||I stumbled across a Web site when its author talked about it on a mailing list. He was so proud of it that I had to visit it, and surprisingly, this was the most Mac-like Internet site I have ever seen. Imagine a site that works exactly like your desktop. Pull down a menu, select an item, and a window pops up just like it would when you open a folder on your Mac. Amazing, isn't it? Here is a screen shot of it.
I interviewed Scott Naness, the guy behind this site called Scott's Web Page. Don't be fooled by its title. It is not just another personal page.
Michael: When did you have the idea for your site?
Scott: About 4 years ago. My first interaction with the Web was in the fall of 1994. I was using Lynx to browse around, and I had no idea there was more than text to the Web, and if there was, I couldn't see it with only a dial-up to a command line host. Later in the fall, I got my first PPP account, and I got Mosaic and MacWeb. It was crude, but I saw potential to it. I started to envision a cooler, more intuitive way to browse the Web. I had made a very simple site with no inline graphics and just a couple of links to other pages back in the fall of 1994. Then, when I saw Netscape and client side image maps, I had the idea to browse a site by a menu-like structure. But I knew I couldn't yet make a real Mac-like menu-driven site. At the time, my idea was to make a picture with a Mac menu bar on it, and if you clicked on the menu item, it would take you to a new page with a new image, with the menu drawn on the image, and so on.
Michael: What technology did you need to get your site done?
Michael: Once you learned about the technology, how much time did it take you to get it done?
Scott: I took what I learned in the DHTML class and ran with the idea, first making a limited, inaccurate (content wise) working prototype around November 1998, to prove it could be done. Then I started working on the content, and what the menu items would be. I was always so concerned with the layout and the functionality that I never actually decided on the content. I always wanted to utilize some of the stuff I already had which hadn't changed, and I went from there. Finally, in May of 1999, I got a Netscape-only site working. IE was a bit tougher to coerce.
Michael: The appearance themes you offer (Mac OS-like Platinum, Windows 95, Windows 98, etc.) are surprising. How did you do that?
Michael: You talked about Netscape, but how did you get the site to work with Internet Explorer once it was online?
Michael: Who can view your site?
Scott: The site works cross-platform. I've tested it all in Mac OS and Windows, and one of my beta testers used UNIX (although I am not sure which flavor) with Netscape 4, and has had good results. It should be viewable in all its glory in Netscape 4.0 and higher, and IE 4.0 and higher (IE 5.0 on Windows works). Older browsers will be able to see the alternate site, with identical content. So, basically, anyone should theoretically be able to use the site.
Michael: What software did you need in order to achieve it ?
Scott: I wrote all of the code in BBEdit, all by hand. I'm a firm believer in that. I've never really felt comfortable using WYSIWYG HTML editors. I can write clean, accurate code by hand very quickly, and generally faster than people using HTML editors.
Michael: Just how proud are you about this site?
Scott: Extremely. For several reasons. First, I had a "vision" years ago to do something which I thought was cool, and had to wait to do it. Once it became possible, I figured I'd never get around to doing it or learning what I needed to learn. Now that my original vision has come to fruition, I find it very fulfilling. Second, I have gotten a lot of feedback from webmasters, friends and coworkers, and most people are impressed with how it works, how the menus work properly, and how "clean" it is. Third, the switchable themes, which were an afterthought, work nicely. That was an idea I got from someone else, and I was pleased at how quickly I was able to get it implemented.
Michael: Now that it is online, what do you plan on doing with this site?
Michael: Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Scott.
Scott's Web Page