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New blog layout (now with more cows)

"OK, what's up with the cows?", you might ask. Actually no one ever has asked. So I'm not saying.

I'm experimenting a bit with a new blog layout. It's black text on white rather than my customary white text on black/grey. I drew the cow in the top right using Inkscape. (Inkscape is such a wonderful program. So easy to use. )

I put this layout together from scratch in exactly 4 hours (not counting cow-drawing time). Just goes to show how easy it is to make Wordpress themes I guess.

I've gone from a sort of three-column layout to a one-column layout. This is partly / largely because I post source code snippets, and I need the full width of the screen for those.

Source code should generally go into PRE tags to preserve whitespace. However that usually has the side effect of preventing text from line-wrapping. In many blogs with multi-column layouts, source code snippets overrun into the sidebar area, and either end up being hidden under the sidebar (thus unreadable), overflow over top of the sidebar (thus looking messy), or if you're lucky, the PRE element itself is side-scrollable like a mini frame (which is kind of annoying). In a one-column layout, I get to use the full width of the screen, which is much nicer in my opinion.

The other reason I like one-column is that the sidebar columns in a multi-column layout invariably have just a few links at the top, and then you have a 200-pixel wide column of blank space all the way down the page to the bottom. It's a bit of a waste. This layout on the other hand is still fairly readable even if I resize Firefox to 400 pixels wide.

Do users really USE most of the links webmasters put into their sidebars? If people want to look at my archives, they can probably go to an archives page. It seems almost absurd how much we try to cater to people's whims and impatience by loading up websites (and computer interfaces in general) with every single thing anyone might want to do on every single page. It ends up looking cluttered and most of those links are probably unused the vast majority of the time. I wish I know how many times anyone ever used the tag cloud I had displayed in my sidebar for so long.

If anyone has any suggestions about things that would make this layout easier to read or use, or if you loathe the new layout (or love it, I guess that's a slim possibility) feel free to leave me a scathing comment. I've tested it in Firefox 2 / 3, IE7, Opera and Konqueror. IE6 can die in a fire.

February 17, 2008 @ 8:13 PM PST
Cateogory: Programming

8 Comments

Patrick
Quoth Patrick on February 17, 2008 @ 8:37 PM PST

I loved your old layout. Especially the shininess and white on black (because I see black on white everywhere else, and I'm sick off it ;) ). But I agree that for source code quoting a broader layout is needed. I ran into the problem myself a couple of times with the (boring and black on white) layout I am using. So how about a redesign of the old layout into a one-column layout? Best of both :P

And hey, what's up with the cows?

tante
Quoth tante on February 17, 2008 @ 11:54 PM PST

I like the new layout, looks neat.

Oh and what's up with the cows? ;)

ph0enix
Quoth ph0enix on February 18, 2008 @ 1:11 AM PST

The "Sumit. Moo." button is awesome! I really like the new layout, refreshing and clean. All I am worried about now is reading your blog at night (when it's dark in the room). I might just be able to use my computer monitor as a study light with this!

Oh and I used your links cloud often when downloading icon themes and guiding people to it but that's a thing of the past now I guess.

Maybe this time you should try something very new like make everything depend on javascript and see how javascript disabled browsers behave on your website! It's a webmaster's nightmare but looks good on your resume.

Anonymous Cow
Quoth Anonymous Cow on February 18, 2008 @ 6:22 AM PST

I agree with Patrick above about the white on black being seen everywhere else, this site always used to be good change of pace. Maybe just because I'm semi-new to your blog, I liked the tag cloud on the side.

I think it would be best if you somehow redesigned your old layout into a single column to accommodate your source code.

Well, that's just my opinion. :)

P.S. Love the "Submit Moo" button.

wintermute
Quoth wintermute on February 18, 2008 @ 6:23 AM PST

IE7 can die in a fire too :P

New layout is amazing, but I can haz white text on black instead pl0x? :P

Brian
Quoth Brian on February 18, 2008 @ 8:16 AM PST

Anonymous: I put the tag cloud on the Archives page in this new layout.

wintermute: IE7 can indeed die in a fire. Many fires. But actually I find that most of my web design experiments work relatively well in IE7. Relative to IE6, which isn't saying much. IE7 is still totally broken in many ways (floats and positioning etc.) but it's nowhere near the total garbage heap that was IE6.

Dirk Gently
Quoth Dirk Gently on February 18, 2008 @ 12:26 PM PST

Pre tags should be able to scroll:

pre { font: 1.0em 'Monospace' Courier; color: Navy ; background: Ivory ; width: 450px ; border: 1px solid #959596; overflow: auto ;}

Kim
Quoth Kim on May 08, 2008 @ 7:12 PM PDT

lol, cool layout I love to cow! hehe, you even have "Moo" on the comment button