Tuesday, 09 September 2008

I had been working on a minor redesign on the site since around the 1st of the year. About the same time Pantone announced it’s color of the year for 2008. It was a huge pile of minor changes: change the color (red #c00 -> blue #217), shrink the header area, give the “clickme” area some actual content, etc. Not a sweeping change, but dusting off the cobwebs.

Then a new version of Movable Type came along which changed the template scheme again. So I started revamping my templates to the new method, couldn’t make something work right, and lost the use of a plugin I depended upon.

Dejected, distracted, and disappointed, I gave up on the refresh for a while.

Some time over the summer I worked with a buddy of mine to crank together a couple Web sites. They were each part blog, part static pages, but the main goal was to have a usable template and let the blogging engine do the heavy lifting layout-wise. We chose WordPress as the engine because we were both tired of the difficulties with MovableType updates.

After doing those couple sites, I was re-energized about my own redesign. I completely trashed my prior work and started over on WordPress. It took several late night design sessions, rewiring the template, and completely rewriting my CD database, but it’s done.

I couldn’t decide whether to redo the templates for the photo gallery or just move that stuff to flickr. I was using FolderBlog previously, but the developer stopped updating the software so I didn’t really want to spend much time with dead software. Then I found a plugin for WordPress that would handle the gallery and use the blog engine for layout. Sweet. And it was easy to make things look similar to the old photo gallery. Cotton-candy sweet!

The last thing to do was make my CD database fit the new layout. I wasn’t looking forward to that at all. Then I found some pointers on how to use the WordPress engine to do the layout. Diabetic coma sweet! That part isn’t 100% done yet, but it’s most of the way there. It’s so easy once you get the first couple bumps out of the way.

I’m still going to copy all the photo gallery stuff to flickr — mostly as a way to drive traffic here and to mytwincities.net. There’s also a couple new stories, a new entry for the Taxonomy of Rock, and the start of a new series coming in the next few weeks.

Saturday, 03 February 2007

It’s been a long time coming, but I finally redesigned the site. I’ve also put a bunch of new picture sets on-line.

This is the 6th major version since I put up my first Web site in 1994 (1995?) and represents about 140 hours of work over the last several months. Much of that was spent rejiggering the templates and testing testing testing (cross-browser compatibility is not fun.)

The original site was a ˜ through my Internet provider at the time. Since then I’ve gone through many iterations, including one for my (long abandoned) Web design consultancy.

Over the years I’ve had:

  • The original ˜ site.
  • A revamp of the original site, still a ˜. Mostly this brought some cohesiveness to the site as a whole.
  • The Web design consultancy — Phosphor Images — aka “Green Sock-Hop” because of the headline font I chose.
  • The “Yellow Blog” site. This is where I first started doing what would become blogging. (Not that I was a pioneer. There just wasn’t a special word for it back then.)
  • “Red With Bubbles” that was here yesterday. Sick of hand-coding the each page, this is where I started using Movable Type to drive the main content areas.
  • This version, affectionately called “Blended Elephant,” where the biggest change, content-wise, was to move the story section into the Weblog engine.

I’m hoping that I can find copies of the front pages from each version so I can post them for everyone’s enjoyment and amusement.

FYI: A ˜ (tilde) site is one where you’re basically a subsection of someone else’s site, typically the ISP. In my case that was http://www.visi.com/~michaela/, which I haven’t used in at least 60 Internet years. More info via Wikipedia.