New website redesign
Saturday, July 22nd 2006 10:36pm

It's been up for most of the week now, but in case you haven't wandered by yet (maybe you track the rss feed?), has itself a brand spanking new web design.

Although it's not that drastic, I think it's a considerable improvement and I'm quite happy with how it's turned out. I think it keeps a rough edge while remaining somewhat polished. I never intended the old layout to have a "torn paper" 1997 kinda feel, but more than one person commented on just that effect. The new look is hopefully a bit more modern, a bit more refined. Bala suggested that the background image is a tad intrusive, and I explained that it's intentional (it is!). This is NOT a myspace page (myspace ranting elsewhere)...

There are a few remaining additions/changes that I haven't been able to do yet...including some shadows, hover images, and a new splash/intro image, but for now it's mostly done. Honestly, I'd have redone the splash image by now if it hadn't been so rediculously hot here lately (104 yesterday, muggy and unbearably hot upstairs in the ilab).

I'm optimistic that the redesign will help me to update the blog more regularly.

So now that I've done the lion's share of the work, I need to rant some about CSS (ala Dvorak last week on /.). Say what you want about the guy, I mostly agree with his basic premise that "modern" CSS design/layout is a gigantic pain in the ass. It's true. I guess I'm capable, but it's not exactly fun nor easy to build cross platform, standards-compliant sites. Prime example: I think it's completely backwards/bizare that a floated div has to be placed before other content to work I feel kinda dirty even knowing this stuff.

For example, I had to implement some wacky javascript css hack to get the transparent PNGs to render correctly in that IE browser that apparently 81+%(?) of the population still uses (seriously, how the hell can that still be true...I think 95% of people I know prefer and use FF?). It's the hell does IE *not* support PNG transparency?

I spent quite a bit of time/effort modifying the noisybox pages to be XHTML 1.0 strict compliant. I didn't feel the need to add the little w3c xhtml button, but really, the large majority of my pages are now completely XHTML strict. It may seem sillly, but this was a notable undertaking that I think will have long term value.

For the most part, it required adding closing <li> tags, closing <p> tags, and just generally cleaning things up and making tables into css and trying to remove unnecessary markup where possible. It's still far from perfect, and there are still plenty of inline style defs and counterproductive things like paragraph classes instead of headings, but I still consider it a big step in the right direction. It was pretty amusing to see some of the markup in the really old pages.

Other than the website, the tech projects have been somewhat slow. I've been trying to finish up the irrigation system in the backyard, and we desparately need to have a garage sale to move some of the crap out of storage. After summer, I think things will pick up again...

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