Hello, World?

The keynote article on the re-opening of v2.0 in association with StudioPress. Now based on Genesis, the improved website has functionality rarely ever seen before, from subtle tweaks to open additions coded to craft a website readers would love to engage themselves with, contributors would dream of writing for!

[I]t has been quite some time since somebody decided quite openly to try something new and reverted back when they realised there is little they like in it once they did try it. This is a rare case of the grass turning dry as soon as you cross the fence, and over the past few weeks, it happened to me.

I had a few ideas in mind, some unique, some necessarily orthodox and when I began playing with the codes for this website, I realised how much typicality–centred towards me, of course–existed in my style when, slowly, but surely, I found myself re-editing most lines I had already written to come back to my default designs: I have probably even been associated entirely with this pattern, but it was almost amusing when I realised how much this was true.

The inspiration to write

I had a brief conversation a couple of days ago with my good friend, Raghul, when I was contemplating what to write for this opening post. I put before him the idea of writing a series of posts outlining blogging. While I originally intended it to be the ultimate guide–as far as I was concerned–to building one’s blog and watching it thrive, his open lack of enthusiasm made me look in other directions

You may be familiar with this phrase…”Code is Poetry.” It was a powerful statement and…[in it]I had my keynote article.

Now, I do not blame him. Perhaps he was busy with other things and I could hardly demand his attention, but then, perhaps, I also have something to thank in this when, as I was savagely barging into WordPress’ website, I came across a terribly inspiring phrase that set me thinking.

I reflected on it: having just put down my tools of masonry, almost fully structuring and coding this website (it had begun its affiliation with StudioPress) it seemed to me that this little phrase on the bottom of the website was all I needed to get an endless train of thought and an insight into my first article on this site. (I fondly call it v2.0)

Some of you may be familiar with this phrase I am talking about. The line simply ran, “Code is Poetry.” It was a powerful statement and could clearly mean a lot to anybody who just wrote a website. And there I had it: my keynote article.

What’s new?

In this article I intend to bring you closer to the new website. Most of you have  been with me for quite some time now, others I hope will join in, so I dedicate this first article for my readers. Over the next few minutes you will read about the small, almost subtle but not uncountable, changes I have made; many interesting lines of code I have added (I will not bore you by stating the code, rather by showing you what it does!) and lastly, show you my improved database which will allow you to contribute to this website with unimaginable ease. To take a peek at it before we dive in, I will tell you this much: you will have your own desk on this website, a homely WordPress-styled author area crafted just for you, where you can write your great stuff and get published here.

But let us go systematically. Below I have outlined, briefly, most of the major changes I have made. Frankly, over the past weeks I made so many additions and deletions that I have begun to realise the need for a hardcopy, perhaps even an advanced Dewey Decimal? Alright, I am joking; but the point is, some fun changes may have skipped my mind, so let us just treat them as pleasant surprises when you stumble upon them as you explore this site.

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The ability to add columns in articles is one of the best in-text abilities I created myself. The joy of designing my own article-writing window based on WordPress’ time tested layout was great fun. However, this is not the only feature around these parts. There is also the ability to add a number of typographical florishes such as the quote you just saw, a drop-cap feature I am working on, a lot of Genesis powered quick edits and the usual indentation, code and html clean up and the rest.[/wpcol_1half] [wpcol_1half_end id=”” class=”” style=””]

Content Organisation

Perhaps the most important part of owning a Content Management System is content organisation. If you roll over the navigation menu I have put up after the header (another aspect of design I was particular about; I think navigation atop the header is old school and not attractive enough) you will find turn after turn of well organised, cooperative categories and genres. While–almost like I spoke too soon–none of the 150 or so posts have been categorised yet, you will get an idea.[/wpcol_1half_end]

The header

Above the fold is a raging term in web design circles. It refers to that part of a webpage you can see without scrolling. Research shows that anything above the fold is sure to catch the reader’s eye–and engage them. This could be a little titbit from me that you could put to use on your own sites soon. But let me elaborate on this:

Above the fold of my website, you see the usual branding, navigation, search box (so you do not have to walk around!) a carousel that states Featured in letters bold enough to make you scroll down and take  look, but most importantly, several social networking links for you to connect with me. While most of my readers have already done that by now, this is targeted at new visitors whom I intend to turn into subscribers.

Subscribers to this site get a great photographic tour of a place in the tropics, so if you have not subscribed yet, be sure to do so. This time round, I am giving it away for a limited period right from my site.

Continue to page 2…

12 thoughts on “Hello, World?

  • You never fail to surprise me!

    I mean, utterly delicious. This is by far the finest styled blogs I've seen. And don't mistake me, but I've seen so many blogs that when I say this, I actually mean it.

    I liked the changes you've introduced and all that. It's heavenly to be here. The narrow column is scientific, something I expected from you.

    Hats off, VH, there are very few A-list bloggers who have achieved what you just did today.

    • Those are very generous words, Matt. Thank you.
      I remember going through a research paper and another article I had read outlining print media. There's a reason why newspapers are laid out with so many columns, each so thin. It's to keep the reader's attention focused and make the content appear compact. I adopted that here.
      Thank you once again for the comment.

  • I totally agree with Matt. I think I'm privileged to be called here to take a look at the new site.

    It was a long time since you gave a major revamp, so there! I love the column feature, it gives the look of a newsletter but it's one of those vices you have to use cautiously.

    I don't need to tell you that of course, but it's something on my mind. And if this site doesn't make me keep coming back, I don't know what will!

    • Ha, ha! Vice to use cautiously? You may rest assured I'll take care of that!
      Thanks for attending the re-launch, Eva. Today was an important day and it's good to know others who share it.

  • Um, sorry for the multiple comment, but I've been seeing you link very often to the blog raghulselvam…

    He must be a really good friend of yours. Just a guess because I have never seen you linking so liberally unless it is reasonably needed.

  • Hey, VH, you did it again buddy! It's midnight here in Russia and I stayed awake just so I could see the site. It's not so often you get called to attend the re-lunch of such a wonderful website.

    I've actually seen those lines, "code is poetry" on WordPress. I just fell in love with it the first time I heard it, I wonder why it isn't raging on the web, though. It's done a good job of inspiring your post like this. I'm not exaggerating when I say you're like the Steve Jobs of blogging. You don't go around publicizing like mad. I've seen bloggers do that and it's disgusting. And you are so particular about design and stuff. It's just great to see.

    And your photographs… drool! When you say modest you mean some dSLR, right? Because the few photographs you've put up, you definitely didn't shoot them with any other camera.

    Great website again. I hope to meet you on my trip to India. It's round the corner somewhere, and I'd hate to leave without spending some time in discussion with you.

    • Woah! Midnight!
      Let me be frank with you, when I scheduled the time as 1630UTC, I hadn't taken you into consideration! But I guess somebody had to attend at night, eh?
      So some special thanks to you for being here.
      "Code is Poetry" is a great line, especially the effect it has when you first see it. I know it hasn't been the centre of many conversations, but whoever came up with that did a swell job.
      You sound surprised, but when I say modest, I mean just that. I use a point and shoot. I know some believe it clicks dimensionless, 'plain' images, but if you can't do some surprising work with it, then you aren't worth a dSLR!
      But that's just my belief. I'm glad you liked my photographs. Do come back for more as I update them.
      It's an honour to me to be meeting one of my readers from so far away. If you do happen to come here, let me know. I'm up for a discussion anytime, but given that it's midnight there, I don't think you ought to stay up any late!

  • Nice work, matey.

    I've started a blog not once, twice but four times and I just abandoned all of them. Secretly, I was terrible at it, but guys like you really inspire me. Lovely site you've made this. I liked the color features and you've matched them beautifully, like an artist!

    I'm not going to say anything about your writing, you're just superb. In fact I've seen just two guys who write so damn well I just can't get out of their blogs. You and Scoble. Personally, like @matt said, I'd categorise both of you as A-list bloggers. You're different in your own ways and that's what makes you both fun. That's for me at least.

    I had a quick question, though. I know the framework has changed and all, but do I have to re-subscribe to your RSS again or will my previous subscription be renewed?

    • Don't give up so easy, Brandon! Nobody gets a bucket full of traffic as soon as they open a blog. It takes dedication, good content and presentation to get the job done. On the long run, it's the most rewarding thing I know with such little investment.
      Right now, I suggest you leave the RSS as is and re-visit my blog manually for a while. I'm working on fusing the previous RSS subscriptions to the present, new one and once that is done you should automatically start receiving updates like before.
      P.S. Thanks for the categorisation!

  • I'm glad I stumbled upon your blog few years ago, and I've been following your articles ever since. The new site is fantastic, the typography, the design, the elements, color, style and atmosphere all match so perfectly. I don't think I could have come up with a better lot myself (and I'm an interior designer for that!)

    Adding to what Matt said, I'd like to know if my newsletter subscription will stay? And that attractive looking eBook, what is that all about? I want it too!

    • Thanks for attending, Monica. And thanks for the comment.
      Yes, your newsletter subscription will stay. The database has nothing to do with this revamp, I have only extended its capacity because I was running out of place for new subscribers.
      I knew I had to invite you to this re-launch event because you're among my oldest readers! Ironically, that's why you didn't get the eBook. That's for new subscribers and right now I only have the right to distribute it to new subscribers.
      However, I'll discuss with my co-author and if he agrees, I'll mail you the download link. Personally, though, I think you deserve the book!

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