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Something to think about... / blog
Baekdal.com Redesigned

Written by on May 23, 2006

Today is big day. It is redesign day. This particular redesign has been underway for more 6 months.

Every single part has been changed - front-end and back-end. A number of "inconveniences" has been removed, the CMS system is now much more flexible, and it runs on a new and much faster database. The code has been optimized considerably (mostly from a back-end perspective) and it got some new sections.

Layout

I wanted create a fluid site, without making it truly fluid... By that I wanted to remove the outer box that most fixed layout site use - I wanted the content to be "set free", to remove the boundaries. At the same time I did not want to make the content truly fluid, because I do not like reading very long lines of text.

The area used for content has been expanded vertically. This has the unfortunate effect that I can no longer support 800x600 screens. It is readable at sizes as low as 776px, but the layout needs 914px to display correctly.

This was not an easy decision, but after analyzing my site stats I found that fewer than 4% use screens below 1024x768. I still think that 4% is a lot of people, but I really wanted to be able add larger images and illustrations.

The front page has been completely redesigned with much better display of new content.

New Sections

The new layout features two new sections - reports and future concepts. The first report released is the "Change Management Handbook", 5 project management models for handling those kinds of projects. And the best part - it is completely free.

In the future I will be releasing other reports - some with a small price tag (between $5-25), others for free.

The future section is my personal playground for strange and crazy concepts. The first one was the Intelliau Robotic Cat and next week I will add another about intelligent roads.

Content flexibility

During the past 4 years I have been using 3 different CMS systems - all custom made. The last CMS system used XML/XLS parsing to display the content. It also used AJAX and other fancy technologies to handle the creation of content.

But, in the end all this technology got in the way of editorial freedom.

The new CMS system "Baekdal.CMS:3" is very "old-school" from technology perspective. XML parsing has been replaced with "regular expressions replace", which at first sounds very counterproductive but it is more than 300% faster.

There is no longer any trace of AJAX or any other kind of fancy scripting. The reason is simply that it had no real value - it got in the way. The new low-tech CMS system gives me much more flexibility and is faster than the old one.

It still supports custom tags. If I write

some text

it will convert to

some text

. Or what about which is converted into a SlideshowPro flash slideshow.

Comments!

A lot of people have requested that I added comments. Here they are!

The reason it has taken me so long was because of two things.

  1. I did not have the time to answer them
  2. I didn't want to deal with comment spam

But, my new comment module should be able to handle it (only time will tell).

Inconveniences fixed

There were a number of things wrong with the old site. It was not possible to select text in IE (making it hard to get quotes from articles). Some pages behaved strangely. RSS feeds kept acting up (mostly because of encoding issues).

All of these has been fixed (I hope :o))

Other things

The search section has been rewritten, and should now return more usable results. I have improved the "smart-search" function that helps you get to specific pieces of content.

...and I have added several "Easter eggs" just for the fun of it.

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Thomas Baekdal

Thomas Baekdal

Founder of Baekdal, author, writer, strategic consultant, and new media advocate.

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