In other news..

March 18, 2011 7:49:15 PM CDT

If you're one of the three or so people who've visited on a regular basis, you've probably noticed that the site is undergoing a redesign. Some links may be broken. Articles may change in appearance. This is a natural part of the website lifecycle, and is no cause for alarm.

My reason is the usual one: the problems in the old design finally got big enough that I couldn't ignore them any more.

I've been writing webpages since 1995, and you can't do that without picking up some philosophy along the way: I'm a big fan of high-content, low-bandwidth, low-latency websites. I like text. I think plain old HTML files kick the pants off dynamically generated, database-backed websites 99.9% of the time. I think the standard 'a href' link is far superior to every other navigational element grafted onto the web since (seriously.. Java buttons? Javascript payloads where you click text and it executes code that does exactly the same thing as a plain-vanilla link? For the love of sweet fuzzy ducklings, WHY?). I think that no matter how cool your inescapable Flash intro animation is, I'll be filled with psychotic rage if your link taxonomy forces me to watch it 20 times in a row. I don't think any page layout in the world is good enough to justify a three minute wait while the browser loads 197 images and 34 CSS files, none of which have any connection to the page's actual content.

So, while it was kind of fun to write teaser paragraphs that would encourage readers to click a link to the full article, it was only a matter of time before the voices in my head compellled me to bring complete articles to the main page. I also had to rethink my strategy for indexing previous articles.. or if you want to be pedantic about it, I had to come up with a strategy for indexing previous articles, since I was pretty much letting them stack up like compost.

Does that mean this will be the site's final form?

Silly monkey.. there's no such thing. Authors, composers, sculptors, painters, and movie directors will all tell you that there's no such thing as a work that's 'done'. You just get to a point where you have to stop fiddling with it and ship.

All I've done is swap the old problems for new one's I'm (currently) willing to ignore. When those finally get on my nerves, you can bet I'll rearrange the furniture again.

(In software, we call it 'iterative development')