Free Markets, Free People

Style Evolves

As you can see, the blog, once again, has changed. It seems as we go along it keeps getting cleaner, less cluttered, and less graphic intensive. It’s even less banner-y now, mainly because the Ammo guys’ one-year ad buy expired 2 weeks ago, as did the CWTT fundraising drive, several months ago.

The overall trend for web design seems to be getting cleaner and plainer. It’s funny, the web started as plain pages with no graphics, got hugely over-designed, and now is trending towards a simple, more content-centric design model. At this rate, in another couple of years, everything on the web will be plain white pieces of paper.

Another thing I’ve done is changed the width to a screen percentage, rather than a fixed 1000 pixels. It should fill 90% of the screen no matter what your resolution. There are also only two font, Georgia and Verdana, so text should look exactly the same on…well…every computer that exists, since those are the two universal fonts, whether you’re on Linus, Windows, or OS Civet cat, or feline incarnation Apple is currently in.

I wasn’t going to change the template tonight, but I did something I tell my clients NEVER to do. Never upgrade WordPress. If everything’s working let it work. But, no I decided to update some plug-ins and, lo and behold, they all work with the newest version of WordPress, but not this one. And I can’t upgrade to the newest version of WordPress, because it uses a newer PHP version than is installed on this server. And I can’t move the site to a new server, because then I’d have to upgrade all the old version of QandO to the most recent version of SQL Server. Which means I’d have to go in a reprogram the data connections for the old version of the site, which runs on .Blog, the ASP.NET blogging platform I created back in 2004.

So, I just whipped out Artisteer and created a new template. That opened a whole new can of worms. Trying to edit the PHP to add back in the Google+ buttons, the author pics, Google Ads, etc., became an enormous pain. Because I had a new version of Artisteer that wrote the PHP files for the template differently, doing things the way I did them in the old template blew up this new one. So, then I had to re-learn how to edit the right PHP files, which got so frustrating that about halfway through, I said, "Screw it", and switched back to the old template. Then, I thought, there’s no way I’m going to let PHP beat me. I’m a professional software developer for cripes’ sake. So I dove back in, figured it out, and finished it.

So here we are with the new, minimalist QandO. I’m not going to say "I hope you like it", because it’s now 2:21am, and I’ve been working on this for 6 straight hours. There’s no way I’m going to change it again after putting myself through all that.

Not with what you guys are paying me, anyway.

So here it is. Like it. Or Not. I don’t care. I’m sleepy and grouchy.

Dale Franks
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20 Responses to Style Evolves

  • Personally, I like it. It looks good and loads quickly.
    While I am here, I would like to make a request. Would it be possible to add a email subscription for your comments? I use Subscribe to Comments Reloaded on my own blog and it works great. It would really come in handy to keep up with the comments on the posts I am interested in, or have commented on.

  • I’m glad to see the array of “share” buttons trimmed down. That list displays vertically on my Windows Phone, which means the old list took up the whole screen and then some. Looks a lot better now.

    Though with the percentage width, I wonder if the new pages would now work OK for mobile devices, making it unnecessary to have a special mobile page template. Instapundit, for example, does really well on the phone, and it uses a screen width technique. Something to think about for next time you get the urge to pitter.

  • “I’m not going to say “I hope you like it” – DF

    Too late. McQ made us do that on the last post.

  • I recently upgraded my blog to Ansible 2.0 (and as of last night, 2.3). Ansible is written by this really smart dude who used to work on the Subtext blogging engine (namely… Me). It’s interesting when people ask me about what CMS/Blogging engine they should use because I really can’t tell them – I write my own blog software and have no experience with any others. Well, besides Joomla which I hate with the passion of a million burning suns.

    Anyway, back to your post. When I went from Ansible 1.0 to 2.0, I also upgraded my theme. And, as you said, I went minimal. I don’t even have a side bar any more. Ads are from the GunUp network which is new too because I’ve just generally paid for my blog out of my own pocket for years and years (started in 04). People like the minimal aspect, however trying to get the site to pay for itself means I have to shove an unwieldy ad in there and that’s always going to be a pain.

    I am trying to come up with a better way to have ads that don’t bug the crap out of people but are still a good vehicle for advertisers. Once I do that, I should be a millionaire.
    Anyway, cleaner is better. I’ve never been a fan of fixed backgrounds and I’d suggest using a media query in your CSS to deliver a smaller background under certain resolutions simply because it is rather large and on a cell connection could slow things down, but other than that, looks good.

  • Looks good man.

  • Dale,
    We pay you in honors, gratitude and platitudes! 🙂
    And it beats that old comment system (from a few months back) all to hell!!!
    (And this makes me remember when all we had was COBOL on dumb terminals, and then “C” with some Assembly pieces, on the DOS “IBM-PC” and Unix.)

    • What’s wrong with COBOL on green screens!   You….you…..  realist.

      • Downloading porn on a dumb terminal is really tough…and looks like hell when you manage to do it.

  • I Like it!!!

  • Well you have obviously revealed yourselves as a bunch of imperialistic, jingoistic, ugly Americans. No doubt gun toters too.  Love it.

  • Though you didn’t build this website, it does look very nice……

  • I like the open quality and the white space.  (Can I say that…?)

  • Genius stuff here.  When I increase the zoom % on Google Chrome, the type gets bigger and the margins hold. I cannot think of another site where this is true.
    My old eyes thank you!