Tuesday, August 26, 2008

An "Aha" Moment

Let me make this clear: I'm a writer, not a coder. Not a designer. Nevertheless, yesterday I eagerly pressed F12 to launch a simulation of the new StopBSL.com website, anticipating a few minor bugs, but nothing major.

The sidebars were too wide. The body, containing the text, was too narrow. I scratched my head.

So I launched the site in Firefox and Netscape. Now it looked great. I scratched my head again.

I combed through the Dreamweaver code. Misplaced tag? Wrong table width somewhere? But it looked fine.

I launched the site in Explorer again. The columns were still all wonky. I stared. (Explorer has a reputation for needing "special treatment" in page code, but since it's the most common browser, no site designer in their right mind would ignore problems that show up in Explorer.)

I fiddled in Dreamweaver, scooting tables and boxes around, inserting spacers. Relaunch. This time, if anything, the columns were even more messed up. I started to curse.

Figuring I had a corrupt chunk of code somewhere screwing the whole thing up, I rebuilt the template from scratch. An hour later, I relaunched.

Now the text was smashed into such a narrow space that it was virtually unreadable, while the rest of the page was a sea of white. I threw a book against the wall before digging into the code yet again.

Four hours later, I had dug myself into a pit so deep that I was in a very dark place indeed. The site design was a wreck.

"Why the hell can't this be as easy as my blogs?" I shrieked.

And that's when I had an "aha" moment.

Blogs: easy to write, easy to update, easy to expand, and no design skills required.

I spent today populating the new blog-site with the text from the ruined site. Want a sneak peek? http://stopbsl.wordpress.com/

No, no, don't change your bookmarks and links. When I'm ready, I'll just redirect the StopBSL.com servers to point to the WordPress site. So when you visit http://www.stopbsl.com/, you'll see the blog-site at that address.

Heck yeah I'm a genius.



jamesviscosi said...

Yeah, Internet Explorer is truly a piece of junk when it comes to rendering pages according to the standards. One can only hope that Firefox continues to chip away at its market share until it's no longer necessary to coddle Microsoft's crippleware browser. But, in the meantime, I design my sites so they render properly in FF, then add custom stylesheets to fix whatever's wrong when they're viewed with IE. (IE 7 is an improvement over IE 6, but there's still a long way to go.)

I think you made the right call switching over to a content management system for your stop BSL site!

happypitbull said...

Thanks, James. I'll tell ya, as soon as I went to the CMS, the stress relief was instant and palpable. Not only that, but simply buying and pointing a domain is so much cheaper than paying for an entire hosting package somewhere (though I still have to do that due to my other sites). Why didn't I think of it earlier?

Anna Cluxton said...

Excellent idea - No Kill Nation did the same thing. It looks great!!