So what? I go silent for a couple of weeks and you, all you anonymous, non-commenting, random people who supposedly read my blog just…just vanish? Just disappear? Don’t come around anymore when I finally get to the keyboard?
Well. Here I am. Where are you? Hm?
Just kidding. I don’t blame anyone for jumping ship. I had a long silence which I really shouldn’t be breaking because of things getting a bit hectic at work. And there’s still plenty to do; I could help out with order entry detail every day for a bit until they’re finally caught up. (If they ever get caught up. They’re still understaffed.)
Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to do anything I enjoy. For a multitude of reasons some shrink would have a ball looking over and analyzing, I haven’t been writing consistently for the last couple of months. I also haven’t had much chance to work on any fun projects at work. Most of the stuff I’m doing now is either not my job or not much fun.
I did, however, start revamping a lot of our main pages for the intranet site we keep. I wanted to see whether I could modernize it, now that we’re finally on a modern-standards browser. Not being held back by IE8 anymore is a boon, but I’m still hamstrung by Windows 2003 Server on the hardware running the websites. (One prod, one test, two different servers.)
I’ve got some of them working fine. I’ve figured out how to either update the legacy code with something more modern (I like C#, but I could do it with VB.NET too), or make the new browser see the old code (by running the sites in compatibility mode).
There’s also a meta tag I have to put into every project which makes the new IE (version 11) understand it can run the site the way it should even though it’s being run in compatibility mode.
(For those who don’t know, compatibility mode makes the Internet Explorer browser act like it’s an older version, and process the code on a page that way. It also makes the older pages look like they’re designed, instead of how they’d appear in a standards-compliant browser which will ignore a lot of the IE-only conventions used.)
And that, actually, has been sort of fun. I’ve enjoyed the challenge of using the new standards and figuring out how to model the pages based on the front-end Cascading Style Sheet design I chose. For this particular chore, I’ve used what used to be called Twitter Bootstrap. It’s a clean, modern interface, and makes things nice and simple from a layout standpoint. I also didn’t have to add a lot of other scripts to the site to get it running, like I would have with something like JQuery UI. (Just another way to make the site look better.)
I also wanted to take a look at Zurb’s Foundation UI CSS and see what that could do, but I sort of forgot to do that. I guess I still can, but I have to see what the requirements are before I do that. And there’s a steeper learning curve; with Bootstrap, all I do is go to their website and check out their samples. With Foundation, there are entire tutorials I have to go through before I use it. At least, that’s what I thought last time I looked.
Anyway, not a significant difference between them; both provide a much needed facelift to the site, which looks for all the work like it just stepped out of 1996.
(In a way it did; the person who built the site chose a technology that was outdated when he began, used only the most brute-force and primitive styling methods – usually right in the middle of the page code itself (which was discouraged even in ’96), and had the sense of design of a housefly. (Maybe that’s too harsh. but the site’s ugly.)
I needed to do this long and long ago, but for five years I’ve not really had the opportunity and the desire. I guess I’m forcing the because I can’t take it anymore and can’t wait for the second.
So that’s why I’ve been absent and what I’ve been up to. How ’bout you all? Anything new and exciting?