New Duds For Its 10th Year

It begins now

Place Name Here has gotten a much needed facelift and a bit of reorganization. A bit grungy, it harkens back to the black and white color palette that has haunted the site for most of its nearly 10 years [domain registered in December of ’98]. As usual the design is fairly simple simple, and as always I have found some way to fit some obnoxiously big type. The refresh also marks an increased interest on my part to post more regularly and more substantial then the recent link here and photograph there.

So I’ve Been Quiet

Web2.0 Sucked The Blogging Out Of Me, and so did everything else.

Since its launch I’ve never seen Place Name Here as having a very specific focus. If its been any one thing its just been a warehouse for whatever digital thing I’ve been working on — technical experiments, sharing and debugging with colleagues, photographs, you name it. My most active writing spurts have been on the heals of learning new technologies or working through the process of teaching others about those technologies. Both cases times have left me with ideas running around my head or solutions that I felt I needed to make more concrete by publishing them online.

At other times, like much more recently, the site been quite dormant because I didn’t feel I had much to add to active conversations. I just found that some of the more prolific sites were [and still are] doing the basic flagging of important things for web professionals to read so well that it was silly for me to duplicate their efforts.

Why a blog resurrection now?

It seems like a good time for me to get back into the habit of writing on the various areas of my expertise. The great sites are still doing great things, and I still don’t have any desire to repeat what they’re posting just to make this site look active, but I have found myself itching to share as I work though some different things.

On the web development front the browser landscape is changing, the device landscape is changing, and how people are using sites and interacting with properties is at an increasingly interesting place after being stagnant for so long. I’ve also been spending a lot of time in working with photography tools and on photography forums and seeing the intersections of those tools with web technologies. It all makes for some interesting connections that I don’t see many people exploring and that I think deserve more attention and more standards advocacy. With some many of my web geek friends owning great cameras and experimenting with different workflows and photographers wanting to get their work online I think that the cross pollination between these topics might be interesting to explore and discuss.

So that’s where PNH will be heading for the next little while. More web development topics, more writing on digital photography tools. And to keep it unique, perhaps a bit of chatting about some of the local parks and hiking areas I’ve been escaping to.

New site features

Enough with the promises. I want to point out a few new features on the site that might not be obvious on first look [or to those of you reading this in a feed reader].

Flexible layout grid

I’m not a graphic designer by nature or by trade. When it comes to web layouts I think of myself more of an architect who might try and plan the use of the space in new and interesting ways and play more off of the environment. One of these environmental constraints that I think is so often ignored is how to leverage the range of shapes that a browser window might be sized. Although the new site is not ‘liquid’ in the typical sense I’ve built it with some flexibility to reform to a couple different base dimensions as space is available.

I’ll break down the layout flexibility in a future post, but to see some of the changes you can resize the width of your window to go from a one column style to two.

Flagging outdated content

This is a 10 year old web site and throughout that time I’ve tried not to delete anything. This leaves a lot of code samples, downloads and other information published that folks might find through google, old bookmarks, and however else, and while I didn’t want to take the content down, I did want to try and flag it so its clear that the content may no longer be up to date. You can see the warnings in action on this old page of JavaScript doodles.

Leave your mark

Some of you old timers might recall a day where each iteration of “Place Name Here” had some facility to do just that — submit your name to appear somewhere on the site in a creative take on the old guestbook scripts. It was an excuse for me to play with some early CSS techniques and do something unique. Well it is back as an [obvious] easter egg, and powered by AJAX, PHP and a database instead of the old perl scripts and flat files. So go ahead…

Find the form [hint: look up] and Place /Your/ Name Here.

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