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Re: [tlug] linux/ms web page problem

Eric O. Flores ( wrote:

> Beside the point you work with what you have at hands and it happens
> that my company only has those tools.  Don't some of us wish that we
> could come to work and use screem or quanta plus...  I do!

Do they actually have a rule that says you can't?  When I was doing
web page work a few years ago, all that mattered was that I produce the
work.  How I produced it was basically my business.  My supervisor had
no experience in IT at all, actually; she'd been moved into the
content section from marketing or something, and everything she knew
about web content development, W3C standards (and why they are good),
etc. was stuff that I taught her.  Looking back, I suppose that was
really an optimum situation.  She had no bad habits or misinformation
to fix; she just didn't know anything about technical issues.  That
made her easy to teach.

What the company provided me with was a Win 95 box with the usual
suspects on it.  I partitioned the disk and installed Linux on it and
did all of my work there, using Xemacs as my HTML editor.  I only used
Windows for reading (usually Japanese) MS Word docs or seeing how the
content looked in IE.  My colleagues were all using Windows or sometims
a Mac.  

At the end of the day, my work had better cross-platform rendering
than anybody else's :-)

So, unless they actually have a rule that says you *must* use
Front Page, use whatever you want as long as it produces the

If they do have such a rule, then explaining to your boss, as
Marcus suggested, about W3C validation and why it's good, might
be worth a try.  If you can get her/him to a PC to watch a visual
demo, you can put on a dog-and-pony show of the FP-produced HTML
rendered in a bunch of different browsers (this is easiest
done with a series of screen-shot slides of different browsers on
different platforms).  Cover Netscape on Windows, IE, Netscape
or Mozilla on Linux, maybe Galeon (ought to look the same as Mozilla,
though), Opera, Konqueror, Amaya, anything else you want to throw in
that I may be omitting here.  Include some Mac screenshots too, if you
can get them.

Set it up in terms of "These are two different versions of the
same page.  Version A was produced with product XYZ and is 
standards-compliant out of the box.  See how it renders properly
in all these different browsers on different computers?  Now
let's look at version B. Version B was produced using Front Page.
See how it looks so broken on browsers other than IE?  This is the
experience that visitors to our site (AKA customers) will have if
they aren't using IE.  Now, IE may have (pulling a figure out
of thin air) 85% of the browser market, which is a lot.  But it
also means that we risk alienating 15% of our customers by presenting
to them a broken website." [1]

"It takes about <insert reasonable ballpark figure here> minutes
per page to take a Version B page and make it compliant so that
it renders like a Version A page.  If we use tool XYZ, on the other
hand, we can produce standard-compliant pages that render properly
in many browsers, including IE, with no extra effort on our part."

This tranlates to "better product at no additional cost to us."
Non-technical managers understand this.  It's a business case.
If you can also present some grounds that product XYZ is a better,
easier-to-use product than Brand X (and extra points if it's Free
Software, although your boss will probably only go for that if it's 
"free beer" free) so that the work can be produced not only better,
but quicker (= cheaper), that's better still.  You mention that some
of you wish they could use Screem or Quanta Plus.  I'm not familiar
with those, but if you like them also and support that wish, maybe
the others who feel that way would like to cooperate in such an

This might bring your boss around, or at least start some thinking.
Educating people about Microsoft can be difficult if they haven't
realized on their own the things that are wrong with it, from
both moral/ethical and technical standpoints.  Even people who may
loathe MS often feel that from a business perspective they have
no choice.  But if you show them that there is a reasonable business
case for choice, that might get their attention.

Now, this might not help you with your immediate problem, because they
probably won't want to switch software in the middle of a project anyway.
But if it gets people thinking about how they can produce better work
at the same or a lower cost, it might produce change somewhere down
the line.  Or you might get lucky and be told something "Use 
whatever you want as long as it gets the job done and doesn't cost me
anything."  Then you wind up with code that renders correctly
cross-platform and nobody else's does.  It could be a good 
point of departure for a later, second discussion of the subject.

Of course, if you're dealing with an impossible PHB, none of this might
be worth the time of day.  But if you have a boss who will listen to
ideas, it might get you what you want.


[1] Find a real figure for this from a respected source, and
    cite it in your presentation.

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