The New News Goat

Thursday, March 10, 2005

I think I’m done with the major changes to this site. I may still tweak things here and there — I had some icon ideas I might still do — and there are some problems in IE that I should fix. But, from a feature standpoint, things are done.

This design is completely different from the one I had been planning to do for over a year. I just couldn’t get my original idea to work, so I put it away for a while. Then, I happened to be browsing iStockPhoto when I came across a collection of scans of old papers. The textures were just great, so I bought one and started playing with it. The header image was done with a wood-burning technique.

It was after I created the header that I came up with the book idea. I realized I could put a mirror image of the paper next to itself and get the illusion of an open book. With the book not centered, you get the feeling of a liquid layout, even though it’s not really — the sidebar can vary in width, but it doesn’t really need much width, so it works at a lot of different window sizes.

One of the goals of the new design was to add some new features I’d seen on other sites, and to integrate some of the online tools that I use. For example, the “Margin Notes” are powered by, the social bookmarking system. I’m really enjoying — it’s rediculously easy to use. I’m finding more and more that tags/labels/keywords are a much better way to organize things than a structured hierarchy.

To put my links on this site, I wrote a script that uses this PHP class, which wraps calls to the API in an easy-to-use class. My script pulls my 10 most recent links that I have tagged with “” and writes them to a text file. I specify that tag just in case I create a link that’s not worth posting here. I have a cron job that runs that script every two hours.

I’ve also been playing with Flickr and 43Things, so you will probably see posts generated from those sites from time to time.

And, yes, I’ve switched this blog from Movable Type to WordPress. Just so we’re clear, I’m not abandoning MT — I still use it for OKMensa, and I’m working on integrating it into Smart Goat. I’d heard good things about WordPress, so I wanted to give it a try. I like trying out new systems and being able to work in multiple platforms. So far it’s been… interesting. I’ll have a full review up soon.