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Establishing a Working Relationship

Because of the newness of ASP.NET, Visual Basic .NET programmers and Web site designers are still formulating their working relationships. Each organization will, no doubt, create procedures to reflect its unique requirements. Over time, we predict, Web design tools will integrate nicely with Visual Studio .NET, but you don’t have to wait for that day. As we demonstrate in this case study, you can quite productively build an ASP.NET Web application from a design that was created using a tool other than Visual Studio .NET.

Why won’t your professional Web site designer be using Visual Studio .NET? Although Visual Studio .NET offers a fine development environment for programming, other tools have been created specifically for the purpose of creating the HTML, images, and JavaScripts used for Web sites. Until Visual Studio .NET matches those capabilities, Web site designers will—understandably—use the tools that are familiar to them. Even when Visual Studio .NET does match those capabilities, many Web designers will stick with the tool they know rather than switch to something new.

Irrespective of their choice of tools, however, good Web designers provide great value to a Web development project. A good Web designer combines an artistic sense with a hard-earned knowledge of the variations in popular Web browsers and is well versed in usability issues. Because it is surprisingly difficult to create HTML that displays attractively in many browsers, good Web designers work meticulously, sometimes to the point of inserting single pixels, to make their designs look right in as many browsers as possible.

Just as it is very difficult to create a good cross-browser design, it is correspondingly easy to mess it up. Even things that should not, in theory, make any difference to a browser sometimes do. As programmers, we are used to seeing code nicely indented, and the authors of this book like to see HTML nicely indented also. All of the HTML examples in this book use indentation to help reveal the nested structure. Nevertheless, “fixing” HTML by indenting it nicely sometimes causes it to display incorrectly in one or more browsers. Perhaps the biggest step a programmer can take in creating a good working relationship with a professional Web designer is to respect the design delivered: avoid making any unnecessary changes to the HTML, and consult with the designer on all changes.

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