Well, how does it look?

New and improved? I hope so. A lot of work went on the last week. And naturally, lots of things I wanted to write about but felt I couldn't since I had already changed my MT templates and posting new content would screw up things in the process (also why I disabled comments).

New content is coming online, including lots of tidbits about me, my favorite links (still being populated), and more stuff (hardware, software, etc. are coming online). This site is now powered by 9 different MT blogs (main content, Seth's blog, Savannah's blog, 'About Brad' blog, 'Ask Brad' blog, 'Stuff' blog, 'Timeline' blog (as yet unpublished), Sideblog and the Links blog).

I've learned a lot about CSS this past week, even though I already thought I knew it all. I've also gotten to know Smarty a bit better. What a great templating package. Somebody needs to port it to Perl so Movable Type can adopt it as an alternate template format. That'd be awesome.

There's still lots to do. I've modified my templates to support the new MT keyword field. If I place keywords in my entries now, they get placed in the <head> section of the individual archive pages. I've got a lot of entries to backfill...

I also implemented Adam Kalsey's External Links in New Windows tip. I already had the plugins installed for it :) so it was a snap. Although, I didn't make the external links open in new windows. I personally hate that. None of the hyperlinks on this web site should open a new window (if you spot one that does, please let me know and I will gladly stomp it into submission). All external links within blogs, comments and trackbacks are now notated with a little graphic to the right of the link. Thanks, Adam.

The new Site Preferences page now lets you choose from several different layouts. If you don't like the 'Blue' design (probably the one you're seeing now), you can switch to any of the other designs listed there. And if you don't care for any of them, create your own. Details are available on that page on how to do that.

I plan to write up several little how-to's that I discovered along this journey. Look for those in the coming weeks.

I hope those of you that might use screen readers or text browsers are happy with the results -- the site should certainly be more user-friendly for you.

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19 Comments

Ronaldo said:

Cool. I prefer this new design to the old one. Easier to read. However, I didn't like the way the input fields are rendered in the comments section. It takes a little to realize that you can type on them, and when the text exceeds the size of the boxes, they looks strange.

By the way, you could add the other styles as alternate stylesheets using link tags. It would make easier to Mozilla users to switch styles if they wanted without having to resort to a preferences page and cookies (which some people disable completely).

Brad Author Profile Page said:

Yes, I thought about listing alternate stylesheets in the head block. While it makes it easy for Mozilla users, I needed a solution that works for everyone. And although Mozilla lets you change to another stylesheet, there isn't any way to specify an alternate stylesheet as a permanent choice. So with each page view, you'd have to reselect the one you want. That's no fun.

Kevin Shay said:

Looks great!

One small thing -- I'm getting a JavaScript error on the individual archive pages in IE: "'document.comments_form.email' is not an object". I think you might need name="comments_form" in the form tag in addition to id="comments_form".

Brad Author Profile Page said:

Yes -- I noticed that. I've added back the 'name' attribute to the <form> tag for the time being. The only problem with doing that is that it makes all my individual archives invalid according to the XHTML 1.0 Strict recommendation (see for yourself). I don't understand why the form tag can't have a 'name' attribute but the form element tags (input, etc.) can.

So if you can't refer to your forms without a 'name' element defined, how do you embed and script for forms under XHTML 1.0 Strict??

Kevin Shay said:

Hmm, that's annoying. I guess you could just refer to the form as an element of the document.forms array:

document.forms[0].email.value = ...;

Of course, that's prone to breaking if you ever rearrange stuff on your page, or there's a form within an entry, etc.

Mike James said:

Coding details aside, I think the new logo is way cool.

Ashutosh said:

I preferred the old look a lot better so I've set that in my prefrences page.

Another thing you might want to consider incorporating is having changable font size. I think you could write a javascript function to create diffrent style sheets. I've seen it done on a few site, but since you have six or so types of styles that would end up making 18 or so style sheets

mini-d said:

The changes feels good... go on Brad.

Congratulations! The new layout looks spiffy. If I had a quarter of your apparent potential for absorbing material and then implementing it, I would be dangerous.

David said:

I like the new skin, but I have one question. Is the background supposed to be gray, or is that because I have turned off "use Windows colors" in IE?

Are you setting the background colors?

Brad Author Profile Page said:

Good call. The 'Blue' skin now sets a background color. Thanks for that catch.

Donna said:

I like the new look but I preferred the old one because it's more colorful - I feel like I see white backgrounds everywhere. I love the work you've done though - thanks for making it learning opportunity for the rest of us!

Chris said:

Looks good Brad! Keep up the good work. :-)
I'm in the midst of a major reboot myself. I was just testing my site using Lynx and figured I'd give yours a try. Looks good! There's something refreshing and satsifying about being able to use our sites via Lynx. Try lynx on some major sites out there: it's painful.
Of course, there's always something to be said about Doing The Right Thing and going that extra mile with your site, especially when it comes to stuff like the accessibility practices at diveintoaccessibility.org

goneaway said:

Everything looks good in links, elinks, and w3m so I'd say the text browser implementation was a success. I'm fond of cleaner layouts these days and this is a pleasant compromise. Maybe I'm just a sucker for duotone.

robert said:

Hey. It is a lot of work. I aborted 3/4 of the way through on a recent revamp.

As an FYI... Your extlinks class is not handled by Safari. I don't have time to go through any tests right now but I am guessing it is choking on the addition of a background-image applied to a link.
Background image works in other situations with the khtml renderer but not in this instance.

Here is snap.

Oh, one more thing... thanks so much for your MT plug-in work -- I couldn't post my thanks before! MTIfCategory was a lifesaver!

Brad Author Profile Page said:

Yes, I noticed that under Safari -- I'm leaving it that way though. Safari is just a beta release, so I consider that to be a bug that Apple needs to fix instead of my problem. I'm not about to start writing multiple stylesheets or stylesheet rules for particular browsers. All my stylesheets so far work just fine (from what I've seen) in every modern browser without the need for any weirdo CSS syntax to hide this or that from particular browsers.

robert said:

You are on top of it all!

I agree. Take note, move along...

Jesper said:

I'd like to acknowledge myself as a (read: the) beta tester of this handsome devil of a site. Brad gave me his heartfelt thanks to me earlier today on AIM, but I felt like introducing myself here too, since all isn't done yet. (note to Brad: remember info-checkbox. Label that beast.)

Jay said:

Hey Brad, the redesign looks (and feels) great. Coincidentally, it looks like you and I have been doing the exact same thing over the same time period: Reworking our entire site in XHTML-Strict and adhering to accessibility guideliness. Mark Pilgrim's crusade has done some good, indeed. :-)

Anyway, I seem to be having the same paradoxical problem you are with the FORM name vs id issue and validation. If you come up with any solution, let me know. I'll do the same...

About

This article was published on January 13, 2003 1:03 AM.

The article previously posted was Reboot.

The next article is Seth's First Laugh (on video).

Many more can be found on the home page or by looking through the archives.

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