Windows 8 Explorer

Windows 8 File Explorer

I understand that the Windows team really wants to make as many things possible for as many people as possible, but I think the key is to make all the features and functionalities gracefully appear as you need them. Having everything presented to you all the time? That’s cognitive overload.

Choosing a CMS (and how the web works)

In the past few weeks I have had a number of direct conversations or made indirect observations about a number of websites run either by individuals or by organizations that are still using some form of static HTML generator when they probably should be using some form of content management system (hereafter CMS), almost all of which produce HTML dynamically.

What’s the difference between *static* and *dynamic* you ask? Static HTML pages sit on a server, typically in a folder/directory titled `public_html`.

Now let me make this clear for all my friends who have asked me, or were about to ask me, that static HTML generation is great for the internet.

### Comparing Code

A pretty fundamental, and arguably not very interesting to most users, way to compare the various CMSes is to look at their code base. [Dries Buytaert](http://buytaert.net/cms-code-base-comparison) has done so. His graphs reveal the size of the code bases over time.

It turns out that the Drupallers are themselves prone to reflecting on what they do in relationship to WordPress. There have been a number of threads over the years. [This one in particular](http://drupal.org/node/29364) reflects on ease of use issues. And here’s [another discussion](http://groups.drupal.org/node/15689).

Web developers regularly ask this (http://ask.metafilter.com/131535/Drupal-vs-Joomla-vs-Wordpress-vs) precisely because they want to be able to deliver to their clients a stable, robust platform that is very user friendly. If any of those three dimensions fail, they know that the client will fault them, not the platform. But what do we mean by stable, robust, and friendly?

> WordPress is really slick for quick, turnkey web sites that don’t really need much functionality beyond a blog and an ‘about’ page.

> Drupal definitely has a learning curve, but it’s your platform if you anticipate needing to integrate a lot of custom functionality; its biggest strengths are its APIs.

Styling for the Mobile Device

The age of the mobile device is upon us. Smart phones, or smartphones, be they iPhones or Blackberries or Droids, are everywhere and making sure our users can access our content in a way that respects the full functionality of their devices and, at the same time, the limitations of their screens is becoming increasingly important. As many web developers already know, the problem is that the browsers on these devices often don’t announce themselves very well, and so you have to guess a bit — or, rather, make it possible for your website to guess a bit.

Here’s the `` code for guessing the iPhone and sending its browser, Mobile Safari, the right style sheet:

``

A good place to begin, as always when it comes to CSS, is [A List Apart](http://www.alistapart.com/), which has an article entitled [Put Your Content in My Pocket](http://www.alistapart.com/articles/putyourcontentinmypocket/).

The Man Behind Fictional UIs

Mark Coleran designs UIs (user interfaces) for the movies. You’ve seen his work in the various Bourne movies, in the Lara Craft movie, and in a number of other places.

![Coleran’s UI for “Tomb Raider”](http://blog.coleran.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/tr1-thumb-1-596×230.png)

He has collected the [various UIs on a single page](http://blog.coleran.com/category/portfolio/screendesign) on his website, and it’s a great place to go for inspiration both when you are trying to design an interface but also when you are just trying to sketch out the structure of a problem. (Sometimes *how* you look at data helps you to imagine *what* your data is.)