A Fresh New Look

If you’re seeing this in a feed reader, come on by the site and check out the new look. I went for a simple, easy to maintain look with minimal graphics for a fairly speedy page load. I also pulled out a few things that were slowing down the site: a plugin that was inadvertently pulling in the YUI library, some supposedly fancy Amazon script that showed previews of products when you hovered over their links, and biggest of all, Google’s Adsense. I’m still pulling in Google Analytics, but it’s the last thing on the page and shouldn’t affect load times too much. I wanted something simple and clean and easy to read, and I think I’ve got that.

I also spent a fair bit of time trying to get the typography right. Fancy, no?. I really enjoy The Elements of Typographic Style Applied to the Web and I wanted to try my hand at working within their framework. For example, the asides follow the sidenotes section. Getting the vertical rhythm right was more challenging than I expected, especially with photos and other non-text elements that are inherently pixel-sized. I was trying to get everything working on a em-based grid at first, but eventually caved in and ended up with a 50 by 50 pixel grid on which to base the layout. There’s always more things to learn…

This was my first WordPress theme from scratch and I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to develop. I’m tracking WordPress’ SVN and the theme using Git. That too has been a fun learning experience; I’m getting much more comfortable with git, git-svn, and git-submodule as a result. If anyone is interested, I can write up a bit on how the whole development process fits together. In the meantime, here’s the code for the theme and my WordPress mirror with that theme as a submodule.

Git really scratches an itch I’ve had for a while with SCM systems. I started out with zip files, then Visual Source Safe, then CVS and Perforce, then Subversion. I liked Perforce quite a bit, especially the branch and merge support, and Subversion works just fine, but the branching and merging support in Git is just phenomenal. I’ve built up a little library of reading material on Git if you’re interesting in learning more; I’d start with Git from the bottom up by John Wiegley.

Going forward, I’d like to extend the blog a bit and add some features using Dojo. It only seems appropriate. Maybe Ajaxy inline-comment loading? Real-time search? Fancy graphs? We’ll see.

As always, feedback is welcome and the comments are open.

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