My own website is finally up: webbeetle.com

04/02/2013

I haven’t posted here in a loooong time, because somehow WordPress (and the limitations which come with a free account) frustrated me.

I also have been busy with other things, among them doing jobs through various freelancing sites.
To advertise my services (and to finance our next trip) I have finally released my own portfolio site:

webbeetle.com & webbeetle.com.au

The last year I spent a lot of time to learn the ins-and-outs of “responsive website layouts”. This will be my main service. To find out what this includes please visit the link above. Right now I’m also setting up a new blog – surprise: I will be using WordPress for that, but on my own hosting account with my own responsive design.


My first WordPress frustration

31/12/2009

…and the second and third and forth and…

I think the guys (and gals) at WordPress should revisit their advertising – the header of wordpress.org reads:

WordPress is a state-of-the-art publishing platform with a focus on aesthetics, web standards, and usability.

“focus on aesthetics”?  Then why is it that my image/text alignments look like shit? Yesterday night I spent well over an hour trying out all sorts of tricks to fix a problem I have on my 2nd graphics page. I can’t keep the text from sneaking up next to the images; all I want is a line break and all text following below! Why is this so hard??? (later: after wasting almost 5 hours on this I have found sort of a solution – not perfect but o.k.)

So WordPress is offering an HTML code view editor – ah, great – it doesn’t even accept a simple line break tagbr.
You call that “usability”?

Not to mention a comment tag ltto hide some elements from the pagegt.
This would have been great to play around with some spacer gifs (see below) = a comment is a fairly commonly used element, but all WordPress is offering is a more (which I cannot show here).

If I change the image alignment to ‘none’ or ‘center’ all the tiny images sit below each other, whereas I would like to see them all in one line.

If I insert a spacer gif (I’ll explain them in my next post about gif files) it only messes things up more  (currently there is one in the code – but it shows at a different spot than intended).

To add to the frustration: every time you save something the editing page and the preview page both reload from the top, so you have to scroll down and try to find your focus on the element you have just changed…

Finally some of the resulting code is almost as bad as the old Microsoft Frontpage shit – particularly once you start changing some formatting back-and-forth: it leaves tons of dead tags behind.

All I can say at this stage:
I’m glad that I have never attempted to use WordPress before, particularly for any web site which requires some “state-of-the-art publishing with a focus on aesthetics”!
I would have suffered my first heart attack from frustration, and probably would be bold because I would have torn out my last hair…

My wife says that all this frustration results from the fact that I know too much – LOL!

Blessed is the ignorance of the stupid because they can lead a life of untroubled bliss.

Even writing this was a pain in its execution, because I had to make graphics to show the HTML tags I needed to explain myself… Grrrrrr! Enough for this year!

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G’day! Sit back and relax…

29/12/2009

“You should have a Blog!”

Yeah, right… What for?

“It’s sooo much better for the SEO of your web site.”

Uhhm, and…? What would I write there? I have nothing to talk about which anybody would wanna read! So who would ever visit my blog?

Yep, all this was basically true until a few days ago.  So what changed?

I started a paid contract for a friend, who runs a small web hosting company. Actually, it’s not a web host as such, but a platform to publish your own web site using a template based content management system he developed. Right now he’s moving everything from an old server onto a bank of brand-spanking-new rack servers which he will keep in an air-conditioned cubby-hole in his garage. At the same time he upgraded to the latest PHP and SQL server, which is causing some problems with his code, so the move is taking much longer than expected.

He also needs help files for the entire system; you might know what programmers are like with writing help files! Most steps seem to be obvious to them, the rest of the steps they cannot describe without using some sort of jargon.

That’s where my new job comes in: I’m supposed to go through every function on his system, take screen captures where needed, and write a short and comprehensive help file. By doing this I’m also bug testing every aspect of his software (so we both hope!) so that he can iron out the PHP errors.

So here I’m waffling on, and you still don’t know why all this is a reason to start a blog.

You see, the system of burgundysky is meant to give novices an easy platform to publish their own web site. So we can’t assume that these clients know much, but on the other hand we don’t want to make the help file too long – ’cause if the instructions are too long it might look frightening to somebody who’s new to publishing their own web site.

The aim is to keep the help as short and simple as possible. Yet I discover so many topics where I believe I should insert some “hints” to make the process even smoother. Let’s say somebody wants to insert a photo. We all have seen pages where photos

  • are way too large and take ages to load;
  • or are too compressed and look un-attractive;
  • or worst: are resized to fit the website, but in actually fact the original file is over 3000 pixels, and only the width/height has been adjusted to fit the page.

To cover a topic like “Editing of Photos” would be well beyond the scope of an ordinary help file. Initially I had thought I could insert topics like this in a small box alongside the general step-by-step instructions, but it soon became obvious that some boxes would be too big and distract from the core topic on the screen. So now I think I will post these “hints” on my new blog and link to them from the help file.

There you have it: the reason for being – at least as far as this blog is concerned.

Oh, actually, there’s a second reason: I finally wanted to use WordPress. I know about it since 2003 or 2004, but never saw any real reason to explore it. If I create a web site I usually like to do it from scratch; I hate to be confined by someone else’s ideas of how my site should look, and which format it should take… All this is still true for “normal sites”, but I can see as well the use for a blogging software. In hindsight I might even have considered WordPress for our travelblog dare2go.com – but at the time I didn’t have the spare time to learn about some new software…

So now I hope that I have something to say that’s interesting and informative = a reason for you to come back (or even bookmark and share this blog – ghee – now I’m getting ahead of myself). ENJOY!

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