Archive: July, 2005

Live Redesign, Step 2: Speeding things up

You’d be forgiven for thinking that I’m going to write about speeding up textpattern or some such rubbish here, but that’s not what this is about. Progress redesigning the site is slooooow. Maybe there’s a way to speed things up.

Ahem… mate, your site looks like crap!

Yeah, I know. I wasn’t happy with the way it looked before. In fact, I wasn’t happy with a whole lot of it, so I decided to deconstruct things, find out what I didn’t like and rebuild from what I’ve learnt, bearing in mind that this time I have some content here. So, the website currently looks very minimal while I’m gutting the place.

There are two problems with this redesign malarkey though.

Somewhere inside me there’s a designer wanting to let loose. I’m not a designer, I’m a developer. So why am I trying to be something I’m not? Well, that’s not really what it’s about – I at least want to try things out and see what I can do. The thing is, I think I’m going to be far too critical of what I’m doing when I get to some design work. Anyway, for the meantime I’m trying to restructure a few things around here and add new content before steaming ahead with some designing.

Steaming ahead

That’s the other problem. Work is very busy at the moment. I’m getting on top of the workload, but I’m at risk of getting behind again if I don’t concentrate on that. Alas, this means that a few side projects I’ve got on the boil have been put on hold. This is really annoying because I’m really into these side projects and I could easily get distracted.

I’m having real issues separating work from play at the moment. I’ve spent so much time working recently that I haven’t been working on content for this site or the redesign. Hopefully, this will become less of a problem once I get on track. To be honest though, certain aspects of work are getting me down meaning progress is slow there too. It might be a while before dotjay is back on its feet again.

Helping hand

I’ve been thinking about the process I’m going to go through with this redesign. I want the content to drive the design. With the last design, there was no content. But I also want to take this opportunity to change a few things and add a couple of things in. So, the idea was to deconstruct everything, add in some new bits, make a few tweaks and then build up a framework before coming up with a design. I’ve had a change of heart.

I never ask for help. I like to do things on my own. I like to feel like I’ve achieved something at the end of it all. Well, enough being selfish – I want to get a bit more interactive with this redesign. If I still have any readers left after such a quiet period, I want to know what you want to see on here. Also, as I go through this redesign, I’m going to suggest where I’m going to go with the next step. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to rely on readers to comment and tell me “that’s a really dumb idea, you idiot” or “you could do this, but it’s up to you”…

Where next?

Well, I’m figuring on trying to make a few of those changes I like to make to textpattern using plugins instead of hacking away at the PHP. I’m also going to take a look around for some cool textpattern plugins to try out. Any suggestions?

Live Redesign, Step 1: Moving to Textpattern 1.0RC3

Things are starting to look a bit ugly around here. I’ve begun the move over to the third release candidate for textpattern, but it looks like it’s going to be an interesting ride.

I had made quite a few tweaks to my last Textpattern install, so it’ll be interesting to see how the old posts make their way over to the new install.

I’ll update this post as things progress. Please bear with me. If you see broken stuff, please don’t tell me yet.

Update, 08.07.2005

OK, after a few teething problems, textpattern has started to behave a bit better. Things have now gone a little bland – I’ve removed all the wonderful blue-ness this blog had. I’ve decided to ware down the design bit-by-bit, so that I can keep some form of layout for now to keep things readable.

I’ve also re-instated a few of the tweaks I made to RC1 (I’ll be keeping a better log of changes this time, to make future upgrades easier):

  • Added a bit of flexibility to the comments.
  • Cleaned up comment numbering so they follow logical numbering within each article instead of using the comment ID.
  • Made a mild tweak to the comments invite link. I’m pedantic and like to use ”#comments” instead of ”#comment”. It makes more sense to me!
  • Set up my personal comment style.
  • I’ve removed the alternating comment boxes though – I don’t think I’ll be using them this time around.
  • Content negotiation is back, but I’ll probably remove this soon and just serve pages as good ol’ HTML 4.01. This site won’t validate in the meantime – there are still changes to be made.

Anyway, I think this redesign is going to be a slow process. I’m hoping to experiement a little and involve readers in the design process, what with general design being one of my weak points. Feel free to contribute.