Minor Design Changes

Sunday, 2005-09-18; 03:24:00

So I've been tweaking the design of this weblog a bit tonight to satisfy my perfectionist tendencies.

First of all, I noted in a previous entry that I was offering a cookie each for the solution to two problems. Those two cookie offerings are hereby rescinded. The first problem, relating to the navbar being pushed to the left in archive pages, is now moot. The iBlog template used tables, and I updated it to simply use CSS (since tables should NEVER be used for positioning), and now the problem is gone. Also, it seems the inconsistency in the server encoding has since gone away, and now all my feeds are reporting the same encoding warning.

However, I have a new cookie to offer: it's regarding the copyright line that appears at the bottom of each page. Currently, if the content of the weblog page extends past the bottom of the window, the copyright notice will only appear until you scroll down to the very bottom. However, if the content does NOT extend past the bottom of the window, the copyright notice will appear near the middle of the page, depending on where the navigation bar stops. I want to keep the former behavior, but in the latter situation, I want the copyright notice to display at the bottom of the window, not near the middle -- I also want to keep the footer divs uniform, meaning I want to use the same properties for the footer on all pages. Using positioning doesn't seem to work because it seems to break the former behavior when implementing the latter, and using the "min-height" property doesn't seem to work. Anyone?

Now, just to let you know about what exactly has changed...

First and foremost, there is now a search box at the top of the navigation bar on every page. I also mentioned previously that you can use Google to limit searches to specific sites, but you couldn't do it for subdirectories. It appears I was wrong about that, or the functionality in Google has changed. In any case, it works now, so you can put your terms in the search box, and the Google search will automatically be limited to this weblog.

(Weird anecdote: The search uses JavaScript, so if you have that turned off, the Google search won't work. I had to do a bit of fiddling in order to get pressing return in the box to initiate a search, also. It seems that when you press return, you're submitting the form -- which is not necessarily the case when you explicitly click the button -- and you can't open an arbitrary URL when submitting a form. So when you press return, JavaScript creates the query and inputs it into a hidden text field, and then the value of the hidden field and the visible text box are appended to the URL "http://www.google.com/search". I could make the button be a normal one and then use a bit of JavaScript to open a correctly-formed Google search URL, but that wouldn't really be helpful since the search ends up the same.)

Probably the other most significant difference is that there are now "permalinks" on the main page that link to the dedicated page for that entry. Before, you had to hunt around a bit to get a permalink. If you want to link to a specific entry in this weblog, link to the permalinks, so that you ensure you'll always display the blog entry you intended. If you just link to the main page, the content will change when I update, so your link will be worthless.

Other changes: when browsing archives, the "Quick Links" that were previously at the top of the navigation bar have been eliminated, and the main page and category page links have instead been put into the top banner, where appropriate. The "Next" and "Previous" links that were on the dedicated entry pages have now been clarified to read "Older" and "Newer". That's one of the most annoying things on some weblogs... it's totally unclear as to whether "Next" means to go to the next oldest or next newest entry. I've also eliminated some annoying spaces at the end of some of the links (well, they were annoying to ME).

In any case, I'm quite pleased with the overall new design after it being in use for about two and a half weeks. Heh, iBloggers.net has a list of iBlog Powered Weblogs. I looked at some of the links -- many are broken now, but of the non-broken ones, it seems most of them just changed the colors of the standard theme. I don't think it's obvious anymore that my weblog is powered by iBlog, which is a good thing. But it's a testament to iBlog that I was able to modify the appearance of my weblog so much.

In any case, these modifications will be coming over to my other weblog very soon, too, so you'll soon be able to search through all my rantings, personal OR technical. :)

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