New Year, New Blog, New Goals

Posted under life

A new year has come; 2014 is gone and 2015 is here. Just like the old year has been retired, I've decided to retire my old website and bring an entirely new redesign live. Now I am not really into the whole "New Years Resolution" concept, but the idea of starting fresh on a blank slate has merit. I had been meditating on this for a few weeks and concluded that I really need a fresh start in many areas of my life; this blog is just one of them.

A word about the old design

Let me explain a little bit why I decided to retire the old design. I don't like to "toot my own horn", as the expression goes, but my former design was pretty slick. I spent months planning, designing, and implementing it. It was really the most effort I ever put into a website design, and gosh I was proud of it then.

The old website design.

It wasn't until afterwards that I decided I wanted a blog, so the blog aspect was kind of shoe-horned into the old website. I had rolled my own article system and posting interface using Laravel's model system. I didn't spend much time adapting the design to fit the blog aspect in. The design wasn't much of a blog-friendly design to start with since I didn't originally plan to start a blog. It ended up looking a little out of place; I didn't like it too much and nothing really came of the blog. In fact, I only ever posted twice (you can still read them, I ported them over to the new system). This was probably the main issue with the old site -- I didn't like my blog, so I wasn't motivated to write for it.

The other consideration I had motivated the redesign is that I had simply grown tired of the old design. My skills as a programmer, designer, and in basically everything have improved greatly over the last year or two and the old design just lost its shine with me. It was too narrow and static, too bright and loud. It had a good run, but I felt a new design was in order.

The new design

Now I'll get out of the fluff and talk about the current design a bit. I decided that the new design needed to reflect the changes in myself over the last couple of years. You will notice that the new design is much more subtle and muted. Like the new design, I have decided to stop making myself more busy and focus on the important things more. This includes my Christian faith, my coding skills, and my college work. As a result, the new design is quieter, more minimalist, and more lightweight, with the important elements front and center.

I've injected something else into the new design that the previous one lacked: personality. Sure, the color scheme was quirky and some of the shadow effects were neat, but it lacked any sense of the personalty of the person behind the website: my personality. I feel this website reflects some of my personality better without being annoying. Take this page, for example. One of my favorites.

Q: How will you get hired without a colossal call-to-action button?

Yeah, the old design had a homepage with a step-by-step tour of how awesome I was with a call-to-action button at the end. The homepage was really my main vision in the first design. Turns out that no matter how many people visited my site, my loud homepage only got a few clickers who were interested enough to send me a message.

Back-end changes

My old website was using Laravel, because frameworks are big and awesome and stuff. This site uses a lot of code from Shameer C's TextPress, so articles are just Markdown files and routing is done using Slim. The rest I wrote from scratch.

Conclusion

Whew, that was a lot of babble. For those of you who made it this far, I appreciate you for reading my thoughts. I look forward to writing a ton more content this year; hopefully at least one article will be able to contribute something to the programming community. Feel free to comment below on what you think about the new design, all the bugs you encounter, or what kind of articles you want to hear from me.


P.S. First one to recognize what my logo's mouse-over animation is a reference to gets kudos!

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