Site Renewal

As I was mentioning in the previous post, the tattoos website has undergone a renewal. A little too late for the “November 1st Reboot” and a little too early for the “May 1st Reboot”, but a reboot nevertheless. I call it the “When-I-Have-Time Reboot” :)

It’s actually more than that, because it’s been changed from the inside; not just a “restyling” or a “redesign” and a lot more than just a “realigning”… Everything has been rewritten, starting with the markup itself and ending with brand new style sheets… but more about this later, in the “techie” chapter.

Notable Changes

First of all yes, of course, the looks ;) Less color, a lot more white space, plenty of room to breathe. White, black and gray for everything, a little bit of blue for the links, pastel colors for some of the markers… less hard on the eye as one of my regular readers (Hi, Mike!) told me this morning, more airy and elegant, faster and more gentle on the bandwidth :)

Second, the cruft-free URIs, for simplicity, usability and simply because cool URIs don’t change. That is, the .html, .rss, .jpg and .png file extensions have been removed from all URIs, making them shorter, easier to remember and type and more portable in the long run. Naturally, the old URIs will still function correctly, no link nor bookmark will be broken. I took a great deal of care in making sure that all the old URIs are silently and seamlessly redirected to the new ones… but, if you happen to end up with a “Error 404 • Not Found” page instead of the one you were looking for, please spend a minute and let me know so I can fix it promptly.

Then, as I’ve been “threatening” all along, even less tolerance for Micro$oft Internet Exploder. If you read this you’re, most likely, using a real browser so you won’t even notice but the site looks completely different in M$IE — if “looks” is even the word here. Basically, I haven’t taken any measure to ensure that Internet Exploiter can display the site properly; no layout, no colors, no graphics whatsoever. The site is — with a little patience and a ton of goodwill — usable and it functions “almost” decently, but it’s ugly and unstyled. From many reasons, but I’ll assume that you already know why M$IE is a worthless piece of shit and only mention the fact that I’m sick and tired of defacing my websites just for the sake of a single outdated, broken, obsolete and defective browser. I’ve got better things to do and wasting one more week to rewrite the stylesheets just for M$IE is not one of them.

There have been a few modifications in the site structure and, because they can’t be worked out through redirecting links, I’m going to list them here, so you can re-organize your bookmarks:

  • The entire /i-mode/ section has been removed. For now, I have no plans to put it back online; mobile browsers have become very good at displaying normal web pages, there’s no reason for a standalone “mobile” site. Therefore, all pages under /i-mode/ are no more, you can safely remove them from your “favorites”.
  • The “What is RSS?” page — namely http://graphictribe.com/tattoos/rss.html — has also been removed. Most of you already know what RSS is, the ones who don’t can easily google it… bottom line, a page describing what RSS feeds are is redundant and no longer needed. Until you remove it from your “favorites” the http://graphictribe.com/tattoos/rss.html will be silently redirected to the actual feed containing the calendar updates.
  • Speaking of which, there has been a slight modification in the RSS feed as well. It now displays only the calendar updates and no other items; the update announcements and other news articles have been moved here, at the weblog. The URI of the feed also has been modified; instead of http://graphictribe.com/tattoos/xml/index.rss, it can now be found at http://graphictribe.com/tattoos/xml/ (actually, http://graphictribe.com/tattoos/xml/rss.rss)removed.

With these said, I hope you’ll enjoy the new look of the website and won’t have any trouble finding your old favorites. A little bit for the “techie” curious now ;)

Under-The-Hood Changes

[Stop Internet Explorer icon]

Most important, static html has been rewritten in dynamic PHP. That is, a lot less markup, hands-off self-updating and all the goodies that come from PHP5. Lotsa googling, lotsa reading, but it paid out and worked out very well, so it’s been well worth it.

Naturally, XHTML 1.1 served as application/xhtml+xml to all browsers (HTML 4.01 Strict served as text/html tag soup to M$IE) accomplished through the usual HTTP_ACCEPT sniffing, and a slightly different approach with the CSS, consisting in serving CSS 2.1 and 3 — via the ?xml-stylesheet processing instruction — to all browsers and giving M$IE a few lines of CSS 1 via the usual link rel="stylesheet" relation link. It’s all done in PHP so, basically, all browsers will get only the ?xml-stylesheet processing instruction pointing to the stylesheet they need and M$IE will only get the link rel="stylesheet" relation link pointing to the stylesheet it can comprehend.

Naturally, valid all over the place, as it’s always been :)

Lastly, in case you are wondering what’s with the big black “stop IE!” icon, it is the background image for all pages of the website, as it appears in all flavors of Windows Internet Exploder. Actually, it is the background image of a paragraph — served only to M$IE through the use of conditional comments — appearing at the top of every page of the website, asking Internet Exploited users to switch or suffer >:) If you really are curious and can take a few minutes of excruciating sorrow, pop IE and visit the site, you’ll see right away what I’m talking about ;)

“To Do”s

Right at the top of the list, finding a couple of CSS workarounds to deal with Opera’s stubborness in straying from the web standards in the name of “originality”. Although the site is displayed fine, there are a few shortcomings in the way Opera implements (or fails to implement) some of the positioning rules — not mentioning total failure to deal with multiple direct and adjacent selectors — and I’m not pleased. The top bar holding the search field gets a little screwed and the link to the Japanese site is not displayed correctly.

Following, a few tweaks to the aesthetic aspects, consisting in adding some more icons — like the little “home” you see in the upper left side, inside the header — on every page, to improve usability, and some more background images. No worries, the sexy nymphs will be back as soon as I have better photos ;)

Tiny modifications, here and there, mostly under the hood, as soon as I figure out some more of the PHP tools and tricks. My webhost, Dreamhost, has already installed PHP5 and it would be a shame not to use some of the new functions that came with it… unfortunately, the manuals take time to read and, to tell the truth, I’m not really good at it :)

And I guess this is all. Again, if you happen to find any broken links or weird behaviors here and there, please send me an e-mail and tell me about it, so I can tie all loose ends. So far, all my browsers (Firefox, Mozilla, Flock, Camino, Safari, Shiira and Opera) displayed properly and whatever hints I could get from taking screenshots on BrowserCam showed no problems either, so I guess it all worked out fine.

Thanks for reading this!