Care and Feeding of Web Pages

by the Keeper and WebMaster of the CIMM web pages

It is a little known fact that science has determined the simple Web page (also known as an HTML document) is in fact an organic life form. The vast proliferation of web documents in the public domain should be enough to prove to anyone that web documents are reproducing. No one has determined if the web pages are animal or vegetable yet, and any conclusive evidence should be sent somewhere to someone. Unfortunately, it isn't clear whom you should send this evidence to.

The best theory to date has been produced by a researcher named Mark Whybird who believes that the web page must be closely related to mushrooms.


There are many users of the world wide web who wonder at the term WebMaster. This is because many web pages start wild. A WebMaster is someone who has trained long hours for the difficult task of bringing rampaging web pages under control. Webmasters frequently keep some tame web pages available as role models for new pages brought into their care. It can take weeks or even months for a new page to be tamed and readied for viewing by the general public.

Frequently, after the pages are tamed, they are left under the control of the WebMaster for some time, which means that the WebMaster must also be a page keeper.

Web Page Keepers

Generally this job is somewhat simpler than that of the WebMaster. You start with a limited number of pages, or a limited amount of space available to keep them. Also, many of the pages have been tamed by the WebMaster and are trained for their first appearance in this world and therefore are not too difficult to handle. The keeper of the pages must ensure on a regular basis that they all still conform to standards (unfortunately, web pages seem to mutate on a regular and very frequent basis). Page links must be inspected frequently, the species being a very mobile lot with a marked tendency to appear in new places. Pages need to be inspected for old information which should be updated promptly.

Feeding a Web Page

Generally speaking, web pages should be fed according to the their respective use. When web pages were first released on the world, they were all quite happy with a diet of ascii text. The occasional page was fed a gif or two, but these were generally small simple pages with small and simple needs.

Web page fodder now includes: gifs, jpegs, animated gifs, JavaScript, Java applets, frames, Shockwave, QuickTime, audio, Virtual Reality, and the occasional bit of ascii. Every day, new and different things can be added as web page fodder. There are disadvantages to such additions.

Many sites have yet to understand how overfeeding a page can render it useless. Too many animations, too much embedded information and people get bored with waiting for the web page to waddle its way down to the browser. Some web pages are dependent on their looks to inform people. These pages are useless to many who refuse to see the picture and wish for some text based information to be passed their way.

The other things certain sites depend on is using all of the latest and greatest bells and whistles on their web page. Unfortunately, unlike normal bells and whistles, the ones on a web page generally require that those who wish to view the page to download something to their computer. Worse, they may well have a difficult time finding and getting the new items, therefore never properly visit the web page that requires them.

Then there are those demanding web pages. They want the user to have a particular browser, set a certain screen size, use certain fonts or they promise not to look very good. Web pages should be willing to conform, or at least try to conform, to any viewing situation. People may have their own strong opinions of what fonts, sizes, and browsers they like best. Such people will resent the demands of the web page and will avoid that page in future.

The Steps for Ensuring a Healthy Web Page

  1. Visit your web page regularly. If you don't, who will? They will get lonely and pine away with too much neglect.
  2. Check the links on your page. Pages entertain themselves when left alone by visiting their friends. If their friends have moved, they will be most unhappy.
  3. Groom your page. There are few things uglier than a page with old outdated information left hanging off of it.
  4. Do what you can to ensure your pages maintain a basic attractiveness. Ugly pages will not attract visitors.

Somewhat more serious information

Best web design practice a list of resources on HTML, web accessibility and style sheets.

This is copyright © by Lynn J. Alford (more about the author). Send mail

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