new at robgray.com?
With over 600 pages, nearly 4000 photos, and 1000s
of embedded thumbnails this has been a pretty big job, plus of course
the new look and feel and implementing many "normal" functions
into code so future changes will be easier which has required probably
1000s of lines of code.
Still robgray.com has been around for 11 years and
this is only the third major rewrite so that's reasonable, I think
it does make sense to re invent things every few years.
Don't adjust your screen, the look and feel of robgray.com is now
totally retro monochrome, makes sense really given my surname and
the fact that I'm partly colour blind.
The photos are still colour of course, except the
Navigation is now via a single menu
at the top of each page (and duplicated at the bottom of longer
pages) so hopefully the hierarchy of the site will be more obvious.
Also menu elements are highlighted to show you your current location
in the hierarchy.
Thumbnails no longer open a new page
when clicked. Instead the thumbnail simply "grows" to
a larger version in the center of the screen. This removes the loss
of context when you just want to see a picture. If you really want
to open a page with more details about the image there is a link
on the enlarged version if such details are available.
Portfolio images. Selected images
are now featured in "portfolios" and these are displayed
differently than the run of the mill shots (which are now in the
"stock photos" section).
Firstly Portfolio images are displayed larger on their
gallery page. Secondly if that's not large enough you can either
load a magnifier to see more detail by moving a magnified window
over the image, or you can load a really big image (2500px on long
side) into a new window. The file size of the large image is displayed
next to the links so you can decide if you really want to download
Your portfolio is a section that
allows you to collect portfolio images at random from the pre-canned
portfolios to create your own featuring your favourite images.
not so obvious
Frames, with one exception there aren't any, so you'll
be able to properly bookmark pages from now on. The exception
is the FOTOfinder and I'll be working on that.
Photo pages are loaded into new windows
(or tabs depending on your browser setup), this can be disconcerting
for some viewers and I'm still deciding if it's a good idea. However,
especially with the portfolio images, it's possible to load very
large versions of the image and if this isn't done in a new window
you'll lose that data when you navigate to another page.
Behind the scenes
Stuff you can't see directly includes...
a lot of these languages but the emphasis is moving towards PHP
which runs on the server and can do a lot more. Of course PHP can't
ALL pages have at least the header and footers generated
by PHP, many (maybe even most) pages are entirely generated with
PHP so I don't get to use the WYSIWYG features of Dreamweaver as
much as I used to, it's more like real programming.
I'm starting to use some AJAX and
what great stuff it is too. This allows me to dynamically fill parts
of a page with data from the server without having to reload the
CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) are
now playing a big role. There are almost no <font> tags on
this site and of course with CSS you can do neat things like the
under- and over-lines on the above titles.
Thumbnails are now generated on the
fly when requested by a page. This only happens the first time as
the resultant JPG is then saved for future use. This means I no
longer have to muck about with Photoshop to create 100s of thumbnail
Testing is performed with recent
versions of the five most common browsers, these being...
- IE 7
- Firefox 3.0.10
- Opera 9.64,
- Chrome 18.104.22.168
- Safari 4
When I last looked IE7 accounted for about 70% of
my viewers so the CSS style are basically set up to look best with
that browser. However there is a duplicate set of style sheets for
all other browsers that cause the pages to look almost the same.
Opera shows some fonts much smaller than every other browser which
is a pain and may require a third set of style sheets.