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August 10, 2011

Under the Hood //

While I’m busily getting back on track in the little spare time I have on that project that I was really hoping to have launched by now, last week I set aside a few minutes to make some under the hood changes on this site. You hopefully didn’t notice. Actually, anyone reading via an older version of Windows (roughly 30 people during the last month) may have, but any quirks will be temporary (maybe) and it’s all part of a plan to finally get a long-delayed redesign and platform change underway.

I’m debating a “live rebuild”, but will more likely do more behind the scenes groundwork and hopefully not break too much else in the process before I make a decision on that.

These latest changes were about accomplishing the following:

  1. Simplifying a bit of the back-end template code
  2. Reducing the number of external assets
  3. Implementing other minor performance optimizations
  4. Preparing for the transition of the underlying code to HTML5

The impetus for these changes was really about changing how the Elsewhere popover is loaded and rendered. Previously the code was rendered statically by Movable Type in every page but also using some PHP processing to grab the latest from my Delicious feed (or the cached version). Not really very DRY.

Now the popover is rendered as a static HTML file (no PHP at all, rebuilt every so often automatically by the server) and loaded into the requesting page progressively via Ajax. There’s still a standalone (non-JS enabled) page as well of course.

Next up — HTML5-ifying the base structural elements. Where’s my hard hat and jackhammer?

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