Now that university is over and I no longer have to spend all my time completing projects and reports I have had a bit more time to complete some of the ongoing things that I have previously not had time to complete. One of those things is this site, which over the past year or so has become in need of updating.
Previously this area of the site was one of the worst. The design didn’t really fit the content or the rest of the site and it was a pretty bland page. With this in mind I have redesigned it to show off my abilities a bit more while trying to keep it fitting in with the rest of the site. You can see the changes on the new look Services page.
As I have blogged previously my plans to integrate the “Calendar” into the events system this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Much of it was actually re-written to work correctly but it you can now see all of the public events in the events system on a nice little Calendar. This is currently only a V1 implementation, in the future things like will be added to improve it, for example some AJAX features, changes to the design etc.
Also improved are the individual event information pages, the related photo galleries now work and are tied into the new photography system.
Like many people I use Flickr to share my photos with anyone who wants to look at them. To make things easier for me I have been using the Flickr API to show the photos on this site as well and up until recently I have been using a script called Satellite to do so. However over the past few months I have been developing my own Flickr gallery that includes many of the things that Satellite lacked, the most important being caching.
On the face of it you probably won’t notice much of a difference since I had already heavily customised the Satellite code base and ripped out the theme engine to add my own, but once you click on one of the galleries you start to really notice.
- The tags of each photo are now shown on the gallery pages and can be clicked to view every photo in any gallery with the same tag.
- If I’ve also written a blog post about or featuring the gallery that you are viewing, it will show up on the page.
- Related albums are also suggested based on a number of criteria.
- On each Tag page there is also a list of albums that the tag appears in and also a list of related tags.
Behind the scenes is where most of the sweat and tears went though. Since the whole thing was written from scratch I also decided to implement database caching so that I don’t keep having to request data from the Flickr API on every page view (which made the whole thing very slow to load). Of course all of this is managed through my own administration site so now I also have more control over what happens.
More things are planned but I am going to be working on other things for the time being so for now there won’t be many more changes.
I have changed the footer design to span across the entire width of the browser window. The previous footer design included a breadcrumb navigation that unfortunately caused more problems that it solved, it only served to propagate errors through the site.
In the coming days I will also be updating the Web section of the site and improving some other areas like the blog for example, I’m sure I will be able to find the time to blog the other improvements that I have made.