Last week, I finally went live with a new design that I’ve been toying with for this blog. It sort of grew organically out of a few failures that I’d played with on and off for the last few months. After looking at a lot of available themes, I decided to more or less write my own from scratch. I’ve codenamed this new design “Hooloovoo,” which some of you will probably get (and those who don’t can just as easily Google it).

As I said in a previous comment, the problem with having content about a new theme is that it won’t be relevant when the theme goes away or changes. So this post is to both exhibit and archive this theme so that there is some record of it.

It’s a different creature than I’m used to—I’ve never not had a sidebar, but I decided that perhaps a sidebar wasn’t the best way to do things. I moved that sort of ancillary data to the top, but I used a pull-down menu á la Foliage mod. Since sidebar data tends to not be particularly important to the content anyway, it doesn’t need to take up real estate.

Metadata, while displayed more or less inline on the index page, is moved down into a content footer on the individual post pages. This kind of graphical metaphor is actually very common now, but I’ve wanted to do it ever since I saw it in Hemingway about a year and a half ago. Like the upper menu, I’m dividing into thirds, and iterating with lists.

In general, I’ve tried to round off a lot of corners. This involves more images than I’d normally like, but I’ve tried to take shortcuts wherever possible, combining multiple images and simply changing their positioning: I managed to reduce the number of server requests significantly from the early phases of the design, but I still have some more to go.

Which brings me to another thing: I’ve used some 24-bit PNGs, not only as icons but as background images as well. I made a half-hearted attempt to use ifixpng to resolve display issues for IE6, but when it didn’t work satisfactorily, I decided that I spend enough timer catering to IE6 users and work, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to expend any extra effort on my hobby site. So let me make myself clear:

Attention IE6 users: there is no good excuse to be using IE6. Either upgrade or use a different browser. Firefox is good, as is Opera. Or go away.

On with the tour: I’ve heavily incorporated the jQuery javascript library into my redesign, and attempted to make it as performance-tuned as possible by including the extra plugins in a common file, and gzipping everything on the fly.

Beyond that, the theme is pretty unremarkable, really, but (I hope) aesthetically-pleasing and useful. I’ve completely removed categories from the template, since I think that tags have much more utility.

Comments? Questions? Suggestions? Venom?

§1923 · November 13, 2007 · Tags: , , , , ·

6 Comments to “A Modest Construct v2.0: Hooloovoo”

  1. Horizon says:

    Yaay! :)

    And I must say…

    Excellent :)

  2. Horizon says:

    Interesting – that blockquote didn’t take:

  3. Horizon says:

    … I’m going to stop trying, but as a note: it appears blockquotes are broken in the comments? :/ Your souce shows the blockquote tags in my comment, but it doesn’t take the content I put into them, for some reason. :(

  4. Ben says:

    Hunh. Seems to be a bug with HTML-Purifier. I switched the comment filter back to KSES and it *seems* to work now.

  5. Ben says:

    Ha! I figured it out! HTML-Purifier expects blockquote elements to have block-level child elements (e.g. p). The Tidy function of HTML-Purifier would normally create the paragraph automatically, except that the p tag wasn’t in the element whitelist, for some reason.

  6. Jeff says:

    I like it. I’m not the biggest fan of not having a sidebar, but that’s probably because I’m not used to that kind of design yet. It definitely gives you more flexibility, though.

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