Monday September 3rd 2012 (3 years ago)
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We're chained to our computers, thinking about fly fishing.
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Online fishing magazines

Published: Monday September 3rd 2012 (3 years ago)
Updated: Monday September 3rd 2012, 12:07PM
by Martin Joergensen

I have presented the online magazines before on our blog, but the number of Flash/PDF-based online fishing magazines seems to be steadily growing (if not exploding!), and I wanted to return to this phenomenon.

Just to soften things a bit: I love the content on many of these magazines, which are very much focused on photography and good writing. But man, do I hate the form!
Let me forewarn you: This will be very little about fly fishing and a lot about publishing on the web.

I'm simply fed up with fancy layout, grungy fonts and ragged, scratched images! Enough!

And for some reason these magazines seem to sneak their way into my mailbox with their “free” subscriptions.
Hell, you can have a totally, forever free and life-long, closing-in-on-eternal subscription for GFF right here and now. There! It's yours! And to top that, you have already had that totally and absolutely free subscription for more than 18 years!
Free subscription my bare *beep*!
That doesn't really make sense when all I get is a newsletter that tells me when a new issue is out, does it? It's just a bleedin' frickin' newsletter. Like they have existed on the internet for decades!
I'm tired of having to unsubscribe from them when I didn't subscribe in the first place. Why do you online "magazine publishers" think that I have to have your magazine stuffed down my throat?
Free subscription my bare *beep*!
I'm simply tired of online magazines made with Flash or compiled into PDF, which I have to read with some lousy online reader or download to my machine.

It might be me who's a grumpy old curmudgeon (I am. I know!), but I actually totally fail to see the reason why these magazines have to be done in Flash or PDF.
I know that it makes it possible for any graphical designer to live out a wet dream in grungy fonts, textured backgrounds and all kinds of fancy layout, but sheesh! If you want to do a magazine, make it a print one.

The web is for web content and not for print wannabe stuff.
Embrace the media on its premises for crying out loud!

If you didn't get to make magazines while such things were in vogue, get on with your life. You probably wouldn't make type writers, record reel-to-reel tapes or try to get into the market with steel fly fishing rods, would you?
We have word processors, digital recording and carbon fiber now, so that's what we use. Likewise with magazines. Some paper magazines live, most are dying. Moving the concept as is to the web is simply downright dumb.

I feel the same way about turning content into apps for all kinds of iThingamajigs. The only reason for doing an app with content (as opposed to function – camera, GPS etc. - which can make sense) is that you can get it into Apple's store, make money, and in the process make Apple even more filthy rich than they are already.

The video, the music and what else is put into to these apps and magazines can just as easily (easier, actually) be done as plain old web pages, which don't require a special piece of hardware or even special reader software, have close to no load time and will allow the user to use the navigation that he or she always uses for browsing the web and not some inventive graphical artist's idea of a user interface -- which is normally confusing, obfuscated and always non-standard, and of course different from magazine to magazine.
You literally never know when a click on a page will zoom or go on to the next page or do some third and unexpected thing. The user interface design on these magazines generally stinks! Did you guys hear of standards? Ways that 95% of the world do things?

OK, I know that years ago, graphical artists were in agony over the lack of possibilities on the web. Too few fonts, no graphical effects such as rotation, shadows or rounded corners. Limited options for embedding media and so on and so on.

But that has changed. New technology allows for much more freedom, but within the framework of web browsers and standards. For the technically minded these technologies are called web fonts, HTML5, CSS3, and most modern browsers support them. Those of you who have such browsers will see a skewed image, some rounded corners, shadows and a few grungy fonts below. Those who don't will still see something useful... or at least something... Removing the effects is a question of a single click. And you can click it back on.

So you want to do some peculiar layout?
Yes, this is standard in modern browsers!

Want odd and grungy fonts?
We have them by the hundreds!
A large selection if you want
And at odd angles on top of everything else...

All the above has been done with standard web features, and will work as designed in most modern browsers without plugins or downloads - and will fail gracefully (or what you'd call it) in older programs that don't support the latest features. Try removing it, and you will see normal fonts and images. Same code, same content, just without the formatting and fonts.

I have been in the web business as long as it has existed (from 1994 in case you want to know), and have been making web sites for a living and for fun for just as long (yup, the first GFF articles date back to 1994). Before that and well into the Internet-age I have made my daily outcome as a paper magazine journalist, editor and editor-in-chief for classical printed magazines - fishing and computer titles.

So when I write about these things, it's not something that I grab out of thin air. I actually feel that I can talk about paper magazines, online-ditto and web sites with a certain weight, knowledge and experience.

I just wish that the producers of these magazines would learn that Adobe inDesign is for paper productions.
Web pages are produced with Content Management Systems that output standard web HTML-code and not custom PDF-files or Flash-ditto. Web pages are low bandwidth, standards compliant, use standard navigation and act as the user expects. They can be viewed on all devices (phones, tablets, computers, TV's) and will allow bookmarks and direct links, be loved to bits by the search engines and altogether be everything that the web was intended to be. Unlike PDF's, Flash-gizmos and apps.

Embrace the media on its premises for crying out loud!
Move on guys. Get into the game! Learn something new and make me a happier man. Until then... well, I'm not reading your magazines.

Not that I think you care, but man, am I glad to get it off my heart!

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