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NYTimes.com Hand-Codes HTML & CSS

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the all-the-finest-sites dept.

The Media 496

eldavojohn writes "The design director of NYTimes.com, Khoi Vinh, recently answered readers' questions in the Times's occasional feature 'Ask the Times.' He was asked how the Web site looks so consistently nice and polished no matter which browser or resolution is used to access it. His answer begins: 'It's our preference to use a text editor, like HomeSite, TextPad or TextMate, to "hand code" everything, rather than to use a wysiwyg (what you see is what you get) HTML and CSS authoring program, like Dreamweaver. We just find it yields better and faster results.'"

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Hand-coding? (1)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247556)

But don't your hands get tired?

Re:Hand-coding? (1)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247632)

But don't your hands get tired?
Sure, but keyboards work with your feet too, you know. That's the reason real coders of any kind (including HTML coders) have at least 2 keyboards at their disposal: one for collecting bread crumbs, and another one to collect foot.. ehm... smelly stuff.

Re:Hand-coding? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23247646)

That's what SHE said

Re:Hand-coding? (5, Funny)

nxtr (813179) | more than 6 years ago | (#23248022)

Please refrain from alluding to such explicit language. For goodness sakes, Slashdot is not the Netherlands after 9 PM.

Re:Hand-coding? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23247878)

I hand stroke my penis. Does anyone want to interview me?

Re:Hand-coding? (4, Funny)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247894)

Overhead at an outsourcing facility:

Hand-coding agent: I hate this guy, he's refreshing his browser every minute on the same news. I can't keep up.

Hand-coding supervisor: PrintScreen it!

Hand-conding agent: Brilliant!

Yes, and? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23247578)

This is the case for almost any dynamic website. There's no story here.

Re:Yes, and? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23247770)

Agreed. Instead of the article we should discuss how the designers all dress like they're on their way to a Fallout Boy concert every fucking day. What's with designers and dressing like they're misinterpreted, starving emo artists? They're corporate shills who work for the mainstream media and vote Republican for christ sakes. The amount of angst ridden teenage pop songs these people listen to is enough to drive any sane person mad. What kind of people still listen to Fallout Boy at 35?

Works for me too (2, Interesting)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247580)

I find that hand-coding works for HTML/CSS, provided of course you include it in a scripting language like PHP.

It's less work than it sounds and the results DO look better - you get a more original look and things can be made to look exactly how you want, instead of being restrained by the wysiwyg software's design limitations.

It's not news (1)

wal9001 (1041058) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247584)

It's slashdot.org! /Wrong site?

Great idea! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23247586)

Maybe we can use this idea to write programs, too.

That's nothing. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23247726)

I once built a child with my bare hands using nothing but some spare protein strands I had lying around.

Re:That's nothing. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23247868)

That's not coding by hand, that's compiling by hand ;-p.

Another opportunity to post... (3, Funny)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247590)

The badge [dimspace.com] I used to put on all my sites...

W3C (4, Informative)

FST (766202) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247596)

Re:W3C (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23247700)

Interestingly, most of those errors seem to be related to their use of & instead of & amp;. Also, they use <br/> in HTML 4 and it is telling them that they shouldn't do that because some web browsers will think it's wrong. If you hand code everything, shouldn't you have checked for things like that?

Re:W3C (4, Informative)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247936)

Also, they use <br/> in HTML 4 and it is telling them that they shouldn't do that because some web browsers will think it's wrong.

No, it's not telling them that some browsers will think it's wrong, it's telling them it is wrong. Validators don't check to make sure browsers can understand your document, they check if you have made any syntax errors. Writing <br/> in an HTML document is wrong, regardless of any particular browser's handling of it.

Re:W3C (1)

varmittang (849469) | more than 6 years ago | (#23248066)

<br /> is XHTML standard and <br> is the regular HTML 4 standard. Both are correct and most browsers know how to deal with XHTML or HTML 4, as well as the two mixed together.

Re:W3C (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247904)

It's awful, especially as these are easy errors that can be fixed without any problem whatsoever. The vast majority of errors are:

  • XHTML syntax for empty elements in an HTML page.
  • Unencoded ampersands.
  • Forgetting required attributes like alt and type.
  • Forgotten end tags.

These are the kind of things any new developer would be able to fix in half an hour on his first day on the job. This demonstrates not that they cannot write valid code, but that they don't bother to check. It's like a newspaper editor not bothering to use a spelling checker — sloppy.

Re:W3C (2, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247934)

Forgetting required attributes like alt
What is the correct value of the alt attribute for the CAPTCHA image [w3.org] in a "free registration required" form?

Re:W3C (1)

bcat24 (914105) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247972)

Mu. Said "free registration required" form should not exist, and neither should traditional CAPTCHAs. Problem solved.

Re:W3C (2, Funny)

JebusIsLord (566856) | more than 6 years ago | (#23248118)

oh gee, i dunno... how about... "captcha"??

Re:W3C (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23248050)

Is it at least plausable they have better things to do with their time than lint HTML and fix whiney warnings that have no real world effect?

Re:W3C (4, Informative)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 6 years ago | (#23248150)

fix whiney warnings that have no real world effect?

I knew somebody would pop up with this misconception. Did you know that the web has already been through this — not once but twice — and proven you wrong?

Netscape 2 was quite aggressive when it came to guessing when ampersands were mistakenly unencoded. Cue lots of people not bothering to do things correctly, and saying things exactly like you are — "What's the point? It makes no difference!"

Then Netscape 3 came out. It wasn't as aggressive as Netscape 2. All those people who cut corners had to rush to fix all of their pages. All the people who did it correctly the first time around didn't have to do any extra work.

Now Netscape 3 still guessed a little bit — if you left off the semicolon, it would pick up on it and guess correctly. So lots of the dumb people from the previous example didn't learn their lesson, and skipped the semicolon.

Can you guess what happened? Yep, that's right, Netscape 4 came out and broke all their pages again. And all the people who did things correctly laughed at them.

Sure, if you don't bother to do things right, today's major browsers will probably guess that you're an idiot and work around your bugs. But there's certainly no guarantee that tomorrow's browsers will do so. When you can do things correctly right now for no effort, why on earth would you risk incurring extra work in the future? Is it really so difficult to type &amp; instead of &?

Re:W3C (1)

FoolsGold (1139759) | more than 6 years ago | (#23248020)

Does it really matter though? If the end result looks good, then it's only the geeks who really care about a few errors. The site itself still works fine and as was intended.

Valid Markup != Good Code (4, Interesting)

DigitalisAkujin (846133) | more than 6 years ago | (#23248036)

While the purists are going to argue that valid markup defines the quality of the code on a given website the reality of the real world always tends to rear it's ugly head and debunk that fantasy.

In the real world us web developers have to deal with interoperability on many different levels. We have to make sure the layout looks the same on Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, and Safari with Windows XP & Vista, OSX, and Linux using the same code base. Most of this however has a lot to do with how talented your CSS developer is. And unfortunately for you kiddies, any less isn't perfect.

So to spell it out for those that don't know, here's the real difference between WYSIWYG and pure text:
In a WYSIWYG editor you tend to do everything the same way every time you do it. That means that all your links, images, and code snippets come from the same code base and therefore have all the same pitfalls and good points. Unfortunatly the wonderful world of DOM doesn't work that way. HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and objects like Flash, Quicktime, and Java have very specific ways that they interact with each other and the browser and so what you generally find is that the reason you code by hand is not for the specific reason of coding by hand but simply put you really can not build good, quality websites with WYSIWYG editors. At some point you will most assuredly find yourself digging in the HTML.

Finally, on the topic of validating your markup. The Markup validaters that are out there are only good as tools of the trade and shouldn't be used as the end-all be-all certification of quality markup. They are tools that should be used by a web developer to run through and make sure they can be as close to valid as possible but I am willing to bet that out of the top 100 sites on the internet, the front page of all of them will produce Markup validation errors. The reason is simple: The validation rules are so restrictive that there is no point even worrying about them. It would be impossible to make a working website by being totally loyal to the markup rules.

Especially with the validator's stupidity in treating & signs in the href attribute of my a elements as the beginning of an entity which it's not! /rant >.>

Re:W3C (4, Interesting)

clem.dickey (102292) | more than 6 years ago | (#23248102)

Just what I was wondering: "Maybe, because they hand-code everything, they will pass the validation that all the fancy tools fail at so badly." Anyway, they are not alone. Here are the error couns for the Fortume top 20 companies (top of the Fortune 1000 list) manage on the w3c validator:

    53 walmart.com
    36 exxon.com
    26 chevron.com
    33 gm.com
    76 conocophillips.com
      0 ge.com
    29 ford.com
    52 citigroup.com
  105 bankofamerica.com
    26 att.com
    28 www.berkshirehathaway.com
      8 jpmorganchase.com
  148 aig.com
    55 hp.com
      0 ibm.com
  144 valero.com
      2 verizon.com
  180 mckesson.com
      5 cardinalhealth.com
1082 www.goldmansachs.com

W3C can blow my asshole (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23248120)

no one follows that shit anymore, W3C is filled with a bunch of bickering people who can't agree on anything. if the code renders in all major browsers than it is fine.

FUCK THE W3C

Slashdot is hand-coded (1)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23248148)

That explains why it takes so long for new stories to arrive. This one's been up for an hour already!

Snooze (1)

EkriirkE (1075937) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247612)

Is NYT some godly thing I've never heard of before? Why is this news? Maybe if this was an article about the benefits of blah blah blah, maybe citing NYT as an example.

I have new respect for the NYTimes (1, Interesting)

Brandee07 (964634) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247614)

Registration evils aside, that's a viewpoint I can respect. I was taught to code webpages when my father handed me an HTML manual and taught me how to look up the source code of a webpage that did something I liked (I was probably 10). This was long before CSS, but I learned those the same way.

I can't say my webpages are as elegant or polished as NYTimes.com, but I'm sure they work on every browser. What's important is that I understand how and why they work.

I also recently inadvertently triggered an argument between my parents on the virtues of IDEs in software development. My dad likes them, my mom regards them as the bane of true programmers everywhere. What does /. think?

Re:I have new respect for the NYTimes (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23247762)

Registration evils aside, that's a viewpoint I can respect. I was taught to code webpages when my father handed me an HTML manual and taught me how to look up the source code of a webpage that did something I liked (I was probably 10). This was long before CSS, but I learned those the same way.

You mentioned that your father taught you this. Approximately 60% of black children have never known their fathers. Therefore this is obviously a racist post.

Re:I have new respect for the NYTimes (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23247886)

black people use teh internets? Ohhh... that explains the ALL CAPS POSTS. ... its kinda like rapping, only MORE obnoxious. (as if that was possible...)

Re:I have new respect for the NYTimes (1)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247764)

I also recently inadvertently triggered an argument between my parents on the virtues of IDEs in software development. My dad likes them, my mom regards them as the bane of true programmers everywhere. What does /. think?

IDEs? I love 'em. Granted, I only use them to manage multiple source code files and compile everything automatically, but still, I like using them for the quality-check utilities and debugging.

Now, to stay relatively on topic: a major company hand-coding is not news. I do it for my company all the time, and I know plenty of other people who also hand-code. And only one that does not.

Re:I have new respect for the NYTimes (1)

Asmor (775910) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247856)

I love IDEs, for 3 reasons.

1. GUIs: Always a pain in the ass, always tedious. Unlike web development, I think there's no problem with using WYSIWYG for app development.

2. Memory aids: I know how to program. I don't, however, have every method of every object memorized. Being able to look through a list is often quite helpful. It's also a good way to find things you never knew existed.

3. Compiling: I fail at compiling. I don't know how to do it-- I'm sure I could learn, if I had to, but that's the thing. At least so far, I haven't had to.

Re:I have new respect for the NYTimes (1)

krazytekn0 (1069802) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247990)

10? Damn I'm tired of being reminded that I'm not young anymore.

Re:I have new respect for the NYTimes (1)

quanticle (843097) | more than 6 years ago | (#23248034)

Personally, I like IDEs if its easy to get them up and running. If I can sit down at the IDE and have it working with my project in 5 minutes or less, then I'll use the IDE. Otherwise, I find that I'm sometimes taking longer to get my workspace set up than I'm spending on the actual task.

Re:I have new respect for the NYTimes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23248048)

I wish I could talk to my parents about IDEs...

Re:I have new respect for the NYTimes (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 6 years ago | (#23248162)

"I also recently inadvertently triggered an argument between my parents on the virtues of IDEs in software development. My dad likes them, my mom regards them as the bane of true programmers everywhere. What does /. think?"

I think finding a slashdotter who's parents can both code is a sign I am getting old. I taught my Dad to code in the same way as your parents taught you. Dad is a retired mechanical engineer, he's now 77 and has been programming childrens games as a hobby for the last 10yrs or so. He has also created web sites and other bits and pieces for both of my younger siblings bussinesses, one is a wholesale nursery the other is a safari operator in Kakadu.

I'm also self taught in what I know about the web, when I did my CS degree HTML didn't exist and a 'browser' was someone in a shop who was 'just looking'.

Benefits vs Issues (2, Interesting)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247618)

Let's look 'objectively' at this:
1. Handcoding takes a lot more effort and needs more 'actual' writers than before. So more techies keep their jobs in a recession.
Score: Hancoding 1: Dreamweaver: 0
2. Hancoding requires extensive knowledge of all CSS and DHTML codes plus javascript/JScript. So only the really good techies get the job, and not some script monkey. Survival of fittest.
Score: Hancoding 2: Dreamweaver: 0
3. Handcoding takes far more time than is necessary in a changing scenario of today's news. Effort not proportional to returns. As a shareholder, i would sue them for wasting money.
Score: Hancoding 2: Dreamweaver: 1
4. Dreamweaver allows preview easily and pretty much automates repeatable tasks. Handcoding requires a Mechanical Turk.
Score: Hancoding 2: Dreamweaver: 2

So its a tie.
I appreciate NYTimes sticking to manual tasks for an electronic page as an end user and a techie.
I hate them for wasting my money as a shareholder.

Re:Benefits vs Issues (1)

Punto (100573) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247670)

why would you buy shares of a newspaper anyway? never heard of the internet?

Re:Benefits vs Issues (1)

njcoder (657816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247678)

Just because he said they hardcode the HTML, CSS and javascript doesn't mean they create each page from scratch. They have some sort of content management system based on a number of templates that do most of the grunt work.

I haven't used Dreamweaver in a while and it was only to check it out but I never found an easy way to easily preview dynamic content.

Re:Benefits vs Issues (1)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247772)

So what you're saying is, "requires more effort" is better than "requires less effort" because we can keep jobs? buggy whips, broken window fallacy, etc.

Re:Benefits vs Issues (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247782)

1. Handcoding takes a lot more effort and needs more 'actual' writers than before. So more techies keep their jobs in a recession.
Typical Slashdot economics.

When recessions happen, people look for ways to cut costs. What's a good way to cut costs? Automate your operations.

Re:Benefits vs Issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23247814)

Score: Hancoding 1: Dreamweaver: 0

YOU, for one, should definitely stick to using a tool to help you code.


Unless your coding is better than your spelling and syntax.

Re:Benefits vs Issues (5, Insightful)

rhavenn (97211) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247828)

Let's look 'objectively' at this:
1. Handcoding takes a lot more effort and needs more 'actual' writers than before. So more techies keep their jobs in a recession.
Score: Hancoding 1: Dreamweaver: 0
No, given a good IDE with some basics it takes less effort. Every time I want to use Dreamweaver I end up losing some hair. It's a frustrating piece of software if you know what you're doing or want to do and it won't let you.

2. Hancoding requires extensive knowledge of all CSS and DHTML codes plus javascript/JScript. So only the really good techies get the job, and not some script monkey. Survival of fittest.
Score: Hancoding 2: Dreamweaver: 0
This is a good thing. Your designers SHOULD know the ins and outs of 80-90% of their code and tags.

3. Handcoding takes far more time than is necessary in a changing scenario of today's news. Effort not proportional to returns. As a shareholder, i would sue them for wasting money.
Score: Hancoding 2: Dreamweaver: 1
I doubt they hand code every story into the page. They have a template / publishing system for all articles / layouts. It's probably far, far faster to do it by hand then trying to wrap Dreamweaver into it.

4. Dreamweaver allows preview easily and pretty much automates repeatable tasks. Handcoding requires a Mechanical Turk.
Score: Hancoding 2: Dreamweaver: 2
dual monitors, sshfs mounted file system and vim will do it far faster then Dreamweaver.. alt-tab works okay if you're stuck with one monitor.

So its a tie.
Nope, I would say hand-coding: 3.5 and Dreamweaver .5

I appreciate NYTimes sticking to manual tasks for an electronic page as an end user and a techie.
I hate them for wasting my money as a shareholder.
I would applaud them for not wasting your money on software licenses and doing the job correctly.

Re:Benefits vs Issues (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247872)

3. Handcoding takes far more time than is necessary in a changing scenario of today's news. Effort not proportional to returns. As a shareholder, i would sue them for wasting money.
Score: Hancoding 2: Dreamweaver: 1
Things like brand perception & recognition are worth money.

If you think of the hand coding as an investment in brand value, then it instantly makes a ton of sense.

This value normally shows up in SEC filings as part of a lump sum called "Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets"

Re:Benefits vs Issues (1)

progprog (1016317) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247968)

You're seriously rating handcoding vs Dreamweaver as a tie?

3. Handcoding takes far more time than is necessary in a changing scenario of today's news. Effort not proportional to returns. As a shareholder, i would sue them for wasting money.

Ummm... ever hear of the term CMS? You handcode the template, and editors/writers/journos who don't grok HTML use the CMS to enter it. They can add/change stories as often as they like without affecting the layout.

4. Dreamweaver allows preview easily and pretty much automates repeatable tasks. Handcoding requires a Mechanical Turk.

Handcoding allows preview easily too. It's called Alt-Tab to Firefox then F5. And I don't think you could convince anyone that Dreamweaver's viewing tools are better than the Firefox + Firebug combination. As for automating repeatable tasks -- there's scaffolding, commands like sed, writing small scripts... all sorts of things designed to easily manipulate huge chunks of text.

Besides the most basic 10-page-or-less-I-have-a-web-page-woohoo situation that last existed 10 years ago, I don't see any reason to use Dreamweaver. Go ahead and sue the NYT -- we could all use a good laugh.

Re:Benefits vs Issues (1)

francium de neobie (590783) | more than 6 years ago | (#23248072)

Handcoding allows preview easily too. It's called Alt-Tab to Firefox then F5.
There's an easier way to do that - use two monitors, move your mouse over and F5. You won't even lose sight of the code for a moment. ;)

Re:Benefits vs Issues (1)

francium de neobie (590783) | more than 6 years ago | (#23248052)

WYSIWYG is just a form of abstraction - all the underlying (X)HTML, JavaScript and CSS are abstracted away by WYSIWYG graphics. There's nothing preventing you from trying other kinds of abstraction with code. Saying WYSIWYG web authoring is always faster/cheaper than web authoring by coding is like saying modern programming is a waste of time because every programmer has to write in machine code.

Re:Benefits vs Issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23248086)

Using Dreamweaver isn't antithetical to handcoding. If you don't use the preview tab and stick to the code view, even in Dreamweaver, you are in fact handcoding. I used Homesite and loved it at my 1999 dot.com job. When the layoffs hit I went to work for a Mac shop. The only decent Mac editor then was BBEdit, which I used until Macromedia bought Allaire and incorporated all best the coding features from Homesite. It was only a short time until I was able to get the graphic designers to stop using the preview tab/WYSIWYG garbage once they saw how much more efficient it was to maintain a site with well written code (Global find replace did most of that negotiating for me). Dreamweaver was the Trojan Horse I used to wean a bunch of design school grads off WYSIWYG.

Now we use more dynamic CMS and allow clients to maintain their sites via custom backend systems, but the base HTML and CSS are still created in Dreamweaver first.

Also, how else would you generate CSS if not by hand. I don't imagine a PHP, ASP, Rails, etc. script that randomly generated styles would look very professional.

Re:Benefits vs Issues (1)

Dirtside (91468) | more than 6 years ago | (#23248136)

3. Handcoding takes far more time than is necessary in a changing scenario of today's news. Effort not proportional to returns. As a shareholder, i would sue them for wasting money.
Score: Hancoding 2: Dreamweaver: 1
Then you'd be a foolish shareholder. They're not handcoding the HTML and CSS for every single story; they're handcoding the HTML and CSS for the story templates they use.

Dreamweaver/Homesite (1)

l810c (551591) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247620)

Dreamweaver basically incorporated Homesite several years ago.

While I do like the split development window(code/WYSIWYG), being a coder I spend most of my time in the code window and always have to check against multiple browsers.

I think having the WYSIWYG view is a benefit, although I hate having to hit F5 to refresh the WYSIWYG continuously.

[GIANT FOOT ICON GOES HERE] (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247628)

The title says it all, that's what's missing from the writeup.

Re:[GIANT FOOT ICON GOES HERE] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23247766)

The title says it all, that's what's missing from the writeup.
Huh? GNOME isn't mentioned anywhere in the linked article.

I "hand coded" both of my kids (1)

gc8005 (733938) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247642)

I just couldn't get the HTML to render AT ALL until I went to a specialist. He suggested that I "hand code" and they'd implant my HTML into my web server. It worked - twice! But it wasn't as fast as the NYTimes; it took almost 10 months to render.

Re:I "hand coded" both of my kids (2, Funny)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247806)

translation: my 'wife' got pricked with a needle, instead of being needled with a prick.

How much work does that involve? (2, Informative)

menace3society (768451) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247660)

How much work does that actually involve? I don't read their online edition, but I imagine that they have all their articles in a database and put its contents into an HTML wrapper. That involves coding the wrapper once, and maybe a couple of conversions in the article text to make it HTML-friendly. You can do this when the article is converted into the database, or you can do it on the fly in your scripts, but the point is it shouldn't be that difficult to do.

Re:How much work does that involve? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23248140)

Posting anonymously just to just to protect myself from my friend. *wave*

They use a CMS of course. Probably developed in-house. My friend works for NYT and worked on the relaunch of the site. Based on her previous work experience and her skillset, I would say the bulk CMS was coded in java. I don't think she's going to tell me what she worked on however. I would wager a guess that they were previously using some kind of open source solution before she got hired, then migrating over to their in-house platform in order to accomodate scalability, but this is all speculative based on her working hours and the stuff she mentioned.

What suprised me was that they used wordpress for their blogs, likely modified to it can be integrated with their backend. Wordpress was probably used for two reasons 1)the editors (esp the less tech saavy) would find the interface appealing, and 2)developer resources to create one from scratch would be a waste of time, if a good solution already exists.

I don't think it's all that suprising that more and more publishing companies are using open source solutions. I myself work for a publishing company, and we developed our own CMS based on the business requirements given to us using perl mason.

Most large scale solutions are seperated into 3 parts: the CMS itself, the templating system and editorial content. This is a clean seperation so the three parts can maximize their skillset, the three parts being 1) the editor creating the content 2) the designer creating the front-end look and 3) the developer(s) creating the system that bridges both the content and design to deliver something that looks nice and is rich in content.

I work on templating system, we hand-code everything as well. Of course, some people on the team are more proficient than others. Some are extremely procifient js coders, others are employed for their flash, but pretty much all are required to know their html and css if they expect to keep their job. We're a pretty good group of geeks, we mock each other for being unaware of certain browser quirks caused by unsupported css features or wacky inheritance issues, or writing something that isn't ecmascript compliant. Keeps us pretty sharp.

that being said, I'm would have expected that NYT handcoded their html and css, if anything to control the pagewieght.

On WYSIWYGs vs. text editors (1)

bjdevil66 (583941) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247672)

I agree with the person in the article about hand-coding. Even today, I still do my sites by hand with CSS/XHTML in the early stages because it IS faster to pin down bugs when you know what every tag is doing. Because of this, I've resisted changing to "Design View" in Dreamweaver. (Even in CS3, Dreamweaver still doesn't render exactly the way I want it to most of the time, and when it doesn't quite match what you get in browsers).

With that said, I have found that Dreamweaver's autocompletion of closing tags is nice in most cases in "Code View". It does speed up the coding process a bit, and it helps you find potential mistakes in your several layers of div-driven layouts when things get a little dicey.

Also, saying "I have used Dreamweaver" on your resume is probably going to be handy someday when decision-makers (i.e. PHBs) are looking for a web developer with Dreamweaver experience.

Why??? (1, Redundant)

Enahs (1606) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247682)

Templates, a decent text editor, and a Markdown or Textile reader with the option of macros. Maybe a short Perl, Python, or Ruby script to cherry-pick your macros (I do something similar at work with vim, erb, and RedCloth.)

Hand-coding everything is just plain silly.

Re:Why??? (1)

Repton (60818) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247754)

I doubt he's saying they build every single page from scratch, banging away at their favourite text editor. It would be madness not to use templates or something similar to avoid repeating work. He's saying that they build the templates by creating the HTML/CSS manually, rather than using some code-generation tool like Dreamweaver.

To you and me, that's 49 years (1)

BorgCopyeditor (590345) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247714)

So, what is that in man-hours? Sorry, I mean web-monkey-hours.

Duh (1)

DigitalisAkujin (846133) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247720)

Any self respecting web developer that is any good already knows this. The editor though is essentially all preference. He could have said Notepad.

I personally use Dreamweaver but only because I like it's project management. Never find myself in design view ever. Especially since with PHP Dreamweaver has no idea what to display.

Dreamweaver is an excellent tool (5, Interesting)

davebarnes (158106) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247736)

Stupid comment by Vinh about Dreamweaver.
1. DW lets you code at the source code level if you choose.
2. DW is much faster--in Design View--at creating tables.
3. DW allows for flipping back and forth or split view.
4. DW does not rewrite your code (for the most part).

I use DW every day. I am not even conscious of flipping between the 2 views. Some things are done better in Design View and some in Code View.

CSS support is very good in DW.

Re:Dreamweaver is an excellent tool (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247852)

I always use Dreamweaver, but almost (almost) never use its WYSIWYG feature. The only time I do is to preview a layout quick to make sure the spacing is right. Otherwise, I just stick with it for syntax highlighting and Sites/FTP for putting it up on the server.

Re:Dreamweaver is an excellent tool (1)

Ansoni-San (955052) | more than 6 years ago | (#23248082)

I always use Dreamweaver, but almost (almost) never use its WYSIWYG feature. The only time I do is to preview a layout quick to make sure the spacing is right. Otherwise, I just stick with it for syntax highlighting and Sites/FTP for putting it up on the server.
Try Aptana Studio. It's really come along nicely. If you're not using the WYSIWYG part of Dreamweaver then maybe you want to consider switching. It has way more features, is most certainly the Javascript king, and since it runs on eclipse (you can get standalone or as an eclipse plugin, standalone probably the way to go if you don't have eclipse already) you can use the eclipse plugins as well, so SFTP/FTP, subversion, or any other strange protocol that eclipse happens to have plugins for are also available.

In-fact, any other random functionality that eclipse happens to have plugins for also become available to you. It's really useful in work environments because then both designers and developers standardise on Eclipse, designers only using different plugins.

Re:Dreamweaver is an excellent tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23247854)

2. DW is much faster--in Design View--at creating tables.


The Internet, you're doing it wrong.

Re:Dreamweaver is an excellent tool (1)

Demiansmark (927787) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247916)

I don't understand point #2. I would agree that if you're using tables for layouts Dreamweaver is better than handcoding. But if you're using tables as they should be used, in the display of tabular data I don't see any difference in speed and if you're doing things right and semantically, while leaving appropriate CSS classes to style the table later it's going to a much bigger pain to do it in design view.

If you know how to do things properly it always comes out better, and usually quicker, by hand.

The only times I've switched into design view is when working on a site that was poorly coded by someone else and I just need to modify some content and don't want to wade through hundreds of lines of whatever proprietary tags were left in there by whatever MS product they exported it from.

Or in rare occasions when I'm entering content, sometimes it's more convenient to start, say, an unordered list in code view then switch over to enter the content because I know DW wont much up the code.

Re:Dreamweaver is an excellent tool (2, Interesting)

njcoder (657816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247998)

Stupid comment by Vinh about Dreamweaver.
1. DW lets you code at the source code level if you choose.
2. DW is much faster--in Design View--at creating tables.
3. DW allows for flipping back and forth or split view.
4. DW does not rewrite your code (for the most part).

I use DW every day. I am not even conscious of flipping between the 2 views. Some things are done better in Design View and some in Code View.

CSS support is very good in DW.
1. Why use a heavy tool like DreamWeaver if you're mostly just editing the source directly?
2. Nobody uses tables anymore, at least not as much as they incorrectly used to before for formatting since CSS gives you a lot more control. This practice thankfully died out.
3. Alt-Tab is just as fast if you have your browser open, or multiple browsers. I usually check IE and FF when I'm working on layout.
4. For some people, even a little bit of code changes is too much.

If I'm working on a php or jsp page that retreives content from a database how does DreamWeaver get it? Does it have a php engine or a servlet engine? If I want to include a page fragement from a php or jsp page or text from a java bean can it do that?

Back when I was playing around with it, it couldn't do any of that. Even if it can now, I'm better off testing it directly in the servlet engine or php/apache setup I plan to deploy on to make sure there are no problems with db connections, unexpected session behavior, etc.

When dealing with sites that have a lot of dynamic content and or more complex interactive attributes, like more and more sites are having, DreamWeaver seems to get in the way for me. I have, on ocassion used it to generate the initial design and then cut and paste the pieces in the appropriate php/jsp files then work from there. It never seemed necessary though.

It's not a big deal to install Apache, mod_php, tomcat, database on a development server or even locally to be able to test things out in a real environment.

For simple sites, or for the initial design of the site it may have it's place but for me that's not worth the price.

Re:Dreamweaver is an excellent tool (1)

G-funk (22712) | more than 6 years ago | (#23248134)

2. Unless of course you want to vertically centre something... Then tables are your only option on most browsers.

Re:Dreamweaver is a mediocre tool (2, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#23248012)

CSS support is very good in DW.

Actually, no, it's not. At least through Dreamweaver 8, CSS is sort of a bolted-on afterthought. The Dreamweaver "Properties" pane and the CSS system do not play well together. Dreamweaver has a useful GUI for table-based layout, but falls down on DIV-based layout. (This isn't entirely Dreamweaver's fault. DIV-based "float" and "clear" just weren't a well chosen set of primitives. It's trying to solve a 2D problem with a 1D mechanism.)

Dreamweaver 3 was easier to use.

Re:Dreamweaver is an excellent tool (1)

Cl1mh4224rd (265427) | more than 6 years ago | (#23248078)

4. DW does not rewrite your code (for the most part).
It'll screw up your indentation pretty thoroughly, though, if you make any changes in Design View.

I use DW every day. I am not even conscious of flipping between the 2 views. Some things are done better in Design View and some in Code View.
With the exception of inserting objects (like images, tables, etc.) everything is better in Code View.

I despise Dreamweaver 8 when pasting text copied from a Word document. The vast majority of the time, it decides to wrap paragraphs in div tags. If I'm lucky, it merely confuses paragraph breaks for line breaks.

Also, the fact that I can't use it to access files outside of the document root makes it a pretty frustrating tool.

And since it uses God-knows-what rendering engine, what you see in Design View isn't what you're going to see in either IE, Firefox, or Opera. So, other than inserting objects, as I mentioned before, and getting the cursor to the right spot in Code View (although even this is pretty inconsistent), I pretty much ignore Design View.

WYSIWTF

Re:Dreamweaver is an excellent tool (1)

Cl1mh4224rd (265427) | more than 6 years ago | (#23248110)

Yes, I'm replying to myself, but...

My God, Dreamweaver. If you don't recognize the type of the file I double-clicked on in your Files pane pass it on to the fucking OS!

Re:Dreamweaver is an excellent tool (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23248154)

FUCK OFF SHILL!!

Re:Dreamweaver is an excellent tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23248156)

I also use Dreamweaver everyday and I can assure you there isn't a single thing that is better to do in design view than in code view (possibly auto setting width and height attributes for images). Dreamweaver is a perfectly fine tool, but the WYSIWYG side of it is still a WYSIWYG.

Also, why are you using tables? Seriously there are enough examples of the box model out there that any web designer worth half their weight in shit shouldn't be using tables for layout any more.

Re:Dreamweaver is an excellent tool (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#23248160)

Stupid comment by Vinh about Dreamweaver.
1. DW lets you code at the source code level if you choose.
2. DW is much faster--in Design View--at creating tables.
3. DW allows for flipping back and forth or split view.
4. DW does not rewrite your code (for the most part).

I use DW every day. I am not even conscious of flipping between the 2 views. Some things are done better in Design View and some in Code View.
I always saw it as similar to what the teacher said about using calculators on math tests -- you don't get the calculator when you're learning your arithmetic, you get it when you go to algebra. Why? Because teaching arithmetic is about getting you used to working with numbers and thus have a feel for how things work and can recognize when things aren't working. How would you know that 550 x 200 = 400 is wrong if you have no idea what's going on with the numbers when you hit enter?

So as far as Dreamweaver goes, it is useful for generating layouts, tables, etc. But at the end of the day, you still need to have an understanding of how the code works and what it's doing. Sometimes dreamweaver can be great for catching where mistakes are cropping up in rendered pages, it will show orphaned tags, where the table structure is breaking, let you see where to go in with the code to fix it.

There's always going to be the eternal struggle between the fans of the old school and the haters of the new stuff. When I took my first programming class, the instructor was livid about the C compilers the school was using because they were part of that first step towards IDE's, they would give you error codes and bring you back to the line if the compiling didn't work. The instructor said that people would just keep fiddling the lines until it compiled and consider that to be good without understanding why the error cropped up in the first place and thus not being sure if what they did truly fixed the problem or just made it too subtle for the compiler to catch. Again, that's a matter of best standards and practices and I can respect it. At the same time, professionals need to "get shit done." So the prudent course is a compromise between those two positions.

I feel OLD. (3, Funny)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247744)

wysiwyg (what you see is what you get)
I remember when this acronym was so frequently used as a selling point in the 80s that you wouldn't have had to explain it.

The Failure of Web Newspapers (1, Offtopic)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247746)

A lot of newspapers, including the NYT, realized early on that they had to move onto the web in order to retain their readers. But despite this early insight, and 10+ years struggling to get viewers to come to their sites, none of them have figured out how to do a proper news web site. Not one.

Absurdities like use of hand-coded HTML and CSS are just the tip of the iceberg. What really bothers me is that nobody seems to have thought of a way, or even tried to think of a way, to properly use the Inverted Pyramid on a web site.

The Inverted Pyramid, for those of you who didn't take Journalism (I took it in high school) is a stylistic technique where you put the most important and newsworthy details of a story in the first paragraph. Slight less important stuff goes in the next paragraph, and the next, until you trail away with trivia at the end. That makes it easier for your editor to trim a story so it fits in the available space. More importantly (especially for an online newspaper, where space is not finite), it makes it easier for the reader to graze the news. You can be your own editor, on stop reading a story when the details are too fine to attract your interest.

You'd think that this would actually be easier to support online than in a physical newspaper. But news sites don't even try. They just dump the print edition online, then provide link farms for the stories, with a few stories getting special summaries.

And they're been similarly stupid with their classified ads. These used to make up something like a third of their income, before Craigslist stole all their customers. Now, you might think that there's no hope of competing with Craigslist, since most of its advertisers get a free ride. But classified ads aren't all that expensive, and advertisers wouldn't have stopped using them if Craigslist didn't do a better job of connected the right advertisers with the right customers.

The print classifieds were doomed in any case, but newspapers were ideally set up to turn their print classifieds business into an even more lucrative online classifieds business. But, as with so many other things, they never really tried.

Probably most of you don't care — you get your news from blogs. Me, I prefer to get my news from somebody who knows something about finding stuff out, who has some sense of professional ethics, and who doesn't simply regurgitate every rumor that sounds vaguely plausible. Unfortunately, that option is rapidly disappearing.

Good (1)

spikedvodka (188722) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247750)

Hand coded gets you smaller pages, they load faster, and generally look better

I do feel vindicated though... I hand-code everything...

nano, notepad++, emacs... vi, I use them all

Re:Good (2, Funny)

Warll (1211492) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247834)

nano, notepad++, emacs,vi...
...Needles, Butterflies...

Well it looks great (2, Interesting)

grrrl (110084) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247778)

Personally, I have come to really enjoy reading the online NY Times (and I don't even live in the US).

The re-design they did a couple years ago is a pleasure to navigate, to read (I love the fonts) and while the photos are always top notch, I must say the award goes to whoever makes the graphs. They have the most fantastic and unique ways of presenting data - far beyond a boring Excel bar graph. I am really really impressed by the interesting and informative graphs which are often highly interactive, and I would love to know who thinks them up.

At the end of the day, they use templates (I believe he says as much in TFA, IIRC, I read it a week or so ago) and hand tweak the site to make it sure it stays cross-platform pretty. Each story has a similar layout so it can't be hard for them to simply tweak by hand where needed.

News? I thought everyone knew WYSIWYG sucked... (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247794)

great! ... but I thought that any website worth its stuff was already doing at least SOME hand coding to ensure viewability... if not all.

To you and Me... and real developers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23247802)

What are the man-hours to get some newbie web devels to try and troubleshoot spacing issues, what are the hours to look through countless contextual menu's to find the code that's bugging out, ever searched for a CSS bug through 1500 lines of CSS? Try it with an wisywig editor, it wont even pick up the error!

I don't know about you but as for me and my experience doing things right the first time is far more prudent and far more efficient then cleaning up after a wisywig editor, I have written entire web applications via 'vim'. What do I have to show for it? No 'browser' issues, other than known bugs!

The advent of WSYWIG editors have proven good in some ways but when dealing with high-profile sites, I gotta say, if you use a WSYWIG editor to do anything other than basic layouts and to let it handle production code is really irresponsible, furthermore I would argue that anyone that does not have the knowledge to clean up after the editor is underqualified to be a web developer. And designers ARE NOT developers! :)

Doesn't everyone? (3, Informative)

consumer (9588) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247812)

He doesn't mean that they hand-code every page -- he says very clearly that they use a CMS with templates. All he said is that they don't use a GUI tool to create the templates. This is true of just about any significant site. What is the imagined news here?

Re:Doesn't everyone? (1)

Revotron (1115029) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247858)

What is the imagined news here?
About half of the articles in the Times, to be precise.

text editors (2, Funny)

Chris Burkhardt (613953) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247818)

The pages would look even better and load even faster if they used Vi or Emacs. Obviously.

Re:text editors (3, Funny)

rossz (67331) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247976)

No Way! If they coded it with emacs, the average reader wouldn't know what 12 keys to hit simultaneously to get to the story.

Good Choice in Web Design Techniques... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23247824)

Now if only their journalistic ethics would catch up, they'd be a great news site for any browser, any platform and any reader.

Well, it works. (1)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247900)

I really don't give a crap how it gets done if it gets done right, and I don't suppose they should either.

Tools are meant to be used when they help, not just because they're there.

What really goes on (1)

cmod2 (1281346) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247912)

Most web sites are hand-coded. Dreamweaver is a great editor too. Sites can have errors and still work fine since the css standards and browsers are still not in sync.

Homesite?! (1)

Khan (19367) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247922)

Holy shit! I used to use Homesite back in '96. I had no idea it was still in existence. Then again, I used to use Notepad and it's still around, too. I always got a kick out of the "Made with Notepad" websites :-)

NYtimes.com and hand coding (1)

jkirby (97838) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247928)

Is there any other way? Hell, it is CSS and HTML for Christ's sake.

Jamey

Link Management (2, Interesting)

joeflies (529536) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247950)

For all the pros/cons on using a web site editor package vs writing code in a text editor, there's one issue that's been overlooked - how to manage links in a website with a large degree of depth and complexity.

As much as it may work in principle to build highly optimized pages by hand markup, it must be a nightmare to make any changes to something as tightly constructed as a hardwired web site.

For what is done in house this may be true (1)

Maudib (223520) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247960)

However I know that certain sections are outsourced to consulting firms. Mostly the aggregated content.

Free advertisement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23247988)

Way to many hits if you ask me:

Google eldavojohn nytimes [google.com]

The story hits the nail on the head (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23248030)

One thing the story forgets to mention is the reason WYSIWYGs exist, for the stupid fucktards. Those who must use WYSIWYGs and not a normal text edictor are obviously too fucking stupid to even exist let alone use a computer.

hand coding is no big surprise... (1)

jnichols959 (1281614) | more than 6 years ago | (#23248062)

Having been a professional webdev for about a decade I don't find this surprising at all. I've never worked with a great webdev that used a wysiwyg editor for coding. Simple code reuse and templating can go a long way toward keeping code consistent and centralized while minimizing repetitive coding. When things go wrong with your code, as they inevitably will, not knowing what code a wysiwyg editor generated and why can leave you high and dry... Besides, how can you personally evolve web development practices if you're limited to the widgets a wysiwyg editor provides :)

And that's not all... (5, Funny)

swm (171547) | more than 6 years ago | (#23248070)

I hear they have people who hand-write the news stories: sentence by sentence, word by word. Can you imagine?

What you see is not the crap you get. (1)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | more than 6 years ago | (#23248098)

I swore off WYSIWYG HTML editors with the first version of GoLive. I thought it was pretty slick until I looked at the HTML it was creating -- what a mess! I am sure the technology has advance since then. . . ? Still, I have been hand coding HTML or using some other tool to generate it ever since. This disincentives HTML overly complex layouts, which I think is a good thing.

Personally I hate the kind of fluff that WYSIWYG editors tend to encourage. Too easy to create pages that take way longer to load and way more effort to "interact" with in order to get the information that they are supposed to contain. I realize that these editors only enable bad presentation, but still.

If you have a content framework in place, fancy editors don't offer anything other than a way to add needless clutter and make things more difficult to manage.
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