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What Makes It Good?


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Have you ever wondered what makes a good website theme? Ever wondered what makes a module or plugin good? How about what makes a good site architecture? In the episode we attempt to describe what makes these good solid designs. The things we talk about are things anyone can do. They aren't some special technique or secret knowledge that only the elite of web development know.

NVU - Kompozer

I actually use Kompozer (http://kompozer.sourceforge.net/), an unofficial bug-fix version of NVU right now to work with our site. (I am working on a new Drupal based site!) It has not been updated in a while and I think is pretty dead, but it works.

Also, the maker of NVU is now working on a new wysywig editor, BlueGriffon (http://www.bluegriffon.org/). Not ready yet, but hopefully soon.

Should I ask?

I don't know if I should be asking this - Rob did say "don't get me started"...
but what problems do you have with drop downs?

Paul Vaartjes

Not speaking for Bob...

I'm not speaking for Bob, but the main problem I see with drop downs is one of accessibility. With style sheets turned off, or some other form of rendering, a huge big nested list before your content is not ideal. It also relies on absolute positioning. I use them, a lot, however in spite of this. I don't want users to have to click three times to get to where they want to go... and I don't want a big confusing mess of links on the front page.


Going Mobile

The big place where the nested lists would be a problem is on mobile devices. Take an old school phone with an old school browser and look at a site with those menus.

But wait, out next episode is on Mobile stuff. Might we address something in there that important in relation to drop downs? We just might, though I don't think we directly hit on the topic of drop downs.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host


I have had a long disgust with dropdown menus. Mostly because older ones were javacript based and did not gracefully degrade for those with JS turned off. There are now CSS based solutions or at least mixed css + js solutions. Maybe that isn't an issue.

I get lots of folks who ask about dropdowns all the time. I think that so many sites don't need them. Landing pages work great. If http://www.apple.com/ doesn't need dropdowns, then....

Of course some sites may need dropdowns. I think you use them, I would suggest really making sure that you need them and then spending a great deal of time on the information architecture. Also, make sure the menus are easy to use by letting non-web devs test for you.


Mark Shropshire "shrop"
Geeks & God Forums Moderator



In this episode you mentioned that "Filezilla" is a firefox plugin. This isn't true. Filezilla is a full-blown client. I think you may have meant FireFTP, which is a firefox plugin. I didn't see a link for FireFTP so wanted to make sure it was mentioned, as it is a very useful program! Keeps from having to have another program open for ftping and previewing your site in a browser.


Thanks for the errata. You're right. I got those two flip flopped.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host



I would like to point out that though I think one of you said Firebug was closed source, It actually is BSD licensed (Therefore, in fact, open source). Just thought I would point that out seeing as I couldn't believe a tool as good as Firebug would be closed.

Good, technically, but what about the subjective qualities?

This episode highlights something I've been thinking about lately - beyond the technical aspects of web sites, what makes a site good for ministry? The criteria are much fuzzier because of the subjective nature of that question, but it is important to discuss when starting or evaluating your church/ministry site.

What does 'success' look like for your site? How do you define it? Do simple site statistics get elevated to a place of honor? Do hits, page visits, page rank and SERPs really attest to the site's success? Or, in analytics parlance - what conversion goals do you have?

Here's a question I ask often - "Is the site 'good enough for church'?"

I'm interested in hearing opinions about this other dimension.


OSS text editor

I use textmate and coda, but I used to use the open source text editor Smultron:


It is pretty nice..


Mark Shropshire "shrop"
Geeks & God Forums Moderator

Firefox dev toolbar

I am a huge fan of firebug. I use it along side the Firefox Developer Toolbar. Check it out at: http://chrispederick.com/work/...

Mark Shropshire "shrop"
Geeks & God Forums Moderator