HTML5, Browser Lab, Typekit and New Design

I just got done with a site redesign. I had a few goals:

  • Fool around with new semantic HTML 5 elements
  • Use web fonts for typography
  • Do some jQuery for interactivity
  • Do a proper mobile version

Semantic HTML5
It seems like such a geeky little thing, writing header instead of div id=”header”, but I was shocked at the improvement it made. Much fewer divs made the HTML code so much easier to read, and so much easier to detect an improperly closed div.


ColdFusion 9, Mango Blog, and git

I made a few major changes to my site in one fell swoop.

A few people asked me questions about the changes so I figured I would explain.

Why a VPS?

I really like my hosting company, YoHost, but it was still shared hosting. That meant I couldn’t experiment with administrative settings and whatnot. Also I was constrained to my hosting provider’s upgrade schedule. Changing to a VPS meant that I can do whatever I want whenever I want. I like that freedom.

Why ColdFusion 9?

You mean other than that I am an evangelist for it? Well I actually used a few pieces of it. I built an admin piece for my events page using ORM and ColdFusion Builder’s code generation. I also added a page that pulls in my presentations from SlideSix. To not tax their servers too much, I used the new caching features of ColdFusion. So I’m not just using ColdFusion 9 to use it, I’m leveraging some of the features.

Why Mango Blog?

First off let me just say, I love Ray Camden. I’d go so far as to say I have a non-sexual man-crush on him. That being said, I went to Mango Blog. I’ve been using it in our internal blog that Ben talked about a while back. There are a few things that I completely love. I love the rich text editor. I love the plugin architecture. I love the caching. I love the skinning. It’s fantastic. Those were my big motivators. I felt that even with the changes I made to the default Mango Blog install I could easily keep it up to date, whereas I felt extreme apprehension about updating BlogCFC because of all of the changes I made to code to make it work the way I wanted. To be clear, I had to tweak both, it’s just that my Mango tweaks were mostly in a skin, which won’t get changed by future updates.

Why git?

Because I want to be one of the cool kids who’s all like “Subversion, oh yeah I did that like 8 years ago, I feel so bad for you for using a mature technology that you can rely on.”

Okay maybe not. The big motivator for me for git was online/offline changes. I often work without a good network connection. Being able to work properly, with multiple check ins even without connectivity was killer. I also appreciate the fact that the metadata is in one place. This makes copying the project during a build feasible instead of a network intensive svn export. This reduced my build process for my site from 3 or so minutes to 30 seconds. This means I’m more likely to update more often.

So there you go. This was a very practical upgrade for me, I got a lot out of it, and I have a few reports that the site is even faster then it was before. So except for a little blog barfing on the aggregators it seemingly went well.