Entry no.: 22
16 Dec 2006, 12:27 AM
This web site was built three times over. The first version was a minimal, extremely formal black and white layout, the second one was a three column composition where the sidebar acted like a central backbone holding it all together — pretty unconventional — while the third try is what you see now. Actually, the current version is 2.6.08 (Kit·blog 2, version 6, revision 08).
There are personal web sites / blogs I constantly read — and greatly admire — that have a substantial influence on me. Some of those inspirations may be more or less visible (or downright obvious) and should be taken as a tribute to the masters:
- John Gruber's Daring Fireball — indestructible logic, powerful austerity;
- Greg Storey's Airbag — fine layout, great humor, best masthead there is;
- Khoi Vinh's Subtraction — ultimate black and white sharpness.
The Building blocks. The tools.
'Typography' may be a little pompous for a medium where (without sIFR or awkward Gifs) you can count the available typefaces on the fingers of one hand.
However, this web site was intended to be a Times New Roman web site, because Times New Roman seem a little neglected these days on the web, poor old fellow. But, because of weird uppercase rendering quirks at 13 pixel, Kit·blog ceased to be a Times New Roman website and turned into a plain vanilla Georgia (designed in 1993 by Matthew Carter) and Lucida Grande (designed by Charles Bigelow and Kris Holmes) — Georgia and Arial (or Helvetica, for those who have it installed) for the unlucky visitors from the Windows world — 2 column layout (or is that 2 and a half?) that I have little clue whether is rendered decently on any other platform or not...
...Because I'm not a web designer, I do not have any intention of becoming one and I barely know a few basic things about XHTML and CSS. Do you know the saying "when you have no clue about what you're doing, work clean"? Well, I do, so I try to write valid XHTML although there are usually a couple of faults lagging there from the last revision, waiting to be ironed out.
Finding no reason to buy web design software, Kit·blog was hand-coded using only a cool freeware text editor named Text Wrangler by Bare Bones Software (with BBColors — color coding by John Gruber of Daring Fireball fame) and a wonderful shareware tool of invaluable usefulness for viewing, tweaking and debugging: Cultured Code's Xyle Scope.
For all the FTP / SSH dance with the DreamHost server Panic's Transmit was used, while for ironing out the most embarrassing English language gaffes the (Oxford) Dictionary.app built into Apple OS X proved handy and elegant.
Made on a Mac
This intense coding (read "chaotic trial-and-error experimentation") activity took place mainly lying on a couch at home, with my Apple PowerBook G4 burning like hell on my lap, while linked to the grand boundless internet via a Wi-Fi thing Macintosh users lovingly call "Airport".
This web site is driven by Six Apart's Movable Type web publishing engine not because I thoroughly research every blog platform out there, but because I happen to like its name, often wondering about 'moving type' through the miracle of breaking it into tiny little shards several bits long, stuffed into http packets, stamped and shipped ASAP to whomever happens to be reading this. Makes Gutenberg spin in his grave, this whole view, don't you think?
For the sake of the comfort, a desktop blogging client was used instead of MT's web interface — Ecto, a mighty capable shareware by Kula Co.
That's about it. Oh no, it's not — the beautiful gravure illustrations used in the blog masthead and footer are freeware vintage images from the book called A Compendium of Illustrations edited by The Pepin Press.