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Why I Did It

Why I Did It

November 30, 2001
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" Experimentation and innovation are the hallmarks of this approach... "

This marks the first installment in an irregular series detailing the "Why" behind the "How" that I outline in some of my articles. While some of my views might be controversial, I hope they'll be thought provoking enough to give you a few new ideas:

Understanding some of the thought processes that I go through can often lead you to new and valuable insights of your own, and it is with this in mind that from time to time I will explore my reasoning in greater depth than was possible in my original articles. This may hopefully help newbies gain a deeper knowledge of our craft, provide that all-too elusive "missing ingredient" to more experienced Webmasters, and make sense of my sometimes "controversial" approaches.

I've decided to run this occasional series, as many of the topics that I'll cover are the same ones that I receive e-mails asking for clarification on. Rather than spending my energies on in-depth follow-ups and explanations for an audience of one, I'll incorporate all of my personal responses in this medium so that others will benefit as well.

Nothing I ever do is set in stone; rather I embrace an evolutionary approach that imparts a high degree of flexibility to my operations, and results in an ongoing development cycle that has taken many shapes and forms over the years. Experimentation and innovation are the hallmarks of this approach, and much of the "final" result flies in the face of more conventional wisdom.

Cross Browser Support
The first subject that I'll discuss in this series is my disdain for Netsuck, er, "Netscape" Navigator, and why I frequently do not provide support for it. My long time readers will have heard this before, but I simply loathe the browser, and see no reason whatsoever to pander to those who insist on using it. "That's stupid!" or "That's not fair!" some will opine, but let me explain:

I simply love MSIE 5 (although I'm starting to have misgivings about MSIE 6 / Win XP). The support that it provides for appearance enhancing (but non-W3C compliant) features such as colored horizontal rules and funky table manipulation for example, makes it "fun" to design for. Add the excitement of advanced JavaScript and DHTML and you end up with a foundation for attractive, low-bandwidth designs.

Navigator on the other hand imposes often-frustrating design constraints that I have no time to bother overcoming, and why should I? Overwhelmingly, the folks who actually join a pay site - and these are the only folks that I'm interested in - use MSIE 5+, and typically have an email address ending in "aol.com."

So who uses NS? Microsoft hating techno-geeks who think that using IE is tantamount to treason, and others whose systems do not support MSIE. Besides these folks, contrarians who are knowledgeable enough to alter what is quite typically the "default" browser on their system use Netscape. These are the same folks who are knowledgeable enough to realize that all the porn they could ever need is available for free on the Internet. Before any of you NS fans in the audience decide to tell me I'm wrong, ask yourself when the last time YOU felt the need to pay for porn was.

All the way around, I'm much happier "sniffing" surfers at the door, and then sending all of my non-MSIE, non-JavaScript traffic straight to my sponsor, all without using a dollop of my own precious bandwidth - and isn't that the point? They want porn? Let 'em pay for it - I'm under NO obligation to give it to them for free. I'll focus my efforts on the fruity bits of the pie, and leave the crust to others:

Sharing Secrets
While I will not claim that the way I do things is the best or only way; the tips, tricks, and techniques that I reveal and discuss in my articles are all designed to show you alternate methods of performing sometimes-simple tasks. Sure, I needlessly complicate things at times, and over-simplify at other times - and I do it all in effort to understand the various ways in which this business works - and to share this knowledge with you.

And speaking of sharing, I am always looking for insightful commentary on new and innovative approaches, or even discourses on why the established methodologies are (still) the best way to do things. If there are any tips, tricks, and techniques that you would like to share with your peers, then drop me a line at Stephen@XBiz.com. ~ Stephen


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