March 25, 2007

More ACT 1 website discussion

(Very quickly, my blog is becoming me just talking about my other websites. I promise, other stuff is happening to, but this is just the most interesting [unless everyone wants to hear about my clothes shopping spree today... yeah, didn't think so].)

Last time, someone (Cha0s) mentioned that, regardless of the problems the overhauled ACT 1 site has in IE/Mac, I should ignore it. I completely agree, but it's as close as I can (easily and consistently) get to IE/Win, which is still the dominant browser. If it breaks in IE/Mac, it could easily break in IE/Win...

Of course, the counter-point to that argument is the Skating website; IE/Win can't see the ice and the skater scrolls, but the CSS behaves properly in IE/Mac (ironically enough, because IE/Mac doesn't understand the IE-specific tag used to give that browser an alternate style sheet).

Oh Internet Explorer, you're so wacky...

So, for the ACT 1 site, I'm still holding up a bit with the full switch-over, but there's still plenty to do. For example, I'm switching the cast and crew tables on show pages (such as Arms and the Man) from a manually styled "zebra stripe" effect on the rows to a dynamically generated one; I've used this trick on the Unrestricted Awards table. This will make maintenance a lot easier for me, and will shrink the markup even more.

What is a problem, however, is that this is holding me up on implementing other things on the site, as I don't want to re-write templates. For example, I've been wanting to use phplist for a while for them; right now, they have a single person manually sending out emails to an aging mailing list from her personal Yahoo! account. A sub-par situation for everyone involved, and with the web-based system, people would be able to automatically sign themselves up for lists, as well as opt-out of things they don't care about.

I've actually got the stuff installed, I just need to finalize a lot of the stuff, such as customizing settings and, most importantly, altering the look of the site to match the rest of the ACT 1 website (I also have to update to the latest version, but that's not a big deal). Ideally, I'd do this after the CSS overhaul.

So... yeah, that's that. :)

Posted by Eric at March 25, 2007 06:43 PM

IE sucks, yeah. But you know, I actually find myself more at peace with the world of windows browsing since IE7 came out. It's crap to actually use, sure, but support for transparent .pngs and :hover on arbitrary elements were my two biggest wishes for the browser that developers hate that people use. Sure, there still things missing, but really those two fixes make a huge difference. And since windows update or whatever it's called shoves IE7 down everyone's throat, I feel quite comfortable using

<!--[if lte IE 6]>
<style type="text/css" media="screen">@import "everything_cool_removed.css"</style>

and letting the folks still on IE6 get by with less design and functionality. Of course, that's just on my personal sites; for paying work I curse the fact that installing IE7 on our one windows machine meant that IE6 was necessarily uninstalled. Why must that be, Microsoft?

I never even bother checking IE/Mac. Do they still make that thing?

Posted by: Danny at March 25, 2007 07:46 PM

No, IE/Mac has long since been discontinued; the Microsoft page actually recommends people use Safari.

Personally, I *like* the fact that newer version of IE uninstall the old ones, if only for the fact that it gets those versions off the 'net; for the Skating website, the header is completely gone in IE 5.5, but there in 5 and 6 (go figure).

That is good, though, that IE finally has :hover and .png support; does it still have a broken box model, though? What about fixed positioning? Right now, my "anti-IE CSS" tag is a blanket IE cover, but if IE7 users can actually see my oh-so-nifty effects, I might pare it down to IE5-6 (the comment trick doesn't work in IE4, but it's a ten year old browser, so who the hell cares?).

Posted by: EVula at March 26, 2007 12:23 AM

It's good to hear about all the work you're doing on all these sites. Now, this begs the question, when is gonna get some work? :)

P.S. I anticipated your argument about testing with IE/Mac, and I came up with the same counter-point, so I didn't bother mentioning it, assuming you'd come to the same conclusion, which you did.

Posted by: Cha0s at March 26, 2007 01:16 AM

Oh, trust me, I'm well aware that has been left to the wayside; the thing is that these websites are getting worked on through *work*, meaning that I'm being paid for it (well, the ACT 1 website is pro bono, but *I* at least am still getting paid for it). Since doesn't pay (well, it technically does through the ad revenue, but that is... well, not much), it gets put on the back burner.

Plus, one of the problems with is that it is just too damn big. Very unwieldy, and updating it is a pain as a result. I've been kicking some ideas around in my head, but nothing has come to fruition... yet. One of my cryptic grin projects (a whole new Empire website! woo!) would let me offload some of the content onto that, and I'm probably going to retire a lot of the stuff that's there (such as the incredibly neglected game pages, like Diablo 2 and StarCraft).

I'm also considering running all of the content through some sort of content management system, like Drupal. That would allow for *much* faster additions of Rants, Reviews, and whatnot.

Once I cut some of the fat off the website, I can be a bit more focused in my edits. For example, one of the things I've wanted to do for a while is to have alternate themes for people to choose from. To do that with the sheer amount of content I've got right now is a mind-boggling amount of work. One of the alternate themes I'd like to make is the old layout (still in use for the Joke Archive). I figured out how I can (fairly) easily do it in just CSS (though it'd require a few empty divs, but I'm fine with that; I can just turn them off easily enough for the other themes).

Also, I have to say that all this discussion on my blog is definitely making me think about putting the Forums back up (though I'll probably start from scratch).

And, something else that needs to be done... the store. I still love the store, but holy shit, there's so much stuff that I added for the sheer humor of it. Now that's biting me on the ass, because it is such a pain to manage. I think I'll cut down on most of the funny stuff (like the dog shirt and apron) and just leave the basics (shirts, mousepads... and yes, I'm keeping the thongs). Plus, CafePress now has dark t-shirts, which I need to produce the imagery for (I've already created dark-friendly versions of the Noir and Name Tag images)., my comments are longer than some of my blog entries. :)

Posted by: EVula at March 26, 2007 11:35 AM

Sounds like fun. I miss the forums a bit. They were a lot of fun. I remember when you used to host my PoG plugin beta testing forum on there. Good times... If you do put them back up, I'd go with SMF or the latest PHPBB. It's good to have you back (now I have a way procrastinate when I'm supposed to be programming :P ).

Posted by: Cha0s at March 26, 2007 10:54 PM

Yeah, SMF looks promising. I think I'll play around with that some.

Posted by: EVula at March 27, 2007 12:06 AM

This is totally off-topic, but are the forums ever going to be re-opened? I do remember once checking in randomly and finding that the forums had been re-opened, and then they died again. Just curious.

Posted by: Special_Rabbit at March 28, 2007 10:15 PM

Yeah, they came back briefly, then got attacked and were taken down again.

I've got the SMF link in Safari's boomark bar; if I wasn't tired and it wasn't late, I'd be playing around with the software right now.

Posted by: EVula at March 28, 2007 11:54 PM