Monday, September 11, 2006

Propaganda Redux

So I started this project-deconstructing a web site-after trying to troubleshoot two computers that a bored eleven year old has played with. Goodness knows what kind of junk has been seen on my computer-it makes a mother shutter. Now that I have one of the computers somewhat running, let us give this HTML stuff a try. I wanted to deconstruct the BBC international page, but all it gave me was one line of jibberish. Figuring that must be html for "back slowly away from the code," I returned to an old familiar--my Alma Mater's site--Cal State Chico.http://www.csuchico.edu I printed out the source code, so I could look at both at the same time.
The biggest difference I noticed between these text-based constructions and the CAD programs I have worked with is the lack of reference points. An architectually-derived program will always set an absolute reference point, i.e. the Cartesian Coordinate 0,0. A CAD program will let you put that point anywhere, but every other line in the drawing will reference that point. Hey, if it got the pyramids built, I'm for it. But just to start in the upper left corner and make everything relative to that just seems too existential for my taste. I am also curious about the gaps between lines of code--if several spaces are skipped, does that mean the text or images skip the same amount of space? Also, the first few lines of code clearly refer to the headers on top, but the next few lines of code refer to a set of images two-thirds of the way down the page. Does this mean the directions do not have to go in order? An area for searches and e-mail connections in the top right corner-they just send the respondent to different addresses-hey, that looks pretty easy.
Next comes a trickier part- separate categories on the left side with drop down menus. How does the text tell when the mouse has moved over this area? The instructions seem very short for a complex operation. Also, the boxes change color. I can't find any code for changing color or for the ingredients of the drop down boxes. They seem to be included in the .gif portion of the code. I noticed one area near the top that is changed frequently has links to the school's box office and newspaper-that is a very nifty system.
Then the code goes back to the separate pictures near the bottom that send the viewer to various departments--here the addresses are clearly laid out and the instructions talk about swapping images. Then we end with disclaimers and street addresses. Nothing fancy. I realize I have too greatly simplified this, but without a code book, I could not determine what the fiddelty-bits were completely about. However, it is no longer total jiberish-I think I could learn this. If only I could get my systems up and running.

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