April 30, 2007

Sex therapist

Try this. Bring up a browser window, and type in "mumbaimirror.com". You know the title that appears at the top of your window? (In some tabbing browsers it will also appear if you move your mouse over the tab in question). In this case, you will note that it has a few dots in it. (Like this: "..."). That's because the entire title is too long for that space.

Now I am sure you are longing to know what that entire title is. I'm here to satisfy that particular thirst for knowledge. Here you are, and this is verbatim:
    Mumbai News - Mumbai Mirror Online - Mumbai News, Mumbai newspaper,Current Affairs,Latest news, Mumbai Directory, City Portal, Mumbai,city,Bombay,destination,Web,Internet,website,Capital of Maharashtra,Metropolis,Megapolis,Commercial Capital of India,Business Capital of India, Gateway of India, News,Bollywood,Business,Sensex,BSE,Bombay Stock Exchange,Sports,Local Guide,train routes,,suburban trains,BEST bus routes,taxi,auto-rickshaw,Flora Fountain,Mumbai Marine Drive, ,Sexual Health Therapist,Sex Therapist,Stress Therapist,Beauty counsellor,Agony Aunt,BMC,Bombay Muncipal Corporation,Mumbai Police,Hindi Films,Hindi Movies,Hindi cinema,Chowpatty,Apollo Bunder,Cinema studios,events,music concert,theatres,beaches,weather,Chor Bazaar,Real Estate,Mumbai Property,Bombay News, World News, Search WN Network,Mumbai business, politics, sport, energy, health, India markets, environment, current events, photos, headlines, Broadcasts, radio, fm, WN Network Bombay, news archive India Maharashtra Hindu Indian Mumbai Bombay
You're welcome.


Rahul Siddharthan said...


Below's the "keywords" meta tag for the Times of India's main page (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com). No doubt it's to fool search engines (such tricks used to work back in the mid 1990s). And no doubt some idiot web-designer (is there any other kind?) decided that such "keywords" really belong in Mumbai Mirror's title bar.

"news, india news, times, india, toi, online, indian news, asian news, time, toi.com, times of india, indiatimes, newspaper, the times of india,headlines, kashmir, plus, ascent, asccent, daily newspaper, delhi newspaper, hindustan, hindusthan, indien, inde, photo gallery, fashion, photos,pictures, pics, asia, asie, politics, cricket, health, crime, cities, city, bollywood, world, sports, business, economic times, science, weather, special report, pdf, sport, search, education, financial times, horoscope, astrology, joke, jokes, interactive, crossword, matrimonial, brides, grooms, jobs,careers, auto, automobiles, classifieds, it, infotech, information, technology, travel, lifestyle, egreetings, greeting cards, video reports, ht,hindustan times, aaj tak, rediff, indian express, zee, ndtv, indya, star tv"

Kartik said...

Oh No... This is a job for ... GOOGLEGUYS! :)

Anonymous said...

no cricket? no celebrity, no aiswarya, they skipped the third page altogether. not my kind of paper.

km said...

Rahul said it before, but yeah, it's those pesky meta-tags.

It's like Indian newspapers on the web have not really moved beyond 1997.

Anyone know why they are SO sucky? Every_single_one_of_them.

Anonymous said...

Rahul: What makes you think that all web-designers are idiots? Since you have made such a strong statement, care to elaborate?

Rahul Siddharthan said...

Truman - I speak as a web surfer. But I will elaborate -- one of the following two hypotheses holds:
(a) All commercial web designers are idiots.
(b) All commercial companies choose to employ idiot web designers.

Your call.

(Of course, as with any empirical law, there are exceptions. I've just encountered very few anywhere, and none in India.)

Anonymous said...

Rahul: No, that is what I want to know, how do you arrive at this hypothesis, this proposition. Since you have used the word "All" in both the points, I feel its important to know the facts before accepting one of your points -- the stakes are too high, you are discrediting the work done by thousands in one go. How do you know about the practices of the thousands of commercial companies in the country. As a websurfer, have you seen at least 50% of their work? Or is it just a matter of personal taste and guesswork?

Having said that, I do agree that the prevailing standards of graphic and web design are not high in Indian portals. But to say that all web-designers working with commercial organizations are idiots is something I disagree with. Simply too unfair unless you have figures at hand.

Rahul Siddharthan said...

truman -- I don't want to hijack this thread, so this is my last post on the subject. I will blog on it one of these days. Meanwhile, try this very simple test: feed (almost) any web page you like to the Web Consortium's HTML validator and watch it crash and burn. There are a few honourable exceptions, but very few.

Why does this matter? Because there exists more than one web browser in the world. If you write to standards, it will work on any standard-compliant web-browser: you don't have to work on compatibility or correctness. (That's actually not strictly true, but close.) You do have to work on layout of course, where also I'll say nearly all webpages out there are dreadful.

HTML is not a printing language; it's a markup language (that's the ML in HTML) meant for web browsers. That means you DON'T specify (or make assumptions about) font sizes, font families, etc -- the user should be allowed to choose all that.

If you write to MS IE6 and expect all your users to use that browser, not only does it break Firefox or Opera, not only does it break on MS IE7, it even breaks MS IE 6 with different choices of fonts or other trivial configuration changes. And you're pissing off your userbase.

Here's more material on what's wrong with a lot of webpages out there.

Sadly, that applies to the vast majority of webpages out there. Don't take my word for it, look around you.

And I haven't even discussed the usability aspect. Even if your webpage is technically correct, looks cosmetically good, and works on all common browsers including Opera Mini, it may still annoy the user in numerous avoidable ways.

And finally -- this may be "below the belt", but you are apparently unable to include your own URL correctly -- for both your posts, it reads "http://dcubed.blogspot.com/2007/04/www.adityeah.com" (which of course doesn't exist). It's trivial, but such things do dilute your credibility as a spokesman for web designers.

Anonymous said...


The problem you speak about is related to web-standards. If that has to improve, w3c should be the first to come in the picture, not web-designers.

Oh and by the way, I am not a spokesman for web designers. I just thought you were being a wee bit too harsh on them when you called them all "idiots".

I am putting my URL as "www.adityeah.com" each time I am posting it here. If blogger takes the address and appends it to this blog posts URL, why blame me? How quick of you to step on my "credibility".

And now, our conversation shall cease.

Rahul Siddharthan said...

truman - (sorry, couldn't let that pass)
The web standards are fine, it's the designers that are not following them.

And web urls MUST begin with http:// (after all, ftp URLS and even gopher and other URLS are possible too...)

Dilip D'Souza said...

What happened here?

Rahul, I do think suggesting that all web-designers are idiots is excessive. There are plenty of fine sites out there, designed beautifully. A validator that fails every single URL that I submitted -- ranging from google.com to nationalgeographic.com to www.quieroverunfantasma.com/eng/post_1f76379.html -- except its own URL is a validator that is trying to enforce standards that nobody even knows about.

There's something missing in that lack of knowledge, yes, but it doesn't follow that all web-designers are idiots. It does follow that those who create standards and care about them are not doing enough to spread the news about those standards.

and yes, that was below the belt. Certainly a full URL includes the "http://"; but if browsers and email programmes and any number of other services -- including your W3C validator, try it -- are able to prefix "http://" to something like "www.google.com", it is reasonable to expect that blogger would do so as well.

Please let's keep this space civil.

Rahul Siddharthan said...

Dilip -- my original "idiot" phrase was the sort of throwaway phrase one uses on blogs. I apologise for using it on yours, but I wouldn't apologise on my own for example: what I wrote was "And no doubt some idiot web-designer (is there any other kind?) decided that such "keywords" really belong in Mumbai Mirror's title bar" and I stand by the sentiment.

I did get carried away arguing with Truman, for which I apologise unreservedly. And I agree blogger is at fault about the URL thing, but let me explain what's going on:

1. On the web, the "http://" is indeed important in links (the <A HREF=""> tag). If you omit it, it means what you type is tacked on to the current directory. In this case, Aditya omitted the "http://", and his comment is on your page "http://dcubed.blogspot.com/2007/04/sex-therapist.html", so naturally his webpage gets tagged on to the current directory "http://dcubed.blogspot.com/2007/04/".

2. I agree there's no reason regular users should know all this. But if you go to Truman's page, he describes himself as a computer programmer. He most certainly should know.

Finally, in my long post above, I devote one paragraph to the validator and one to why correct HTML is important; the rest is entirely about other aspects of web design, which both Truman and you choose to ignore.

Even if I retract the "idiot" phrase, I will still need to find some parliamentary but accurate description of (most) web designers.

Dilip D'Souza said...


I have no objection to your original use of the word "idiot". I just thought it was excessive (as I said) -- I don't believe all web-designers are idiots.

I know about how the link gets tagged onto the current directory (brings back old Unix-days memories, actually) if you omit the "http://" -- but as I pointed out, several pieces of software are now clever enough to stick the "http://" onto something like "www.google.com". Therefore I think it is reasonable to assume that it will happen in blogger as well.

By no means did I ignore your other aspects of web design -- for example I went and read the anybrower.org article with great interest. I simply thought you were more harsh than necessary on Truman, and coming from you that surprised me.

I look forward to your parliamentary but accurate description.

Rahul Siddharthan said...

Dilip - yes, as I said, it is really blogger's fault: it should know that what you enter in the "your web page" field is not a local file.

The word I settled on is "irresponsible". I've gone into the matter here (sequels may appear someday).

Jo said...

I think Rahul doesn't understand that "commercial web designers" are "idiots" because they have to follow the commercial requirements of their clients. If he has ever worked on a "commercial" web design project, he will know. It is not the web designer's choice, but the client's choice.

Rahul Siddharthan said...

Jo - what you say may apply to the "meta tags" in Dilip's post (and therefore, I guess, to my original remark that sparked the argument). It may also apply to some of the usability aspects of certain websites, that I haven't discussed (but a good web designer should be able to convince the client why their requests are unreasonable).

But it does not apply to the other things I said above. No client will insist on invalid HTML, or on a site that is broken on non-Microsoft browsers, or on specific fonts and point sizes, or all the other things I mentioned here and on my own blog.

Jo said...

I agree a good web designer should convince their clients, but clients mostly do not bother about the technology that you use, but the 'looks'. Sometimes, even if they were told about the load time of a site if we use too much graphics, they would still want you to use as many high quality graphic images as possible in their website. Just an example.

But like you said the cross-browser compatibility (Atleast for the popular ones like IE, FF and OP) is an important issue that most of the professionals would like to skip. I think its not the lack of knowledge, but pure laziness in most cases.

One difficult challenge that the web designers/developers face is to write valid HTML/XHTML/CSS without having to alter the original photoshop/fireworks design draft. I think this is also a reason why there isn't much 'valid ' coded sites out there.

If you work in a product based software company, you have the freedom of being end-user consious and thus come up with valid coded pages with simple layout and design. Unfortunately, when you design/develop commercial websites, you don't have much of a choice.