Early stages of V3.0 of CoffeeGeek
Posted December 15, 2006 11:10pm
Version 3.0 is starting to, well, at least be thought about.
Actually, I've been thinking about it for about two years ago. Version 1.0 of CoffeeGeek was launched in December, 2001 (the anniversary is in 3 days). Version 2.0 came in early 2003, and the site hasn't changed much at all since then, except for the content, of course.
Since about six months after V2's launch, the site started to show aging problems - it just wasn't built, in the html code and the backend software, to handle the volume the website gets. We've done lots of tricks and tweaks to speed things up, and continue to do so right up to this day, but on some afternoons, with process-calls taking as much as 30, 40 or more seconds (that's basically your request to load a page, being loaded into a queue, waiting to be flushed before it gets to you), it's just getting to be too much.
There's so much I've wanted to do with CoffeeGeek that I've been hands tied on. I wanted to turn our never-really-launched FAQ section into a live wiki. I wanted to really expand and improve on the forums software. I've wanted to include things like video and audio in a much easier fashion. There's lots of other things as well.
Plus, my own html code is really, really showing its age. The entire site is laid out in nested tables, showing the bloat of age - load a forums thread with 50 posts, and that's a heavy, heavy page.
And the design - well, I think it stood up well over the years, but I need a major refresh.
So right now, I'm working on honing my CSS skills and finding out more about things like AJAX and other nifty new-style coding ways and techniques. I'm slowly going through all of CoffeeGeek and figuring out what needs to stay (or be redone in the new design), and what can go. I'm building up a sizable list of "containers" of code - snippets of css-driven things that will house all the existing content and its parts - like how images are laid out. Tables formed. Sidebars. Headers, footers. FAQ entries. Titles. Subtitles. Blockquotes. Captions. You name it.
There's also a few tricks up my sleeve for the launch. Things that you've never seen before - at least in a coffee related site - but maybe never on the web before. Lots of out of the box thinking... that's what a year or more of dreaming up things will do for you.
I'm doing this redesign weird (for me) - it's not so much from the top down (ie, design a look, then design the individual elements), but instead, design the individual elements, see how they fit together, redesign where necessary, and build from the smallest part up to the whole.
And of course, the entire underframe will be completely overhauled. It'll be built to handle (I hope) 10 times the current traffic. It will have a search that works. It'll be fast.
And hopefully, it'll come by the end of 2007.