Design Decisions, part 1

Okay, so I decided to redo my little section of the web. (Click here for a look at the old and new designs side-by-side.) I wanted to take advantage of some of the things that Movable Type allows you to do, such as comments, and sorting entries into categories. But I made the foolish mistake of also deciding to change the visual design of these pages, too. As Mark Bernstein writes in his article, “10 Tips on writing the living web”, ” Don’t rush to replace a good design: you will grow bored with it long before your readers do.”




I’m going to be doing a bunch of maintenance and revisions to these web log pages over the next week or so… Bear with me if things look a little bit strange for a while.


Notes to self

Must do:

  • Change the Movable Type templates for this site, or at least for my own blog, so that they do proper XHTML.
  • Change the editing setup so that I don’t have to wrap <p> tags around paragraphs (i.e., make “Convert line breaks” the default), then go back and edit all my old entries to remove all the then redundant <p> tags.
  • For years I’d been working under the misapprehension that <a> hyperlinks have an “alt” attribute to go with them. Nuh-uh. Should be using the “title” attribute instead. Again, go back and re-edit the entries.
  • Also in the context of changing the site templates, allow comments. Which is probably going to mean turning on individual archiving for my entries here. (So far, everything’s just archived on a monthly basis.)
  • We changed the directory structure of our image store on Sunpig a while back, but (naughty me) I didn’t set up redirects from the old image locations to the new ones. I should do that, because we’re still getting hits (or rather, misses) on the old image files. Also, I should edit all my old entries to point to the new images.
  • I think that maybe I should just make a list of all the changes I need to make to the old entries, and edit them all once rather than trawling through them several times.
  • Need to add some entries for the last couple of weeks (weekend trip away–Plumed Horse!–Minidisc player–redundancies at work, etc.).
  • And, of course, upload some more photos of Alex!
  • And perhaps change the stylesheet for this page… It could use a little sprucing up.
  • Gotta finish copying over my reviews from Dooyoo to here. Maybe write a few new ones while I’m at it.
  • Bring my “recommended reading” list up-to-date. So many links, so little space…

Oh, and most important of all: write more. Write, write, write. Write for here, write for elsewhere. I need to get these fingers working for me again.


Website gone!

The Sunpig web site was gone for most of Tuesday, but it’s back up and running properly now. Turns out that EZPublishing, who host this site, had my old Compuserve email address their main contact for our account. Back in March they tried to charge my old credit card, but found that the expiry date had passed. So they sent an email to the Compuserve address asking me for my new card details. But because I’m no longer with Compuserve, I never got the email. So after a two month grace period, they cut us off on Tuesday.

Fortunately, a quick call to them got things sorted out. New email and credit card details supplied, web site restored, everybody’s happy.

(And I breath a sigh of relief and go straight to work downloading backup copies of all the data we have on their servers…)


New CMS!

If you’re seeing this, that means that our new content management system, Movable Type is up and running on Sunpig. Updating the site should now be much easier and more conventient for us.

I’m still working on converting everything over to the new structure, though, so the site may look a little bit flaky for a while… Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible 🙂


Messing with Movable Type

Okay, I still don’t have a full working version of Movable Type up and running yet. (I’ve got the blog creation and edit screens working on Windows, but the pages aren’t rebuilding yet. Something to do with the module.) But from what I’ve seen so far, it looks really good. The code is well constructed. The content creation interface is slick. And the things you can do with it look to be the kind of things I want to do with Sunpig.

See the interview with Ben and Mena Trott, who built the system, and have a look at for an example of what MT can do.