Thousand steps journey, begun (again?)
Saturday, January 19th, 2002
Welcome back to an ancient, battered website, long-neglected, oft-patched, a collection of web-published stuff that dates back to the very dawn of the web (way, way back to 1995!), and is, thanks to some compulsive web-noodling over the weekend, slowly converting over to what folks who do this for a living say is the only true zen cool way to structure a website. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, even though you behold a very basic looking page, beneath the hood it is a sleek, table-free CSS layout extravaganza, loved and endorsed by validation engines everywhere.
It is, in actual fact, simply a cleaner, faster-loading form of web design that keeps all the content in one document (the index.html page you’re reading now) while stashing all the cool design stuff–no, I mean all of it–in a Cascading Style Sheet document. Ah, the web ideal, the “semantic web,” they call it.
So all I have to do, having noodled the stylesheet to within an inch of its life, is to sit down and convert the huge pile of old pages to this new format–and then (ah, the payoff), in theory, never have to convert them again, making design changes as simple as messing with one document.
But of course, once you get started, you have to do the job the whole way, and I haven’t yet. For example, the content on more than half of these links on the left needs to be updated, big-time, and when exactly am I going to get around to that? And after that, well, what about jcbd.com? And what about…oh, jeez. What have my compulsions wrought?
Well, for me, it is something new to understand. Perhaps something worth staying up until three am for…perhaps not. And given my current work-schedule, I suppose…well, no, I think sleep is important. It’s just that there’s that magical moment when you hit save and it shows up out there, for all the world to see and..well, yes, it is three am.
Maybe time to finish things up and add to this page tomorrow, just like one of those newfangled blogs the kids are talking about.
Okay, it is tomorrow–or later today, and it’s lunchtime, and instead of getting in there to enjoy some perfectly fine leftover Savage Pizza, I’m adding a thought or two.
Some credit where it’s due–I was inspired to get going on revamping the internals of this site by looking at Dave Shea’s CSS Zen Garden, which shows dramatically what can be done when you have all the pretty stuff controlled by a CSS (a Cascading Style Sheet.) Switch out the CSS, and zowie wowie, the appearance of the page looks completely absolutely different–while the content stays steadfastly and resolutely the same. I was also impressed with the cleanth (that’s an old TBS jargon-piece meaning “cleanliness”) of whatdoiknow.org, the journal of mac-based web designer Todd Dominey, who apparently does his work about ten blocks from here. Small planetoid, eh?