Scott Boms

A Clean Sweep

For quite some time I’ve wanted to do something with the notebook since it’s felt like I’ve been seriously neglecting it. For one reason or another that isn’t far from the truth. I haven’t been posting much throughout the last year for various reasons and much of the content was quickly becoming outdated and irrelevant, even to me. So it was time for a clean sweep and a fresh start.

I had a few goals in mind before I started to do anything though.

  1. Get rid of most (or all) of the cruft. This quickly became about focusing more on the actual content than all the other stuff like what I’m listening to, the links feed, etc. The Flickr photos stayed because I think it’s the only way my family knows how to find them ;-) Hi mom! I have to credit Garrett Dimon for being the inspiration for de-cluttering.
  2. Upgrade the notebook to run Movable Type 4.
  3. Finally, finally, finally do away with the popup window comment crap which was a throwback to Movable Type 2.x which was what powered things back when I first started blogging.
  4. Start to get back to my typographic roots which had fallen by the wayside. This manifested itself in sticking to a suitable vertical rhythm for the content and having a bit more fun using type within the entries. The perhaps slightly unusual entry titles being one such example. I also looked at specifying some of those lovely new Office for Windows/Vista fonts throughout as the primary font-family selections but unfortunately discovered that the sans-serif fonts have a really small x-height in comparison to some of the more traditional choices (Lucida Grande, Verdana, etc). But if you do happen to have those fonts installed, you should at least see Constantia being used for the entry titles. This is definitely something I’ll be tinkering more with in the future.
  5. Integrate more Microformats. The notebook is built around hCard, rel-tag and hAtom to name a few.
  6. Be unobtrusive. Aside from a couple bits of Javascript coming from Movable Type itself, any Javascript code used throughout is completely unobtrusive and should degrade properly if Javascript is turned off. For example, turn off JS and click on the “Elsewhere” link in the left sidebar.
  7. Do not break existing feed subscriptions but also reduce the number of feeds being produced. This means being more opinionated and picking one. RSS won in case you were wondering.
  8. Allow room to do things with the notebook “just because”. A perfect example of this might be using the new Sound method to add a click sound to the “Elsewhere” overlay window. Totally unnecessary, but was fun to do as an experiment.
  9. Somehow integrate Twitter into the entries. I was able to do this by hacking one of the Twitter plugins for Movable Type so that it would do what I wanted instead of the default behaviour. The plugin which I renamed TwitterSync will now create a new entry with the tweet content but also update my status on Twitter with that same content. I haven’t decided entirely what I’ll use this for yet, but I’m sure that will get sorted out shortly.

I was definitely not shooting for a revolutionary take on weblog design by any stretch with the layout itself. Instead, I wanted simplicity in keeping with my overall dump the cruft and try to focus on the content plan. In some respects, this design is intended as a placeholder for a larger update that’ll be coming for the site sometime in 2008. Nearly three years on the same design is more than long enough.

One thing I know for sure about the notebook redesign - permalinks to entries from the old site are busted and will probably remain so. I just can’t be bothered to write all those htaccess rules right now and hopefully the improved, clean urls will be enough of any apology for breaking them.

If you happen to be exploring and find something that doesn’t work or seems buggy, please leave a note in the comments or contact me directly so I can look into it. Unless something creeped in at the last minute, everything should be hunky dory in Safari, Firefox and IE 6 and 7.

So say you…

Wow, this looks fantastic

Dave Dave December 8, 2007

Score one for removing the cruft. I really like the color palette here and the fact that it’s vibrant without being overwhelming. Nice work!

Garrett Dimon Garrett Dimon December 9, 2007

Gorgeous. Simply gorgeous. The implementation of the “Elsewhere” section is brilliant. Man, now I really feel the need to get off my ass and finish my site.

splorp splorp December 9, 2007

Great job. That was quite an undertaking and list you made. The new graphic in the top left is tiiiight! December 9, 2007

@All - thanks!

@Grant - Yeah, get on that will ya? My daily browsing need even more quality splorp action. December 10, 2007

So. Damned. Hot.

Congratulations, Scott. It’s lovely.

Ethan Ethan December 10, 2007

Looks great man! Fun stuff. December 10, 2007

This looks great. Loving the texture and color combinations.

Jason Beaird Jason Beaird December 10, 2007

Now that redesign is spot on. Both, clean and vibrant and with much love for the details. I really like it. Probably itâ??s a 2008 design at the end of 2007. December 15, 2007