Longbored Surfer

2008.09.02 Newer Site Design

This past weekend, in addition to doing a bit of reorganization of my physical home, I took the time give my site a bit of a face lift and upgrade the content management system. Stop on by, check it out and let me know what you think. Read on if you care about the gritty details of this one.

The whole look of the place is obviously strongly based on the Mid-Century template set, which was created specifically for Movable Type 4.2. It's an add-on, and doesn't come installed by default. I obviously added some touches to Longbored-ify it, but for the most part it's fairly untouched. It's a fabulous piece of work by Jim Ramsey. Well done, and thanks for sharing.

The second piece of awesomeness is the Action Streams plugin for Movable Type 4.1+. I'll admit this plugin is far more awesome than I had hoped. I use Twitter, Flickr, Ma.gnolia and other random social networking sites fairly frequently. You may recall in my previous design that I had recent flickr photos and my latest twitter on the side. That was handy for most people, but it required javascript, was a bit slow, and depended on your own internet connection to actually populate the page. What I really wanted was for the content to actually be incorporated into the page content itself - so that no matter what, the content would be there. This would also keep my pages fresh with new content and hopefully wouldn't get stale.

Thanks to certain search engines for sending me less traffic due to my infrequent blogging these past couple months. :P

I was afraid this plugin would try to incorporate the various bits into my existing blog, and I didn't want that. Smartly, it puts the bits into a completely separate set of data, and I can use it wherever I want. In my case, I populate all pages except the individual templates. So far, I love it. I'd just like to see a few more capabilities added to the aggregation.

I rolled out Movable Type 4.2 at the same time. I did some freelance work recently on this system and absolutely loved the back-end awesomeness of 4.2 (compared to 4.1, and for sure to anything 3.x). If you're a Movable Type user (and you should be), you'll certainly want to take advantage of the 4.2 upgrade. It rebuilds faster, has a much slicker admin side, and introduces some new template tags that add real potential to your site. I really look forward to using it more.

Full Disclosure: Movable Type 4.2 was more of my motivation for doing the full site revamp than the template was. I figured since I had to start from scratch to take advantage of the template tagging, I could get a new look at the same time.

As far as deploying a completely new design in the matter of a couple minutes, and for those of you on ICDSoft, I built the whole thing on a subdomain, and simply moved the folder over. I previously disabled comments so I could make a duplicate of the blog and not have the content impacted. Thankfully, I also still have the old blog, complete and self-standing, so if I want a piece of it, it's still there.

I still have a couple issues to deal with, but for the most part, the site is good to go. Hope people like it!

Tag(s): blogging

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