Design Opus 2009

Three acres, three months, and three thousand men later…

So this is new. ;)

Was it really three months ago that I posted a preview of this design on Flickr? It took me a while amid my other projects, but I finally got the new site online last night. I decided to forestall posting an announcement about it until further testing and completing some of the missing pieces— including my notably absent portfolio.

But this morning, I got an ebullient phone call from Kevin Rollins (who promised to update his new blog today), congratulating me ecstatically on the redesign. “This site vividly represents what you do!” he said. He also pointed out a few bugs I had overlooked when moving the site from my development environment to the live server.

In that vein, I’ll dismiss my reluctance to show it before it’s finished. Here it is.

Is it time for acknowledgements?

Visual inspiration

The visual theme is openly inspired by my favorite childhood video game The Legend of Zelda (official site), and my compass rose design was originally adapted from the Quaker star.

The map in the header came from a U.S. Geological Survey map of a part of the Massanutten where I grew up, and where I spent a lot of time backpacking, camping, and being a hobo. Those woods and hills left an indelible impression on my heart and mind.

I owe a lot of gratitude to my daughter who sat with me on several occasions actively providing valuable feedback as I worked on the graphics, layout, and styles. Many of her suggestions are implemented here.

Deploying with Textpattern CMS

This site runs on a Tai Chi-like content publishing platform called Textpattern (TXP) which has been a joy to work with.

Textpattern Solutions has been an invaluable learning aid (for this and other projects), and personal correspondence from authors Nathan Smith and Rob Sable was very helpful.

Seeing Tim Van Damme’s Texptattern Integration article made everything click, and had a major influence on my development method. Once I polish off the rough edges, I might post a similar breakdown of this site’s inner workings.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the agile and responsive development community behind Textpattern, which has consistently provided legendary guidance and support for the puzzles that came up during development. Thank you guys!

What next?

Well, apart from getting my portfolio online, I plan to set up a better site feed,- -improve site search, and get tag support working. After that, I’ll work on fine-tuning the site to make it load faster.

But first, soup.

Peace out.


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