Same ground, stronger foundation

Ahh, the thrill of launching a new website. Then realizing you missed a few details before you flipped the DNS switch. Then rushing to get them fixed before anyone notices.

With the exception of a small IE issue or two, I think the the wrinkles have been ironed out.

The previous design launched last May, but had a few long-standing issues in my mind.

  1. The execution felt unpolished and incomplete
  2. The framework (both programming and design) didn’t allow me to post short bits of content like links or status messages

I began to tackle these issues last fall with some new code to pull in feeds from and Twitter, along with a more polished implementation of the same design language. Then school got really busy, meaning I didn’t get to work on my creative endeavor until after graduation in December.

This spring I approached the homestretch on the new site, and then that sensation hit. I’ll let Wilson explain.

After that brief moment of satisfaction, I immediately start to see everything that’s wrong or missing and start obsessing over what should be different or better. From that point on I’m incapable of being satisfied with the finished product.

Thankfully, this newfound perspective on my work hit before it was done, while I could still make changes. Back to a blank canvas in Photoshop I went, for two straight nights going through at least twenty iterations before I zeroed in on the path that led me to what you see today.

As before, runs on a healthy diet of Django. Thankfully, it’s now hosted on WebFaction, the #1 Django host according to my most recent side project, Djangofriendly. My previous host happens to be in last place on that list.

A lot has changed in the code base, where I’ve realized something similar to Jeff’s epiphany:

What I’ve learned about me writing Django apps is this constant truth: whatever code I wrote a year ago sucks now. Period. I’m learning so fast as I get more into programming in Python that I’m always looking back on my old stuff and realizing how pitiful it really was.

Last time through, I’d left comments in my code along the lines of, “I know there’s a better way to do this. I just don’t know what it is.” Now I do! Though as I scrambled to finish some of my tumblelog features I got a bit sloppy, overall I’m much prouder of my code.

And I’m finally proud of the end product, which while not breaking any new ground in design or code, provides a strong foundation on which I can continue to build. is where I will encourage discussion on design and usability, and share Django code and tips in language designers can understand.

Subscribe to one of my feeds in the footer, and come back when I have something a little less self-indulgent to say. Thanks for reading!

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Open-source that bitch!

June 19th 2008, 10:25 a.m. by Patrick Beeson
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Oh, the source is nowhere near ready for that. Much better than last time around, but still written to do exactly what I need it to do.

Especially when it comes to comments. I'm using a modified version of the contrib comments app that lives in my own project folder. Which means that comment utils then needed to be modified to point to that comments app instead. It's pretty gross.

June 19th 2008, 10:45 a.m. by Ryan Berg
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YAY! for the new site. Nice work, Ryan.

June 19th 2008, 4:28 p.m. by Ashley Bolton
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Liking the use of the "Django" color palette - I've done the same. Definitely a fan of the navigational style you've employed at the top of the site - unconventional, maybe, but it's absolutely not confusing.

In short: nice! ;)

June 24th 2008, 9:55 p.m. by matt

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