austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

He'll save with a mighty hand

Of course, even though I had a day where I did something productive and useful and clearly made the web a little bit better, by replacing Flash with as fully functional and more universal plain HTML-and-CSS tricks, doesn't mean there wasn't some underlying absurdity to the affair.

The tech guy I started out advising, and then moved into just putting together a replacement because it was easier than explaining, didn't have a clear idea how to build a navigation bar for a web site. Now, some of this is quite fair: he's skilled in things like how to put together servers, and how to make web services run, or come back from crashing severely. Building web sites that use the servers is a different skill. Plus, some modest tricks were needed so that the navigation buttons would have a brushed-metal button look, and some less modest tricks were needed so the buttons would have a little light come on when the mouse hovered over. I had to look it up, although I had a rough idea how to do it going in.

But where his questions started out was, how do you make something on a web page that points to another web page? That is, how do you make a link? I realize that I've been writing HTML long enough that I don't want to add up how many years it is, so it's hard to imagine not knowing what the <a href> tag means and does, but ... wow. And he had Dreamweaver on his side, which I would've thought would make it hard not to produce links even if you don't know what any HTML codes are.

Again, I know: just because something is obvious to me doesn't mean it's obvious to anyone, and a large part of what makes things obvious to me is I have enough idea how to go looking for something. That is, I may not know what exactly what to search for, but I can guess at what kinds of words would be used to describe what I mean to do, so I could find guidance. Without that experience I'd be lost too. But, still ... how did someone not familiar with the anchor tag get the job of designing a web page?

Trivia: Charles Guiteau bought the ivory-handled revolver with which he would kill President Garfield for ten dollars; with it came a box of cartridges and a two-bladed pearl-handled penknife which had caught his eye. Source: Destiny of the Republic: A Tale Of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President, Candice Millard.

Currently Reading: Jersey Blue: Civil War Politics in New Jersey 1854 - 1865, William Gillette. It's a fine semi-technical review of politics in New Jersey in the early 1860s, although it protests too much against the state's reputation as a Copperhead locale. On the other hand, it gets into lovely period detail I don't recall seeing elsewhere, such as the nascent Republican party just billing itself as the Opposition, or the attempts by both parties to bill themselves as the Union Party as the war progressed.

PS: How Many Trapezoids Can You Draw? I put up a challenge that's sure to fall apart because I've poorly phrased some critical element.


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