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Site Remodeling 2007

Those of you reading this from my website have no doubt noticed, I've done a little remodeling. As promised, my little slice of vanity on the web is mostly a sandbox for me to play with web technologies (html, php, css, apache, etc) as well as a place to dink around with linux server.

Now, it's no secret that I hate frames and tables, and I've heard for a while that CSS does a pretty great job of accomplishing layout work without kludgey tables, so I tried it out. The results? Pretty nice if I do say so myself, so check it out.

My Thoughts

Well, formatting things out with CSS is really not all that challenging at all, and it gives a TON more functionality. There are certainly downsides though. Tables (and even frames) are pretty commonplace now, so pretty much every browser renders them (largely) the same. Certainly there are some niggling defects (mostly those perpetrated on standards by Internet Explorer and Konqueror), but by and large, they just WORK. Not true of CSS.

For example, even after a copious amount of tweaking and jerking around, the site doesn't look optimal on all browsers. For example, pretty much all flavors of Opera (at least on 9.5 on Ubuntu and 9.24 on Windows) don't render my third column on the main page properly (both seem to drop it UNDER the middle column), as does Konqueror on Ubuntu and Safari 3.0.3 on Windows. Firefox and IE on all platforms seem to work fine.

I decided that, at least for now, that is good enough. The third column is only used on the main page (the blournal, as it were), and even then, only for quick access to the tags. It's no real loss of functionality there. Perhaps, with more practice, I will tweak it into uniform compliance across all platforms and browsers... but if my experiences with web design in the past are any indicator, it just won't happen.

The Design

I decided to go with the left-hand side menu system rather than the narrow top and bottom ribbon, so that I could add my Last.fm mix as well as a nod to the level to which I'm willing to whore myself... a PayPal and Amazon Wishlist link.

This will also give me the ability to more easily expand my menuing system and to include links to things that I want to place special emphasis on at any given time.

Additionally, I made the entry page my blournal. The old index really didn't serve a purpose, save for being an almost entirely un-updated mini-blog about the site. What a wasted entry page. I am far happier with this system.

Future Plans

I would love to make pretty buttons for the menu, rather than the austere text-based thing that I adore. It's so pleasant, but looks so dated as well. I'd also like to add little widgets to my writing pages for Digg, De.licio.us, Reddit, et al, to spread the word a bit. When I get bored that is.

Among the "must do"s (and should any donation money come in, the first place it will be spent) is to obtain a paid LJ account. Right now I'm using PHP to snatch my main feed, then I'm using all kind of magical code to strip the stuff I don't want and reformat it, as well as to generate my tag list and run it alongside the posts (unless, of course, you're on Opera). It is a lot of ugly, inelegant code that I could get rid of entirely if I could snatch the data directly from the database as can be done with paid accounts.

So I guess, that's a lot of words for very little effect... any thoughts?