So, those of you who've been here before, will notice that I've changed the look of the blog somewhat. Alright. A little more than 'somewhat'.
The new design was developed from scratch by yours truly, over a period of three to four months. Right from the creation of the initial mockups, to the basic html framework, and the slow refinement of the same to make it all work on Blogspot. Yes, I'm slow. But in my defense, I'm not a web designer. At one time, one of the main reasons for the lull in my posting frequency was the amount of time I spent on the re-design. When you try to do something that you don't have a natural talent for, it tends to take quite a while to complete.
And then, a couple of months went by looking for the right moment to inflict it on you, the poor unsuspecting reader.
I've learnt a number of things during the process of designing this template. A few of them are -
- IE really sucks with respect to standards compliance. So your blog will look exactly the same in Firefox, Opera, and Safari, but IE will screw it up.
- Microsoft, by not fixing CSS bugs in Internet Explorer, is really holding the web back. As an example, imagine semi-transparent backgrounds.
- 65% of people out there, for some reason, still use that god-forsaken browser. (I'm still talking about IE)
- You really don't need to use the 'Table' tag to define your layout anymore.
- I am not as creative as I had hoped I was.
- The resolution of 800x600 is not dead.
- You can't do with your browser what you can do with an image editor. (Okay, you can to extent, but then you'll need to forget that a lot of people who visit your blog use Internet Explorer)
As with anything new, there are a number of people to thank -
- The Template Queen - whose fantastic work on her own blog opened my eyes to the amazing possibilities of blog-templates. A number of elements in my new design were inspired by ideas that she has used on her blog, even if I actually implemented them a little differently - like the basic blog layout, and the collapsing sidebar and sidebar sections. Not to mention that I did seek her sage advice during the development of this design. Advice which she was kind enough to give.
- Spencer Kimball & Peter Mattis - for developing that wonderful piece of software called The GIMP, and all the other open-source developers out there who have helped bring it to its current state after S&P abandoned it at version 0.99. The GIMP is why miserly bloggers like me can afford to do their own image work, without having to fork out $600 for Adobe Photoshop. Of course, as a disclaimer to Photoshop fans out there, I haven't compared PhotoShop to The GIMP, so I really don't know how they compare feature-wise. All images used in the design on this template were created and edited using The GIMP 2.2.3 for Windows (The Windows build for 2.2.8 should be out in a couple of days. I plan to upgrade then).
- Richard M Stallman and The GNU Foundation for developing and maintaining GNU Emacs - the only real editor. I used it exclusively for writing and working with HTML during the design of this template.
- W3Schools for their excellent compilation of reference material on CSS. I'm the kind of person who generally prefers reading the specification, but this website fulfilled all my CSS needs, and quickly.
- The Mozilla Foundation for developing Gecko, the technology behind the Mozilla and Firefox Web-browsers. I've developed this template primarily using Firefox as my browser, and a number of its wonderful extensions for Web developers.
- Opera Software for making their browser freely downloadable. This made it possible for me to test this template on both Opera 7 and 8.
- The World Wide Web Consortium for maintaining and promoting Web Standards like CSS and XHTML. If all browsers stuck to these standards, the world-wide web would be a much better looking place.
Since I'm only a miserly blogger, and don't have access to every OS out there, this template was tested on Mozilla Firefox 1.0+, Opera 7 and 8, and IE 6.0 on Windows XP Professional, and Mozilla Suite and Mozilla Firefox on Fedora Linux Core 1 (I live in the past). I know that some of the people who visit this blog use other browsers - like IE 5, and Safari, so please let me know if this blog doesn't seem to behave correctly for you. Screenshots would help.
As a request to IE users out there, of course - Get Firefox. (This is specially for those of you on older versions like 5.x).
There. I've done it. Now back to regular blogging.