Wednesday, October 26, 2005

WebAwards -- 2005

The WebAwards for 2005 have been announced. The awards are coordinated by the Web Marketing Association which was founded in 1997 to help set a high standard for Internet marketing and web development.

Entries were judged on the following seven criteria:

  • Design
  • Innovation
  • Content
  • Technology
  • Interactivity
  • Copywriting
  • Ease of use

The four WebAward levels are as follows:

  • Best of Show
  • Best of Industry
  • Outstanding Website
  • Standard of Excellence

Web developers can use these award-winning Websites to benchmark design standards and to stimulate design ideas. Beantown Web will launch a new service next month called "How Did They Do That?" These periodic postings will focus on a single site, deconstruct an interesting design idea, and show you, step-by-step, how you can incorporate the design concept into your work.

So, let's take a look. The Best of Show (overall winner) award went to National Geographic - Inside The Mafia.

Listed below are the Best of Industry award winners in 92 industry categories:

Additional winners in the categories of "Outstanding Website" and "Standard of Excellence" can be identified via searching the WebAwards Website.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Web Server Paradox

All Websites reside on Web servers. Not all Web servers are created equal. The market share for hosting the 74 million Websites on the planet is as follows:

  • Apache (70%)
  • Microsoft (20%)
  • other (10%)

Web developers create dynamic Websites that interact with the Web server via scripting languages and databases. The default technologies are as follows:

  • Apache > PHP & MySQL
  • Microsoft > ASP & SQL Server sheds some light on the demand for professionals with dynamic Web development skills sets:

So, why would the demand for ASP / SQL Server professionals far exceed the demand for PHP / MySQL professionals, when the majority of Websites are hosted in a LAMP (Linux / Apache / MySQL / PHP) environment?

The simple answer is that Microsoft server technologies hold a commanding lead in Fortune 1000 companies. Most large companies choose to invest in hiring a full-time Webmaster to manage their Web presence. Small companies, on the other hand, tend to outsource their Web development needs to independent contractors who are far more likely to depend on open-source (free) software and far less likely to place job ads.

On November 8 Microsoft will upgrade its Web server technologies with the introduction of the following:
  • ASP.NET 2.0
  • SQL Server 2005
  • Visual Studio 2005 (a Web development tool comparable to Dreamweaver MX)
Prior to the launch date Microsoft is offering FREE software and FREE training to Web developers who want to learn these new technologies. Register today and upgrade your skills for future career success.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

IT Shortage -- One Solution

"Experienced technical IT people can make $70,000 to $80,000 a year, and those with managerial experience can make $100,000," according to the president of an independent user group specializing in IBM technologies.

However, as many as 20,000 additional personnel may be needed to support IBM's mainframe market alone, and the shortage goes beyond IBM. Alarmingly, "the shortage of IT experts is likely to turn critical in a year or two," according to Robert Rosen who represents the
IBM SHARE user group. His comments are summarized in an InformationWeek interview.

So, how can IT professionals best position themselves for the projected shortfall? By learning a technology that is supported not only by IBM, but also by Microsoft, Oracle, Sun and virtually every major technology provider in the market today. That technology is
XML. lists
179 openings for technology professionals with XML knowledge and experience. lists 599 openings in the Boston metropolitan area.

To demonstrate how pervasive this technology is simply access the Websites of the following technology providers to witness their commitment to XML:

Do you want to know where to begin? Visit W3Schools to access a free XML tutorial and begin preparing for a six-figure income future!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Nielsen's Web Design Mistakes

Jakob Nielsen announced his annual Top Ten List of Web Design Mistakes this week. He's been publishing this list since 1996.

Nielsen has been called "the guru of Web page usability." His
User Experience 2005 Conference will visit Boston October 23-28.

Here is his "list of design stupidities that irked users the most in 2005":
  1. Legibility Problems
  2. Non-Standard Links
  3. Flash
  4. Content That's Not Written for the Web
  5. Bad Search
  6. Browser Incompatibility
  7. Cumbersome Forms
  8. No Contact Information or Other Company Info
  9. Frozen Layouts with Fixed Page Widths
  10. Inadequate Photo Enlargement
For a detailed explanation access Nielsen's Top Ten Web Design Mistakes for 2005.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Boston Market -- October

Structured Query Language (SQL) remains the single most valuable skill in demand in the Boston technology marketplace. More than 460 opportunities requiring SQL knowledge and experience are listed at and more than 1,000 opportunities are listed at

The demand is understandable. Virtually all software programs feature a visual front end and a database back end. A Web application is nothing more than a Web page front end and a database back end. SQL is the standard language used to access information from the database component regardless of the visual interface.

This month's analysis focuses on scripting languages that carry SQL statements to and from the server-side database.

The low end of the demand curve features the following (jobs listed at in parentheses):

The high end of the demand curve features the following:

One overlooked scripting technology is the following:

Bulk up your skill set today with training in one of these valuable high-demand technologies. These two online training opportunities offer the most promise:
The Perl class is available from Virtual University (VU) and starts Monday, October 10. The ASP.NET class is available from the HP Learning Center and starts Thursday, October 13. VU classes are $20 and HP classes are free.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Kid's Programming Language

Bill Gates and Paul Allen used a programming language called BASIC to launch the personal computer revolution in 1975. Microsoft's version of this language evolved into QuickBASIC (QBasic) in the '80s, Visual Basic (VB) in the '90s, and now Visual Basic . NET (VB.NET).

A new language has emerged to replace BASIC as a starting point to learn computer programming. The
Kid's Programming Language (KPL) is compatible with Microsoft's .NET technology. KPL is being promoted by Microsoft and was developed by an independent company whose engineers are former Microsoft employees.

The original catalyst for the development of KPL was to provide children with a contemporary language to learn programming that makes it easy to develop games with both visual and audio components. By making it fun for kids to learn programming the developers, with Microsoft's endorsement, hope to attract the next generation of computer programmers.

To learn more about KPL access a
press release and product overview. Free software is available for download. Parents and teachers can download a User Guide. Expect additional resources, such as a Dummies book, to be on the market soon.