Aaron Brethorst

Round peg in a square hole, rabid generalist.

A Long Overdue Overhaul

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About a week-and-a-half ago, I took it upon myself to redesign my website. I had grown bored with the faux-magazine cover style that permeated the site (and still permeates this blog). Furthermore, the reluctance of Menalto’s Gallery 2 product to provide a decent user experience was wearing heavily upon my soul. So, I decided to build a new gallery web application for myself, in addition to everything else.

Although it is not yet finished (as glorious visions of a million animated under construction gifs dance in my head), things have settled down to the point where I think it’s safe to say that it has reached the proverbial web beta stage. Clearly, this blog has not yet received the glowing embrace of the new design, but I daresay it will soon enough. In order to ensure that I don’t completely hork the look and feel of my UI design blog, I’ve subjected my terribly neglected personal blog to the new style, and things are still shaking out over there. Perhaps moving to K2 at the same time was not the best idea in the world, but I felt it was a worthwhile endeavor.

In any case, should you choose to navigate the wide world of Brethorsting, here’s what you’ll find:

    <li>A redesigned, highly spartan, 1024x768px-compatible home page with easy navigation and a big <a href="http://www.microsoft.com/design/People/Detail.aspx?key=donna">herkin'</a> picture of a randomly selected gallery.</li>
    <li>A new <a href="http://www.brethorsting.com/resume">Résumé</a>, which actually reflects what I've been up to for the past year-and-a-half.</li>
    <li>The <a href="http://www.brethorsting.com/blog/">redesigned personal blog</a>, which appears to be mildly broken in IE 7 at present.</li>
    <li>A <a href="http://www.brethorsting.com/gallery">brand-new gallery app</a>, which actually fits in to the look and feel of the rest of my site! Although usually I'm of the opinion that I'd rather pry my very teeth from their gums with an old pair of pliers than touch PHP, I've found that PHP 5 in conjunction with the Smarty template system and MySQLi makes things considerably less painful. Interacting with object-oriented PHP libraries is relatively easy. Trying to use the older procedural libraries still hurts terribly. The new gallery app is significantly lighter weight than what you'd find anywhere else, and only fits my needs. However, it is all nice and XHTML-compliant, renders well in IE 6 (astonishingly!), and even features drop-shadows and EXIF data.</li>
    

Many features are still forthcoming on the Gallery app, but this feels like a great first step to having a personal website that I actually feel proud of. Now only if I could rewrite the whole thing in Ruby…

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