May 1st CSS Reboot

Midway through a peaceful winter break back home in Buffalo Grove, my code and design were nearing points where I could push them live. At that point I proclaimed, “It’s alive!

I lied. But no one ever saw it, because I found out I had to get back to Lawrence a week earlier than I expected, and then ran out of time to finish the site. Oops.

So after a slight refresh to in January, recovering from a catastrophic crash in February, building an awesome NCAA tournament game (with the help of Jay Baird) in March, April became time to get back to work on a web project for myself, and I set the May 1st CSS Reboot as a month-long goal. I missed it.

My personal May 2nd CSS Reboot

In order to get the site running today, I had to sacrifice a few goals I wanted for launch, mainly completed “Work” and “About” sections. But my portfolio will require a separate (though simple) application, and I wanted to focus on getting the blog close to full-spec. I’ll write a bit more about myself for that tab later in the week. I’m still not completely satisfied with how this place looks, but I now have a starting point on which to build and tweak to better express my ideas.

Behind the scenes details

Django makes this place tick, and a “no need to reinvent the wheel” blog app makes this place rock. Code inspired by Nathan runs the link list on each entry page. Snippets from James help protect my comments from spam. The creatively-named “django-tagging” performs the tagging duties. And some other tricks and hacks brings the rest together into what you see here.

As a simple designer, I never would have figured out this whole Django thing without the help of the vibrant Django community. So I will use this blog as my opportunity to give back whatever I can by spreading useful links, writing relevant tutorials, and in the near future, releasing the source to my blog app for anyone to dissect. This will happen after I clean it up a bit and review my licensing options. Then it’ll be free for the world to see. The more code out there for new recruits to learn from, the better.

I can say with confidence that this site displays sub-par in IE6. I’ve done all I can to make it be readable. I don’t have access to IE7 yet - anyone want to run the site through its paces for me?

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Don't mind me. I'm just testing my comment system.

May 3rd 2007, 12:28 a.m. by Ryan Berg
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Last test.

Feel free to leave some words of kindness or critique!

May 3rd 2007, 12:30 a.m. by Ryan Berg
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Gorgeous work Ryan. Your layout is refreshingly original and the color choice is amazing.

May 3rd 2007, 1:36 a.m. by Rob Goodlatte
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Congrats bud. Good to see this thing alive and running.

May 3rd 2007, 8:27 a.m. by Kristofer Baxter
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Looks awesome! Love the paired-down look. And the centerpiece art is great!

I've got IE 7 on my machine -- I'll report back with observations.

May 3rd 2007, 8:35 a.m. by Patrick Beeson
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This looks great, man. Congrats.

May 3rd 2007, 9:54 a.m. by Herb Himes
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I came here via Jeff Croft's site. I second Rob, your layout is refreshingly original, and I dig the different comment proclamations.

May 3rd 2007, 12:18 p.m. by David Yeiser
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Thanks for the kind words so far. I was worried about how the structure would be received.

David, I'm glad someone noticed the proclamations :-) Some day in the future I envision a comments system that would allow each person to select the tone of his comment, dictating color, type, etc of the resulting comment.

Now I'm off to figure out Django's syndication framework so I can get some feeds to keep everyone coming back!

May 3rd 2007, 2:24 p.m. by Ryan Berg
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Seems to have ate my comment, but all I had to say was "Nice work"! Probably thought it was spam.

May 3rd 2007, 3:22 p.m. by Baxter
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Very nice, Ryan. Everything looks great -- now you just have to get the portfolio and about pages done.

May 3rd 2007, 3:23 p.m. by Stu Schaff
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Thanks, Baxter. Nice meeting you last week. Now quit spammin, damnit!

May 3rd 2007, 3:30 p.m. by Ryan Berg
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man! site looks amazing-- love the colors and the lines of it. very structured.

May 3rd 2007, 3:47 p.m. by Jackie
Link to this comment back! And better than ever I might add. I'd say 'Nice Work' but Baxter has already said that. So I say 'Great Job!'

May 3rd 2007, 4:32 p.m. by Ashley Bolton
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Ok, I have to say that Jackie's above comment doesn't count. That's like having an East German judge give the EAST GERMANS a 10.0.

Crazy. East Germany.

May 3rd 2007, 4:32 p.m. by Jay Baird
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Haha. She asked if she could say something. I said, "Sure."

She's an expert, man. I depend on her well-thought design opinions for essential guidance.

May 3rd 2007, 4:34 p.m. by Ryan Berg
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I know all-to-well how real life can get in the way of personal web projects. Congratulations on finishing your site. It is, indeed, very nice. The layout is, surprisingly, unique. That's saying a lot in today's "already been done" web design world.

July 3rd 2007, 12:28 p.m. by Tyson
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The site design is very refreshing, but I do have one pet peeve to mention about the comment headings: When in the middle of viewing a multi-page group of comments such as appear on this posting, it's easy to get confused about whether the name/date banner appears above or below the text of the comment. This is fairly important information if you want to encourage conversations in the comments, and the design shouldn't make a commenter have to think about who actually wrote the text in question.

July 3rd 2007, 11:41 p.m. by Andrew J
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Tyson - thanks for the kind words. I'm glad the slight risk in formatting I took has been relatively well-received. Though I'd hardly call this site finished :) Good luck working past your own distractions. I hope you get those pants up soon.

Andrew - I'm struggling to visually disassociate the comment headers from their content. To me, at least, they seem strongly connected (I could admittedly make a quick change to make this even stronger). I'd be curious to know if anyone else had this problem before I make a change though. Thanks for coming by!

July 9th 2007, 3:33 a.m. by Ryan Berg

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