I've mentioned that I'm in the process of doing a somewhat lengthy "blog redesign" project of tychoish.com. The astute among you, who don't visit via RSS, will probably notice at least a little bit of a change recently, but I think there's more in mind. While I resist the temptation to write lists in my posts, I think I'm going to give in just this once. ;)

What I hope to accomplish in this redesign.

I want to have a home page that's more dynamic. I think the fact that the landing page looks the same as every other page on the site is a sore spot for me. I want to go for a site that has:

  • A list of recent essays
  • The most recent essay
  • Excerpts from a couple (2) other recent entries
  • Links to other Blogs
  • Several (3-5) recent coda posts.

In general, I think that the landing page should provide a good gateway to what's happening on the site, it should be dynamic and simple. It should load fast, and it should be more "clean." I'm also considering digging up some AJAX bits so that I can have a couple of design widths (so that I can avoid variable width designs) and also have a dynamic browser for, say the excerpts of recent posts, and the coda posts.

I also want tychoish to be less of a blog, and more of a host to different/additional kinds of activity. Like I'll probably host a wiki here for the research I'm working on with open source, and I think it would be fun to make some conceptual space on the site for something other than just another blog, and see what happens. Given the shape that my "career" is headed, I think this has some pretty interesting possibilities.

How I plan to accomplish this redesign.


The first order of business, is to start to play with the templates and design before I switch to some new system. I think trying to juggle a smooth transition with two balls in the air is just an invitation for me to screw things up royally.

The basic template for blog pages, will probably linger for a while longer than the front page, and that's fine. I'm kind of fond of the site. It's functional, it's simplistic and very "old school," which suits me just fine.

Steps towards implementation:

1. Write additional CSS classes to describe a new layout. Including rounded corners. (Grrr.) 2. Create JavaScript enhancements that make the site pop a bit, while also making the vast quantity of text more digestible. 3. Create template files for wordpress to facilitate the export to the new system. 4. Create staging area(s). For testing purposes. 5. Move to a host that gives more administrative rights. 6. Profit?

Why this is a good thing.

My hope is to make my blogging system/environment much more modular, so that I can add and modify it more easily. The CMS's I was using 5 years ago where much more along these lines, and while I didn't know what I was doing very much I did appreciate that level of control.

To say "I want a more modular and dynamic" website sounds a bit trite, but I think it's the most true. If the site's more modular, that is, if template organization and content display (which are the same thing with WordPress) are less connected, I think I'll be able to have all the benefits of "dynamically generated pages" without the overhead of the database system. And if that's the case, then my relationship to the content of the site isn't via a constrained text field in one system, which I think will be a good thing, indeed.

Or I hope, at least.