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Monday, March 09, 2015
Update on redesign
Posted: 5:03:00 PM 0 comments
For about five years now, I've grown to despise the style of my home website and this blog. Yeah, it was okay at first, but even my limited design skills have surpassed the current design of the site. It's long overdue for a change.

My design goal for the new site was to do something custom and have fun with it. Technology for the sake of technology, if you will. I came up with a good set of topics for the site and, in my head, figured out what each section would look like. Eventually I wrote up an outline of requirements, and then translated those requirements into a project in Asana to keep me organized.

Then, those tasks sat there. was created as a project in Asana in February of 2012, over 3 years ago. I started the site in ASP.NET, then switched over to a solution in node with Express as the web server and Backbone as the front end. Neither of these solutions got far. I was just far too busy with other things to make a project of this magnitude worth doing.

However, once I switched jobs earlier this year, finding the time to work on the project became much easier. In May, I rebooted the project for a 3rd time, moving to a solution in the young Rendr library for node. Since then, with the exception of a month and a half towards the end of last year (thanks, Warlords of Draenor!), I have made steady progress.

And, that progress is accelerating.

I divided the project into 7 major milestones:

  • Framework - Basic things such as the site design and account management.
  • Blog - Interfacing with Blogger. I expanded this to include Tumblr as well, because I wanted to include my creative works as well.
  • Pages - On the old site, pages are basically /page.asp?PageID=1. I hated that then, and I hate it even more now that I know about things like SEO. The new site allows for arbitrary HTML pages to be created anywhere at any time, not limited by the site design but only by the HTML I use.
  • Music - Included with this section is a media player that accepts YouTube and SoundCloud media.
  • Coding - A basic section that shows the projects that I am working on.
  • Gaming - Dedicated to all things games, this section reads in data from various gaming APIs for display in one section.
  • Life - Largely based on the Pages section, this section is simply a collection of things that don't fit in the other categories.

So far, 5 of those seven milestones are complete. I'm currently working on the Gaming milestone, which is a bit more involved than the others simply because I'm reading from no less than 4 data sources to get the data that appears on the site, and coordinating the APIs required for them are kind of a pain. The last milestone, Life, is simply content, so really I'm very close to being functionally complete, which is very exciting.

The drive to complete this site ultimately came from a number of different forces. First, this site is showcasing me. Everything I share with the world will be somewhere on that site in one form or another. Second, it showcases that I can actually code what I say I can code. With node being a relatively new technology, and rendr a very new framework (rendr just went 1.0 this year), having a body of work is something I can point to and say yeah, I can do this.

Lastly, I kind of want a new start. Not in the sense that I am starting over as a new persona, but rather a new home base from which I can operate out of. When I do something, I want to be able to share with people a place I can be proud of. To me, needs to be a thing, not just a dumping site for files and old hobbies.

My goal is to launch by the end of the month, so if you follow me, be sure to keep an eye out for the new site. I'm very excited about what I am doing, even if it's just on a small scale. I have other plans beyond as well, but getting the base established was a big necessity for me before trying to branch out from it.

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