It's All About the FoodChristmas Baking with SusieJ

A whole new look, or, going mobile

I'm certain I last redesigned the site ten years ago, because I remember Tobi, our first exchange student, telling me he preferred the all-blue design because it was more "homey." I haven't touched much since then. Using my phone to look up recipes on the site while I baked, I knew exactly how bad that experience was, and knew I had to change it by Christmas of this year.

The error

Right now, the archives are still in the old style. I'm battling Moveable Type over that.

The Advent calendar will switch to the new look for the 2013 calendar. The calendars from 2007 through 2012 will not be re-designed, because that's a ton of work (6 years x 24 days = 144 pages to hand-redesign).

The content

After 2011's Advent calendar of baking tips, I've wanted to re-write the hints page and make it into a full sub-section on how to bake, with lists of what you truly need to start baking, and the easiest to master skills. Other sections would cover specific topics, like baking for anyone with allergies and not killing them or how to make a wedding cake without going insane.

The near-five-year-old essay is off the front page, which now has the six most recent things -- recipes, disasters, essays, reviews -- on the site. Basically, it's a pretty RSS feed.

Over the holidays, I hope to re-work the whole shopping section (six years out of date) and the Christmas links section (perhaps only four years out of date).

The tech

The site is using bootstrap for responsive design because I wanted to use something at home that I also used at work, and I couldn't get the other framework we use to do what I want. Of course, without the help of freelance designer Lauren Hallden-Abberton, I couldn't have gotten Bootstrap working either.

Color Scheme Designer 3 came to the rescue when it came time to pick colors for the site. Only later did I realize that those are the colors of the kitchen (the walls are green, with dark red, turquoise and cobalt accents).

The plurality of the content on the site are the recipes -- 101 recipes in the original measurements, and an equal number converted to or from metric. For years, they've been stored in XML to make converting in and out of the metric system easier. Jeni Tennison's book Beginning XSLT 2.0 from Novice to Professional was invaluable eight years ago to convert the XML into HTML.

For styling, the site uses LESS, because that's what bootstrap uses, and it's damn easy. If you've done any CSS work, and have frequently wanted to just assign everything "main heading color," now you can. This should have been available ten years ago.

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