Monday June 8, 2020

Over a week ago I finished the new release of my website. This particular version is the first one which is powered on TextPattern again (i.e., since 2007 for sure, maybe also earlier; later on I invested in learning and developing my designing skills regarding Google Blogspot).

Now, although the previous design (code name ‘Universe’) did not excite me so much as earlier on and I knew it’s about time to create something new - it was still a surprise that the new one I could be able to create on TextPattern again. This was also a great opportunity to find out what this CMS’s learning curve may be in practice. Today I am more than happy to answer this question and tell You that... it is fantastic :) . It has been pretty short amount of time for me to comprehend ‘what is what’ to a sufficient degree, i.e., such one which let me to express myself (design-wise) with a wide flexibility and freedom. I am happy to say that all my ‘first steps’ after all those years have been a pleasure. Learning TextPattern, in other words, is a really nice experience: I am enthralled with how TextPattern creators have managed to make the CMS such clear, simple, and powerful in the same time (!).

Back to the newest release of my website, I decided to share it on TextPattern forum, thanks to which I learned that something is wrong with the code. Thanks to users who provided screenshots of the issue from different web browsers perspective I’ve been able to infer that Firefox may not support z-index CSS attribute. Although I’ve found z-index a convenient way of resizing pretty much anything, it has not been a problem to find another route to take to accomplish the same result. All in all, I’d love Firefox to render my design as well as all the Chromium-based web browsers.

Sharing the website on TextPattern forum brought even further advantages. Another user was kind enough to share per in-depth perspective on possible ways to further improve the design, code-wise. It turned out that it hadn’t let me rest on my laurels ;) - three days later I’ve finished to re-write the template,

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making the code much more clear and better organized, and the whole template much more flexible, i.e., behaving much better in various circumstances (especially regarding the tag cloud’s dynamic layout). I also incorporated CSS column feature, which has been one of the most inspiring thing regarding jakob post.

There is also another thing: the design’s ‘aura’. I’ve been designing this new release an usual spontaneous manner. I much like this way because of 1) how much freedom it gives You as a designer and 2) oftentimes it gives You surprising results. To put it differently, this is a great way of reaching a fresh, unexpected look&feel. This time, however, it resulted in a dark, gloomy aura which might be even associated with a vampire-like style, which definitely had not been my intention.

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After a second thought I decided to resign from the initial, a-spur-of-the-moment gloom, because it does not reflect me enough. The mystery part is, still, only a part - however tempting, it definitely is not ‘my main theme’, so to speak.

Keeping that in mind I’ve decided to bring in more of my desired vibration this time, i.e., more light, more vibrant colors, more myself. Two days ago a new background for my website was completed.

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In the meantime I wrote another article which I wanted to share on Vero, but then I’ve reminded myself that I don’t have a mobile version of the website yet, so it does not make sense to present it throughout “mobile audience”. I definitely have not been in rush to design it earlier on ;) - but now it has stopped me from publishing, so... I’ve decided to encourage myself to do it ;) . And again, as many times before, I was more willing to complicate things than sticking with the status quo ;) - I’ve decided to take a more ambitious approach to a mobile template, since I supposed that there may be a TextPattern-dedicated plug-in to streamline the concept. And indeed, there has been. I’ve found it among a bunch of others, potentially exciting inventions on this site. I share the motivation behind the plug-in creation, i.e.:

“CSS media queries are great but they don’t deliver mobile content – they simply restyle desktop content. act_if_mobile can do the content delivery for mobiles, but I wanted more granularity on identifying mobile types and I wasn’t keen on using code that requires a yearly subscription for use on commercial websites.”
( source » )

So finally I’ve done this part as well, with the help of a Developer Tools providing me with an iPhone X rendered preview (for a good start ;) ), alongside with my physical smartphone. I am fascinated by the plug-in features, i.e., that thanks to it You could serve special version for various devices, differentiated not only on a screen resolution basis, but by device itself. It’s fantastic that You can tailor Your design keeping in mind, for example, an iPad users, Android users, etc. With my mind’s eyes I see how powerful it is: You could even make Apple-related articles showing up on the top on Apple devices, while Android-related articles could be featured on Android devices :) . Wow!

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Besides, I’d like to point out that to create a mobile version of a website was easier than in case of BlogSpot, because in BlogSpot You need to put all the CSS code in one place, i.e., both desktop and mobile version mixed together. In TextPattern You can have separate CSS’s for each of them, if You prefer. In practice it makes the whole thing much easier to handle, i.e., a mobile version preparation.

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