July 21, 2005


I'm back after an extended absence here at Alistair.com. I've been working on many other projects and have gotten overwhelmed in the last few months.

During that time away from my site, I have seen a lot of examples of things I'd like to do. They include:
  • Site renovation
    I have talked about this before, but this time I really want to get it done. However, this time around, I will likely strip it down, burn everything I am not using (believe it or not, I have 868mb worth of stuff on this server!) and reduce it all to the bare minimum.

  • New blogging application
    Since I started with Blogger (after years of manually editing my web log), I have been a faithful promoter of the service, but it has been slipping against other applications. I have considered a few, including:

    • Blogger: Still one of the best out there, but slipping. The editor is not bad, but you can't apply custom styles, can only produce 1 page per entry and a suprising lack of categories. I expect there will be Blogger 2.0 soon, but not soon enough.
    • b2evolution: This is an up-and-comer that looks promising. It is included in my web host's suite of applications, so it'll be easy to try out. I am intrigued by the multilingual and multiple blog features. Perhaps not appropriate for this site, but worth researching.
    • Movable Type: I have installed a number of instances for friends and clients over the years. I particularly like the interface, the vast array of plug-ins and the fact that you can publish multiple pages from a single blog entry. It all comes at a price though, and with all the free (and powerful) options out there, it's not worth it for me.
    • GreyMatter: I found Grey Matter a while back, but I found it to be a bit limited. Checking it recently, it appears to fallen behind in development. In fact, the GreyMatter doesn't appear to have changed in a very long time.
    • Drupal: I am playing with this at work, and it's excellent as a collaborative tool: a blog for communities. Too much overhead for what I want to produce here, but a powerful application for anyone looking for a multi-authored, multi-function environment.
    • WordPress: I have installed this recently and was very impressed with what I have seen. It produces valid XHTML, publishes instantly (no rebuilding!), has a growing collection of plug-ins, rich comment moderation and lots more. It's definately the front-runner.

  • Standards Compliant
    I would like the entire site (not just the blog or a few pages) to be entirely web standards compliant. I had started this project in the past, but the site was so large that I just didn't have the energy to put it together. If I strip down the site, then there will be less work to get this done.

  • Simple Gallery
    I have taken a lot less photos lately due to the busy nature of my life, but I still have hundreds of uncategorized photos in various and sundry collections. I have tried a number of different galleries and rejected all of them for one reason or another. I would like to find something simple that gives me total control over the code. Gallery 2 has a lot of promise, but it is still in beta and it has been known as a major security risk. No decision on this yet.

  • Regular Posting
    As blogging is now an actual part of my job, I hope I will have more time to devote to it.
That's a lot to tackle, but with a reasonable timeline, I think I can handle it. The blog selection process is going to continue for the next month or so, with the resot of the site following shortly afterward.

My initial guess is that I'll finish sometime in September. Sooner would be better (that's what vacation is for, right?)


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