Categories
Browsers Design Markup PHP Standards

UST Web Site Redesign

I was trying to check the University calendar on the UST Web site for the preliminary examinations schedule when I noticed the redesign and restructure planned for it has already been implemented. Excitedly, I saw some of the things I’ve dreamt of doing for it[1] accomplished on the reboot.[2]

These include:

  • Porting the site from ASP to PHP; and,
  • Complying with the XHTML 1.0 and the CSS 2 recommendations.

A very clean design added to its beauty and usability. And, scripting features that makes the layout fluid or fixed, as well as changing the font size according to the users’ preferences, made it more accessible. Two very good steps to have been taken, IMO.

I remember checking it a day after the said reboot, the news roller was a bit misaligned in Mozilla Firefox, Opera and Safari,[3] but was rendered as desired in Internet Explorer 7. Now, four days later, after browsing it again to continue writing this post, I see they’ve already fixed the alignment problem for the major browsers with the exception of Safari/Win—now I have nothing to rant about the site being made with only IE anymore. Heh.

The new design also features compliance badges from W3C, which results to only a single markup error that is, IMO, fairly forgivable for an elaborate design and a complex site structure. That error may even be caused by the CMS[4] itself for one of its modules automatically placing a <link /> to a style sheet wherever it was inserted.

I haven’t seen much improvement in a single reboot for the site as far as I could remember.[5] The move to open source software, Web standards compliance, and accessibility with usability is, IMO, the best direction any Web site could have taken. Kudos to the Webmasters of the new UST Web site!

Footnotes:

  1. ^ when I volunteered to be a TomasinoWeb member
  2. ^ another term for redesign; from CSS Reboot
  3. ^ all on the Windows platform
  4. ^ namely, Joomla!
  5. ^ with three designs, as of now
Categories
Browsers Design Markup Standards

Redesign At Long Last

I have announced a redesign more than a month ago, but since WP 2.2 has been delayed, I decided to delay it as well. It’s finished now … well, almost. The upgrading process and the redesign exhausted me. So this post will just be a placeholder. Place your comments here, but I will surely edit this entry later.

I was just worried about some things the upgrade did to my database, it seems that some non-Latin characters was converted to something else. I will investigate on this matter after I wake up later this morning.

*after waking up this afternoon*

After years of having single color accents, I’ve decided to take on dual-color accents to be used on this new design. I just love having complementary orange and blue on almost anything, now they’re on my Web site as well.

Some pages still wouldn’t work, and some are still being rewritten. The new Projects page will be used to organize all my work including Web development and WordPress plugin development pages.

This design has been tested on Firefox 2.0.0.x, Opera 9.x and Internet Explorer 7. I may include some bug fixes for Internet Explorer 6 as I discover it, but don’t count on it.

Credits go to Feed Icons for the standard feed icon, and to FamFamFam for the cute little Silk icons I’ve used throughout the whole site.

Thanks to Arvin for pointing out that my comment form didn’t work. I’ve only used id attributes on the form elements that browsers handling HTML-compatible XHTML wouldn’t process as query string variable names like what they do on name attributes.

Criticisms are welcome. 🙂

Categories
Design Markup Thoughts WWW

Not Only WP 2.2 will be Delayed

You’ve probably read that Matt Mullenweg announced a delay to the WP 2.2 release, which was previously due in 4 days, on your Dashboard already, but it still is worth blogging. As I am creating my new theme—now at a rough estimate of 75% completion after five [half] days of work—I think it would be better to delay the release of AjaLapus.com 4.0 as well.

New features from WP 2.2, including core Widgets support, integrated tagging system[1] and Atom 1.0 standard syndication feeds, would most probably make me revise my theme a lot more since I am planning to use them anyway. And since I still haven’t tried using nightlies, nor do I have time and patience to install AMP again on either my Linux or Windows installations to test and develop on a nightly, it’d probably be best if I would wait the couple of weeks out for the new WordPress to be released.

So far, I have the following completion percentages for the templates of the upcoming theme before I delay working on it:

  • Header, Footer, and Single post templates and styles at 100%
  • Homepage, Quasi-static Pages, and Sidebar templates and styles at about 90%
  • Archives [including Tag, Date, Category and Search pages], 404 page, and Page-specific templates at 0%

And, btw, I’ve already consulted Shari and Lexie about the theme and they seem to like it so far. That was a relief since Shari immediately turned down the first one I’ve made. Well, not that it all depends on them—I really just like positive feedback.

For those who were browsing yesterday late at night and have been [403] Forbidden from viewing any page, that was most probably be me doing some tests. Ugh. I really need a local LAMP/WAMP installation.

And, about the issue of ad serving using Google AdSense, I decided to stick to HTML-compatible XHTML Strict since I’ve encountered a FAQ from Google stating that AdSense code within an <iframe> would lead to PSAs or less targeted ads [probably the same case an <object> tag would produce] even though that method was approved by Google.

So, there you have it—just lame updates. I’m getting busy at school since I’m taking up my Math 321 this summer vacation.[2] I still do hope I’d have more fun before the vacation ends.

Footnotes:

  1. ^ As Dougal Campbell pointed out, it was pushed to 2.3 milestone—I wasn’t reading the wp-hackers list as well.
  2. ^ If you can’t remember, it’s because of this little problem.
Categories
Design Markup Thoughts WWW

Those Little Interconnected Things

Ok. Now I’ve had my six days of fame.[1] Better get back to the regular blogging programming and routine. 😛 But, let me ask you first: How does a Web event, an impending increase in domain name prices, browser incompatibilities, and advertising limitations result to me having to think of making a new WordPress theme for my site?

During the time before the 2nd CSS Naked Day, I decided to make a plugin for WordPress that would strip every piece of stylesheet information from a Web page. It was somehow successful given that I was only receiving 50–100 unique visitors a day prior to the creation of that plugin, which in turn made my statistics plugin jump to receiving 200–300 unique visitors a day. In addition to the plugin, Dustin‘s pun resulted to a lot more SERP referrals. More visitors equal higher rankings; my Alexa rank turned from above 3 Million to just above 700 thousand in 10 days.

Since Text Link Ads consider Alexa as one basis for accepting ad publishers, I thought it would be better for me. And with the impending increase in .com domain name prices, I’m starting to think I really need the money. But, still, I haven’t had ad placements since I’ve reinstalled TLA on my theme,[2] so I think it would be better to go back to [or at least serve it at the same time with] Google AdSense which I have used even before TLA. I was just frustrated that AdSense won’t serve XML-compatible scripts or at least a <noscript> fallback for those who don’t want to or cannot display scripts of document.write nature.

Since it’s equally hard to modify a theme to contain ad spaces than to make one from scratch, I thought it was better to move to a Version 4 for the site. And because WordPress have deprecated some functions since 2.1, and WordPress 2.2 is just around the corner, I think I’m better off making a new one.

I then thought of the need to create a theme served only with Content-Type: text/html, since Windows Internet Explorer 7 also has no intention of accepting true XHTML. But, I’m having doubts of doing so since I’ve been a fan of XML rules[3] imposed on HTML since the time I’ve learned them. I’ve also read articles on how to use AdSense with true XHTML pages.[4] So, I would most probably stick to my current content negotiation scheme.

I’ve actually started making a template with a Web 2.0-ish theme a week ago based on some tutorials I found on the Web. Although, upon showing it to Shari, she told me it was a bit too bright. So, I guess it would have to be redesigned since I don’t want my handful of regular readers straining their eyes, and to be looking at [or rather getting distracted by] the design more than they do at the content of my articles.

So, I guess you just have to wait for the next version of this site. I am finally going to a pool to swim tomorrow, so don’t expect it to be that soon. *excited* 😛

Footnotes:

  1. ^ April 1–6 recorded ~2500 hits from human visitors only—more than half of what each previous month’s worth of page views even without Bad Behavior blocking robots.
  2. ^ Maybe because of the irrelevant keywords? IDK. I just hope not.
  3. ^ Must be well-formed, lowercase, etc. Therefore, cleaner and more readable.
  4. ^ One from Keystone Websites, and another from CSSplay thanks to Sir Regnard.
Categories
Design Rants Standards

I’m Getting Naked

It’s already summertime and most people are stripping down to their trunks and bikinis to get wet with friends or their families on the beach or on a pool. Me? I’m here stuck inside my room stripping … and this is not an April Fool’s joke … stripping my website buck naked off of its stylesheets. *tee-hee* Well, anyway, I’ve done this before and I’m doing it again. Last year was good, and I hope this time is better. Dustin Diaz is finally proving the annual in Annual CSS Naked Day.[1]

To anyone who isn’t familiar, CSS Naked Day was made to promote standards. During the 1990s, HTML has grown to become a more presentational language than what it was really meant to be. With browser implementations varying from each other,[2] and the bulk of maintenance work that HTML has become to present aesthetics, proposals were made to have a presentational language that later became what is now CSS. CSS has already replaced every presentational bit of HTML 3.2 and has even added more, and with the advent of better support to the standard since late last year, it is really worth advocating for better and wider Web designer adoption.

The reason for stripping CSS off for a day has been acknowledged by the creator of CSS himself, Håkon Wium Liesaving HTML from becoming a presentational language. I’ve seen many sites that produce good aesthetics, but the perceived quality just stops there. As I turn off the styles on my browser,[3] the layout remains the same, but now with garbled images and incomprehensible text. And they say they’re standardistas.[4]

I hope everyone who have read this participates in the upcoming second year of the celebration of semantic markup. It’s very nice to see that two, Shari and Mr. J, out of currently four links from the official page that are talking about the event are of Filipino blogs. If you think your site doesn’t qualify to having semantic markup, you still have four days to this year’s deadline. Registration is now open [and automated] at the Official CSS Naked Day site.

Oh, and for those WordPress users that are too lazy to edit themes, I’ve made a plugin that strips every piece of stylesheet in your pages without a single tweak on your templates—configurable to follow the recommended 48-hour period or just your local 24-hour April 5.

Footnotes:

  1. ^ I really do not know why they call the first time, annual, already.
  2. ^ As a result of the first browser war.
  3. ^ The way everyone, humans and bots alike, are to understand the page.
  4. ^ I would have told them privately that all but one of the sites in their gallery wasn’t compliant, but it seems that their feedback link isn’t operational. So, just consider this as feedback. Oh, I do hope the site submissions be screened better as it would be a good starting point for showcasing great Pinoy designs.