Tablets: Another Consideration in Web Development

Let’s face it; many people are still not enamored with tablet PCs. Thousands may already own an iPad or any tablet but there are still plenty of individuals who choose the bulkier but more feature-rich notebooks or even netbooks. The tides of change cannot be stemmed though and tablets will become a major platform in personal computing in the near future.

As consumers, we can see that as an improvement over what we have today. But for webmasters and web developers, it poses yet another challenge. With sales of tablet PCs rising, the time is right to start investing on tablet-friendly website versions. Yes. Versions because you do not have to totally redesign your website to accommodate internet surfers using tablets. Like with smartphone users, you can specify a version of your site to be served to those using tablet.

When developing the tablet version of your website, here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Keep file sizes to a minimum. In the future, all tablet PCs would be equipped with Wi-Fi functionality. Today though, plenty of tablet PCs still connect to the web using 3G networks. This means pages would not load as fast as when the PC is using Wi-Fi connection. As a result, you have to ensure that your website’s tablet PC version is light and would load easily. Most internet browsers are impatient and if you cannot deliver the info they need on time, they would easily hit the back button and try another website.

2. No Flash. Android-powered tablet PCs support Flash. Apple’s iPad does not. We can argue all we want that Android-powered tablets are better than the iOS-powered iPad, but it will not change the fact that sales figures are on the side of the iPad. That said, you have to find Flash alternative to use on your site if you need multimedia content on your site’s version for tablet PCs. Furthermore, contents using the multimedia platform from Adobe cannot be read by search engine bots thus lowering your chance to get higher ranking on search engine result pages.

3. Resolution and the accelerometer. Most tablet PCs are equipped with accelerometers so there is no definite resolution to target when designing for tablets. There’s another thing to consider with accelerometers. You have to design your site in such a way that no matter how it is being rendered, the area above the fold is well optimized. Above the fold means the area that the visitor can see without having to scroll down. Make sure that you make good use of this area in any resolution or display layout.

Remember that tablets are still relatively young and in the near future, they would come with better and newer features. Make sure that you are on top of these changes and adapt your site’s design to accommodate future changes.

Web Development Basics – 4 Reasons to Make Your Own Website

With a liberal range of web development options, you may think having someone else make your website will be a timely low cost one time expenditure. You will find that cost evolving into a greater expense than your initial expectation, and examine some timely reasons for doing your own website.

The cost of having someone do your site

The initial expenditure may seem quite reasonable, with the assumption being, your site will be done in a timely manner, search engine optimized, tweaked and ready to go. This assumption is if all goes well in regard to clarification, readily defined goals, content and expectations. This is where it gets more involved in these expectations and the cost of implementing them.

Your site will need timely updates, revisions and tweaks

No matter how basic your site, it requires an element of fresh updates, revisions for change of perspective and goals. When someone does your site, you do have to pay additional for each revision you may need or idea you may wish to try out. Want to do a widget, (little box of info, games, quiz or other web toys) then change out for another randomly requires expenditure; you may try something and immediately prefer not to use it.

Access and control over your site

When your site is done by a web designer, and is done with html coding, unless you know coding or prepared to learn coding you will not have the access to maintain your site nor the control to make changes right at the desired time you have allowed for the project. It will always be with someone else scheduling. If you determine you do not feel it worth your continued support of the expenditures, you will have a site languishing for attention until you find a remedy or abandon your cherished project.

There is something cool about doing it yourself

There is a lot to be said for doing everything at your own discretion. You can apply easy tools requiring no html coding or technical skills. These options allow you to create your own site in a matter of days, with an array of personalization you can incorporate immediately or add as you deem ready. Easy to follow instruction is all included for the most tech challenged or aptly energized for the web warrior who just does not want to bother with the coding process. You can aptly test your ideas and avenue of endeavor without burdensome expenditure.

Website basics are neither complex or costly when you choose to make your own site. You will always have access and freedom to do it your way!

Web Development and Reverse Engineering

Web developers are always trying to create attractive and functional websites. If you are using a content management system you need no special knowledge of web technologies to create basic pages. But sooner or later you need to modify layout or some part of the website for which there are no settings in the user interface. Modifying code means knowing basics of HTML, CSS, JavaScipt, PHP and other languages used for websites. If you are new to this world you will need some tutorials and introductory texts to learn basics of web technologies.

However, there is another way of learning with possibility to experiment and test various modifications of the code or layout. It is called reverse engineering and means examining code of an existing page. Every web browser has a function to display the source code of displayed page. By examining it you can see what elements are needed to construct the web page. This is a great way to learn HTML and CSS language. Of course, examining and understanding how it works is one thing, creating your own project is another. The easiest way to start writing code is to make small modifications on your website. For this purpose you need a development installation on your home server, because experimenting with a live website is not a good idea. Depending on the system used for your site you will have to find files which contain the code for the page under examination. There is no general rule, but the main core of the page layout is probably in some template file.

This approach of examining the source code is also useful when you find a page with some fancy design or cool menu. To understand how it is done you need to find appropriate part of the code. Firefox, for example, has a nice feature to display only the source code of a small part of the website. You simply select the page elements you are interested in, click the right mouse button to display a menu and select View Selection Source. Once you find source lines responsible for the wanted page element, you can study them and try to implement something similar on your website. This doesn’t mean that you can copy the code directly, you will have to modify it to be compatible with your existing website. But the basic principle is that you examine existing code and experiment with small modifications. If you combine this approach with web resources explaining theoretical background of web technologies, you will be able to quickly understand and learn new languages and technologies.