Welcome to the newest incarnation of the personal site of Alex Jones – no, not the one who reports on black helicopters. Really, I’m not him.
There are quite a few reasons behind this redesign:
While this site has rested upon a foundation of standards-compliant XHTML and CSS for several years, it has not been as simple to modify and extend as I would like. In part this was due to the use of MovableType and its template structure.To make a major change could require editing several templates, and waiting for the site to rebuild to ensure the changes were properly in place. This time-consuming process encouraged me to spend my time elsewhere. I had begun to look around for a new content management system for my personal site when MovableType 3.0 was released. The introduction of the new version and its pricing scheme raised the ire of a large part of the Web community (visit the aforementioned link and scroll down to read one of the 300+ comments), and while I can see both side of the issue (the developers of MT do need to eat), I did not see enough improvements in the system to merit an upgrade and I was not the least bit happy with how limiting the licensing had become. I will not go into the details as many many others have provided lucid opinions on the matter. For me, it was enough to not want to continue down that path. Instead, I decided to seek out a CMS written in PHP as that is my coding language of choice.
Enter WordPress, a beautiful, extensible and standards-focused CMS built with PHP and licensed under the GPL. The package was really simple to install andthe community is extremely active and friendly. Gone are the days of editing multiple templates when I want to change the site’s design or underlying structure. I was able to make all of my required changes in a single file. Gone too is the need to re-build the site after a change is made to the templates, a post or a comment.
Separation of Style and Structure
My previous design made extensive use of CSS and XHTML to manipulate the presentation of the site. But ultimately the code I put into place was overly complex and thus frustrating. In the last year and a half, my understanding of markup and semantic structure has matured allowing me to produce a sleek foundation to build upon without sacrificing the flexibility I desire. So, when I get a hankerin’ to redesign my site, it will prove to be much more simple than in years past. Going forward, I will have the flexibility to provide multiple designs from which the reader may choose. Pretty damned excitin’ for me.
Desire to Communicate
I truly want to keep this site moving and interesting, but it isn’t an easy task. I have to balance my time between my family, my work, my friends and other free time activities like reading. And, to be honest, I am not sure how much I really want to say in so public a medium. So, a good portion of my posts will be related to the Web Development industry. In time I might add posts concerning the current state of affairs in this country and the world. But I need more time to think about the possible ramifications those subjects could have in life away from this site.
I am still pondering what I will do with the photo gallery as it uses a different system all together. And of course, that different system is difficult to use in different ways. Grrr. For now, the galleries will remain on the site, albeit in a simple form. They are visible at www.silverspider.com/gallery, though they have not been updated in a while, nor will they be for a while more.
So, I hope the new site is palatable and the upcoming posts to your liking. If not, feel free to drop me a line and lemme know.