Website updates!

Well I’ve made a number of updates to the site recently and I thought I’d list/explain some of them. Some of them are a little more apparent than others while some(one) of them is almost certainly utterly pointless but if it helps even the slightest then it’ll be worth it.

First and foremost I changed the system that handles switching style sheets. If you’d used the old system you’ll now notice that you’re reset to the default style. Just click on your style on the right there and you’ll be set. Two things are different:

  • The previous system was in PHP which made it slow and required that I refresh the page for the stylesheet change to take place. This was clunky and slow.
  • The current system uses the styleswitcher javascript done by the guys at A List Apart – the style changes immediately and takes place system-wide. It’s really very nice and most of all its QUICK.
  • The only realy downside I see to this is that I’m not able to offer browser-specific sheets anymore. That’s fine with me because maybe it’ll promote people to stop using crappy browsers (IE6) and it eliminates a shitload of hassle on my end :)

The second change I’ve made to the site is that the search page now uses my MT modules and should follow the style change you’ve made. Now the whole site follows style changes properly. This makes Clint very happy.

The third change was removing a lot of cruft from the main page. A lot of it had to do with RDF meta data used in Trackback (who knows). That’ll speed up page loads. I’ve also moved my archive (by Category and by Month) from the main page to the archives page where they belong!

Along those same lines I’ve remove most sidebar stuff from all subpages. This has these positive effects:

  1. It reduces pageload times on subpages
  2. It shuts up people who might think I’m spamming google with a billion links on every page
  3. It allows me to offer specialilzed content on subpages. (ie. a side bar with the 10 most recent guestbook entries on the guestbook page).
  4. It allows me to have a MUCH larger portion of the browser window to display specialized content like the web gallery. This is very good for small resolution users (1024×768 and 800×600 oi!)

The fourth change is the most useless (in a functional way but not in the ideological way). I’ve installed an Atom feed. It basically operates in the same manner that an RSS feed does, but an Atom feed is specially tailored to the weblogging arena. It is designed from the ground-up to provide an awesome syndication format for weblogs where RSS fails.

Update: The format is now officially named atom

-If you’d like to keep up with echo or pie…or formally known as echo…(the name isn’t formalized yet). You can read the Echo project news weblog. I’ll hopefully keep my feed up to date as the specification evolves.-

You can thank Mark Pilgrim for his gracious MovableType pie/(n)echo template

If you wanna use this template you have to install the UTCDate and LastModified plugins. They’re real easy to install, just upload them into your plugins directory.

Why use echo Atom over RSS? Here are a few exampled I’ve compiled via my own research:

  • Dave Winer is a serious Kook! I read scripting news for the shear entertainment factor. Sometimes I have no idea what this guy is talking it about. He thinks people are stalking him in real life (like a professional psychiatrist who often gets quoted in the new york times who shouts at Dave about nasty things about heart disease).
  • Dave Winer thinks he invented RSS
  • Dave Winer is a big asshole who likes to berate people
  • RSS kinda sucks for what people are using it for ;)

I’ll make a post detailing some good gossip about the stuff going down between Winer and Pilgrim soon ;)

The final bits I’ll clump together. I’ve removed the codebeautifier plugin (for now). I’ve added the SmartyPants plugin for lots of cool punctuation transforms. And I’ve upgraded my MT-Textile plugin to the newest version 2 beta.