If this isn't your first time to my website, you're probably noticing that things look quite a bit different around here. That's because after numerous fits and false starts, I finally got around to redesigning the site. I think the site is now quite a bit more attractive, but more importantly it is using modern web technology.
What does this mean for you? For starters, it means I have finally brought my skeletals together (and updated) in one location. The underlying CMS is incredibly easy to update too, so those the galleries will be staying current.
The site is also getting more social. I've enabled commenting via the Disqus platform, so it's now a breeze to ask questions or interact with me or your fellow visitors. Don't worry, you can also comment anonymously - just remember that spam or comments that are rude to others will be moderated. If you want to share something social sharing is now more deeply integrated into the site.
I'm also integrating the blog directly into the website (in fact you're reading it right now!). I will cross-post to Blogger as well for a while, but in the medium term everything is going to be centered here. One question I have for all of you: how much do you like to see the blog front and center? Right now it's the home page, which is nice because you always see the latest content. On the other hand you need to spend time looking at the navigation bars to find other content. Do you like this, or is it preferable to have some static links on the front page to popular content, with the blog on another tab?
Finally, for those of you who are amused by how much the web changes, I saved some screen caps so we could take a stroll down Skeletal Drawing's memory lane:
Skeletal Drawing 1.0
Back in 2002 (that's right, this website is over a decade old, which is positively Paleozoic in terms of web history) I decided that I'd use a copy of Microsoft's FrontPage and try my hand at that fancy HTML stuff I'd read about, so I could put a few of my skeletal reconstructions on the interwebz. The result? A whole series of incredibly simple hand-coded pages that looked like this.
How "hand coded" was it? I didn't know how to make buttons(!), so for my navigation bar I actually created an image in Photoshop that had the image of a button(s) drawn on it. I then placed the hyperlinked text over the buttons so you could "click" them. Of course I had to make different images depending on how many "buttons" each page was supposed to have.
There was eventually a "1.5" version a couple years later, as I picked up a copy of Dreamweaver (just after Adobe bought it), and that had an automated script that generated simple image galleries automagically. I ended up with a website that looked the same, but had more content!
Skeletal Drawing 2.0
Around 2007, despite having shelled out money for Dreamweaver, I became aware that my website looked like it had been made in the previous century. I started reading up on spiffy concepts like Cascading Style Sheets, and realized that if I wanted the website to not suck I'd have learn to do more coding myself. That work eventually turned into the website that you would have seen until this one went live, and it was a slightly more primitive version of the image on the right.
That made most of the website contemporary (by 2008ish standards) , but it was still painfully slow to add content, and the old image galleries made it so awful to update individual images that mostly I just didn't bother. Of course blogging had long since become a "thing", and websites were expected to generate content at a much faster rate.
I realized all of that about the time the website fully reached the version above. I had actually created ~85% of a "2.5" version of the website last year - it looked the same but ran on the popular CMS platform Joomla. Alas, for a variety of reasons (including improper backing up) I never launched it.
Skeletal Drawing 3.0
So here we are today. Gone are the tans and browns. The website is now mobile-friendly and made for rapid updating. I promise that you'll see more regular content, and you can always come here to get the latest versions of my skeletal reconstructions.
And as a final promise, I'll get back to blogging about dinosaurs, rather than web development. Please pass along any thoughts or comments on the new site below!