Monday, May 25, 2009

My first Flash website and others to come

First thing's first, SUMMER IS HERE.
Last week was final's week, and what a hellish week it was. I'm so glad it's all over. The final Flash project for my Computer Art class caused me the most trouble, but out of it came a newfound and unexpected desire to build websites.

Click the pic to visit the site. Yes, it is a Portal fansite XD

I thought I did a damn good job on my site, and others thought so too, save for a few snags (such as users not knowing that you click the section box to go back to Home). The interactivity and animated quality of the site really hit home for me, like, did I really do this? Yes, yes I did.

Right away I began designing more Flash sites, filling my sketchbook with ideas and colors and pulling bits of code from my professor's files. I had to find things to make Flash sites about!

I looked up more and more articles before I hit a slight snag: Flash isn't the only kind of website out there.

Before I could even open up a new Flash document I began to tread through various web design sites. I began to realize a few setbacks Flash has:
  • You can't use the Back button
  • Right-clicking only produces the Flash menu, with 'Play' and 'Zoom' and 'About Adobe Flash...' and all that
  • It requires a plug-in, limiting accessibility (granted, most current browsers come with the Flash plug-in, but still)
I was biting my nails.

Was there any way I could make a site behave like a Flash site, but still separate the sections into their own pages? I know that was one thing that bugged me about Flash sites—the main thing, actually. I could integrate it into HTML and CSS; I'd have to learn that. Alternately I could just make a static navigation, so you wouldn't even have to use the Back button. But the Back button is so fundamental to web browsing that it just slips from people's minds.

Wait, why do I care?

Because eventually I'd love to design a site that behaves like Flash in transitioning and interactivity, has different webpages for its sections to allow for easier linkage and browser-native navigation (Back and Forward buttons), and fills up the whole screen.

Upon doing more digging, I found some sites that actually operate this way.
Here's one of the most impressive I've seen:

Check it out, you'll see what I mean.

Thanks to MORE digging and bombarding my friend Frank with billions of questions, I found out that sites like this use a type of programming called AJAX, or Asynchronous Javascript and XML. Javascript performs the Flash-like transitioning, XML is a more advanced HTML language, and asynchronous implies that it does all this at the same time. The goal of AJAX is to make web sites perform like computer applications, limiting wait-time when going through pages and basically making the site as seamless as possible.

Incredible, right?

But also incredibly difficult, especially for someone of my experience.

After realizing how far I'd sped along this route, I started to pump the brakes and break things down into bite-sized portions.

I'd stick with Flash for now, and learn CSS coding and eventually learn how to merge the two. This will probably take a long time and I'll be sure to make many sites based on this. Hell, I might not even need to venture into AJAX. But for now, it remains that high mountain peak I long to someday reach.

Giving Sans Raison a Facelift

Going through articles on web design and dreaming up new and creative ways to build websites, I was bound to start thinking about this blog eventually. I'd been meaning to redesign this blog for a while. At one point I considered moving it to Wordpress because Wordpress has superior layouts and design—but I wouldn't have much control over getting my hands into the CSS of it all.

It wouldn't have been a problem before, considering how much I didn't really care about CSS.

But now that I do, I'll probably stick with Blogger. Also, is it bothering anyone else that the Followers thing isn't working? That really gets my goat.

Anyway, I'll probably put the blog redesign first before jumping into web design. This place is getting a facelift, ya'll. I'm talking branding, logos, headers, sections, it'll be my own personal home on the internets.


Because I can.

&Link out!
In the style of my good friend Justin, I'm going to place some relevant links down here for your perusal. Thought it might be better than just stickin'em right in the text (I find that when I do that, I can hardly finish the article I started out with).

1 comment:

Brent said...

Ohhh, I'm excited! I don't think working with code should worry you that much. After all, they're only languages. :)

Btw, your blog is the first thing that comes up when I google "sans raison".