A New Look

on Posted by Rajesh J Advani
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For those who haven't been watching (and my site statistics tell me that must be at least half of you out there) I hit a century with my last post. And it took me more than one year after I started blogging on this site. And with this 101th post, I am also choosing to get rid of Blogger's Snapshot Sable template.

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)
I've used some Javascript on this page, and even set a few cookies, in an attempt to increase the user-friendliness of the design. The cookies don't violate your privacy. But the site should work just fine with Javascript and cookies disabled, so turn them off if you must. Also, this blog should still be readable if you turn off images. So those of you with limited bandwidth might want to consider doing that. The only thing that will disappear is the title and the tag-line. I still haven't figured out how to fix that.

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.
  • Peter-Paul Koch for sharing his simple Cookie manipulation functions with internet developers all over the world. I was feeling particularly lazy the day I decided to use cookies, and came across his website. The code he's written, is simple, and works very well. I never had a reason to try to rewrite the code on my own. (My excuse is that a good programmer is a lazy programmer)
  • 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.
Alright. I think I must stop now. This isn't the oscars.

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.

20 comments:

Megha said...

*droooooool* :)

Words Worth said...

Wow! Really, really nice!

Rajesh J Advani said...

Yaay! Finally went live! :)
*Wiping sweat off brow*
Phew!

Words Worth: Thank you! :)

Megha: *Handing you some tissue*
Couldn't have done it without your help :)

thelearner said...

Pretty good! I guess 'celestial conversations' can now be read with a dreamy look at that blue sphere at the top right...

Rajesh J Advani said...

thelearner: Thanks! :) Nice point about the blue 'sphere' :)

Btw, is the Post Comments page behaving weirdly for anyone out there? I think I've discovered a Blogger bug. *proud smile*

Kiran Mayee said...

Hey, this look is pretty cool and different. Now, I should put up one for my blogs :)

Anwin Joselyn said...

Good design. Nice and pleasing. And long time since you posted too...

Arvind said...

congratulations!!

anantha said...

Awesome! Unique and very eye catching!

Sid said...

congrats rajesh. You are encouraging me to get rid of the plain black template i use.

Rajesh J Advani said...

Kiran Mayee: Thank you! I'll be watching for your template change :)

Flaming Cyanide: Thanks! Of course, the last time I posted was less than a week ago, but compared to how often I want to post, that could be taken as a long time. :)

Arvind: Thank you!

aNTi: Thanks! Now to get to the point where my posts are eye-catching too :)

Sid: Good to know :) And thank you!

Rads said...

:-) Good job buddy!

loverBoy said...

Looks cool, buddy!

Rohit said...

Very catchy; now all you need is a shoutbox.

Also, this template keeps makin me use Firefox which isn't necessarily a bad thing ;)

Rajesh J Advani said...

[Rads] Thank you!

[loverBoy] Thanks!

[Rohit] Thanks. I don't believe in Shoutboxes, though. Well, at least not yet. But I didn't understand about needing to use Firefox? Yes, there is one cool trick which doesn't work on IE, but I didn't think there was anything that broke on that browser. Is there anything I need to be worried about? Not that I'm unhappy about you using FF, of course!

SmartOxymoron said...

Boy aren't *we* thorough! No wonder the new template looks good then... Blog tight and dont let no bugs bite. You look like the kinda guy that would blog rather than sleep.

Rajesh J Advani said...

SmartOxyMoron: Thankee! But blog rather than sleep? I've blogged just four times this month. And I'd rather sleep than do anything!

loverBoy said...

Hey Rajesh, we are waiting for the next CC...

Prashanth said...

Did I see Isaac Asimov, Douglas Adams, and Terry Pratchett on your profile?! Aha! I knew there must be such people in the world other than me!

Rajesh J Advani said...

loverBoy: It's in progress :) Hopefully I'll publish it in the next few days.

Prashanth: Put Asimov, DNA and Pratchett together, and how could you go wrong? :)