[python-advocacy] How programming language webpages should be designed

Aahz aahz at pythoncraft.com
Mon Nov 9 17:36:09 CET 2009

On Mon, Nov 09, 2009, Carl Karsten wrote:
> I am taking a harsh look at  http://python.org as a sub set of our
> target audience.  I would look for something to read - center has
> stuff, starts with some marketing stuff which I would just dismiss,
> runs on various OS's (like most things), it's free (that's nice)
> description of the PSF, OK i'm done.

Now, it's "I".  Okay, well, there have been lots of iterations of that
beginning chunk of text over the years.  Some kind of intro is necessary
to assure people that they're on python.ORG instead of python.COM (the
latter is not safe for work, before you go check).  There probably would
not be many objections to tweaking the intro.

The biggest chunk of screen space goes to news items, and if you want to
change that, you'll probably have a fight on your hands.  Even sticking
a five-line chunk of sample code between intro and news would be
difficult because it would increase the clutter.

The left nav bar is absolutely essential.  There's lots of whitespace on
top, but I know from past experience that getting rid of some would be
another fight.  (There are strong advocates of whitespace.)

The pretty much leaves the right side, which again leads to a fight over
what the space should be used for, plus it's narrow enough to make it
difficult to put code there.

It will be much easier to argue for two big links at the top of the left

* "What is Python?", which would start with the code samples

* "Learn Python Now!" linking to a live tutorial where people can try
code over the web.

Anyone arguing in favor of putting code on the website should create a
mockup of how they want the new website to look.  You will get a better
reception if you make it an HTML mockup instead of creating a PDF or GIF
(so people can try out the mockup in multiple browsers).
Aahz (aahz at pythoncraft.com)           <*>         http://www.pythoncraft.com/

[on old computer technologies and programmers]  "Fancy tail fins on a
brand new '59 Cadillac didn't mean throwing out a whole generation of
mechanics who started with model As."  --Andrew Dalke

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