02/09/07 12:39 AM: Site design, rebranding
So I’m aiming to launch a new design for whichwayup.org on April 1. It’ll be a much more “professional” looking design, and I will build it from the ground-up. No more altered textpattern templates, this one will be 100% my own. I’ll feel better about it, plus it will look nicer.
A few of the things I’m aiming for with the new design:
1. Fluid width. No more looking tiny at large resolution. WWU has been fixed-width since it’s debut in 2001 (with the exception of a 100% width design that briefly appeared in 2002).
2. Larger font. WWU has always had a small font, and I am getting tired of it. You’ll thank me when you no longer have a headache from reading the site.
3. Larger content area, to allow for posting of larger photos within entries.
Right now those are the priorities, I’m sure more will change as I begin developing.
I am aiming for the design to support Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer 7. If I feel ambitious, I may also try and achieve IE6 parity, but I don’t know. I would really like to encourage everyone who reads the site to get Firefox.
01/11/07 12:17 AM: 6 Useful Textpattern Plugins
As you may have read a while back, when I relaunched the site in September I switched from Movable Type to Textpattern. For the uninitiated, Textpattern is a CMS (Content Management System) that helps me keep all of my entries organized, allows for commenting, generates RSS feeds and all of that.
I had been using a very outdated version of Movable Type for a while, and the switch has been quite refreshing. I thought I’d outline here a few of the plugins that I’ve added to the basic Textpattern install.
If you’re not into how blog software works, the rest of this entry will probably be rather meaningless. But for those considering a jump to Textpattern, or those using Textpattern, hopefully this can be helpful.
First off, there’s tru_tags, which allows for the “tagging” of entries. Tags are basically keywords, and you can see the “tag cloud” in the sidebar. The size of a given tag is correlated to how many entries have been marked with that keyword. I haven’t done a whole lot with tagging yet, but it’s still nifty.
A big one for this site is also vdh_flickr. It is what grabs my flickr images and constructs the portfolio pages. I did some manual hacking of the plugin to add the lightbox effect (when you click an image), but it’s still pretty slick. Downside, it doesn’t use the flickr API, it just grabs the image URLS manually. Eventually I hope to find one that uses the API, or else I may have to write one myself.
asy_captcha is what I’m using to prevent comment spam. As I mentioned previously, it’s what adds a CAPTCHA test prior to allowing a comment to post.
glx_admin_ping sends various “pings” to blog indicies to let them know the site has been updated.
mcw_magnolia is what provides the linkroll in the sidebar. It grabs bookmarks from the social bookmarking site Ma.gnolia. I have it configured to display links with a certain tag (in my case “linkroll”). This is all customizable.
I’m also using ako_social to add the “del.icio.us” link to each post. I’m eventually going to nix this feature, I think, as most people who use social bookmarking have their own bookmarkets or extensions installed. ako_social supports almost every social bookmarking site, from digg to Newsvine.
10/31/06 10:21 AM: On Design
It’s been nearly a month since I changed the site over from MovableType to Textpattern and implemented a new design. I started with a Textpattern template, and have since highly modified it. I repaired most of the glitches in it, such as the abnormal behavior of the navigation tabs. Also I managed to import the old archives, which at one point I thought was nearly impossible.
There are still a few bugs here and there, namely with regard to URL structure (old links to archives won’t work anymore, etc). Also there are a few pieces of content I need to move over, such as the 9/11 memorial video. But other than those few pieces, most of the content has been relocated. The “Portfolio” section is completely new, and I’m very pleased with that.
However, I again return to the design factor. I’m using a fixed-width design, and I honestly do not like it. It’s not terrible, but it’s not what I would ideally want for my site. To me, a design such as this does not emphasize content, it emphasizes design. And the design is nothing extraordinarily special. It’s a standard no-table layout, with some custom graphics that I put together, and some reworked navigation.
Eventually I will create a new template, that is better organized than this one, and makes more sense for the content I am trying to present. But at the moment, I think I’m just going to keep using this one since it does, for the most part, get the job done.
10/26/06 11:05 PM: New addition
I’ve added a graphic design section to the Portfolio area. Right now it only includes a handful of covers I designed for the Georgetown Voice. I’m hoping to dig up images of the rest of my covers, and also some PDFs of various spreads I worked on. We’ll see if I can find them.
10/03/06 12:06 PM: From McSweeney's Lists
I’m a font nerd, what can I say.
By MICHAEL MEILAN
Lincoln Sans Hat
Nelson Mandela Black
Ulysses S. Gothic
Boutros Boutros Wingdings
Thatcher Old Style
09/30/06 03:58 PM: Let's talk Google Reader
I’ll be honest, I’ve always thought RSS was pretty neat, but I was not one of those feed-junkies, who get their daily blog fix through some slick feedreader application. I don’t even know if there are any good feedreading applications for Windows. (And yes, I’m currently on Windows for the time being, until I can afford a MacBook or mayhaps a Mac Mini).
A couple months ago I started reading a few feeds using Thunderbird, but I still ended up just visiting the actual blogs—mostly out of habit I assume.
But now, Google has revamped their RSS Reader, aptly named Google Reader. I must say, I’m a big fan. This allows me to read the latest posts regardless of what computer I am on, and regardless of what operating system I am using, and all of that.
The interface is also well done, it’s clean and is both easy to understand with no previous experience and powerful when it comes to customization. Or at least, for me it’s powerful enough. I don’t need to perform a lot of ju-jitsu, and I don’t read more than maybe a dozen feeds. I suggest checking it out, even if you already have an application set up to read RSS feeds.