The redesigned site has been launched! If the page looks a little bland then either you are using Netscape 4, in which case tough luck, or you have an old style sheet cached. To update your cached style sheet just reload this page. Please let me know what you think of the changes.
My frequently visited templates are unchanged, this redesign is based on the layout of template 2. The previous design was based ontemplate 1. I have made these templates freely available for people to base their designs on, and to give them ideas on what CSS can do. Please do not copy the “style” of this redesigned version! A good example of using the templates effectively is given in an example on theRogue Librarian site, the template has been used as a base but the finished design is definitely an individual work. Be individual, do not plagiarise!
The redesign was fairly basic, but there were quite a few basic changes than had to be factored in there. Tim Bray recently wrote aboutrefactoring software and I had his words in the back of my mind when I was making numerous changes to the various bits and pieces that make this site what it is. There are some things that need to be pushed out still, but I didn’t want this redesign to follow my earlier abortive attempts at a redesign by stalling before delivering it. When something works, it is tempting to just leave it, or as they say
If it’s not broken, work on it.
Well I am quite busy hence the lack of an update for a little while. Exam times, coursework and work pressures are all mounting up but I am progressing on all fronts. This weblog has suffered, but hey it’s not my priority at the moment. Nevertheless once exam season is out of the way prepare for some more high tech tidbits and opinionated rants!
All has not been quite on the web site front though, a redesign will be coming soon, thanks to all those who have commented on the prototype I did, Iso, David and Leo, cheers. I might even get round to using proper headings for my blog posts soon 😉
The new alpha release of Longhorn has stirred my interest again with a concept for managing concepts called the “My Contacts Library”. This replaces the windows address book application but uses a carousel concept has been hinted at recently, as I stated a while ago Longhorn seems to be crossing paths with some of the use cases covered by FOAF technology. The direction, and even the interface, seems to be getting closer and closer to what FOAF and its applications are doing.
The interface can be seen clearly in a mockup in Paul Thurrott’s review of one of the Longhorn Alpha builds. To describe it textually, the interface has the individual at the centre with contacts organised in concentric circles around the individual. The individual contacts can be grouped by user defined categories, like Windows messenger contacts can be. All in all Microsoft seem to be using some similar UI ideas to FoafNaut and the Semaview Foaf browser. With the carousel interface and pivot based viewing capability I am starting to really look forward to the new version. I can understand why some people might think this has all gone a bit far, however although I am a big fan of the Amiga, Linux and Mac OS etc I really like working in XP and Longhorn looks even better to me. Pivot views and filters aren’t for everyone but I lived in excel when I worked in finance and loved the flexibility and power that pivot tables gave the user (No I wasn’t one of those losers who only uses 10% of Excels capabilities, I was a Macro writing Pivot table freak!), bringing this power to the desktop looks like a good move to me.
Oh, now I’ve alienated most of my Linux loving readers by praising Microsoft I will say that I think that FOAF and it’s contemporaries/replacements have a great opportunity, Longhorn isn’t coming to a computer near you for a while yet. Lets make the most of that gap by creating applications that “normal people” can use now to manage their contacts in more powerful ways. Let’s face it FOAF is a bit geeky at the moment, it’s a 0.1 after all! I can think of a few things that need to happen for something like FOAF to be more widely used:
- Import from address books. Such as .wab format.
- Introduce flexible categorisation of contacts.
- Push the prototype use case implementations (ie co-depiction) onto the desktop.
- Wow the consumer, not just the techies!
Well there is my opinion piece for the day, if you are interested in researching more about FOAF I suggest looking around the relevant category in the open directory or google’s mirror. Paul Thurrot’s review of the Longhorn Alpha contains plenty of information on the windows side of the equation.