Hi! I'm Tanner.

I'm a software engineer at Apple. I write here occassionally.

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Web Design - Then and Now

A long time ago, when I was a young kid, just about to become a teenager, I learned about HTML and how it could be used to create websites. So I took it upon myself to learn HTML. Soon after, I created my first website, TS Aviation, a flight simulation community for Microsoft’s Flight Simulator. I was proud of it. Though, was it better than any other websites I’ve seen on the web? Very much no. The site was made up of tables, only a few images here and there, and little to no feeling of structure. Everything just kind of flowed.

Around when I was 13, I began learning C++ and decided to make a little site to showcase my little programs. The programs weren’t much, but I enjoyed making them. So I “created” TS Software. Sadly, the Internet Archive doesn’t have a complete save of the site with images and everything, but it does have this. The site was a nicely formatted site with a navigation bar, header space, content area, and even a sidebar. Everything had rounded corners and a nice flash animation for the header. I didn’t make it though. I made none of that. I found the site design online somewhere.

Why did I not make the TS Software site? Well, I wanted it to look good, because it was my first little “company”, and I knew I did not have the skills to make it look good. All the “good” websites had rounded corners, nice logos, and other images. I didn’t have that skill. And I still don’t (even though I own Photoshop now).

There was a large barrier to entry to making a “good” website a few years ago. Needless to say, images made your website better. I saw that you couldn’t just make a website with just HTML and some CSS. Images were king.

Now, we have HTML5 and CSS3.  Rounded corners? No problem. Gradients? Done. It becomes very easy to make a good looking site easily. Making tannersmith.me a few years ago would have been impossible for me. I would’ve had to have several images to create the effect. After learning CSS from Ryan Ashcraft and CSS3 after that, making the design was very simple. No images were used in the design itself.

I don’t have to use Photshop or Gimp to make a good looking site. Yeah, it might help with certain details, but it’s not required anymore to produce an original, good looking template.

What does this mean for the web? It means that people can get a good looking site out on the web faster and easier. It means I don’t have to sit down and learn how to use yet another product after I’ve gone through the hardships of learning HTML and CSS.

The web should be somewhere anyone can easily create a site to publish to the world. With HTML5 and CSS3, it’s easier to make a good looking website which means more people can make websites resulting in a web with more content.