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Mysteries of the Universe

A horse on manback?

Blogging a  Dead Horse


No. I have absolutely no idea what the back story is for this image. I just happened to find it on the Internet in a place that suggested it was not copyrighted and it seemed to convey the appropriate sentiment to what might be wrong with the world of technology.


I've just spent several weeks and several hundred dollars of consulting fees, flogging a dead horse in order to create a simple, elegantly designed web site.


First we tried Drupal. That was impossible to learn. My colleague and I, with a total of over 80 years of systems programming experience between us, had a close look at Drupal. We tried. We really tried. And we concluded that it was massively overcomplicated, arcane, and fit only for those in the priesthood who wanted to devote their lives to it. Yeah, we know. There is a reason for the complexity. We get it. Complex web sites need complex design tools, but....whoof....


Then we tried Joomla! Same story. Massively overdesigned for the task at hand. I'm sure it has its followers, its devotees, its gurus, and its cognoscenti. But dudes, really! To use it you have to learn Joomla! (no surprise there), but then you also have to know CSS, HTML, PHP, JavaScript, Apache, some GoDaddy rituals, and, oh, yeah, mySQL. And this is just to create a minimalist web site!


And you cannot even just move the  web site from one server to another -- you have to hassle with both the data files and the SQL database and perform a multi-step ritual to move the web site around. There was no apparent way to handle a development and live version of the web site without complex procedures. Nor can you use a single instance of Joomla! to create multiple web sites. Furthermore, the CSS required to make even a simple web page work was overkill. And it damn near overkilled us.


Clearly Joomla! and Drupal were not the ways to go.


And then I discovered Sandvox. Not only did I create the first version of this website in just a day but it has a built in blog function. True, that day included learning Sandvox and diddling with a little bit of CSS and HTML -- it seems that a web site just has to be a cacophony of languages.  True, there are some things that Sandvox cannot do (tables being the main one), and there really isn't a user manual for it (but there's lots of help files).


Updated: February 10, 2015. Well, just when I thought I would be with Sandvox until HTML freezes over, I discovered Adobe Muse. Truth be told it was rediscovered because it has been out for a while but there were two bridges I had to cross: 1) I had to come to terms with Adobe's subscription model which I hate, but needs is as needs must, and 2) I had to have sufficient time to learn Adobe Muse. I lied. A third bridge. Adobe had to mature Muse to the point where it was useful for simple websites, not just web sites that are simply gimmicky.


But Adobe Muse has somewhat restored my faith in the fact that one day, maybe Sir Tim Berners-Lee's original vision of simplicity is restored. Until then we've got a horse on manback. Which brings us back to the image above. Nuff said.

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