Site Updates

Introducing the Demwazel Theme (Blog wonky!)

No doubt those of you who read my blog posts on a regular basis already know things have changed at DFE. But after two weeks of checking the last few bugs and such, I’m ready to call the Demwazel theme officially active and introduce it to you. So, like, here goes!

Demwazel (dem-wah-ZEL) ~ Hatian Creole, “Dragonfly”

So, that’s where the name came from. Or more specifically, it came from me trying the word “dragonfly” out in a number of languages on Google Translate. I settled on this one just because I liked the way it sounds.

When I originally started this website, it had a lot of goals. But chief among those was to be a platform for my development: at the time, I was only just starting to learn how to code web pages, and when the opportunity came up to get some web space cheap, I took it. Since I love to write, love to write about politics specifically and needed to have a large volume of content to work with, creating a site not unlike this one seemed like the most logical choice. Little did I know how important the actual writing and policy stuff would eventually become to me, not to mention my audience.

Since then, I’ve moved on quite a bit in terms of development and don’t need to show off as much. What’s much more important to me now is satisfying the needs of my audience in the most efficient way possible, which is what Demwazel is all about. The last iteration of DFE, while it was nice, was really just becoming more work than it was worth, especially since it was clear that most of that content couldn’t be updated regularly. The notion that I had to update my news feed; had to update my videos; had to check in on other writers to see if they wanted to write for the site; had to check up on current writers to see if they had anything new; then if I got around to it, actually write a blog piece was so draining that I began to hate the whole process.

So the new layout is clean and efficient, focusing on the way I have reintroduced myself to a much wider audience these days, which is link blogging on Twitter. You’ll notice at the bottom of this page there are now three columns of information, organized to be the most relevant they can be. The “Trending” column shows the most popular links and articles I’ve posted from by account. The “Current” column shows the most recent posts from my Twitter account, and “Recent” displays the most recent posts on the blog. These columns are a lot more convenient on the front page, where only a few words of my latest post are displayed along with these three columns, so you should be able to get a good sense of what I’m up to today in a moment’s glance.

(And while I’m trying to focus on content, geek that I am, I couldn’t help adding a little AJAX-ified flair. The columns of content actually auto update on five-minute intervals and the full text of my latest post can be viewed on the front page by hitting “expand.” Ah, I’m weak!)

One goal of the new layout was to provide a complete picture of the day’s events at DFE on a single “above the fold” view on tablets like the iPad and Xoom. For the most part, this has been successful, though I note with more than a little disappointment that none of the tablet browsers I’ve been able to sample from seem to render the new Web Fonts correctly! Guess that whole HTML5 thing is going to take longer than we thought, eh?

I’d love to hear your comments about the new design, if you get a chance. Leave a comment here or if you’d like to, drop me a line and tell me all about it. If you see problems, definitely let me know. Thanks and please enjoy the blogging!