The man who burns his
at both ends
to go on.
The man who burns his
at both ends
to go on.
Ahh, end-of-term, when we are treated to the pageantry of the ivy-covered U-hauls.
As you may recall I’ve been complaining bitterly about Coppermine (and, by extension, most photo catalogue/presentation software*). For my purposes, it is clunky, bloated, slow, death on search engine rankings, and terribly difficult to integrate with my sites theme (“Eos”, by SRS Solutions). Cross-browser support has been iffy at best, integrating the site navigation is a nightmare… It had to go. It’s ugly and takes way too much mousage to achieve the goal.
I said to myself, “Self, this is not as hard as we’re making it.” I created a static page by copying the output of a WordPress page, a little regression here, a little aggressive refactoring there, a LOT of jQuery everywhere, bake at 400 degrees for about a month, et voila! A very nice photo presentation page, lightweight, simple, FAST (by design), easy to maintain and expand, much-improved integration with the WordPress portions of the site, and if I’m not mistaken (ask me in a few weeks) my SER should be on the mend.
I can not say enough wonderful things about the various contributors to libraries such as jQuery, CodeIgniter, et c. I sat down to write the display page planning for two days to write it from scratch (a.k.a. beat it with an axe handle until it submitted). With jQuery the thing was working in an hour and done in two. And another major hat-tip to the people who posted their CSS3-based megamenu tutorials. As soon as I saw those I knew they were the right answer for navigaing the whole site– and with no server-side coding needed it was a cinch to integrate into the WordPress layout as well.
One of the big sources of the speed increase is the elimination of the database. Databases are great for doing weapons-grade data circulation, but far too often people use them to replicate the file handling tools built into the operating system. I’ve decoupled a handful applications from unneeded functionality and I’m always amazed at the performance gains.
This was and is a fairly extensive project for such a small site. All the contest photos had to be copied and resized, maintenance tools had to be built, et c., et c., alll in parallel with the existing site (and not crashing it!) And there is still a lot of work to be done– the schedule is still the aged 2001 design, all the individual portfolios still have to be converted and moved, and I’m sure I’ll find tiny bugs and gotchas for the next month or more.
But that’s all right– I’ve reached the point where it can stand alone and support the outlier pages until they are fixed. My primary goal was to get the contest infrastructure up and running before deadlines forced me to add another show to Coppermine (sorry Lake City competitors, they’ll be here soon now, I promise!). My secondary goal was to reduce the amount of maintenance I have to do going forward. I have managed to automate a few more things but of course that means extra skull sweat up front (when there are already so many other things going on!)
So bottom line is, I’m delighted with the update so far, and while there is still plenty of conversion and cleanup to do, I’m fairly confident that the infrastructure design is appropriately scaled– put another way, on the happy day that I unplug Coppermine, no part of the updated site should be affected.
I’m rambling on and all you probably care about is that it looks nicer and it’s more consistent on more pages and it’s way faster and you don’t have to click around as much.
When the river runs out, you know what? That’s all I care about too. I hope you enjoy it.
*Apologies to Zenphoto, which seemed to be striving for the right goals, but which would have eventually encountered the same issues, I think.
There once was a poet from Daughton
Whose name has been largely forgotten
Tried to merge Limerick
With Haiku; a sad, grim trick
Now people hate him
Copyright 2013 Michael’s Bad Poetry
It’s long past time
we put some teeth
into the Golden Rule.
True fact: A cow has four stomachs, in which it can store grasses eaten for later digestion.
This is an excellent example of graze anatomy.