The update to is live — some thoughts on the changes

Saturday I pushed the updated version of this web site live, and much to my surprise, everything went as planned and I ran into zero (count them: zero) glitches or problems. Almost as if I had planned things — except I plan every release, and there always seems to be some unforseen glitch. Not this time, for which I’m happy.

It’s been about 18 months since my last major redesign, which seems around typical for me. The primary purpose of this one was simplification, with most of my works spent on merging the photography site back into the main site and shifting most of the displayed imagery over to images hosted on the Smugmug site. Many fewer things for me to manage and try to keep in sync and up to date, so less chances of stuff breaking and less time needed out of my life to keep it all maintained.

The overall look and feel is new, but I used a lot of ideas from earlier designs, so it ought to look familiar, it’s an evolutionary change, not a revolutionary change. It also allowed me to clean up a lot of back-end things and edit the content to clear out old crap that was broken or obsolete and remove the stubs of some of the experiments I’ve tried and shelved, so everything should look a lot cleaner and more cohesive.

Overall, this gives me a  fresh slate to build new stuff on, and a simpler platform to work on. I give myself, oh, about 18 months before I lay on enough crap that I feel the need to redo the site again… but that’s part of the fun of all of this, try stuff, innovate, keep the good, and occasionally edit the weak and bad back into oblivion.

I’m easily 3 weeks ahead of my original estimate for how long this revision would take; last weekend I got onto a roll and realized I could get this finished up a lot faster than I’d planned, so instead of rotating time across the different projects I ahd going, I simply spent the last week on the site. It still took a hunk of time to get everything done — it looks like I spent somewhere around 55 hours in the last 8 days.

If you had RSS subscriptions to both this site and the photography site you may be seeing thigns show up twice in your RSS feeds; you need to remove the photography feed from your subscriptions.

After a few rounds of link checking my testing tool is telling me there are zero broken URLs on the site. I don’t believe it, because there are no sites on the internet without broken links, and even if it is correct right now, it’ll only take a couple of days for some link to break again… Amusingly enough, as I was editing out all of the broken stuff (like every link to any NY Times article, now hidden behind paywalls), I noticed that one unnamed very high profile internet person who used to argue that nothing should ever be deleted off our sites had deleted some of the pages I’d linked to, and those have been cleaned up and removed from this site…

If you find something that’s broken or looking ugly, or if you have feedback on the updates of any form, feel free to email me or catch me on twitter and let me know. Yes, I still have comments disabled on this site; I don’t expect that to change soon, but there’s a new technology out there (Civil Comments) that I find interesting and with potential, and perhaps down the road I may experiment with them.

And off we go into the future, and now it’s time to get back to work writing and coding…