I love building stuff. The majority of my life I spent with drafting ideas, constructing prototypes, engineering a result and working on marketing and business models and workflows.
Whether this has been soldering electronics, working on radio controlled aircraft and submarine models, writing songs and producing music or in the software and web landscape, building my own companies or working freelance or employed. I just love to nurture an initial idea over the whole process and am excited like a kid on christmas when the final thing ships.
This blog is no exception of that rule.
Anyhow, times change, and when it comes to the web and especially the mobile web, this change is tremendously fast and definetely more of the ever-in-process style. People were already talking about topics like responsive images and mobile first coding and content delivery approaches more than a year ago, but even today at best there is a number of great guidelines – but no compact and mature best practice to follow.
By the time when I started talking to Sebastian on my design ideas for this blog we have been able to take some concepts such as the Goldilocks approach into account, so we did. Other stuff like the awesome Cicada Principle didn’t work so well with my stubborn visual plans. And there are a lot of other things I would approach differently when I would start building this blog today.
Must have been crazy even TRYING to build a photorealistic wooden bkgrnd using a high number of cicada tiles.
Maybe I try again tomorrow.
— Andre Jay Meissner (@klick_ass) July 5, 2012
Anyhow, I am not getting paid for building websites nor will I face consequences and fall into disgrace like things should be when somebody delivers shitty code to a high-traffic ubiquitous web service. I can either go on and fiddle around on the code of this blog, and most likely will not have it published forever. Or just remove the majority of the stuff I haven’t been able to finish yet, so it doesn’t break this site, and just push the damned thing out – today.
Regardless of the numerous flaws I see. Painful to do, somehow, I confess. But I put the ability to post content over my selfish eagerness for code quality. Yes I do. I don’t suffer enough from the fact that my current job doesn’t leave much room for hacking real, productive code – so I can take that burden as well. YES!
(No I can’t. If I could I wouldn’t write this post, right? Haha!)
So here’s the list of noteworthy things I want to improve as soon as I find time:
(…actually this already reminds me a bit of a website of mine crafted 10 years ago, up on the web – and unchanged since then… ;))
- Responsive Images. This one clearly ate away most of the precious time I was able to allow to myself to create this blog. I built a solution based off a solution Jordan Moore described earlier this year, but I will not be pleased with the situation until much more fundamental improvements have been made to the state of the web, to actually be able to come up with an appropriate solution (and not just a funky workaround). So I kicked out what I had and decided to go with ReSRC.it’s amazingly simple cloud based solution instead. ReSRC.it is beta at the time of writing, so I expect outages and bugs. Whatever, that would have been quite the same with my solution. ;) And because ReSRC.it did uncover some “slight oversights” ;) when I integrated the solution into this blog I needed to remove it as well, so actually there is no responsive solution active in the very moment and all of you nice mobile clients have to eat the full ballast of retina quality images. I know it’s brutal for the moment, but it will be solved soon.
- Finish SVG implementation. See all the nice ornaments? Currently these are PNGs, which represents the failover for stupid browsers not able to render SVGs. I just didn’t find the time to add the SVG sprites yet (except the social media ribbon in the upper right). TIME. I. NEED.
- Pagenav can be ugly. My favorite ornament wraps around the page navigation on the bottom of every page (different on mobile, though). Currently it’s a bit odd looking, since there are not many pages to navigate to (which will be the case forever on seldomly used tags). Not priority one, so postponed.
- Mobile first not implemented right. As Brad Frost describes in his excellent tutorial, I should have engineered shared CSS definitions first, and then apply changes as long as required for larger screens. Stupid me. This would have clearly resulted in much smaller CSS for this site.
- Responsive Twitter Embed without JS. Okay, I don’t really know how long I will be on Twitter anymore, but that’s another story. For now I have been forced to remove a direct style
width:500px!importantapplied to the
<div>that contains embedded Tweets, so that these embeds do not break my mobile designs. Pretty lame Twitter does not let us control this, anyhow pretty lame on my end I wasn’t able to find a way to parse it out inside WordPress’ oEmbed functionality. Yes I tried this fix but even with serious tweaking I couldn’t make it work.
- Actually this reminds me of the fact that the ribbon on the upper right misses my app.net link…
- Responsive Image Galleries. Currently I use NextGEN Gallery, which still seems to be the most advanced image gallery plugin for WordPress. Unfortunately it doesn’t even think of responsive support, but I suspect this to change sooner or later. Until then gallery images are 72dpi only (NGG keeps the original so there’s light at the end of the tunnel).
- Webfonts fallback. Yup. Sucks to have a browser that cannot display Webfonts, right? ;)
- Use DataURIs and other performance optimization. Well, finally there is a good bunch of improvements open in terms of reducing requests and pulling in external stuff. I know I know. Again, as soon as I find some time…
So far on waving hands and the foreword. Now, happy to be live and to start adding more content. ;)
Hope you enjoy!