Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Renovating a website today



For those of you who manage your own websites, you know that overhauling them is a massive undertaking, and often requires you to rebuild the site from the ground up. We've just endured such a two-month-long process, which was the most thorough and extensive rebuild we've ever undertaken (actually every new renovation takes that title, truth be told), and are delighted first that the project isat long lastfinished, and that the new, expanded AW.com is purring along pretty much just as we envisioned it. We invite you to take a look and take it for a spin, and tell us what you think.

We'll spare you the gory details, but the take-away from the experience, from someone who actually coded the first incarnaton of architecturalwatercolors.com in html back in the day, is that web design and coding have become as complicated and arcane as tensor calculus. Complicated, not complex, and comparable to Russian nesting dolls, with software nested in software, esthetically modded by themes, refined by plugins and apps and mapped across your server in a staggeringly vast tree of files residing in literally hundreds of folders. A mighty oak of php!

Wordpress includes: indeed it does!

One untoward result: all those hordes of code kiddies have been diligently polishing and elaborating all things php until it often requires a week of sleuthing to discover how to change a precoded line of text on what you naively thought was your own website to a phrase that suits you.

Yes, that sort of complexity is the main drawback of the maturation of the web, but the result of the ongoing coding frenzy is that you can do some pretty amazing things with a webpage todayyou can have parallax effects, fullscreen video headers, carrousel image galleries... Just about any sort of bell or whistle you can imagine, and someone's got a plugin that will enable it. In fact, you can do so much with webpages today that the pendulum has swung and there is now an outright rebellion against all those bells and whistles (ironically, driven by the very same web-centric cadre creating them) and clean, minimalist web design is all the rage.

We've always been strong believers in clean, minimalist web design and were never fond of yesteryear's obsessions with shiny-glass buttons and later faux brushed aluminum, design trends which always seemed to us patently absurd. So we welcome the embrace of minimalism and simplicity, and the underlying acknowledgement that a webpage is indeed just that, with text and graphics frankly expressed.  

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