Quick .net comments

Do they pay their article writers by the word? That is the only reason I can think for some of the worse abuse of the English language I have seen in print for quite a while.

The new layout of .net has split the old “web designer” sections and now you have technique/* sections (obviously trying to increase the web-feel for the style). These come in different forms ranging from what appears to be CSS for the retarded to “pro_tips.”

Most of these are fairly well written. The new style of the magazine appears to have improved the writing style of some of the feature writers. There is definitely a less patronising tone being used – especially in the “beginners guides.” (I will not mention the errors for now…). When they are talking about the more technical aspects, the writers do very well and actually get their point across.

However (always a however), when given the chance to “reflect” on some aspect of design (which, as opposed to the coding, is where the magazine seems firmly heading) the writers can go for three paragraphs without actually saying anything. Every other page is crammed full of meaningless prose which looks like it is there for a joke. Words like “leverage” are abused to within an inch of their lives. When ever one analogy gets used (and often a tenuous one at best), there are normally another three or four thrown in for good measure. Dont even think about letting me start on the mixed metaphors… It is truly educational reading – if only for how a “clique” magazine can butcher the English language…..

As always, as soon as “Web 2.0” and “Agile” programming becomes the topic, no one actually knows what it means, so the writer has to make up words to fill the copy. Sentence after sentence saying the same (non-)thing.

One of my favourites:

Use abstracted code so that you can make changes quickly and easily. This almost goes without saying, but the key to developing in a flexible way is to make sure that you’re not building something that has no room for manoeuvre.

Fantastic – and that is one of the more readable ones…. The really painful ones are too much hassle to type in! When the write starts to wax lyrical about making sure all your staff take ownership of the agile development rather than viewing it as a job, you know it is going to be pure word soup.

Sadly, the Web Design “industry” is entirely to blame for all this. The seemingly constant desire for new “buzzwords” means web design has spawned a language of its own. Strangely, no one actually understands the words they throw around, so every article has to spend the first ten pages explaining what the author thinks the word means. If people would just use the language properly, instead of trying to blind people with word-bluff, this wouldnt be required. Agile is word in the English language. It has a meaning which pretty much every English speaker can work out. Using it to refer to software code is simply wrong. This is why page after page have to explain what it means.

Will the madness ever end?

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Website administrator for the WhyDontYou domain. Have maintained and developled a variety of sites, ranging from simple, plain HTML sites to full blown e-commerce applications. Interested in philosophy, politics and science.

3 thoughts on “Quick .net comments

  1. There is no way of using the word leverage without abuse of the English language unless you are talking about using a stick to lift something….
    excellent blog

  2. Pingback: Why Dont You…Blog? » Summer 2006 - .net Magazine

  3. Pingback: Why Dont You…Blog? » Blog Archive » .net downfall

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