After a few years of neglect and a lack of direction for the site, Shellscape.org is alive and kicking. Years of complacency and a switch to MacOS left the site in the same state I’d left it in late-2013. I thought I’d share the details of what went into the refresh and rewrite of the site for 2016.
Let’s Get Going
But see, I’m not a designer. I can hold my own on small amounts of original graphical work, but I’m no Illustrator all-star. And so I started out at Jekyll Themes, and after a few pages ran across the theme Halve by Taylan Tatlı.
Working With the Theme
Halve is a theme based on the design that someone had put together for a portfolio site. It seemed fitting but would need heavy modification since I’m not running a design portfolio. Let’s be honest, there’s not many themes out there that are drop-in ready if you’re planning on running an entire site on it.
I really appreciate the time and effort people take to share works freely. It’s for the same reason that I post all of the software and source I’ve written freely. However, out of the box it was clear that Halve needed some serious work. The code hadn’t been optimized, oodles of duplication, and aside from the use of SASS there really wasn’t any modern methodology used within it. After working with it for some time, I decided it would save time to simply rewrite it.
The rewrite roughly included:
- Breaking up the main SASS files into smaller, component-focused files, and reorganizing the imports.
- Applying semantic HTML including proper HTML5 tags, and removing extraneous IDs and classnames.
- Rewriting SASS for semantic markup.
- DRYing out the SASS
- Updating reset.scss.
- Linting and optimizing SASS.
- Removing jQuery, a bunch of plugins, and their subsequent script.
- Removed the overlay portfolio showcase.
- Added and customized a sidebar navigation element from Lanyon.
- Assets reorganization.
- Includes reorganization.
- Original layouts for the individual pages.
All said and done the site still shares some visual aspects with the Halve theme, but the code that makes it all happen has diverged significantly. Again, for the record Halve was a great starting point and saved me a lot of effort by providing a visual scaffold out of the gate.
Goals and Such
Immediate goals for the site are to showcase the open source work that I’m doing and have done over the last few years. I’m also going to start blogging again; something I haven’t really done in healthy amounts since I worked with appendTo (when they were still a web development consultant shop). And of course, all of my aging Windows software will remain up and available.
The refresh of the site also ties in with a forthcoming post - Rebuilding a Personal Brand - in which I’ll be outlining additional meta.