Technology is confusing and its constant evolution can be dizzying. While searching for a vendor to handle your project, many sales pitches will be read. Philosophies, processes, buzzwords, and claims are scattered among many pages. We have them too. What we also offer, however, are the facts. Here are some of the facts about sales pitches we have seen. in our attempt to lift the smoke and mirrors of technology and dissolve some of the mystery surrounding Web technologies.

Sales Pitch Web Technology 101

Drop-down menus and "one click" navigation are on the best sites are standard web features.

~What is Really Needed?~
This navigation feature is on several sites: true. Is it on the best sites? If you consider the "best" as most heavily trafficked then it is not used on the best sites. Drop down menus are most commonly created using Java Script, a language understood by most Web browsers. The features of Java Script required to make these menus work, however, are only on the more recent versions of the browsers, making this feature unusable for some viewers. Another reason it is not used on the "best" sites is because the coding involved can be extensive. Since all code must be downloaded to use the menus, this can slow the delivery of your pages to your visitor.

Can we add them if you want them? Certainly. Does your site need them? Probably not if your information hierachy is well planned.

We compress the images we use on your site for the best performance

~Can't Be Avoided~
Downloading a web page without compressed would take a very long time: true. What may not be mentioned in the sales pitch is that Web browsers almost exclusively display only compressed images making it a technology that can't be avoided. In short, almost all images on the Web are compressed. The two most common formats are GIF and JPG and both have been around for a while. Both compression schemes for Web purposes are "lossy," meaning some of the information of your image will be lost once compressed and, for example, will likely not look as good as the photo from which it was scanned.

Do we use compressed images in our pages? We can't avoid it. If we put images on a site, they are compressed in some fashion.

Cascading style sheets add functionality to your site.

~Does it?~
Cascading style sheets are a convention that allows for easier and more consistent formatting of your page. The end result, if done properly, is a site that looks like the same site from page to page, and not someone else's site when you go to the next page. It also allows global formatting changes to be made easily. If you want the heading on all pages a little bigger, changing it once in the style sheet will make the heading bigger on all pages (assuming a linked and not embedded style sheet). In short, it makes your site easier to create and easier to maintain. Do you need it? no. A site can be created with out the use of style sheets, but with many older commands being retired, and to keep your maintenance costs as low as possible, it is recommended.

Do we use style sheets? Absolutely. Since we are concerned about your bottom line and we have promoted site-wide design consistency since our Creative Web Design lecture at the International Web Conference in Paris in 1995, cascading style sheets have allowed us to implement our ideals more rigorously.

We offer CGIs for added functionality

~There is Only One~
CGI stands for "Common Gateway Interface" and has offered a means for the visitor using a Web browser to send information back to the Web server for quite some time. There is only one CGI, though there have been several versions. If your site sends data back to the server through a form (contact us, or subscribe for example) then it is most likely being sent through the CGI. Is this bleeding edge techonology? No, the convention has been around for quite some time and is offered by almost every hosting company since it is standard on most servers. For those interested further information is provided about The Common Gateway Interface at the University of Illinois.

The Web versus a brochure can be interactive. A business can collect information and communicate with a visitor. For this, the CGI is an important convention that we use liberally.