Topic “Site Work”

A Place for Reviews

To Do Checked ItemBack in May when I proclaimed, Digital Doodles - Now Powered by Drupal 6, I said:

If you're visiting here directly and not reading this in your RSS reader, you may have noticed there isn't much difference between the front page and the Doodle Pad page. I have more plans for the front page, that's all I'm saying right now.

I didn't want to give details for fear of jinxing the results, but now it's done! At long, long last I finally have my "Reviews" section in place, complete with its own block on the front page. Over the years Digital Doodles has suffered a number of abortive attempts at a review section. It feels really good to finally have it completed.

Speaking of reviews, the section is looking pretty empty. Time to start working on content!

Graphic by Navdeep Raj (dezinerfolio.com)

Digital Doodles - Now Powered by Drupal 6

Construction worker with jackhammerDigital Doodles, formally running Drupal 5, is now powered by Drupally 6 goodness. It must be goodness, because 6 is more than 5! Um, yah. Doing software upgrades is one of the more tedious tasks associated with running a content management system, particularly when there's no obvious improvement as reward for your troubles. The work would only warrant a footnote, except . . .

Since there were a lot of "under the hood" changes between Drupal 5 and Drupal 6 and I had to tinker anyways, I went on to make some site changes I've been wanting to do. Nothing earth shattering, but improvements, I think.

For the somewhat curious, here's what I've been up to:

  • Layout has changed. Content on the the left and all sidebars on the right. I'm trying out a fixed width layout. Haven't decided if I like it better.
  • Navigation links have moved into the header and are a bit prettier.
  • Site breadcrumbs were borked and I think they may have hurt more than helped. They're rock solid, now.
  • Doodle Pad blog archive page was functional, but not especially usable. There's a whole new blog archive system, now. Although I built exactly what I envisioned, it's not the usability improvement I'd hoped for. More work required there later, right now I'll settle for improved.
  • About page was re-added.

Continue reading Digital Doodles - Now Powered by Drupal 6

Farewell Digital Doodles - Mark 2

Old Site GraphicFor a very long time a portion of this site's content still existed on Digital Doodles - Mark 2.

Mark 2?

Digital Doodles - Mark 1 was a static website started sometime before May 2001. I maintained it by hand and later with Dreamweaver.

The Digital Doodles - Mark 2 era began in July 2004 when the site graduated to scripted goodness in July 2004: Farewell Tedious Toil, Hello Automation!. Mark 2 lasted two years.

In July 2006 I started using Drupal and Digital Doodles - Mark 3 was born: 2 Steps Forward, 1 Step Back. Sadly, some content remained behind in the old site until today. It's only been 2 1/2 years!

It's been quite nostalgic reviewing the old content. Although I'd been playing with the site before 2001, my first blog post was May 2001. It took a while for me to warm up to this "web log" thing. And my posting inconsistency goes back to the beginning, too. Which is a kind of consistency. Thankfully there's RSS to bring some relief to my poor followers.

Digital Doodles has been a valuable learning tool but I've been lack luster at content. This is, in large part, because my vision of what Digital Doodles should be has changed over time. Lately my vision of what Digital Doodles should be has come into focus. Not sure why now, and it doesn't really matter. The integration of all the old "Mark 2" content and retiring of the "Old Site" graphic signals the start of implementing this new vision. Just hope I don't run out of steam before I'm done!

More Tinkering

Eyes in the DarkAfter the Drupal 5 upgrade I couldn't help myself and continued working. There's a list of things I've wanted to do and upgrade reminded me of how long they've been sitting. Avoiding the technical details, since that's fodder for Group42, here they are:

  • There was no appreciable difference between my blog and the Doodle Pad, and having both was giving me a headache. They've been rolled back into one, like the pre-Drupal site.
  • Simplified the navigation
  • Comments are now enabled
  • Tags are now enabled
  • New sidebar block showing recent content on Group42
  • Contact form instead of email address (damn spammers)
  • Some other internal stuff (Views module) to lay the groundwork for future changes

Nothing earth shattering, but it's a start on getting Digitial Doodles where I'd like it to be.

Drupal 5

This site is powered by software named Drupal, and yesterday Drupal 5.0 was released: Drupal 5.0 released. And on Drupal's 6th birthday, no less. This is cause for excitement in some the technical circles I run in. Not so much here. Still, today I updated Digital Doodles to Drupal 5.0. It was incredibly smooth and I'm quite pleased. Worth a mention.

Digital Doodles, now with RSS goodness

For those of you already fluent with RSS, just check the bottom of the right sidebar.

For those of you not fluent, RSS is a way of monitoring a website for new content without having to always come back to the website. Pretty handy when you have content providers who, like me, tend be sporatic. RSS readers as well as plug-ins for web browsers are available and RSS is starting to be included in email clients and web browsers. Definitely worth checking out if you follow a lot of different websites. If you're only following one or two or five, probably not so much.

2 Steps Forward, 1 Step Back

Welcome to my “new” old site! I know it looks the same and some *cough* all *cough* of the content isn’t here yet, but doesn’t it seem like an improvement?!

After playing around with my own version of a Content Management System (CMS) it was time to stop soloing. Welcome to Digital Doodles in "Drupal-Vision", er implemented in Drupal. It's time to stop re-inventing the wheel so I have some time to use it.

Those familiar with the old site will immediately recognize that some content is missing. That's the one step back part. It's still around, and will eventually make its way here. Until then, it's available at http://www.digitaldoodles.com/oldindex.php.

Digital Doodles Has Moved!

Moving truckMan carrying file cabinetDigital Doodles has moved to a new host!

Happily, the move was easier than expected. Copy the data, update some variables, and c'est voila. There was bump (damn DNS caching) and a learning curve on the new host's management interface, but those only caused a small delay. Here's hoping the future is as smooth.

Guess it's time for some fresh content!

Unexpected Trouble

Skater fallen through iceThere's been some unexpected hosting problems the last little while. Some unannounced configuration changes have left some pages broken ... then there's the lost day.

I'm working to fix things, which might cause a few more bumps. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Farewell Tedious Toil, Hello Automation!

Things have been slow here in great part because maintaining static web pages is a drag. Oh, it's fun until someone loses an eye when there's only a few pages. After a certain point small changes mean updating too many pages and, oh gosh, web updates? ... I think it's time to do the laundry.

Time to lower the drag coefficient! I've been busy the last couple of months making some changes. You'll notice some small changes in the look, but the big ones are on the inside: Scripting!

Your web master is happy to report this site is now powered by PHP, MySQL and a few scripts written by yours truly.

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