Posts Tagged ‘Sitepoint’
Posted on February 2, 2009 - by Khaled
Matt Mickiewicz is the co-founder (along with Mark Harbottle) of the giant Australian online media company, SitePoint.com. SitePoint is growing quite fast since few years now and doesn’t seem to be affected by the recession. Matt, kindly accepted to accord this interview to talk about the huge success of his company and to reveal key points about how SitePoint has become what it is now. Some really great insights and advice to follow if you want your business to fully thrive! This interview will be really inspiring for most of you! Especially if you learn (and this is not a secret) that Matt started the whole thing in a very young age!
-.Hello Matt, Can you introduce yourself?
I’m Matt Mickiewicz, co-founder of SitePoint and 99designs
-.How did it all start for you? What led the jump from Webmaster-Resources.com to sitepoint.com?
It started as a hobby for me. I started compiling useful links & resources related to web development and online marketing back in 1997 and I put it up as a one-page site on Geocities. It quickly gained traction and popularity.On April 1st, when the price of domain name registration at Network Solutions dropped from $100/2 years to $70/2 years, I decided to purchase the domain name Webmaster-Resources.com.Unfortunately, the choice of domain name came to haunt me, as another website occupied WebmasterResources.com (without the hyphen). When WINDOWS Magazine – with 1 million subscribers – did a write-up about my site, they left out the hyphen, which was a sign that it’s not a name for the long-term. We moved quickly to find a better alternative when Mark joined me in the Fall of 1999.
The name SitePoint was inspired by a billboard for Microsoft’s CarPoint that Mark Harbottle, my business partner, saw while driving in Melbourne. When he hopped online to find out the availability of SitePoint.com, we found ourselves in luck as the domain name had *just* expired. We relaunched as SitePoint in March of 2000 and opened our Melbourne office that summer.
-.Almost ten years after can you give us a brief timeline? And how SitePoint became what it is right now? What worked the best during the start? the forums? the articles?
There’s a great timeline of the company in the right hand sidebar at: http://sitepoint.com/about/
What really worked the best in the very early days was helping as many people as possible. I participated in forums and discussion lists related to online sales, marketing & web development. I critiqued websites for free and offered advice on improvements. I answered every email I got, and tried to help out everyone as much as I could.
-.Surviving and thriving after 10 years including the dot come crash, and without venture capital, is a huge achievement. How did you do it?
In the early days, we never turned down a dollar in revenue. Since we were seen as experts in Web Development, it wasn’t all that shocking when Melbourne companies approached us to do Web Design work for them – and we did.
We’ve also been very moderate in our growth. We only hire people when we have the revenue to support them, and we never took on too many financial obligations before we were ready for them.
In a way, we’ve always been ultra-conservative with expenses & hiring.
For example, we’ve had to move offices 3 times since 2000 as our staff has grown. That’s counter-intuitive for many Silicon Valley based companies which rent 20,000 sq feet on day 1, expecting that they will grow into it eventually.
Likewise, we’ve always been very in touch with what people are doing on our site. When we learned that they were printing our articles through the “print” feature so that they could follow-along with our programming tutorials, we decided to do it for them and as a result published our first every book.
The design contests, which morphed into 99designs, and the buying & selling of Websites forum that turned into a full-featured Marketplace were also all born out of the Community. We didn’t come up with the ideas, just realized their potential and invested manpower and resources into executing upon them.
-.A question I always had in mind: Why did you choose Australia over Canada for the HQ of SitePoint?
Mark was based in Melbourne, Australia as were the first people we hired who came from Sausage Software – makers of the Hotdog HTML editor. As an unexpected bonus, the 2:1 exchange rate between the USD and AUD dollar at the time allowed us to stretch our revenue lot further than we otherwise could have in North America.
-.When you visit the sitepoint forums, where do you go?
I read the SitePoint Feedback & suggestions, Marketplace Feedback and “Forum Help” areas the most.
-.What is your favorite book or kit from the SitePoint collection that you would recommend?
-. What about 99designs?
99designs was spun off as its own separate company in February of 2008. It now has its own brand name and the focus and resources that it deserves.
You can always follow Matt on Twitter.
Posted on January 29, 2009 - by Khaled
SitePoint.com, the Australian online media company, has been very active during the last days. First of all they have released a new Mozilla FireFox extension (Add-on) called FireScope that integrates with Web developer tool “Firebug” to extend it with references for HTML and CSS. I checked it out and I really loved it. I think it is a lot more useful than the other SitePoint FireFox Add-on: Dust-Me selectors (That finds unused CSS selectors).
Finally SitePoint are looking for 4 Part-time Bloggers that will have to post 5 times per week with a minimum length of 300 words per post (The optimum being 400-600 words). So if you think you can be one of them go ahead and apply!
More hot news soon! Don’t forget to subscribe to be notified via RSS or E-mail. Or just follow me on Twitter
Posted on January 24, 2009 - by Khaled
During the last years Web standards started to gain an increasing popularity among Web designers. Still Web standards addicts are a ceaselessly growing minority until now. This is probably due to the fact that the majority regards the use of web standards in their projects as a hard process that requires a lot of time and process. Which is not 100% true in my opinion as Web Standards are the only right way to go! Dedication to standards is the key! following the W3C recommendations is a must! This is the first post from the “WEB STANDARDS ARE THE ONLY WAY!” series. And what a better start than having a “pragmatic evangelist for web standards and accessibility” sharing his view about subjects like the future of HTML, the use of XHTML or Should we start using HTML5?
So here’s a short, yet very interesting, interview with Tommy Olsson. But first let’s introduce Tommy to those who don’t know him. Tommy is a Swedish Web standards and accessibility Guru. He’s the Design Team leader at the SitePoint forums (so he’s my boss there!). He has written many articles for SitePoint and especially he co-authored with Paul O’Brien the SitePoint CSS reference. He had also won the “HTML/XHTML Guru” award of the SPF community for several consecutive years. You can check out his blog here.
The Future of HTML and HTML5
1. Almost 20 years after the first relase of HTML how do you see its future?
I’ll confidently state that HTML will have its place in web development for the foreseeable future … provided you don’t ask me how long that is.
There is a need for a semantic markup language to exchange information between people. Although there are fashionable trends with ‘rich content’ (which invariably means ‘flashy’ and ‘pretty’ rather than ‘useful’), all such technologies have drawbacks when it comes to accessibility. HTML as such is inherently accessible.
2.What are your thoughts about HTML5? should we start using the released drafts especially with the available validators? What does it add? is it heading towards more respect of semantics? What potential does HTML5 has?
HTML5 worries me. A lot. I’ve been using HTML since 1993 (before it even had a version number), so I’ve seen the changes it has gone through. In the mid-’90s there was a loss of focus on semantics, in favour of presentation, but it quickly became apparent that this was the wrong way to go. Content and presentation should be kept separate, which is why CSS was invented.
The ongoing work with HTML5 seems to ignore semantics to a large degree. Yes, it proposes to add a handful of semantic element types, but it also adds purely presentational stuff that – in my opinion – doesn’t belong in a markup language.
Even worse is that it redefines long-established semantics of existing element types. For instance, the P element type no longer denotes a paragraph; it becomes a generic block-level container – nothing more than a synonym for DIV.
The contempt for accessibility is even more worrying. The drafts propose to eliminate several important attributes (or at least make them non-required). The reason appears to be a lack of support in contemporary assistive technology.
My opinion is that HTML5 is to semantics and accessibility what Herod was to the Bethlehem Playground Association!
Should we use it? For experimental purposes, perhaps, but I would strongly recommend against any attempt to use it on a serious, professional web site. Why? Because it’s not a W3C recommendation. It’s just an early draft which is likely to change many times before consensus is reached. (If that ever happens.)
3. What are your thoughts about combining HTML5 and XHTML2?
XHTML2 is not backwards compatible with HTML at all. That’s also true for parts of HTML5, but not to the same degree. (If I’ve understood the drafts correctly.)
XHTML2 did show some interesting proposals for semantics and accessibility, but the fact that it’s an application of XML makes it utterly inappropriate for web pages, at least until the day we have really good authoring tools. Handcoding XML is not a good idea in a production environment, due to its draconian error handling.
XHTML2 and (X)HTML5 aren’t compatible, and their progress appears to diverge. I think it would be difficult to reconcile them into a single markup language.
4. What do you say to people ‘using‘ XHTML ?
Seriously, XHTML is long dead, due to a decade of horrible abuse. Not even the bleached bones remain.
Web Standards & Browsers?
5. Why should Web designers always respect Web standards?
For the same reason that other professionals should respect the standards of their business. It makes life so much easier for everyone – browser vendors, web designers and developers, users, …
Anyone who tried to create web sites during the Browser Wars of the late ’90s will know what I mean .
6. What’s your favourite browser and why?
Opera. It’s the most standards compliant browser, which means it’s easy to see if I got my stuff right. It also comes loaded with tons of useful features (and, admittedly, quite a few I haven’t yet found a use for). It’s more customisable than any other browser and it’s available for lots of different platforms. I use it with GNU/Linux at home and with Windows XP at the office, and it looks and works exactly the same. I even use Opera Mini on my mobile.
I rarely use the mouse when I browse, preferring keyboard navigation. And there’s no browser that beats Opera when it comes to keyboard navigation!
7. Which Web browser do you think is going to gain even more market shere in 2009?
I really wish I could say Opera, but I don’t think it will happen. I’m sure IE8 will take a large piece of the cake when it’s released, regardless of how good (or bad) it turns out. I also think it’s quite possible that Chrome will increase its share – possibly at the expense of Safari and/or Firefox.
8. Anything you want to add?
You really don’t want to ask a chatterbox like me that question! I can talk ’til the cows come home, you know that.
But I’ll settle for, ‘Thanks for letting me use your soapbox for a while.’
I enjoyed having Tommy answering these questions that might briefly summarize the actual situation when it comes to HTML, XHTML and HTML5. I think this short interview will be a good and fast to read reference for many web designers. I hope you enjoyed it too and that it will help you making the right decisions when it comes to web design and web development. To make this blog post even more interesting I am including Tommy’s HTML Guru list! check it out
So You Want To Be An HTML Guru?
Try this list compiled by Tommy Olsson based on articles published on SitePoint:
I may add another nice article: Learn HTML and CSS: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide by Ian Lloyd.
SitePoint HTML & CSS references:
Posted on January 7, 2009 - by Khaled
Nowadays, Podcasting is gaining a ceaseless increasing interest. The word podcasting was created by blending the words “iPod” and “broadcast”. This is due to the fact that the first podcasting scripts were developed for Apple iPod portable media player. However, an iPod is no longer required to listen to podcasts. Most Media Players will do the job! I prefer iTunes though as it allows searching podcasts, subscribing to them (free and paid podcasts do exist) and of course listening to them. iTunes offers really cool features for this.
Podcasts are generally a series of audio or video files which are diffused on the web via syndicated download, through Web feeds. So they are a perfect combination of RSS specification and the MP3 compression algorithm.
Over the few last years I gathered a nice collection of podcasts that I like to watch/listen to. I am going to share with you the top 10 podcasts that I favor when it comes to Web Design and Web Development.
Paul Boag’s Podcast (co-hosted with Marcus Lillington) started since August 2005. It has, as of today, 147 episodes. Episode 148 will be released within a week or so. Paul deals with different subjects related to the web design business. He usually invites some big names to the show. The live streaming recording is a nice bonus too!
A fairly new, yet excellent Podcast, that started last November (2008). The Hosts are Brad Williams, Patrick O’Keefe, Stephan Segraves, and Kevin Yank. The SP Podcast is about The Web industry. This is an outstanding show with different point of views. 5 episodes till now but the 6th is in its way soon!
An excellent Podcast to watch for Photoshoppers! Hosted by the Photoshop guys: Dave Cross, Matt Kloskowski, and Scott Kelby from the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP). The Photoshop guys share each week some very nice Adobe Photoshop tutorials, along with some very cool tips and tricks that will hugely increase your Photoshop productivity. 167 episodes for now.
This podcast is produced by .net magazine. This podcast deals with different web design aspects and presents several software tutorials and tips (CSS, Graphic design, Flash, Photoshop…). The podcast started back in March 2008 and 28 episodes were released till now.
The Adobe Creative Suite Podcast features tips and tutorials mainly about Photoshop, Indesign and other Adobe CS software. It is hosted by Terry White. This is a 2 years old podcast that started in 2006 and still active till now.
Hosted by famous web designers John Oxton and Jon Hicks. Deals with Web geeky stuff. Started in late 2007. 19 podcast episodes were released.
A bi-weekly radio-style podcast full of news, events and discussions about PHP. It is probably one of the oldest Podcasts on the net as it started since 2003.
A video Podcast with tutorials for graphic designers hosted by Adam Hay.
An audio podcast about web design as a job/career hosted also by Adam Hay. This podcast wasn’t very active lately but the early episodes are great.
10. Rails Podcast
A nice rails podcast.
Now even if some of these are less active these days, listening to older episodes is really a good thing that will help learn tons of things. Most of them are available for subscription via Apple iTunes which the media player I really recommande for podcasts.
Posted on December 16, 2008 - by Khaled
Josh Catone, the Lead Blogger at sitepoint.com, posted a poll to see which big web tech companies users trust the most? For the moment, and after few hundreds of votes, Google is the leader collecting more than 40% of the votes in front of Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Yahoo!
Take a look on the results and cast your vote here: