Feature Article
Graphics? I don't need no stinking graphics

August 1, 1998
By Scott Lewis

Once again I have redesigned this site. Due to the recent problems I have had with regards to the amount of traffic I am allowed on this account, I have redesigned this site to use as little graphics as possible.

This was done in an attempt to reduce the total volume of data passed to you. I have done a lot of work in Notepad to build the template for my pages. I used Notepad to give me maximum control of the HTML. The main concern was in developing the tables for the page layout.

Tables have a nasty habit of having pages appear to load slowly. I have experienced this in the past, and did not want to have that problem with this streamlined version of my site. By using Notepad, I was able to build a series of nested tables that load gradually in the browser. Typically when you use one big table for all the content of a page, the browser has to read the entire HTML document, and all the graphics, before it can display anything.

I spent a lot of time making sure that my tables would load a little at a time. This gives a huge improvement in the perceived speed, since parts of the page start displaying as others are still loading. You can start reading before the entire page has loaded.

I have also reduced the size of the pages. Through careful HTML coding, I was able to reduce the page size to between 10K & 13K. Previously the pages where 18K & 22K. These sizes do not reflect the graphics I removed. I was using approximately 30K of graphics per page. Now I am using approximately 3K, and almost all of that is my new logo in the top left corner of every page. All in all, a savings of almost 40K per page.

The hard part was coming up with a design that was aesthetically pleasing, while using virtually no graphics. I think I have come up with an acceptable appearance. However, you are the true judge of that. No matter how much I like the pages, if you don't like them you will not want to return.

I was unable to completely convert this site over in the time I had. I only have 3 months of history in the archive, and only for the current columns. Next month I should have all the articles converted.

Any comments on the new look? Just in case you don't think I practice what I preach... You can see the template I use for my columns. I also have a template for longer articles should the need arise. Notice the missing graphics, this is intentional. I would put in graphics on an as needed basis.

Enjoy the new speed of this site. I look forward to hearing from you.