Sunday, July 20, 2008

Just to warn you...

An indication of things to come...?

Blogger are once more planning a major upgrade to their service, details of which are on the Blogger in Draft blog. Some of these—such as the inbuilt Webmaster Tools, the post ratings and, most especially, the Blog Export and Backup Tools—look to be really quite useful and I am going to start playing around with them.

However—and here's the rub—many of these tools require you to be using the (relatively) new Blogger Layouts system that appeared in Blogger Version 2.0. Your humble Devil is still using a "Classic" template—that is to say, it is still pure CSS and XML driven and doesn't use Blogger's widgets and their nasty, incomprehensible (to me) code. That is why, for instance, you never see polls on The Kitchen.

This humble little template has served me well over the last... what?... year and a half or so, but now it is time to take the plunge and start the work that will (eventually) see The Kitchen moving to the new Blogger templating system.

It's a reasonable time to start doing so. Much as I like this template, I have been feeling for a while that it was time for a bit of an aesthetic change. And, despite the massive clear-out that occurred when I last shifted templates, things have started to become slightly cluttered again. For instance, the blogrolls (still using Blogrolling and not the Blogger widget, of course) haven't been trimmed since I started writing, over three and a half years ago, and are full of duplications, dead blogs and, quite simply, too many damn links to be of any use.

I haven't decided what the new blog will look like as yet, but as practice for my real life work, I shall be concentrating, to a degree, on web accessibility. That means that the structure is likely to be at least partially fluid (allowing resizing of the content, probably to a max-width of 980px) and with better contrast.

But with one proviso...

I shall be dropping anything but the most cursory support for Internet Explorer 6 (Apple's MobileMe service has entirely dropped support for that browser) which was always fairly shit and now, seven years after release, is pretty obsolete and, frankly, an utter pain in the arse to design for. My intention is that you will be able to read the posts in IE6, but little more.

IE7 will be basically supported (I am learning a lot on that front and now have facilities to test it) and—assuming (perhaps vainly) that it won't bugger things up too much—I shall also support the forthcoming IE8. It is, however, extremely unlikely that IE8 will support all of the design bells and whistles that I intend to add—the border-radius and box-shadow properties, for instance (and IE7 certainly doesn't)—but we shall have to see...

I shall, of course, support all of the standards-compliant browsers; however, the site will be optimised for Safari (and especially Webkit, whose CSS engine is by far the most advanced) and for the forthcoming Firefox 3.1 (currently in alpha, codenamed Minefield). Earlier versions of Safari and Firefox will be supported and the site will look fine, but you will get the best experience (in terms of design) with Webkit primarily and about 90% of it with Firefox 3.1 (according to what I know of the latter's capabilities at time of writing). I shall also be adding optimisation for mobile and handheld devices.

Given how unbelievably busy I am at work at the moment (I am pretty much fully stacked for at least the next two months), it is unlikely that these changes will happen for a while yet. However, I thought that I'd give my readers the opportunity to leave any ideas that they might have, or design features that they would like to see.

The little Devil who appears at the top of the page will, of course, remain as he is...

13 comments:

Elusive Pimpernel said...

IE6 - lingering like a bad fart.

Fuck it.

TheFatBigot said...

I went to the "blogger in draft" place. Is there any chance of it being published in English or do I have to learn computerspeak? I'm a very old man, not sure the ticker could stand the strain.

Anonymous said...

I agree - your aesthetics are rank.

Unsworth said...

No suggestions, but I'm surprised that eighteen months has gone by so quickly. Senility strikes....

Tom Bates said...

Not sure how it's happening but when I have both The Kitchen and Google RSS Reader open in FF3, your favicon hijacks GReader so I have your devilish features adorning my Toolbar.

Prentiz said...

I hate IE 6 as much as the next man, but like loads of other people I've got no choice if I'm browsing at work - I imagine the same is true for people browsing in many libraries or internet cafes etc... If you could avoid cutting us of altogether until someone gets round to letting us upgrade, it would be appreciated!

Devil's Kitchen said...

"I agree - your aesthetics are rank."

Thanks, Anon. Part of the problem with this template is that it was a progression; the gradient in the links, for instance, was done before the rest of the template and I never got around to doing something more suitable.

"... so I have your devilish features adorning my Toolbar."

Lucky old you!

"I hate IE 6 as much as the next man, but like loads of other people I've got no choice if I'm browsing at work..."

Yes, I know it's not your fault, but the fault of your lazy IT departments (IE7 is, after all, free. Although, yes, I know, some security systems rely on APIs that changed between IE6 and IE7). That is the only reason why I am making any effort at all!

Seriously, you will be able to read the posts -- and navigate in a basic way -- in IE6, but I am not going to worry about anything looking broken, columns dropping down, etc.

DK

vervet said...

Per your recommendation have downloaded Safari .... nice !

chris said...

I've been using browser shots for testing pages in various browsers... http://browsershots.org It's really quite nice.

FlipC said...

"pure CSS and XML driven" highly worthwhile were Blogger not delivering the page in text/html; gee why would that be?

Yeah wish I could tell IE6 to go fuck itself - half-an-hour coding to get something that looks great in every browser but IE6, followed by another half-hour hacking it up just to work in that little piece of shit.

Once its share drops to 10% (36% as of June according to w3counter) I will bid it good riddance.

wonkotsane said...

I don't have any choice but to use IE6 for my browsing at work. Happily it doesn't cause me any problems browsing this site as it's blocked on all three of the networks that I can use to access the internet! Strangely it's blocked as a dating site, rather than for profanity.

Johnny Norfolk said...

Well your site loads far quicker than many other so called up to date sites.I have no problem with it.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Johnny,

With almost all of the aesthetics run through code, my site will be one of the fastest on the 'net!

DK