Spitting Angels Blog

The Official Blog of Spitting Angels.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Technical Mumbo Jumbo About The New Site

So spittingangels.com has new new look and some new tweaks. It’s been a bit long since the last major update. I’ve always got big plans for the site (well, I’ve always got big plans for almost anything I do so that’s no surprise) but I wanted to take a moment to discuss my design philosophy.

I’ve been web-designing (although web-developing is probably a more appropriate term) since 1998. I started in college with crude html written in either notepad or textedit. After a brief stint with Dreamweaver that didn’t quite workout, I went back to hand-coding. And that’s how almost everything is written, even to this day.

Several years ago, I made the jump to php/mysql when the music page for spitting angels became a bit unwieldy (it was basically a giant table in a static html page). From there my love for a dynamic/database driven website was born. Along with my migration to php/mysql, I also took the plunge into using CSS and so that’s how everything is done.

Currently, with the exception of a few news posts I have to update, the entire site should comply with web standards and therefore look nice with any modern browser. Even IE 7. I don’t give a flying fuck about Internet Explorer though and if you view the site on IE 6 or earlier, you will see a message at the top of each page.

A bonus for Firefox or Safari users: we use cutting edge CSS-styled rounded borders which you won’t see unless you use a mozilla or webkit based browser. Google Chrome uses webkit but if you use Opera or any version of IE, you are out of luck.
I used to avoid javascript like the plague but it’s really come into it’s own in the last couple of years and so now I’m trying to determine which js framework I wanted to start using. You can thank Google Maps for getting me over my fear of js.
Obviously, I didn’t code this blog or the forums and I’m not sure how I want to handle a gallery going forward. Flickr is nifty but I don’t know if that’s the best idea to implement. We could stick with the gallery software and upgrade to version 2 but that would be a lot of work on my part to integrate it better into the visual look of the site and maintain it.
I code on a Macbook Pro using textmate and a local test server and use subversion with my test server. I’m a Mac fanatic, having worked for Apple (and prior to that, Dell – which gives me a good counterpoint to strengthen my fanaticism) but I also own several PCs, all of which I’ve built myself. I’m hardcore DIY which is one of the reasons why Spitting Angels has had such slow output in the last few years. Info about the music is for another post though.
As for the current look, I got an idea for an online band application just before Christmas. I did the bulk of the coding during the week of Christmas and was so impressed with the resulting look that I immediately wanted to base the default look of the entire site of of this style. We are in dire need of a drummer to move forward with live performances and also recording. Once the nice and shiny bandapp was done, the rest of the site looked even more dated in comparison. But changing the style, the look of the site required a fundamental rewrite of the entire site. Every page was rewritten. Several about pages were rolled into one. Some pages had their underlying queries rewritten so that 5-6 different queries were consolidated into one. Basically a job I had been putting off for a long time had to be done now, since we need to make a positive impression on any potential band-members we might be recruiting.
So after about a month, everything was ready. There’s still more work to be done but other than some minor tweaks, any major work will have to hold off until more progress is made in our recording efforts.
posted by Shadow at 9:11 am  

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