Published in Fiftyfoureleven on Thursday, February 10th, 2005
Hoping that this site can make some more noise in 2005, a new back-end, front-end and a whole new look will hopfully get things off in the right direction. So what exactly has been done to spice things up and improve things around here? Lots! Read on...
Having spent a year working with my own home-grown blog script, I began to realize that things needed upgrading around here. To put it simply, I needed to make a better website from the ground up, built on a new framework that is the core of the CMS I use.
It's worth noting at this point that I have not tested this design on any Apple products.
Certainly the most noticeable change around here for most people (or those who visit the site) is the new design. Quite simply, a new look was in order. I was after something where the typography and design would help convey the content, navigation elements and other UI bits in a clear manner.
My inspiration in these areas came from two sites that I have admired for some time for their use of different typography and color schemes, Sockyung Hong's Soxiam (tho I was more partial to the previous version!) and Doug Bowman's Stopdesign site.
It is also safe to say that the comment layout and presentation were inspired by Khoi VinhÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Subtraction 7.0 comment design. For reasons that Paul Scrivens outlined for me, it all just seems to flow better this way (and the comment hi-liting is still available).
Overall I think the design goals were achieved, however one niggling detail was the difference of the look and feel when viewing the page with Windows Cleartype on and then without.
I know that Jeffrey Zeldman grumbled about the existence of font-smoothing as yet another design variable (I lost that link somewhere), and I wholeheartedly agree with him. The difference between the look and feel is significant, though I am not too worried, as the primary visitor to this site likely has Windows Cleartype on or is using an Apple, so I'm fairly certain that they are getting the design I prefer!
A small project for the future will be to develop a little style-guide for this site. Some level of consistency in things like headings, certain spellings and some other details would certainly add to the quality of any website.
The CSS for the old version was a disaster, and the design itself was critically flawed in that it required the use of a super wide header image (I suppose a png and it's wonderful alpha-transparency would've fixed that problem).
With this version the CSS file is cleaner, more flexible, and broken down into basic elements ala bleach so that I can run different color schemes. Hoo-rah for CSS.
I've added a link-blog or what I like to refer to as a resources section. It's basically going to become my bookmarks folder; we'll see how it goes but I am hoping that it develops into a good resource of links.
There has been a lot of discussion in this arena lately (Stinky links, Information Aversion) touching on signal/noise ratios and such. All I can say is that each link added to the resource area will come with a decent description and be in the realm of web development. Think "resources" versus "links".
To start, I pilfered a bunch of links that I had in my old bookmarks and some that were waiting in the 'review' section of my new bookmarks.
Chances are I followed some of those links a while back from someone else's site, however in adding them to my bookmarks I lost that trail. From this point on credit will be given for all links with a little 'via' link, similar to what most people are using these days.
In any case, in the next week or so I have about 200 links to add to the site, and some will be oldies. Keep this in mind if you subscribe to the resource feed before then. Subscribe now if you are into some form of "link revival".
Quickly, the site has a whole new back-end that really rocks. Posting has never been easier, so hopefully it will happen more often. Think bookmarklets galore and other time saving tricks that should make posting a pleasure rather then a chore.
With the new back end (and new db set-up) comes a new front-end (ie what you are reading right now, if you are on the site). This is a trial by fire sort of thing because it is pretty much untested, but for a short run on the test server. Still stuff to clean up (from title attributes to some other stuff), but for now it seems to be holding together!
Please note that this new site was not validated even once prior to the launch, so it is quite likely that there will be errors.
Some serious redirecting is happening now, as I have moved the blog from
/weblog, changed the feed urls, and from this point on the permalinks for posts will be category based rather then date based. Time to update your links if you link to the weblog, though I am reirecting, I will no longer ping the
Gotta say thanks to Jonathan M. Hollin for a quick, early beta test, and to Colin Devroe for an amazing 10 minute thrashing of the site; I wish I had someone to do that for all of my sites! I'm still working through his list...
To close things off, advertising will be a part of the new site, but it will be a multi-tiered service. Quite simply, those with 54-11 cookies will get preferential treatment.
Expect some new little widgets and tweaks in the time to come, but otherwise lets hope that there's more posting and less dead air time!
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