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Blog Design

Well, not really a blog. More the redesign/relaunch of my site. Hopefully it's human-readable even though it is in my abbreviated note-to-self style. This is where I lay down exactly what I want to see. From here I either start the underlying setup, or work out the layout and style sheets. Either way, the conceptual work is done and is noted here as a milestone and a reference for when I get off track. Thoughts and ideas for improvements will be entertained.

Basic layout
Top bar: graphic? Dunno. Something like. Leads into rightmost menu bar. Width of, say, 20% fixed right. Boxes around important shit. All of this is after the contents of the article, done with some CSS magic that I really need to learn. Random quote in box along bottom, or something. Something there, so it isn't bare. Open left side, borders connecting all the boxes. Thin lines, demarcation of space.

Fiction
Fiction will still go on the Livejournal, for comments and criticism. A rewrite and retool after a week or so will see it on the main site. Be nitpicky, point out typos and overused words and phrases that just don't scan when it comes up here, because the stories go here from my brain. This is the cleaning house before they go on the main site.

Article
Any main content on the site. Also, the subset of main content that is pure content, the end-writing that people want to read. Properly, the former stuff is just named content, but I may slip and so I have this aide-memoir. I shall try not to.

Types of content
Front pagehttp://www.digitalraven.org (not yet active, sitename may change, http://digitalraven.org will be redirected to the real www. site) List of last 10 posted content in all categories, by date and time. First menu to the right is a list of the four categories (politics, science, fiction, roleplaying, Main for frontpage, file-skinner), with counts of how many total articles are in each. Second menu contains links to offsite places, including Livejournal, research blog (working title: zero-point information), outboard short term memory, third is glyphlinks (firefox, RSS, Atom, Creative Commons, Wordpress), links of interest/blogroll. The list recent content should contain metadata (subject, category-as-link, #reads if possible, rating if possible), then the first paragraph or so of text with a Read More link directing users to the permalink.
Category view – List of last 10 posted content in this given category. Right-hand menu is much the same, but indicates what category one is in (as opposed to general). Under and indented to the category one is in, have a “Subcategories” link. Accessible by http://categoryname.digitalraven.org that redirects straight to the category mainpage. Content is much the same as the index, though with a different header (and it shows the subcategory-as-link as opposed to the main category). Still only the first paragraph and permalink Read More. Header should change to indicate the category.
Subcategories – List of every subcategory within a category. Each then contains Category View details of an article.Shift the marker in the right menu to indicate location, always keep a trail of crumbs.
Permalink – The only place for reading full text of articles. Includes metadata header (category and subcategory both are links). Also include link to download as ASCII text and dynamically generated screen/print PDF zipbundle (if possible), then full body text of article. Everything. Standard HTML markup, inline images, the works. Right-menu should have category highlighted still. Url should be http://www.digitalraven.com/categoryname/article_subject_type_thing/
File-skinner – Select category then list all articles in listbox. Radiobutton: Individual .txt, compilation txt, individual PDF, combination PDF, individual PDB, compilation PDB. Text and pdf compilations are dynamically generated from article content, with human-readable boilerplate, content, legalspeak, RDF legalspeak. PDF contains two: one A4 (as it scales to Letter easily enough), black and white, serif font. Printable. The other 3x2 optimised for 800 by 600 or so with sans-serif fonts, optional colour and suitable for screanreading. Multiple individual are all put into single files and slammed into a zip file. PDB is all pregenerated, individual/compilation PDBs are just dynamically-made zips of handmade PDBs (unless I can get a perl or PHP e-book writer).

Problems
File skinner will take a lot of work, especially if the content is stored in MySQL databases. Text files will be easier.... Wordpress isn't set out for this structure, being a traditional date-oriented blog. Mainpage and categories will likely be possible, but nothing is certain. Have to work out how to do a lot of this, but at least now I know precisely what I want.

Comments

( 5 informants — We want information! )
(Deleted comment)
digitalraven
Nov. 19th, 2004 01:07 pm (UTC)
I've got a basic layout in mind, but I suck at describing it. I'd much prefer to just do the code and say to someone else "Here's what we have. Please make this look pretty." But it's been ages since I've tangled with web design, so I really should give it a go agan and do the whole thing myself.
chrisondra
Nov. 19th, 2004 02:06 am (UTC)
It honestly looks great to me. I'll have to see it up and in action before I can truly critique it fully, but isn't it nice how random quotes can fill blank space? ::grins::

As for your problem, I would say basically wait and see how much time you can truly put to it. Or perhaps put text files up first while you work on the file skinner.
digitalraven
Nov. 19th, 2004 01:22 pm (UTC)
Had a big spec typed up, but being at work the connection timed out and I lost it all. No time to retype it. Needless to say, the design and making it work is going to be the really hard part. The file-skinner isn't going to be that hard, though getting it to zip things up on the fly might be if the server doesn't have a zip implementation. The real bugger is going to be integrating it.
digitalraven
Nov. 19th, 2004 11:43 pm (UTC)
File Skinner
In theory, this is easy. Not as easy as I'd like, but not conceptually hard. It'd be better if I were storing the articles as text files, but getting them from an SQL database would not be too much harder. So, we assume that I can get the article text. Logically, it's made up of valid XHTML, so the markup (if any) is good. That's all I ask.

Text
Easy. Switch <em> tags to /, upshift all <strong> tags. Generic header: contains $title, easy-readable version of CC license, URI to why I'm using that license, and URI for more. Static apart from the $title. Footer contains full legaltext of license and machine-readable RDF. The story itself is sandwiched between the header and footer. Multiple stories just mean that it goes {header, story 1, story 2,...,story n, footer}. Generate that on the fly, optionally zip it up, and serve it.

PDF
Harder. I don't know the PDF spec offhand. Effectively, it'd be the same idea as the text (until I find a better way), but the header would include the "header" PDF information, the story-text would contain real bolding and italicising and formatting. There's going to be two of them. One for screen, one for print. Print would be formatted to A4 (US Letter size is an aberration that doesn't obey the Golden fucking Ratio and you can re-size something for a change), 12-point Garamond. Screen would be 640x480 default, 10-point Verdana. Nicely zoomable, easy to read on screen. Zip them together and serve.

PDB/e-book
Same fucking thing. Only difference is that I know how to make PDB books on the fly (read: I have the format spec and know perl), though adding bookmarks and the like is not something I've had to do before. No real point zipping these, make and serve on the fly.

Filenames are the hard part. Thinking of going with a simple-ish pattern. Filename is title of first story. If there's more than one story, add "and n more", then "screen" or "print" for PDFs, then the extension. Quick web form allowing people to select articles to put into the file (only collections from one category at present), and there we go.
aerdran
Nov. 19th, 2004 05:24 pm (UTC)
>>Be nitpicky, point out typos and overused words and phrases that just don't scan when it comes up here, because the stories go here from my brain.<<

Nitpicky about such things is easy for me. I've been known to be anal like that, so I'll let you know!
( 5 informants — We want information! )

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