When I was 15, my family moved to Naperville. A year later, a family moved into the house a few down from ours, and we found out that they had a son, Brant, who was about my age and was going to be on the drumline (which I was also a part of). I met him shortly after they moved in, and we more or less immediately became friends. That was about 12 years ago now, and Brant and I don’t see each other as often (he now has two children keeping him very busy), but we keep in touch and stay caught up as much as possible.
The first thing I learned about Brant was that he was an incredibly talented drummer. Early in our friendship he was proud to show off videos and demo tapes from the band he’d been a part of back in the St. Louis area, where his family had moved from. I’ve always supported him in his various musical endeavors, from high school on. These days, he’s in a band called Veritae, based out of the Chicago area.
A little over a year ago, Brant contacted me about helping him set up a Web site for his band, and I happily agreed to help in any way I could. What I soon found out, though, was that this was not to be a “normal” Web-design endeavor. As part of the deal his band had made with their producer, they got Web hosting along with their studio time. This wasn’t just Web hosting, though; it included a Flash-based site creation tool called Habitat that I would be using to create their site.
It’s worth noting at this point that generally when I make a Web site, I do it using one tool, and one tool only: vi. So a completely Flash-based graphical tool that designs a Flash-based Website for you is about as much of a polar opposite from my preferred style as you can get. This causes, unsurprisingly, quite a bit of frustration on my part. I’m sure some people find the idea of this Habitat tool to be a great idea; even I can admit that it’s novel. I’m certainly not alone, however, in my criticisms of Flash.
It’s been an interesting experience, then, trying to keep the band happy with the site, while at the same time loathing myself for using something and creating something that I consider to be a great example of everything that is wrong with the Internet. It loads slowly, uses way more bandwidth than necessary, is completely inaccessible, and requires a browser plug-in in order to view any of the content on the site. The one thing the Habitat guys deserve credit for is making a Flash-based site that is bookmarkable. However, this was at the cost of additional load times when you traverse between sections, so even that can’t be viewed as a total positive.
I have to remind myself, though, that this is the music industry, and flash (with a lower-case ‘f’) and style can make all the difference in the world when trying to catch people’s attention. This is the same industry that uses MySpace as of late as its primary means of independent publicity.
After several months of inactivity, there was a crash with the band’s site, and I’ve spent some time yesterday and today recreating it. I’m not happy with it, and still have several gripes, but feel it my duty nonetheless to advertise Veritae’s Web page and drive any traffic I can to their site.