Friday, November 22, 2013

Website Design

    What have we been up to in the last 2 weeks?  Well, I took the time to finally start evaluating some website building software.  The excuse was to update the Zenerdgy site for the changes involving Score Genie, but really any time I can play with new software is a good time.   The old Zenerdgy website was thrown together using one of the 3 browser based website builders available at HostMonster.  Although it did the job and were faster than I could build it by hand, I much prefer building the website locally using software and then deploying the results.  Less surprises this way.
  So new website tinkering took up most of once week.  The last week was fixing some small issues with Family Bank and getting our house in order.  Not the company 'house', but our actual house.  It is Fall around here and those leaves are not going to pick themselves up.  Here in the Northwest, we have to jump on those sunny Fall days and get as much yard work in that we can.  You never know when it will begin to rain and not end until March or so.  I can tell you, wet leaves definitely do not pick them selves up, even with a leaf blower.  So a little house work was involved this last week.  Oh yeah, Rebecca has been out of town for business lately too, so I also had the kids all to myself.  Like leaves, they also do not pick up clothes and junk by themselves unless you follow them around the house yelling like a drill sergeant.  Lucky for them, I have that background.  Thanks Uncle Sam!
  Thanksgiving and the holidays are coming up fast, but I will try to get the upgrade packs to Score Genie out and also fix an advertising issue with Letter Rain Free.

Geek Side Note

    Although I have built a lot of websites in my past using a simple editor, I prefer using a WYSIWYG software package.  You give the control of every little detail, but get the perks of seeing what the site would look like in various themes and styles.  Thanks to the new Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and HTML 5 standards, you can create a lot of reusable site elements pretty easily.   My favorite example of this is the most excellent CSS Zen Garden site.   It is still the gold standard for showing off the same information, but with different CSS styles applied.  Pretty eye-opening, if you have never seen it.
  Along with new software, you also have to learn the quirks and tricks of how the software works and what are its limitations.  Now I had an old version of Dream Weaver sitting around, but it is not compatible with the latest OS X version, and was pretty out of date with the latest standards.  So it was off to Google and a search for the latest and greatest (within our budget).  I looked at a few, but narrowed my choices down to Sandvox and Freeway Pro.  These are both impressive products.    In the simplest of terms, Sandvox allows a user to create lots of themed sites quite easily, but Freeway allows you much more control of the site.  In the end, I decided on using Sandvox for the ease of use and more importantly, the ability to show the different themes to Rebecca for approval.  After running different versions of the site by Rebecca, I decided that Sandvox fit our process better.   In Freeway's defense, I could have eventually built up my own templates to do this, but was lured by Sandvox's nice and easy themes.  "No, no Baby, its not you, its me that has the problem."

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