As the World Wide Web continues to evolve, people use it for increasingly personal and social purposes. The current social networking sites are quickly gaining critical mass, moving the adoption curve forward from an early majority to the late majority. In the Netherlands, Internet usage in is still rising, and the skills of surfers continue to improve. According to the Dutch bureau of statistics CBS, more than 2 million people have designed a webpage.
As we put more of ourselves online, our identity expressions become more and more shattered throughout the web. Facebook, Flickr, Last.fm and Hyves all represent a small piece of me and my online identity. Bringing these all together will take a couple of years, although with developments like OpenSocial, OpenAuth and OpenID the first building blocks are in the pipelines.
Anyway, the whole reason of this introduction is that I’ve made a small step in consolidating my Web presence – I have now merged my portfolio into my blog. I really liked the design of my portfolio so I tried to keep as many aspects of it as possible, and only made small tweaks as necessary (although there are many of them…). There are some big improvements to the design though, mostly fixing mistakes from my last redesign.
First of all is a return of a navigation block at the top of the page. Since the previous incarnation only had two really big sections (the blog and the links), I didn’t see a need for a permanent navigation block. But it’s back with a vengeance, sporting a shiny jQuery-powered rollover effect.
My elsewhere section, where I aggregate all my favorite website links, has dramatically improved thanks to the use of a four-column grid design. It’s one of those improvements that seem so obvious in rertospect that I wonder why I didn’t come up with it sooner. I’ve also increased the item count to 100, which is quite hefty, but very manageable. I found myself getting caught up browsing through my old links again, re-discovering old gems!
Thanks to the power of Drupal, I’m able to organize my portfolio in some pretty cool ways. Using the taxonomy module, every portfolio item is tagged with the medium or technology in which it is created. With the books module I created 5 distinct sections through which you can browse: my current freelance work, C-MD work, Solide work, print, and my early art work. For the landingspage I decided to use large thumbnails, giving an immediate (and for some, sufficient) idea of my work. Clicking on the images shows a larger version in a lightbox, while clicking the title or the casestudy link will take you to the permanent link of a portfolio page.
Getting this all to work in Drupal the way I wanted to involved some heavy themeing work, which I’d be happy to write up if anyone’s interested. Unfortunately, there were quite some places where I couldn’t override a theme function or manipulate Drupal’s HTML output (I’m looking at you, Views module), and it was time-consuming to find the proper way to handle these cases. I resorted to manipulating the DOM with jQuery to fix some annoying bugs.
I made no effort whatsoever to get this working in Internet Explorer 6. I don’t intend to either, unless anyone has compelling arguments otherwise. Less than 4% of my visitors uses Internet Explorer 6, which is such an insignificant amount that it doesn’t warrant the extra development time and headaches.
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