I'm working on this app, which I'm calling Duomo, that I hope can make a user (me, first of all) super-productive when working on web site design.
The picture shows how it's organised.
Window 1: The user might be managing the design for several sites. So this window stores the connection parameters for each site – account ID, password, how to connect, where the root folders are, that contain all the web site resources (pages, images, downloadable files, etc), for each site.
Window 2: For each site, this window connects the designer's private copy of the web site resources with the one that's sitting on the live web server, and its job is to keep both ends synchronised. A lot of designers, like me, work from places like Starbucks that have very slow Internet connections. So there's some Unix magic done here so that the uploading/downloading can go reasonably fast.
Window 3: This is where the design of a single web page gets done. You see how the web page looks like, but you also see how the page is structured. Panel 4 shows you the content of the web page – how it is structured into sections, articles, headers, footers, asides, pictures, navigation links, summaries, etc. And panel 5 shows you how each element, listed above, looks like (with respect to colours, type-faces, spacing, margins, etc) and where each element sits, precisely, on the web page, whether absolutely, or relative to some other element.
The most powerful idea here is that you separate the content of a web page from the way it looks (its presentation, as controlled by something called a stylesheet). This way, the same content can be easily depicted in any number of ways, and each way can be designed to evoke a different sentiment from the viewer/reader.
The first time I saw this concept at work was at the csszengarden web site many years ago (css means cascading style sheets).
And I felt, this concept is so powerful.
In my work with databases I can see, in the future, that a lot of the content will be automatically collected, generated and filtered. That's what shows up on Panel 4 in the picture. You want the content and the structure here to be very clean (and accurate and verifiable).
Then in Panel 4, this is where you play with the way the content looks, where you are concerned with colouring and the emotions.
So this why I wanted a tool that will work like that – you work with both your left brain and your right brain. And you go back and forth like that. Like a Renaissance Man, where there were no boundaries between knowledge. And things can move effortlessly between the arts and the science.
So I thought, Duomo would be a nice name for an app like that (like in building a great cathedral – the Renaissance people worked with their whole brain; there was no separation between engineering and architecture). if I can actually build it, by hacking Apple's WebKit and Web Inspector. This is, of course, still a work very much in progress. But it's getting clearer, I think it can be done.