New Site, New Look

There's an interesting phenomenon where something good comes from motivation caused by enduring something that could be improved significantly. A while ago I became frustrated with the old Blogger site; every post became a pain to author due to the limitations of the interface. I resolved to create my own site where it was much easier to create content with reusable markup patterns, though I knew that it would be a long time coming.

If there's one thing I've learned in my previous role at StarNow, it's that there is always something to add, complete or fix. There may be projects on-the-go that concentrate on a particular set of functionality, while others get jostled around in the pipeline according to priority. If I held off until everything was complete, this site would never have been released.

In short, Perfect is the enemy of Done. One has to make a stand and, at some point, "Ship it!"

Enter, Umbraco. This is a content management system (CMS) for the .NET platform, which provides much of the functionality I was looking for. Perhaps the hardest thing about adopting Umbraco is mapping my mental model of what I want to achieve to their terminology and API patterns. Markup patterns (i.e. fragment templates) are encapsulated in what Umbraco calls "Macros", for example. The beauty is that as of version 7, Umbraco templates use Razor syntax by default - so no config changes nor template rewriting is necessary from the out-of-the-box state.

The other major change is styling. Since my selection of one of Blogger's templates from their gallery in 2007, Responsive Web Design has become an essential feature of modern websites. The main point of such responsive behaviour is to provide a decent viewing experience on different form factors: desktop, tablet and smartphone. All from the one website, without developing any separate mobile version.

As a general guide, items are colour-coded according to category. The blue theme is for predominantly Tech-related content; yellow is for the Arts, green is for eConcerto and other miscellaneous/general content is in grey.

This is an evolving work in progress, so I'm expecting to make enhancements as I see the need. In the near future, I'm planning to start adding my music in its own gallery section.

Stay tuned.