all works has expanded as well. Additionally, there are a few pet peeves and tweaks that I’ve been wanting to enable or change as well. The first of these I enabled today – not more hotlinking. 🙂

Hotlinking is where someone uses images hosted on your web server on their own pages. Most people do this without knowing that they’re doing anything wrong per se, but as more and more people embed my images in their forum profiles and what not, I’m noticing my bandwidth increasing more-and-more. The rub I have with hotlinking is the fact that although my traffic has increased, no one is truly visiting this web site.

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Recommendations For Windows HTML Editors

An open toolboxBeing a web producer, I often run into situations where a client wants me to recommend a tool that they can use to edit their web site. If they are a Windows user, the most common software that they have on hand is Microsoft’s FrontPage, but I have to say that this is one of the worst HTML editors you can use. I do everything I can to try and talk the client out of using it and when I’m successful, then they ask me what I recommend instead. That’s a tough question to answer, but here’s a few recommendations you might find helpful.

What’s Wrong With FrontPage?
The reason web professionals loathe FrontPage is because the software sucks. There’s no easy way to say it – it just sucks. FrontPage is notorious for polluting your pages with extreme amounts of additional code. Code that isn’t needed nor functional. You pages may work in Internet Explorer, but more often than not, your pages wont look right, or even work in other browsers.

The biggest gripe though is that after a web professional has spent hours creating your site, FrontPage will redesign your pages/site completely un-doing all the work that’s been done. If you’ve hired someone to create a web site for you, the last thing you want to do is destroy all the work that you just paid for.

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Going Down The Rabbit Hole

Starr Ridge Rosemary Parmesan CrackersWith all the work I’ve been doing on NPUG in it’s redesign, among other projects I’m working on, I guess I’ve been having a little “redesign on the brain”. I suppose it’s much like when you’re shopping for tires. You don’t notice how many sales for tires there are in the newspaper until you begin shopping for them yourself. It’s at that point that you realize you’re inundated with them. That’s how it’s kind of been for me as of recent. I’ve been itching to redesign this weblog.
Mike Rohde has been documenting his recent redesign and it’s been a very interesting “behind-the-scenes” look at his work and the effort that it takes to bring a web site to life. Before Mike began his journey down the rabbit hole, I was following the redesign of StopDesign. I’m a huge fan of Douglas Bowman and his recent redesign has been a massive influence on where I’d like to take the direction of this weblog. So I’ve been pondering what I like about Mike and Doug’s sites as well as factoring in other sites that blow me away like Simple Bits and Asterisk. All of these sites have a lot going for them and in my opinion represent the cream of the crop in terms of weblogs as well as overall web design. It’s certainly a challenge to think that I could aspire to something even close, but in never hurts to have lofty goals. 😛

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Climbing Mt. Validation

sample tagThe other day I was working on a few tweaks on and I remembered that it had been quite awhile since I validated my code. For some people as long as it looks good in a browser, that’s good enough and in large part they are 100% correct. However, being the perfectionist that I am, I tend to subscribe to the notion that the code that you write should comply with the specification it was written for. Imagine my surprise when I clicked on the button in the Colophon and saw errors galore! :O So I set out on a challenging adventure to try and tweak my code and that of Movable Type the software that I use to manage my weblog.

The first hurdle I had to overcome was to decide just which spec I was going to validate (HTML. XHTML, etc.) Looking at all the errors I currently had to fix, it seemed only natural to go for XHTML. Besides, that’s the new sexy standard. If I could get my site into XHTML I’d be one of the cool kids on the block.

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Mother Puss Bucket!

I’m sorry, I just have to get this off my chest. Can someone explain to me why a validator trys to validate links in your code as well? It just makes no sense!