Monday, December 26, 2005

Technical Notes

Well, we're on the air, at least.

With a week to spare, this new blog is operational, replacing my old one. The process of moving from Manila to Blogger has been interesting, and educational. If nothing else, I am a lot more comfortable with rolling my own CSS than I was before. Not that I know what I am doing, of course.

There are a number of features of Manila that I am going to miss. The Frontier/Manila environment is richer than Blogger -- for example there are built in blogroll and print-friendly page features. But Blogger is working fine, and having a spell checker for posts is rather nice.

The main technical point so far is the template for this site. I tried out the standard ones from Blogger, and some rather nice third party stuff. But I pined away for the simple layout I had over on Manilasites so I started hacking. This format started as the standard template Tekka, as it was simple enough that I would not have too much in the way. I then started working through the code of my old blog to figure out what to do. After dumping the Tekka template into a text editor to clean it up a bit (like, how about a consistent format so one can read it) I then started to bring over elements of my former Manila theme.

The irony is that this theme has moved from one platform to another before. I was using a slightly modified version of Movable Manila Green, adapted for Manila by Bryan Bell. I have just continued the process on to Blogger. My current name for this is MM Blogger Green, version 0.5. The technical to do list is growing:

  • Clean up CSS for the right hand column, especially the bloglines section;
  • Add the proper doctype, style, and script type attributes so that the W3C validator utilities have a chance to figure out what's wrong;
  • Bring up to validated HTML 4.0 Transitional at the minimum - validated XHTML would be better;
  • Bring up to validated CSS;
  • Add Google search;
  • Rethink the various sections to provide a better Archives display page (I'm thinking of making it a single column, more printer friendly page);
  • Consider adding one of the calendar or category display hacks that are floating around.

I have all the content from the previous site downloaded in the Manila backup format. For a variety of reasons I don't have the facilities to use some of the scripts that have been helpfully created to convert it to different formats. But, just like a programmer, I have been noodling around with a text editor, and I think I have it worked out, enough to figure out what is what. I will be posting some of the more relevant old stuff under the original date as I move forward.

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