New theme

Aractus 17, June, 2018

(updated 08/07/2018)

Welcome to the brand new theme for my blog. I spent the last two weeks creating it – completely from scratch, even the background images are unique (made from royalty-free images I found on the internet). The only thing that hasn’t changed just yet is the footer links – those have indeed been directly ported. I’m very proud of it and I hope you love it!

But why?

To remind you, this is what you probably remember my blog looking like:

Old blog theme - Wood is Good (cropped)

It can’t have escaped your attention that the old theme, Wood Is Good, is old, outdated, did not age well, and was coded in yesteryear’s HTML format. God only knows how awful it probably looked on mobile devices. The fly-by-night developer never updated it, their website no longer exists, and their domain name (zoarra.com) is now used to sell, or perhaps fence, jewellery. Not to mention the content area filled a mere 35% of the display width (672 pixels out of 1920). Not my fault, I didn’t design it. Also the image above is not how my blog actually looked, it actually looked like this:

Old blog theme - Wood is Good

Yeah that’s EMPTY. This new theme is my design. Good riddance to the excessive empty space! In fact the space is now under your control. You can now hide the sidebar entirely! Want to see? Okay it doesn’t really hide, it just moves below the page content, but the content will expand to fill the space, the text size will increase slightly, and most importantly of all it’s your choice. Want the sidebar on the right? Doesn’t look right to me, but if it does to you – go ahead! Best of all I have a small javascript function set some local storage to store the position you choose of the sidebar keeping in-place for the duration of your visit here. Of course you can block Javascript and the site will still display fine and you can still move the sidebar, and the site won’t nag you at all to enable it – the option is yours. It’s your device, do as you please! But please always have uBlock Origin installed and active!

You will also notice I made an all new privacy policy.

Where did the ship go?

ship

You will have noticed I changed the site logo. Early on I realised the ship would look like shit downsized any smaller, so I found an alternate graphic by the great Steve Purcell to use (hopefully he doesn’t mind). The frame is a real wood picture frame scaled down.

You may remember I began work on a new theme in 2016, and abandoned it. I did make some significant tweaks to Wood is Good in 2016, including adding the TLS (/SSL) links. It’s really no longer appropriate to advertise TLS in the header as now most of the internet has caught up. The brick background is complete, but I don’t really have any use for it now. Also, even as JPEG the size is 181kb – that’s huge for a theme file. All the theme images used are heavily optimised. In total the theme images:

Skeleton Slate 4 Boards Search Calendar hand hand

theme images network

Add up to 99.5kb transferred. That includes the network overhead. You may not realise just how optimised that really is – to put it in comparison, the Wood is Good header image (permalink) alone is 375kb! And it looks like shit in comparison to my new header image. That space is better utilised serving you a couple of really terrific fonts – and even those are only a few dozen kilobytes. The hand cursors aren’t new, I made them a few months ago when I updated the 404 and 403 error pages.

The new theme is responsive. Really responsive! The entire site is optimised to load and render within 2-5 seconds from a hard refresh – easily more than 3x the speed of most of the internet.

The theme isn’t yet fully configured for UHD displays, I’ll be making some further changes soon to hopefully accommodate UHD. Right now there are bugs to fix and many, many old blog posts to edit to optimise the site display. Until then, enjoy and if you notice any problems then please email me! :)

Updates

I have now added a “classic” plain theme option. This isn’t just an afterthought I had the idea early on – but I knew it would be difficult to implement so I didn’t work on it until the main design was complete. I was going to convert all the links to blue and purple for visited – but I changed my mind when I saw how nice the dark brown text looks against a white background. I have also updated the Javascript functions to save the state, if selected, using local browser storage. I should also note my blog is compatible with the built-in “reader view” feature in Firefox as well. However you’re viewing, enjoy!

At this stage the print style is still incomplete, but will be done/completed soon.

08/07/2018- I’ve rebuilt the site’s favicon from the ground-up:

New favicon: 2018 favicon size 16x16 2018 favicon size 24x24 2018 favicon size 32x32 Old favicon: old favicon 16x16 GIF / old favicon ICO 32x32 scaled to 16x16 old favicon ICO 32x32

I haven’t yet added any sizes larger than 32×32, but that can always be done. The favicon if you don’t know is basically the Mac icon for Monkey Island. The new icon is one file with the three sizes you see above, and the size of the monkey’s head has been expanded to fill the space. The old favicon there was a .gif and a .ico at the two different sizes.

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