Interaction : Development

Screenshots from development of the 2015 design of the 'Bred Crumbs blog

D-tails of a Relaunch

Trying to get this blog off the ground in the 2010s has been challenging. Most of that is simply finding the time to work on it. But motivation is elusive too, and repeatedly I’ve found that the design and organization of the blog don’t quite give me the juice I need to go forward, or the means to keep maintenance simple enough to let my time be used for thought and writing.

I’ve taken another crack at it, re-motivated by the opportunity to bring in techniques I’ve picked up in my professional life — particularly the notion of, for the first time in my personal blog-dom, using a development environment to really see what I was building instead of, as in the past, dismantling HTML prototypes into PHP chunks, moving them to the live server, and being prepared to make immediate fixes.

This post lays out how I went about it all and a lot of the tools and tips I used. As it happens, all the steps involved begin with “D.” Do with that what you will.

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Fixed and Fluid, Side by Side

I met an engineer last week who, like me, is among the CSS-geeky. Upon discovering this shared ground, he asked if I knew the answer to an age-old puzzler: how to, using just HTML and CSS, put a fixed-width column on one side of a page and have a fluid column fill the rest of the width. (In other words, a navigation or sidebar column that’s ___px wide, and a main-content column that is as wide as the rest of the space.)

This comes up often because, as much as we all may sincerely speak of separating presentation and content, CSS still has profound limits in what it enables. Putting fixed and fluid side by side is a big one.
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End of the Line for Links

I went to the desktop to look up something on Google last night (notice how I worded that in a way that no one does to respect a certain web giant’s trademark), and was surprised to not see something: lines beneath the links.

Link underlines have been gradually going extinct on the web for a while now. Google was a big holdout, a strong indicator that those lines were still found to be, by a company that doesn’t muck about with such things, too valuable a cue to throw away. (Though even it had put a toe in the lineless water, removing lines on all but the main entry links, and, for some reason, “Previous” and “Next” in the pagination.)

Apparently, no longer.

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