Those of you who aren't new to the site will no doubt have noticed that the "look and feel" has changed a little. Hopefully not so much so that you can't still find you way round but still enough to offer improvement. Feedback so far has been good.
I mentioned in the "Happy Birthday" article not so long ago that I was thinking of a new look. Quite a few of you said "why bother if it looks OK as it is"? but I thought "hey, why not?". After all, a year is a long time in this business and times change. I chose to ignore my Dad's comments about the colour scheme. What does he know!? He still wears my clothes that I cleared out of my cupboard when the early nineties ended ;)
The main goal of the redesign was to make the site feel modern and a little fresher. Obviously it would have been daft of me not to take this chance to implement some of the useful things I've learnt over the past year or so to improve performance as well. Here are some of the other goals of the redesign:
- Better optimise the screen "real-estate"
- Make the options available more evident to what they are relevant to and keep them consistent
- Increase performance - views have been made more lightweight and this method implemented
- Reduce number of images used - now only 4 or 5 used
- Maintain enough of the appearance of the old site so as not to confuse the regulars or lose identity
For those who can't remember what the old site looked like or never saw it here is a grab:
Clearing up a common belief:
One of the comments I regularly get from users, about the site, is that it looks very "non-Domino". What does this mean? Well, I know what it means, I just can't see why that statement should have any credit. What does look "Domino"? Notes.net?
My reply is usually along the lines that there is absolutely no reason why a site designed (well) in Domino can't look just as good as any site designed in any other product. The secret to this is not to rely on Domino to create your HTML for you. You need to do it yourself. That said, I realise the fact that Domino can turn a Notes table in to an HTML table "on the fly" is amazingly powerful. Notes developers can now design for the web without needing to know a whole lot of HTML. This, in my opinion, is the problem. In order to get serious about Domino development you need to get to know (D)HTML just as well as you know Notes. When this happens you can take control.
A future article may well be entitled "How to make your Domino site not look so Domino" but for the time being here's a few pointers:
- Always use the view property "Treat as HTML".
- Never ever use a View or Editor Applet.
- Don't use Notes Tables to layout your data. Use Passthru HTML and create the tables yourself.
- Use as much Passthru HTML as you can on your forms and place your fields in here as required
This is what the form you are looking at now looks like in design-mode:
Not at all pretty but at least you know what the end results will be.
Good luck. Trust me, it feels better to introduce yourself as an Internet Developer than a Notes/Domiono developer. At least then people will know what you are talking about. Here's another useful technique that should help you ...