Search engine lets users control its design

Written by Adrian Holovaty on July 19, 2002

This isn't directly related to news sites, but I have a feeling we'll be seeing more of this soon: AlltheWeb, a search engine that's quickly gaining popularity, yesterday introduced a new feature, Alchemist. The press release gives details, but basically, it lets users design AlltheWeb to their liking, using style sheets. Fonts too small? Make 'em bigger. Don't like the color scheme? Paint it however you'd like. Your style sheet is yours to play with.

It's simple technology -- albeit unoriginal, as Waferbaby has had a similar feature for quite a while -- but it's significant because AlltheWeb is a relatively high-profile site. Perhaps other sites will take notice and realize the benefits of standards-compliant designs that separate content from presentation.

I predict news sites will be strongly hesitant to adapt such a feature -- God knows some are already nervous enough putting their content online for free -- but eventually a site will buckle and the followers will follow.


Posted by Rob on July 19, 2002, at 6:21 a.m.:

I believe Amazon just released something that allows people to customize their interface as well. It's a great idea, but I agree with you: the newspapers will definitely be hesitant to give up full control over their designs. To them, it's like a level of customization beyond their worst nightmares.

Posted by Adrian on July 19, 2002, at 3:43 p.m.:

Amazon's release was an API that lets developers access through their programs. Kinda different, but still cool. Google recently did the same thing.

Comments have been turned off for this page.