A tryst with CSS and web-design.

I have been juggling my time these days working on 2 things at one time. Yes of course there is the game, and then I have also been spending some time with getting the website up and ready. Yes that also means I am getting my hands dirty with web technologies like CSS and PHP. The two things couldn’t be more different. On the one hand I have this geometrically intensive and monumental algorithmic monster called the game engine and on the other there is this woefully deep chasm in the form of web-design. It’s a fact I would choose the monster over the chasm any given day, (I can slay monsters pretty easily,) but that doesn’t elude us from the fact that web-design is notoriously difficult than I had previously anticipated. Yes I have a good hand on Gimp and Inkscape, and for the record all of the game interface was created using those two packages. Creating most of the art for the web pages in easy! Yes, I am pretty good with most programming languages (, if I can say so myself). However, putting up the web-site has had me cringe with frustration more than once in the past week.

Talking with friends and colleagues who have been down this road, I always knew web development was a bit quirky. But let me just say this, web-design can be crazily non deterministic! OK that was a bit too much, maybe I am going a bit overboard, but sometimes web browsers do tend to have a mind of their own. It is this quirkiness that makes web-development a pain in the rear. Different web browsers can interpret web markups differently, mostly the way they want to and that to me, who falls in the stronger discipline of application programming, is rather distressful. It isn’t one particular browser at fault, though some are more unreliable than others, but most browsers do have some sort of weirdness built into them ( check out CSS compatibility, W3C DOM compatibility). IE (Microsoft) as usual receives the most flack as being hypocritical in its approach towards maintaining standards (, oh please don’t even get me started on that!!). But what I found surprising was that the story is no better with others as well.

All said, most problems are no more than a Google away. Considering the amount of people working on web-development, there is always some poor unfortunate soul who has battled with a similar problem that you face. He has, probably after much deliberation and hair-pulling, found the solution to it, and yes, has been kind enough to post it on a website or a blog so that those who follow in his footsteps will not falter like he did. Bless him\her! I found Google to be an invaluable resource for web development, and with some degree of query refinement, you can pretty much get exactly what you are looking for. Fortunately when it comes to web-development, there are too many tutorials and code dumps all around to get things working.

Then again, I have decide to take a shortcut and go with Joomla for the site; since obviously it’s very easy to understand and saves me a lot of work. Also weighing in was the fact that I have had a pretty good experience with it running my personal site, and it seems a good all-round solid free CMS (Content Management System) solution. The fact that Joomla has a very active community and a myriad of plug-ins for almost anything and everything also makes it an attractive choice. I tried other CMSes as well but couldn’t get around to understanding them as well as I did Joomla. However, it would seem there is no escape from CSS and PHP to some extent since customizing anything with the CMS also means understanding Joomla’s own structure.

The work on the website continues. I hope to finish it soon but it has (, as always,) been a learning experience. With all said and done I am a person who loves challenges, and to tell you the truth, I am kinda enjoying it! 😀 .

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