Thursday, March 8, 2007 In Boiler Room | trackback

Shshsh, Shut The Shutters and Shit!

I mean SIT!

About time! wouldn’t you think? My last post was in August of last year, after which I was growing sick of my old interface, for many reasons. Here is why I have jumped to a new design.

Two years past since I dubbed myself as SHUT on MSN Messenger. SHUT THEORY blog was on the back of my mind ever since. The last design was based on elmota, although I had a shutters area (sort of my guilty little me!), I was never able to switch completely to this favorite name of mine. I had great time and much fun experiencing the name SHUT on everyone I know. Today, after two years of exposing it, the name is so seamless amongst those who know me. Those who did not like the name at first, seem to be getting acquainted to it much faster than others!

Truth is, I had a secret agenda. Naming and Branding was a favorite topic of mine back then, and I wanted to experiment the dimensions of a good name. At first, I had feedback from “that is lame” to “that sounds like Shit!” – how do you argue with that?! However, sounding like shit was not bad at all! As a matter of fact, I think some liked the idea more than they were willing to admit. Nowadays, the name has grown to be accepted between those who know it, and they rarely address the idea behind SHUT. It is kind of like GUESS, and GAP, or even APPLE. It just grows onto you.

Layout Justifications

I know that laying out the web as a newspaper has no excuse, but my only justification is, this is my blog, so blog off! Thing is, I have this thing for editorials and print magazines. I love laying out articles to fit in columns, and for the love of it, I decided to make my blog a bit out of the “web-ordinary.”

I do not encourage this kind of behavior! It is not easy to read long columns across the height of the screen. But on the other hand, it is much faster to read short columns if the height never exceeds the height of the displayed area. First, you do not have to scroll down. Second, you get to use the whole width of the ever-horizontal monitor. Third, reading off short columns has proven to be faster.

Technically Speaking

I downloaded WordPress engine and activated it on my host. And uploaded all my previous blogs to it. It wasn’t such a bad experience given that WordPress is an Open Source project, with “Open Source” type of documentation. The one thing that

was horrible to me was breaking the infamous LOOP. I also faced issues with the administration part. For some reason, their Rich Text editor was … well… how do I put this… Dumb! I had to remove it, then I had to disable their “applyfilters” function on my HTML, so that my HTML stays intact.

I also changed the administrator’s manage screen to display 30 posts (instead of the ugly 15 paged posts) and to include the excerpts. I am looking for new ways to be able to change the category with a single shot.

Now for those of you wondering about the sub title of each blog title, I used the excerpt field, and boy do I love myself for doing that?! 🙂

The toughest part about the design was the column-based layout. And this is how I cracked it down (don’t laugh):

– I write the post on Dreamweaver in a single column.

– Open the file in Firefox, and with JavaScript, re-render it using CSS3 Mozilla-supported feature: column-count.

– When I am satisfied with the number of columns to display my article, I go back to Dreamweaver and re-write according to the new layout.

– Then again Firefox comes to help, I open the file, extract the HTML to a textarea, copy, and paste in WordPress. (IE extracts very ugly HTML).

– I drink a pot of tea.

As for graphics, I print screen, take it back to Photoshop, cut the pieces I want, apply on my original background image (in correct position), apply my filters (yup, I too, have filters), crop and save. That is to make them blend in the background.

And of course, ClearType!

My hopes are towards the archive page, I hope I can script the page so that it lays out the articles next to each other, eliminating gaps, just like in a newspaper!

Feedback

I sure do hope to hear your comments on this one. I have committed a crime against designers, I increased the size of font to 12px! That should make a lot of people happy! I also appreciate reporting me with bad links or dead images. Please email me at broken@elmota.com with any broken links.

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