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Python's website does a great disservice to the language

P: n/a
I was trying to advocate using Python for an upcoming prototype, so my boss
went out to take a look at the documentation and try and get a feel for what
the language is all about.

First comment; "I hope the language is designed better than the site." The
site is readable, but is amateurish. If I had an ounce of design skills in
me, I would take a stab at it.

Maybe we could round up a couple of designers to donate some time? Maybe we
could build a basic CMS on top of Django or TurboGears (displaying Python's
capability as a web development stack)?

Nov 1 '05 #1
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39 Replies


P: n/a
On 2005-11-01, CppNewB <no***@nospam.com> wrote:
I was trying to advocate using Python for an upcoming
prototype, so my boss went out to take a look at the
documentation and try and get a feel for what the language is
all about.

First comment; "I hope the language is designed better than
the site."
It sounds like you work for the prototypical PHB.
The site is readable, but is amateurish. If I had an ounce of
design skills in me, I would take a stab at it.
May God save us from "professional" looking web sites.
Maybe we could round up a couple of designers to donate some
time? Maybe we could build a basic CMS on top of Django or
TurboGears (displaying Python's capability as a web
development stack)?


I like the Python web site. It's simple, easy to read, and easy to
use. Just like the lanuage.

--
Grant Edwards grante Yow! Yow!! That's a GOOD
at IDEA!! Eating a whole FIELD
visi.com of COUGH MEDICINE should
make you feel MUCH BETTER!!
Nov 1 '05 #2

P: n/a
CppNewB wrote:
I was trying to advocate using Python for an upcoming prototype, so my boss
went out to take a look at the documentation and try and get a feel for what
the language is all about.

First comment; "I hope the language is designed better than the site." The
site is readable, but is amateurish. If I had an ounce of design skills in
me, I would take a stab at it.

Maybe we could round up a couple of designers to donate some time? Maybe we
could build a basic CMS on top of Django or TurboGears (displaying Python's
capability as a web development stack)?

A redesign is complete, and should be deployed by the end of the year.

In the meantime please assure your boss that the language *is* far
better designed than the (current) web site, and that he shouldn't judge
a bottle by its label :-)

[Thinks: wonder if it's time to release a sneak preview].

regards
Steve
--
Steve Holden +44 150 684 7255 +1 800 494 3119
Holden Web LLC www.holdenweb.com
PyCon TX 2006 www.python.org/pycon/

Nov 1 '05 #3

P: n/a
Good news Steve.

It's definitely time for a sneak preview. Let's see it!

"Steve Holden" <st***@holdenweb.com> wrote in message
news:ma*************************************@pytho n.org...
CppNewB wrote:
I was trying to advocate using Python for an upcoming prototype, so my
boss went out to take a look at the documentation and try and get a feel
for what the language is all about.

First comment; "I hope the language is designed better than the site."
The site is readable, but is amateurish. If I had an ounce of design
skills in me, I would take a stab at it.

Maybe we could round up a couple of designers to donate some time? Maybe
we could build a basic CMS on top of Django or TurboGears (displaying
Python's capability as a web development stack)?

A redesign is complete, and should be deployed by the end of the year.

In the meantime please assure your boss that the language *is* far better
designed than the (current) web site, and that he shouldn't judge a bottle
by its label :-)

[Thinks: wonder if it's time to release a sneak preview].

regards
Steve
--
Steve Holden +44 150 684 7255 +1 800 494 3119
Holden Web LLC www.holdenweb.com
PyCon TX 2006 www.python.org/pycon/

Nov 1 '05 #4

P: n/a
On Nov 01, CppNewB wrote:
First comment; "I hope the language is designed better than the
site." The site is readable, but is amateurish.


That's flaim bait if I ever saw it!

I find the site quite lovely: very readable, no ads, well organized,
nice colors, simple, easy to maintain (uses ht2html with ReST). What
are you comparing it to? Have a look at homepages for ruby, java,
tcl, and perl. I consider python.org superior to all of them. It is
my personal benchmark for webpage usability.

--
_ _ ___
|V|icah |- lliott http://micah.elliott.name md*@micah.elliott.name
" " """
Nov 1 '05 #5

P: n/a
"CppNewB" wrote:
I was trying to advocate using Python for an upcoming prototype, so my boss
went out to take a look at the documentation and try and get a feel for what
the language is all about.

First comment; "I hope the language is designed better than the site."


so your boss is a troll, and you cannot use a search engine. I hope you're
company is more competent than it appears ;-)

(hint: a redesign is in progress, sponsored by the PSF. google for "python.org
redesign 2005" for more info. bte, the current design was created by people
who've won more design awards than most web firms; the design is old (1998),
not unusable...)

</F>

Nov 1 '05 #6

P: n/a
Grant Edwards wrote:
May God save us from "professional" looking web sites.
I like the Python web site. It's simple, easy to read, and easy to
use.


I strongly agree with you, the web is full of web sites that are nice
"looking" but have microscopic fixed fonts (against the very spirit of
Html), are full of useless flash, have lots of html structures nested
inside other ones (PHP sites are often like this, with dirty
sourcecode), are difficult/slow to render on differnt/old browsers
(best viewed with its webmaster browser only), are two times bigger
than necessary, etc. Python web site can be improved, but there are lot
of ways to make it worse.

Bye,
bearophile

Nov 1 '05 #7

P: n/a
message = message.replace("you're", "your")

Nov 1 '05 #8

P: n/a
be************@lycos.com enlightened us with:
I strongly agree with you, the web is full of web sites that are
nice "looking" but have microscopic fixed fonts (against the very
spirit of Html), are full of useless flash, have lots of html
structures nested inside other ones (PHP sites are often like this,
with dirty sourcecode), are difficult/slow to render on differnt/old
browsers (best viewed with its webmaster browser only), are two
times bigger than necessary, etc. Python web site can be improved,
but there are lot of ways to make it worse.


I agree to the fullest! I'd rather have a website that I can read and
can click through in seconds.

Sybren
--
The problem with the world is stupidity. Not saying there should be a
capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the
safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?
Frank Zappa
Nov 1 '05 #9

P: n/a
So the first thing you do when you go to a web page is to google if
they are going to redesign it?
--
Svenn

Nov 1 '05 #10

P: n/a
sv*******@bjerkem.de wrote:
So the first thing you do when you go to a web page is to google if
they are going to redesign it?


No one is suggesting that it should be. However, Googling before coming
to a newsgroup to complain about anything is usually a good idea.

--
Robert Kern
rk***@ucsd.edu

"In the fields of hell where the grass grows high
Are the graves of dreams allowed to die."
-- Richard Harter

Nov 1 '05 #11

P: n/a
On Tuesday 01 November 2005 01:32 pm, sv*******@bjerkem.de wrote:
So the first thing you do when you go to a web page is to google if
they are going to redesign it?


No, but it might be wise before posting a potentially inflammatory and
insulting comment about in on the mailing list. ;-)

Seriously, though, what would you change about it? It's not flashy,
but works extremely well. You can say the same for Python itself
-- I think that may be its best quality. So how better to show that
than by having a site with the same character?

--
Terry Hancock ( hancock at anansispaceworks.com )
Anansi Spaceworks http://www.anansispaceworks.com

Nov 1 '05 #12

P: n/a
sv*******@bjerkem.de wrote:
So the first thing you do when you go to a web page is to google if
they are going to redesign it?


the first thing he did was to go to the page, the next thing he did was
to post a "can we round up a couple of designers?" message with an in-
flammatory subject line. that algorithm is rather simplistic, and can be
greatly improved by inserting a "let's check google" clause at the right
place.

(and yes, making your boss look stupid is never a good idea)

</F>

Nov 1 '05 #13

P: n/a
be************@lycos.com wrote:
Grant Edwards wrote:
May God save us from "professional" looking web sites.
I like the Python web site. It's simple, easy to read, and easy to
use.


I strongly agree with you, the web is full of web sites that are nice
"looking" but have microscopic fixed fonts (against the very spirit of
Html), are full of useless flash, have lots of html structures nested
inside other ones (PHP sites are often like this, with dirty
sourcecode), are difficult/slow to render on differnt/old browsers
(best viewed with its webmaster browser only), are two times bigger
than necessary, etc. Python web site can be improved, but there are lot
of ways to make it worse.

Bye,
bearophile


Agreed completely. Because the site works WITH HTML rather than
AGAINST it, it renders very quickly - small data size and easy on
the browser. It is a very functional reference site and
"prettying it up" would probably greatly detract from its utility.

I hope the new site design continues to be as easy on the eye,
and as quick to use.

Last time I wrote to a web site saying how clean and easy their
web site was to use, they added a bucket-load of graphics shortly
afterwards. Made it take twice as long to load, and added nothing
to usability.

A new logo might be in order though.

Steve
Nov 1 '05 #14

P: n/a
sv*******@bjerkem.de wrote:
So the first thing you do when you go to a web page is to google if
they are going to redesign it?


I think the implication was "The first thing to do before *suggesting
that a redesign is nessasary* is to Google to see if such a redesign is
taking place."
Nov 1 '05 #15

P: n/a
Robert Boyd <ro***********@gmail.com> writes:
[...]
rounded corners. The Python site is clean and to-the-point. I guess I could
admin that the various Python logos look dated, but that's about it. Oh, and

[...]

I love the logos!

python.org looks simple to me, not amateurish. But that just goes to
show that I think differently from your PHB, and in my book the
details of the visual design should be aimed at attracting more people
to the language as well as being easy to use, so I'm happy there's a
redesign.
John

Nov 1 '05 #16

P: n/a
"Fredrik Lundh" <fr*****@pythonware.com> wrote in message
news:ma*************************************@pytho n.org...
sv*******@bjerkem.de wrote:

to post a "can we round up a couple of designers?" message with an in-
flammatory subject line. that algorithm is rather simplistic, and can be


If it's any consolation, I did check Google Groups before posting. There's
a couple vague posts, most from a couple of years ago, but nothing
indivcative that a redesign was right around the corner....

My query:
http://groups.google.com/groups?as_q...=2005&safe=off

Inflammatory? Usually the thing you are most defensive about is the subject
matter you should be evaluating closer.

My thoughts weren't to add a flash demo or develop some 500K logo or fixing
the font size. But the logos look like they were done in Paint and maybe a
readable default font is in order.

Look at the site not as a resource for Python (for which it is a great) but
as an entity forming your first impressions of the project.
Nov 1 '05 #17

P: n/a
"John J. Lee" <jj*@pobox.com> wrote in message
news:ma*************************************@pytho n.org...
Robert Boyd <ro***********@gmail.com> writes:
[...]
rounded corners. The Python site is clean and to-the-point. I guess I
could
admin that the various Python logos look dated, but that's about it. Oh,
and

[...]

I love the logos!


Exactly my sentiment.

I know Python's capabilities and I am more than satisfied. I was introduced
by a friend, not the website.

But to the masses of asses out there that are quickly evaluating their
development choices and jumping from Visual Studio to Delphi's website to
Ruby on Rail's website, the aesthetic welcome will be worn out once they get
to python.org.
Nov 1 '05 #18

P: n/a
Steve Holden wrote:

[Thinks: wonder if it's time to release a sneak preview].


It is! It is!

/David
Nov 1 '05 #19

P: n/a
CppNewB>and maybe a readable default font is in order.<

That font looks fine to me, maybe there's a problem in the default font
of your browser, you can probably fix your problem...

Bye,
bearophile

Nov 1 '05 #20

P: n/a
<be************@lycos.com> wrote in message
news:11**********************@f14g2000cwb.googlegr oups.com...
CppNewB>and maybe a readable default font is in order.<

That font looks fine to me, maybe there's a problem in the default font
of your browser, you can probably fix your problem...


"Explicit is better than implicit"

I know how to change my default, you know how to change your default font,
but not everyone else does. If there's a more readable, default solution,
it should be utilized.
Nov 1 '05 #21

P: n/a
On Tue, 01 Nov 2005 17:45:11 +0000, CppNewB wrote:
I was trying to advocate using Python for an upcoming prototype, so my boss
went out to take a look at the documentation and try and get a feel for what
the language is all about.

First comment; "I hope the language is designed better than the site."
First comment: "I hope your boss can tell the difference between good
design of a computer language and good design of a website."

What was his second comment? "But I never judge a book by its cover" or "I
make technical decisions based on irrelevant factors"?

The site is readable, but is amateurish. If I had an ounce of design skills in
me, I would take a stab at it.


Ah, well since you and your lack of design skills are such an expert on
good design, perhaps you would like to enlighten us poor peons as to what
in particular is amateurish about "the site".

You might like to tell us in particular, which site?

http://www.python.com/ perhaps?
http://www.python.net/
http://www.python.org/
http://www.pythonware.com/
http://www.pygame.org/

Heaven forbid that your boss might have got confused and gone here:
http://www.pythonline.com/

And then you might like to point us at a language site or two that your
boss considers "professional".
--
Steven.

Nov 1 '05 #22

P: n/a
"CppNewB" <no***@nospam.com> writes:
My thoughts weren't to add a flash demo or develop some 500K logo or fixing
the font size. But the logos look like they were done in Paint and maybe a
readable default font is in order.


So what's wrong with the fonts they use - where they didn't let your
browser pick them, anyway. In the latter case, the fault is yours, not
theirs.

<mike
--
Mike Meyer <mw*@mired.org> http://www.mired.org/home/mwm/
Independent WWW/Perforce/FreeBSD/Unix consultant, email for more information.
Nov 1 '05 #23

P: n/a
Steven D'Aprano wrote:
http://www.python.com/ perhaps?


Yep, let's make this the new official python site ;)

--
Benjamin Niemann
Email: pink at odahoda dot de
WWW: http://www.odahoda.de/
Nov 1 '05 #24

P: n/a
On 2005-11-01, Benjamin Niemann <pi**@odahoda.de> wrote:
Steven D'Aprano wrote:
http://www.python.com/ perhaps?


Yep, let's make this the new official python site ;)


Well, I have to admit that I think the scheme they use to get
you load the large flash chunk is pretty clever. Most sites
just have a large blank rectangle where the flash stuff is
supposed to be. These guys have figured out that they should
put something _under_ the flash rectangle that elicits a click
out of people who have flash disabled by default.

Um, not that I clicked, or anything...

--
Grant Edwards grante Yow! Send your questions
at to "ASK ZIPPY", Box 40474,
visi.com San Francisco, CA 94140,
USA
Nov 1 '05 #25

P: n/a
CppNewB wrote:
But the logos look like they were done in Paint and maybe a
readable default font is in order.


I can't believe you think the font there is unreadable. It's left to
the browser default, which is usually set to a simple serif font, which
in turn is presumably the default because the majority of all books,
magazines, and newspapers in existence use it, and have found it
perfectly readable up to now. With the ability of the user to customise
their font size, surely this is by definition more readable than any
arbitrarily chosen typeface and size which cannot possibly suit
everybody? You can append "body { font-family: sans-serif; font-size:
10pt; }" to the CSS and make it look 'professional' but it doesn't make
it more readable. Really this just comes down to preconceptions over
how a site 'should' look based on other sites, not on any tangible
difference.

--
Ben Sizer

Nov 2 '05 #26

P: n/a
"Ben Sizer" <ky*****@gmail.com> writes:
I can't believe you think the font there is unreadable. It's left to
the browser default, which is usually set to a simple serif font,
which in turn is presumably the default because the majority of all
books, magazines, and newspapers in existence use it, and have found
it perfectly readable up to now.


Actually it does set some fonts ("avantgarde" and
"lucidasomethignorother") as first choices. I guess you, like me, and
probably most people in here, doesn't have those installed.

--
Björn Lindström <bk**@stp.lingfil.uu.se>
Student of computational linguistics, Uppsala University, Sweden
Nov 2 '05 #27

P: n/a

Bjrn Lindstrm wrote:
Actually it does set some fonts ("avantgarde" and
"lucidasomethignorother") as first choices. I guess you, like me, and
probably most people in here, doesn't have those installed.


As far as I can tell, those fonts are only set for 'pre' and 'h' tags.

--
Ben Sizer

Nov 2 '05 #28

P: n/a
Things, which can be done better are:

- seperate content and layout (no table design, no font tags, ...)
- blue links on blue background are nearly as ugly as visited-purple
links on blue background
- he frontpage is overloaded. Ok this is worth a discussion: poweruser
vs. marketing

Nov 2 '05 #29

P: n/a
On Tuesday 01 November 2005 09:45, CppNewB wrote:
First comment; "I hope the language is designed better than the site."


The website is beautiful. I just looked. Its the logo that is a little
off-putting. It makes a pretty bad first impression. Compare it to java's.
Even the php logo looks better. For a real cool logo, check biopython.org.

James

--
James Stroud
UCLA-DOE Institute for Genomics and Proteomics
Box 951570
Los Angeles, CA 90095

http://www.jamesstroud.com/
Nov 2 '05 #30

P: n/a
I think I'm going to back you up a little bit here.

You've gone about this in a bit of a half-assed way (and pissed off a
fair few people in the process) but you are right that the site needs
a redesign.

It uses tables for layout with inline styles and font tags and doesn't
really use CSS. It has invalid html, and doesn't even attempt xhtml.
From an accessiblity point of view it has a poor choice of font and a poor choice of colours (blue links on a blue background).

Design issues such as what logos to use and such aren't really my
forte, but from a web developers point of view it's a badly made
website.

Ed

On 01/11/05, CppNewB <no***@nospam.com> wrote: I was trying to advocate using Python for an upcoming prototype, so my boss
went out to take a look at the documentation and try and get a feel for what
the language is all about.

First comment; "I hope the language is designed better than the site." The
site is readable, but is amateurish. If I had an ounce of design skills in
me, I would take a stab at it.

Maybe we could round up a couple of designers to donate some time? Maybe we
could build a basic CMS on top of Django or TurboGears (displaying Python's
capability as a web development stack)?

--
http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/python-list

Nov 2 '05 #31

P: n/a
"CppNewB" wrote:
But the logos look like they were done in Paint


that's probably why the designers won a prestigious design award
for their:

"...innovative letter designs and typographic experiments,
which are testimony to their unconventional thinking about,
and use of, existing software applications. By actually
modifying the software they are able to escape the
standard of existing digital letters. In doing so, their
letter types show a kind of obstreperous mentality and
sense of humour."

a version of Paint that works on a Mac, an obstreperous mentality,
and a sense of humour. what else do you need?

</F>

Nov 2 '05 #32

P: n/a
On 02/11/05, Fredrik Lundh <fr*****@pythonware.com> wrote:
a version of Paint that works on a Mac, an obstreperous mentality,
and a sense of humour. what else do you need?


Biscuits. You need biscuits.

Treating-this-thread-as-seriously-as-it-deserves-ly y'rs,
Simon B.
Nov 2 '05 #33

P: n/a
I like the Python website just fine. It has exactly what it needs to
document and advocate Python, no more and no less. Plus, it loads
quite fast. Two suggestions for the OP:

1) Go to Barnes and Noble or Amazon and read or buy the book "Web
Sites That Suck". It is a fully detailed and annotated text showing
what not to do on websites, and why.

2) Consider what he really wants for a supervisor of software
engineers. Ideally such a person should be a software engineer with
at least 3 times the experience of the most junior member. Such a
person should also behave as a sensei to the team members, that is,
having the ability to motivate by example and by knowledge.

The Eternal Squire

Nov 2 '05 #34

P: n/a
The Eternal Squire <et***********@comcast.net> wrote:
...
2) Consider what he really wants for a supervisor of software
engineers. Ideally such a person should be a software engineer with
at least 3 times the experience of the most junior member. Such a


I like the general idea but not your formula. If the most junior team
member was 1 month out of school, would it really be OK for the
supervisor to be somebody who graduated 3 months ago?-)
Alex
Nov 3 '05 #35

P: n/a
Alex Martelli wrote:
The Eternal Squire <et***********@comcast.net> wrote:
...
2) Consider what he really wants for a supervisor of software
engineers. Ideally such a person should be a software engineer with
at least 3 times the experience of the most junior member. Such a

I like the general idea but not your formula. If the most junior team
member was 1 month out of school, would it really be OK for the
supervisor to be somebody who graduated 3 months ago?-)

It worked for Microsoft ...

regards
Steve
--
Steve Holden +44 150 684 7255 +1 800 494 3119
Holden Web LLC www.holdenweb.com
PyCon TX 2006 www.python.org/pycon/

Nov 3 '05 #36

P: n/a
Alex Martelli wrote:
The Eternal Squire <et***********@comcast.net> wrote:
...
2) Consider what he really wants for a supervisor of software
engineers. Ideally such a person should be a software engineer with
at least 3 times the experience of the most junior member. Such a

I like the general idea but not your formula. If the most junior team
member was 1 month out of school, would it really be OK for the
supervisor to be somebody who graduated 3 months ago?-)


FWIW, when I read it, I took "experience" as a semi-qualitative measure,
more than just "time since graduation."

Hence someone out of school only three months could have more
"experience", than someone who has worked for ten years, if the recent
grad has been heavily involved in pre-graduation projects (e.g. open
source), or if the ten-year veteran has done nothing constructive with
his time, besides raking in a paycheck.
Nov 3 '05 #37

P: n/a
And me, I'm a 15 to 20 year veteran, I started *very* young....

I think Alex has it right. Too many of us elders are like he says.. I
try not to be, to the point where I accepted a promotion from my
captain (wife) from chief engineer of the family to executive officer
(as in, I am now my daughter's full time dad).

But is there anything that people really need in Python open source
that people would accept from an old hand like me? Or am I still
persona non grata for making a butthead of myself during Pycon 2005
(for which I apologize and beg forgiveness) for trying to evangelize
the concept of making None callable?

At the time, I had broncialitis/pneumonia and temperatures averaging
102 and peaking at 104 during all the time I was there. But I wasn't
going to let anything short of death itself prevent me from delivering
my paper. Of course, I please deleriousness (or is it Deloriousness)
during the rest of the time. I was yucky, I admit it.

The Eternal Squire

Nov 3 '05 #38

P: n/a
Rocco Moretti <ro**********@hotpop.com> wrote:
Alex Martelli wrote:
The Eternal Squire <et***********@comcast.net> wrote:
...
2) Consider what he really wants for a supervisor of software
engineers. Ideally such a person should be a software engineer with
at least 3 times the experience of the most junior member. Such a

I like the general idea but not your formula. If the most junior team
member was 1 month out of school, would it really be OK for the
supervisor to be somebody who graduated 3 months ago?-)


FWIW, when I read it, I took "experience" as a semi-qualitative measure,
more than just "time since graduation."

Hence someone out of school only three months could have more
"experience", than someone who has worked for ten years, if the recent
grad has been heavily involved in pre-graduation projects (e.g. open
source), or if the ten-year veteran has done nothing constructive with
his time, besides raking in a paycheck.


Sure -- measure "experience" in whatever units you like, e.g., number of
function points designed, coded, tested and debugged in one's lifetime;
my (meant-to-be-funny but not unfounded...;-) quip still stands -- the
concept that the cat herder (==supervisor of developers) should ideally
be (among other things) a very experienced developer is (IMHO) quite
sound, but it's also quite inappropriate to gauge that in terms of a
ratio with the most junior team-member's experience (which might be very
low, in whatever units of measure one might like to use).
Alex
Nov 4 '05 #39

P: n/a
Well, I admit the remark was off the cuff because I was thinking of
conventional waterfall development cycles in the aerospace industry....
in that context someone who wasn't there during an entire development
cycle is not even a junior member, but is rather a recruit under
training to begin actually contributing to the next project.

I would call someone who survived all phases of a single
design-code-test-peerreview cycle (about 2 years) to be junior, and
someone with less experience that that as a recruit. On that basis,
the lead should have 3 design cycles or 6 years experience. The lead
does not need to be the master designer on the project, but it helps a
lot when that happens.

The Eternal Squire

Nov 4 '05 #40

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