A List Apart rides the Rails 23 Aug 2005

25 comments Latest by Joe

Zeldman and crew launch A List Apart 4.0. New design (nice one, Jason). New structure. New server. New publishing system powered by Ruby on Rails. The new issue also features a great article about becoming your own client by Jim Coudal.

25 comments so far (Jump to latest)

David G 23 Aug 05

Um.. I for one still see the old site, plus trying to checkout Jim’s article and it’s not quite there.. :o

Tom 23 Aug 05

I still see the old site as well.

Dan Boland 23 Aug 05

Ditto on the old site.

I used to be an avid reader of A List Apart, but they dropped out of relevance for me when they stopped posting articles. It’s been three months since an update.

Mathew Patterson 23 Aug 05

My eyes are much happier with this new design, looks fantastic.

Larry 23 Aug 05

The new design is exceptionally well done, especially for a website where the visitors are people that will be reading a lot of content at once.

Also, it’s cool that they’re now using Textdrive. I’ve been very happy with my Textdrive hosting experience.

unknown comic 23 Aug 05

That site has seen more redesigns than __________. I couldn’t think of anything funny.

Jesper 23 Aug 05

Mr. comic sir: ALA has seen three redesigns (because by definition, the first design can’t be a re-design), putting them at five designs in seven years (1998 thru 2005). This site has had three designs during the three years I’ve been reading it.

Dave Simon 23 Aug 05

I, for one, am waiting for the article where they let us in on the details of the new RoR CMS.

Dan Boland 23 Aug 05

Gosh, it looks fantastic.

Fred Simmons 23 Aug 05

Rails Schmails. Like the new design though.

Kyle Adams 23 Aug 05

Ditto on the RoR CMS. Anyone know if any thought has been given to releasing to the code for that?

Adrian Holovaty 23 Aug 05

They could’ve saved themselves a lot of time by using Django (http://www.djangoproject.com/) — it gives you a ton of CMS functionality for free.

(Disclaimer: I’m developer on the project.)

Anonymous Coward 23 Aug 05

The Django developers could have saved a lot of time by using Ruby on Rails (http://www.rubyonrails.org/) - it gives you a ton of framework functionality for free.

(Disclaimer: I love Python and Django, but I couldn’t help posting this.)

Faruk Ates 24 Aug 05


That 24% is pretty unreliable. First of all, it really does not apply to the ALA audience, and second of all, TheCounter.com’s stats only apply to the visitors of the sites included in their statistics tracking. They don’t track the entire Internet, nor do they track half of it, nor anything else that is a remotely accurate representation of one’s target audience. The only thing they can rely on is the statistics that ALA gathers on their own, and if they’re including resolution stats on that, I’d be surprised to see more than 2-3% of 800x600 users on them.

Don’t forget that ALA is for web developers. That audience is the most likely, after extreme designers, to use the highest possible / available resolution.

Matt Carey 24 Aug 05

off topic…

could someone tell me why make something like Django when zope has been around for years?

Jens Meiert 24 Aug 05

Faruk, what do you want to tell me about TheCounter.com? Er?

TheCounter.com publishes by far the largest number base regarding technical parameters, and the immense data (i.e., 265 mio visits in June alone) is a very good basis to relativize one’s own data. Working for a company with several billion visits per month, I sensitize to keep an eye on intl numbers, too. It is self-evident that each site has its own audience “signature”, but from my experience, it is very useful to observe other data (since you can verify your own data, or you can identify and confirm certain trends).

So, TheCounter.com measures 24% 800x600 users, you estimate 2-3% for ALA - now what does ALA actually diagnose? I “agree” to you and ALA’s decision if there is at most 1-2% using that resolution, but I disagree otherwise - and must emphasize that a site for Web professionals should be able to use a liquid layout then. That’s my answer if you want to act out the scenario.

Faruk Ates 24 Aug 05


I never said theCounter.com’s statistics were useless or anything to that trend. However, they’re not really relevant for ALA. ALA has a very distinct, specific target audience.

TheCounter measures a global audience, people of all kinds, all ages, and so forth. Their stats are much more useful for a site that has a more generic target audience (such as an online store) than ALA has. For a very specific audience, such as ALA has, they’re much less useful. You can compare, but generally, it won’t matter too much (unless you want to broaden your target audience).

Any site has to make compromises, because you can’t really have it all. ALA has always profiled themselves as modern, forward-thinking and up-to-date with the latest trends. They deliberately dropped support for 640x480 a few years ago, they’re doing the same with 800x600 now. Why? Because their audience is increasingly unlikely to have that resolution for much longer.

Even with so much as 10% 800x600 users, they would probably go ahead with this move. Would that be unwise? For ALA, no, not really. Supporting outdated resolutions (800x600 is on its way out) is opposite of their ideology.

Dan Boland 24 Aug 05

Jens & Faruk: If you go to Jason Santa Maria’s website and comb through the comments, as of yesterday, several people griped about the lack of a print stylesheet, but only one or two mentioned the lack of 800x600 support, and it seemed to be more in passing than a direct request, if I remember correctly. He said that they still have work to do, that this is just the bulk of it. So they may come up with a compatible solution yet (one reader suggested smushing the logo and moving everything to the left, using JS to determine screen size and adjusting the stylesheet accordingly).

Christopher Fahey 24 Aug 05

ALA is one of those sites whose “upgrade” to a 1024 minimum is doing everyone else on the web a huge favor. The more sites that can afford to do it the better, because every one that does opens the door for another that should or could. Folks, web designers have to take some risks and lead the way sometimes, not just follow the lowest common denominator. By leading the way, others follow.

More pixels!

Wesley Walser 25 Aug 05

I think their audiance is web-designers (who else would read that stuff), and as such they probably have very low 800x600 stats.

It’s on its way out on the web, and it’s most likely completely out at ALA.

Wesley Walser 25 Aug 05

Woot woot mark another one up for Rails.