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Sunday, September 17, 2006

See a sneak preview of Whiggles.com v9

A new version of Whiggles.com is coming!

That's right: after sticking with this incarnation of the site for over a year, I've decided once again to go back to the drawing board and cook up something fresh. This time, I'm going back to Movable Type as my news platform. Blogger has been fun, but I've come to the conclusion that I would prefer to have my own site design rather than a pre-fabricated template. That's not to say that I can't do that with Blogger, but I figure that, if I'm going to, I might as well have something that allows me complete control and isn't reliant on Blogger's notoriously unreliable servers being stable in order to post.

The new design, which at the moment is entirely hand-coded, and also 100% CSS and HTML 4.01 Transitional compliant, borrows heavily from the "blog" look of the templates offered by Blogger, WordPress and the like. As such, the design is hardly revolutionary, but it is at least functional and something that I can actually claim I made myself. It's also slightly more streamlined than the current incarnation of the site, which means that more material fits on the screen at any one time, and it loads slightly more quickly.

I'm aiming to make this transition as smooth as possible. As such, all the files for the current design will remain in place until they're no longer needed, and all the page URLs will remain the same, which means that I can move the site over to the new design bit by bit, without any extended downtime. I'll also be retaining the current layout as a means for archiving my Blogger posts. When I switch over to the new design, I'll disable comments on the Blogger posts, but everything will remain for archival purposes - "locked", as it were.

Anyway, you can see a preview of it here. Bear in mind that it's not yet complete, so the news posts are just placeholders designed as a mock-up of their intended look (I haven't actually implemented Movable Type yet, but will probably do so in the next few days), and the only pages currently working are the Blogger (2005-2006) and Vintage (2001-2005) news archive indexes. Still, I'd love to get feedback from anyone who's willing to give it. Let me know if there are any major niggles that leap out at you, or just offer your general thoughts on the design.

3 Comments:

  • That's a nice, clean design Michael. Especially like the red typeface (avant garde?) used for the date line at the top of posts. The content area seems slightly wider, too, which might reduce scrolling. One niggle: I take it the masthead image of a sunset is just a placeholder? It just seems out of place. Very nice work overall. How do you find the time?

    Best

    By Marc Dailly, at 10:45  

  • Yeah, I'm currently trying to find a better image to use at the top of the page.

    The font used for the dates and headings is Century Gothic. I must confess that I took the idea from a WordPress template I saw, which used a similar idea: right-aligned Century Gothic with an underline.

    It didn't really take me too long - I spent most of yesterday afternoon and some of this morning getting it to where it currently stands.

    By Whiggles, at 10:49  

  • Nice, clean design, Mike. My only two criticisms would be that the red header font is not strong enough on its own - try putting it in bold, perhaps. And I also think, for the sake of consistency, you should right-align all the red headers on the right side of the page.

    By RWB, at 13:35  

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