Feedback on assignment 1

The first assignment, our basic hypertext one had a few issues that came up pretty often, so I’m covering them here.

hypertext as an idea

This assignment was by its description very focussed on the idea of text, and what hypertext means, and a few folks has trouble distinguishing the idea of hypertext from the idea of graphic design. I recommend diving back into the history of this stuff and work out what is going on with hypertext as an idea, and where it has come from. e.g. the original proposal for the WWW, Doug Engelbart’s 1968 demo of some of the ideas in embryonic form , or even Vannevar Bush’s 1945 techno-utopian screed on technological knowledge diffusion which is credited with spawning lots of these ideas. Or you might want to expand on the list of media-art specific readings that I gave you – the media art history conference re:live has their archives online, and there is reams of hypertext-oriented material in there. Or you might want to look at some alternative vision of what hypertext could be, e.g: hypertextopia.

progressive enhancement

image courtesy AListApart



This is important for a variety of reasons. For the purposes of this assignment it boiled down to starting with text, and then adding “Stuff” to it of your choice. One name for this is progressive enhancement. For reasons of making the assignment actually text-centred, as well as a whole suite of other ones about browser compatibility and multiple device support, that’s a really good idea. Flash-ninjas in particular will want to read  Adobe’s how-to guide. As we’ve discussed in our locative media assignment, everyone should consider Delivering the right experience to the right device, with the right capabilities. This idea can even be pressed into service as a kind of lightweight agile methodology, as in this in-depth guide.

javascript good practice

Javascript frameworks: I noticed a few people using Spry in the class, spry being a javascript toolkit that comes bundled with Dreamweaver. If you press one of Dreamweaver’s “insert javascript for me automatically” buttons you’ll get javascript that uses this spry toolkit. Nothing wrong with that, but be aware that this is different to the toolkit that we are using in the tutorials, jQuery. Things that work in one toolkit might not work in the other and vice versa. You are welcome to use Spry if you wish, but I suggest you will have an easier time with jQuery. Firstly, because it’s what the class tutorials use. Also also, the class tutorials use jQuery over Spry for several reasons.

  1. jQuery has a lot more active users and a lot more tutorials online that Spry, so you’ll find it easier to get help.
  2. Dreamweaver’s automatic Spry code is (to my mind!) unintuitive and, worse, it doesn’t really give you a sense of how it works when dreamweaver automatically builds it for you.
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