About This Site

This site was originally built with Adobe Dreamweaver, using CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) XML data arrays, and Spry widgets. While these widgets continue to work well for me, Adobe is no longer supporting Spry. For future site-building tasks, I am investigating the use of FLEX, which supports ActionScript, CSS and XML. These technologies allow the developer to use existing content new forms of interactivity. As browsers continue to improve (with the notable exception of Internet Explorer) such design changes become easier to implement. Oh, the joy of standards!

Cascading Style Sheets allow web builders to separate content from style. Spry widgets are wee Java apps that do things like display database content in pre-specified locations on the page, serve as buttons, or produce cool effects. They work within a "next generation" (Web 2.0) web development paradigm. FLEX is a more current framework for web applications, based on an open-source development platform called Eclipse. It uses an AJAX-like language called MXML, and can also be scripted using other common web languages.

There are many types of widgets (or components) made for AJAX, FLEX and other Web 2.0 frameworks. Object-oriented frameworks like these make simple, useful, re-usable snippets of code, called design patterns, which allow visual designers like me (who usually only make prototypes, and leave the ready-to-publish code to programmers) to easily understand, modify and use these pre-coded widgets.

Non-compliant browsers (usually older browsers) do not work well with the Spry widgets, and may not display the navigation buttons correctly. Internet Explorer, for instance, handles spacing very differently from all the other browsers. If you're viewing this page in IE7, you'll notice the problem when you pull down the portfolio menu. Although the menu is usable (barely) it looks ugly because of spacing problems. You can read more about the technology and history of this site at Kate'sWork Blog.