The new site is live!

Martian Landscape

One of the realizations that came with using a lot of the new Web 2.0 services is that if it's easy to deal with, I'll use it. My queue for articles and pictures to post here has been historically far longer than I actually get around to posting because it takes a fairly long sequence of events to actually post things. There's a lot of stuff that is left over from when I created the site in the space of a weekend so that I'd have something to put on my business card that I could hand out at my first gallery showing.

So there's a reason why, at most, I update the site once a week. It's just too much trouble.

So I've been wanting to really shake things up for quite some time now. And I've been working on some software to be what my idea of a cool web site engine is, offering the sort of metainformation I think it should offer and whatnot. I've been plotting this move for quite some time. I moved around the photo areas of the site over a year ago, and when I moved them, I made sure the URL scheme was fairly close to how I wanted things to look in the new site so that I wouldn't have to change the URLs yet again (Except that I screwed up a little and some of the URLs can't be used).

You can view this as a post-flickr, post-smugmug, post-blogger concept.... or at least my attempt to present one. So there are tags, but a different angle on them. You should see bits of Flickr and Vox that I found useful in the design.

One thing that you should always remember about me is that when I'm working on things other than my day job, I can be very compulsively particular, because there's always very valid external constraints at work that force me to work in an effective yet craft-less fashion. So, while a number of my photobuddies are content to use existing software and existing templates and maybe hire out for the pieces they want.... I'm more interested in doing it all myself.

I am mildly moon-obscessed. I remember as a kid the joy in seeing the moon during the day or at night. When I discovered long exposure photography, the moon took on an artistic role as well. So, as a result, I rather like having my moon in the corner of the design. I used a newer, higher resolution moon this time and mated it with a recent landscape that was sitting on my drive.

It's funny, actually... When I look at the old layout, the color feels old and uncomfortably cyan, even though it's only a little different from the new design. I like it.

I like liquid layouts, so the new layout continues to be fairly liquid. I found some a new (but one that was discovered a while ago) negative-margin trick to keep the sidebar a fixed size but the rest of the page expand to fit. The nice part is that now it's much easier to break important pages into gridded layouts while still allowing me to keep content pages having a column plus sidebar. And the way the old version prevented sections from conflicting with each other has been changed to something that's a little less hackish.

I tend to hate people who's blog includes the term "SEO" too often. Generally because it you blog about it a bunch, you are trying to sell your google-spamming services. And that's just no fun. But I had to think about SEO on this site, because I like having an audience. It looks like I've got the relevant blog articles written in such a way that the search engines have an easy time figuring out what the articles are about... but the rest of the site is not getting nearly as much traffic. I'm pretty sure that part of the problem is that the image search engines rely largely on the text associated with the pictures to figure out context and I haven't been very good about adding context for all of the pages. The new image handling code lets me manage this with greater ease.

I've been working on this website engine for years now. I didn't work on it for a period of a year or so and, when I came back to it, had to scrap a bunch of pieces of it and rewrite them. It was good enough to replace some of my other sites, but there were some limits that prevented it from replacing this site. The final pieces of the software came in place quite suddenly. Suddenly I realized that I had two or three features that needed to be done before I could support the development of the new site.. and then just as quickly, I had completed them and could begin the big move over.


IE sucks

Internet Explorer, of course, is the suck. Pretty much all of the versions out there, compared to modern Firefox, are buggy. Which is funny because everybody found IE4 and IE5 stable compared to the old versions of Netscape Communicator. But now, they are a pain. Which means that the site is about 180 pixels narrower on IE6 and maybe some other versions of IE.

I'll fix it properly later. I just want to be able to post using the new interface.

But wait...

More changes will be appearing over the next few weeks... And there's tons of room for more tags... there's only so much tagging a person can do in one sitting...

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