I’ve been tinkering with new blog designs for a while now (the current design is almost 2 years old), with a loose goal to incorporate some Flash elements into the design. This was crystallized further by my inclusion in the “Flash Community: Perpetual Virtual Jam Session” panel at FlashForward NYC, which poses the question (among others): “why don’t we use Flash to blog about Flash?”.
I don’t believe Flash is a good medium for a full blog, but I do think that my blog about Flash should utilize the platform (ooo… new buzzword) where it makes sense, and that’s what I’ve tried to do in this new design.
Here are the exciting new features:
- XHTML transitional and CSS
- Focus on articles. The main page of my previous design had the focus on dates, which doesn’t make much sense for this blog. The article titles are now the focus.
- Expanded content area. Most of my experiments are done at the default 550 wide – the new design will accommodate these.
- Flash header
- XML driven
- Loads a random experiment SWF on load. Click the experiment name for more information about it.
- Smart frame rate monitoring – displays static header if fps drops too low (and remains low). This is to accommodate slower systems, and reduce the impact on other Flash content on the page.
- Decent error handling and recovery
- Flash sidebar
- XML driven via a custom Movable Type template
- Unlike the static template driven sidebar in the old design, this one will always grab updated content, so I can show recent entries and archive listings in my archived pages.
- Expandable listings. Listings show the top 3 items, and allow you to expand to fit remaining content, including a scrollbar if necessary.
- In-line search. You can search, and view results right from the current page… jinkies!
- Persistent state. The expanded area, scroll, and current search results are stored in LSOs so that your state can be restored when you switch pages.
- 12kb with fonts
The blog will evolve over the next month or so, and I appreciate your feedback/suggestions in the comments below. There are already a number of areas I want to improve, including:
- Plug in more experiments, and clean up the existing ones to be less processor intensive
- Unload experiment after ~45 seconds. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to have it running all the time, and unloading it eliminates the possibility of a RAM leak if the experiment is left running for a few hours.
- Flash version detection – currently just assuming everyone has 6.
- Tooltips on sidebar. Tooltips to show entry excerpts on rollover.
- Create the static header. I’m not 100% certain what I want there yet, so it’s on hold until I have a bit of time to look at it.