HTML & Flash Websites

14 10 2010

A website is something you create to get your point across to the masses, and give the sea of people surfing through the net on any given day a reason to stop and smell the roses.  Your website is there to portray something you hold very dear, or something you find absolutely hilarious.  How do you want people to view, and ingest the media/info that you have compiled in one place for them to ingest?  HTML and Flash websites are worlds apart in their layout schemes, and user functionality.  Anymore, one cannot seem to exist without the other in our online universe.

First let’s look at good ‘ol HTML.  Boy she’s a beauty isn’t she?  Since the dawn of November 24, 1995 when HTML 2.0 was released upon the world, people have been using this time trusted coding system to program and build the web pages of tomorrow.  At first all it could really do was portray text, arbitrary colors, and some horrendous backgrounds.  Since the implementations of CSS and JavaScript into web pages, around 2000 thanks to Internet Explorer 3 people have been able to enjoy a bit more control over what types of behavior their websites have, as well as entertain the visitor more.  If you would like to visit one of the last bastions of pure HTML web design, head on over to Craigslist to appreciate the sheer simplicity, yet effectiveness of their system.

Flash first appeared mainstream when distributed as Macromedia Flash way back in 1996.  Shortly after adobe picked it up, and has been having a ball.  Flash started as a small implementation for websites, and really paved the way for streaming Audio & Video applications.  Since then flash has evolved into either adding interactivity to web sites, or building entire websites from scratch in the flash atmosphere.  It wasn’t until recently that Flash has become a bit more of a ‘stand-alone’ design tool.

HTML is becoming the crusty old tool of web design and the internet.  One thing to keep in mind is that the perfect website today is rarely going to be exclusively Flash or exclusively HTML.  A healthy balance of cleanliness and interactivity found by harnessing all of the different elements together can help make your web page one of the best ones out there.  HTML works great for formatting text, working out screen placement, and anchoring your data sheet.  HTML is great for building and supplying forums, forms, and basic articles on web pages.

There is a fantastic Flash based web site building platform derived almost entirely of flash called Wix.  The sheer architecture of their builder and the sites that it creates are quite impressive.  There is HTML integration so you can bridge over the things you want from across the web.  Wix is by no means the only WYSIWYG web design tool, but it is one of the best web design “Clouds” out there.

Flash websites have way more interactivity than any other HTML website I have seen.  With so many moving parts and flashing colors, its hard not to be entertained by all the commotion happening on the screen.  This interactivity adds a whole new sense of involvement or the user as well, and encourages them to explore and experience all that you have to offer.  Rather than browsing the older HTML pages that you have to scroll down for ages to search for the info you are looking for, Flash encompasses you monitor tightly, and encourages you to turn the page.  On top of that, it can animate a page turning.

Web design and surfing is a quickly evolving terrain.  HTML and Flash are going to continue working together over the next few years to bring us the even more unforeseen heights.  Do yourself a favor and start spending some time building your own web pages.  Once you create one, you won’t be able to stop!

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Wacom Bamboo Pen Review

7 10 2010

The Wacom Bamboo Pen Tablet is, for the money, a great little tablet.  I picked mine up off of Amazon.com for just over $60.00 to help with my web design, and have not regretted my purchase one bit.  With a modest 5.8″ x 3.6″ active writing surface, it is rather responsive.  The matte area has a similar feeling to writing on actual paper, which will help with the authenticity of your documents.  That doesn’t mean that if you are not accustomed to using tablets, there will be a bit of an adjustment period before you can write legible sentences if you like to have fun with Windows Journal.

The Pen that comes with the tablet is a bit light, but still fits rather ergonomically in your hand.  The two buttons that reflect you mouse are not very intrusive of your comfort, and can begin to feel pretty natural after some regular use.  The action of tapping your tablet twice rather than good ‘ol double click is fun as well.  With a price tag of $79.99 on Wacom.com, this is an entry level tablet, for people who are either interested in using a tablet for mediocre tasks, or those of us who just don’t have a spare $300-$500 to drop on a more industry standard tablet.  When you keep that in mind, you will get just what you expect from this product.

My Bamboo came with Corel Painter Essentials, which is an excellent program for getting an idea of just what you can accomplish.  When you move into the more advanced programs, a.k.a Photoshop, or my preferred GIMP, you may notice a bit of a lag from the tablet due to hardware constraints and software usage.  You definitely will not receive a perfectly clean air-brush motion when working on some of your larger files.  This is due to the lack of sensors that come with the Entry Level Pen tablet.

Based on sheer looks the Pen Tablet will make a sexy addition to most desk set ups, and many people who aren’t accustomed to seeing them will comment.  College students will like the option of being able to take notes in class, on your laptop screen, and save them for a later date without the fear of lost torn or crumpled pages.  Or you could just doodle during class as well, whatever your into.  It has a nice shiny trim around the writing surface which can easily collect dust if you don’t wipe it regularly.  It weighs a measly 1.8 pounds, so you won’t really notice the weight in your backpack or briefcase.  The pen itself does not require batteries to run, which is a relief, and comes with two spare tips to replace the original when it gets worn.

All in all the Wacom Bamboo Pen Tablet is a great product for its target market.  Wacom is a trusted name in the industry, and the quality is noticed in the Pen Tablet.  If you are someone interested in toying with these fun tools, but don’t want to drop too much to experience it, go with this one.  You get your money’s worth, and then some!