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Great Artists… Copy?

I'm working on a sub-site for a client, and after delivering a design that matches his (upcoming) site, he sent me a URL to another site and basically said "copy that." Ugh.

I'm fine with it. It's his site. The time I spend waffling on designs I don't bill for anyway, so this will save me all of that time. The part I hate? Looking through another person's code. This site wasn't too bad - it wasn't created by GoLive or FrontPage or anything - but ugh. Different spacing tactics, naming tactics, etc. Ugh. I spent three hours just cleaning up the code for one page.

And don't get me started on their over-use of images instead of text. I'm not going to spend 20 hours reproducing their images in a new color scheme, no sir. Much easier to delete 1k of text and replace it with a textual link that's styles via CSS. Much easier.

I'm taking a break. I can't seem to force Mac OS X Server's copy of Apache to not cache pages, resulting in even more frustration. Upload new picture, flush browser cache, super-reload, and… see old version? Load just that image, see old image? Delete image from server, flush browser cache, super-reload image… see old image? The one that doesn't even exist on the server anymore?

Ugh. This may be my last entry for the day.

7 Responses to "Great Artists… Copy?"

  1. I can understand replicating the general look of another site, but stealing someone else's HTML outright (even if you do clean it up) is still probably copyright infringement. Even closely copying another site's look could infringe on copyright. You owe it to your client to at least tell them this. You owe it to other web designers to not steal their work.

    (Note that there's only so many different overall ways to design a site, so there's nothing wrong with designing a site based upon the look of another one.)

    However, if you're going to be mucking with the HTML so much that it won't really resemble the original, HTML Tidy is a godsend. It can reformat existing HTML in a variety of ways to make it easier to read and as close to standards-compliant as possible. I use BBTidy, which is Tidy wrapped in a BBEdit plugin. Also look at A List Apart's article, Better Living Through XHTML, which has a section called "Tidy Time", about HTML Tidy.

    I hope your caching headache gets better.

    (I also hope this post is not too callous. My intent is not to insult or anger, because I am after all a guest on your (wonderful) site. This is just a topic I feel passionately about.)

  2. I hate copying. I hate it. The client was informed, and I've done just about everything I can do to change it, but the general look is going to end up being very, very similar.

    Not too callous, nope. I was mighty pissed this a.m. too.

  3. Remember to turn off the "performance cache" for the site in question. =)

    Server Settings->Web Service->Configure->Sites->your site->Options(?).

  4. Assuming the client has already had vigorous explanations as to why not to copy it, I'd tell that client to sit on it and rotate.

    But then again, I'm my own employer.

  5. caching problems...

    NSLog(); - Great Artists... Copy? over at NSLog() they seem to be having some caching problems with apache. although i know nothing about caching in apache, i do know that certain browsers have style sheet caching problems. it happens when...

  6. Daniel Axelrod is right, even closely copying another site's look could infringe on copyright.

  7. FYI: The command to flush the cache manually is

    sudo webperfcachectl stop

    then

    sudo webperfcachectl start


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