I have been using the same Japan style theme for this blog ages, it started to feel old, and there was only so much I could hack around before either rewriting it from scratch or picking a new one. I chose to do the latter, and so I switched to Sixteen which is more responsive and handles better screen resizes. Doing this also has been a good exercice in moving many of the customisations I had done out of theme into Jetpack. This means that I should be able to switch themes more easily if I choose to do so. There are still a few kinks to iron out, mostly in the presentation of tables, but we will get there. Thank you for your patience.
Following my article on high resolution graphics for my blog, I have looked around for some plugin that would handle high DPI graphics for this blog. I have found WP retina 2×, which use Apple retina approach to the problem: have a second image at twice the resolution with the string "
This is particularly useful for the thumbnails, in this blog they are typically 250 pixels wide, when the thumbnail was generated from a higher resolution image, then the plugin can generate a 500 pixel wide thumbnail and substitute that on high DPI displays. Of course, this does not work for hand-optimised low palette count PNG files, which I often used.
I generated substitute images for some the thumbnails in this blog, but for many the available image just has to few pixels, or was added to the blog using an older media mechanism that the plugin does not recognise, but still, it works, and from what I saw the images do look better. Still I only do periodic checks so if you see issues, please let me know.
As this blog slowly approaches the thousand post landmark and more than seven years of existence, I felt some spring cleaning was needed: the blog itself has migrated between three providers, many versions of Wordpress and a myriad of plugins. While things are pretty stable those days, I added a plugin to track broken links, and the results are not pretty. Originally I had more than 400 broken link, I now brought that number down to a bit over 100. Exactly like my first home-page, this site is still under construction. I apologise for the inconvenience.
A large number of the broken links where internal to this blog: Wordpress, by default uses absolute url for images, so when each time the hostname changed, the link would break. I still found some references to
free.fr, the hosting provider I had when I lived in France. There are also still references to pages generated by a gallery plugin a stop used ages ago.
Still many external links have broken, even links to the wikipedia can get stale as the relevant page gets removed and its content reorganised. Links to commercial websites break fast, academic pages even more. Strangely enough, personal home-page often last longer, they sometime moves, but the content can be found with a simple internet search and the links repaired.
The sad thing is that in many instances, I linked to content instead of copying it, assuming it would always be there. Increasingly for illustrating this blog, I prefer to find some creative common image and have a copy on my blog and reference the original with a link, this way if the source goes away, the blog does not look ugly.
Even links to online galleries like picasa break as the site updates its structure, policies, and protocols. This for me puts a serious limitation to the whole concept of cloud computing, I have files that I have moved from hard-drive to hard-drive for close do twenty years, how long will files in an online storage system last?
Yesterday, I turned off the wordbooker plugin from this blog. This was a good plugin, the work of a dedicated engineer, and one of the few projects I donated money to. The author recently expressed frustration with the project and I understand him, Wordbooker works in the interface between two large systems: WordPress and Facebook, with their own changing APIs and policies. The result was that despite his best efforts, the system was frequently broken.
For me this highlights the problems with “platforms” that change APIs and policies with each moon phase. Agile development and experimenting is a good a thing, but once your systems pretends to be an ecosystem, you need to give developers a stable API to code against: their core objective is to build interesting things, not chasing an ever-changing API.
As for functionality, I realised the important thing for me is to automatically push new posts to Facebook. Facebook broke the RSS import feature a long time ago, so I need some kind of glue to doe the pushes, ifttt.com provides this – I was already using it to push to twitter. As for moving comments from one system to the other, I realised this was not such a good feature. Conversations on Facebook are private and authentified, they are not on the blog, synchronizing the two feeds does not make much sense.
A any rate, many thanks to Steve Atty for his great work on wordbooker.
Il y a quelques temps, François avait écrit un billet où il se posait des questions intéressantes sur la raison d’être de son blog. Je ne m’étais jamais réellement posé ce genre de questions. Une manière de savoir si quelque chose sert à quelque chose, c’est de l’enlever et de regarder ce qui se passe. Le sort à voulu que la machine partagée sur laquelle tourne se blog est partie en éclats de rire à quelques jours du renouvellement. Ce blog a donc connu un hiatus de plusieurs jours, ce qui a eu l’avantage de me permettre de mesurer la valeur (pour moi) de ce blog.
Même si je n’en doutais pas, ce blog me permet surtout de faire quelque chose que j’aime : écrire, et durant cet interlude technique, cela m’a manqué. Même si les différents réseaux sociaux me permettent aussi d’écrire, ce n’est pas aussi confortable, au delà d’une phrase, il me faut du temps, pouvoir éditer, corriger, bricoler le
html brut, ajouter une image.
Dans tous les cas, je suis très content d’avoir à nouveau mon blog, un grand merci à Antoine pour avoir remis sur pattes toute l’installation. Normalement tout devrait être revenu à la normale, mais si quelque chose ne marchait pas correctement, faites le moi savoir.
I’m using the Japan Style theme on this blog. While this skin is very beautiful, it had in my opinion a few problems. So I customized it. I made the following changes:
- Bullets are now displayed in content lists (numbered or unnumbered).
- Lists of links (for instance the archives) are more compact.
- Lists of links define their bullet as being an image properly (instead of a background image hack).
- The blog’s title is rotated to be aligned with the background label (webkit browsers only).
- Generated content in the blog’s title is black (I use this for the 「」around the title).
- The heading list only displays the root pages (the theme can only display four elements).
- The posts’s date now honor the blog’s data settings.
- Removed the vertical bars in the post information.
- Many text elements are now localization ready. The theme does not have its own localized strings and currently uses those of the base wordpress installation, this means that some elements already get translated if the proper
mofiles are installed.
You can download the customized version of the japan-style theme. Please let me know if you find any issue. Many thanks to the people at Good Design Web for providing this beautiful theme, which now has reached 14’000 downloads.
The upgrade to WordPress 2.7 did not go well, I’ve probably lost some of the content. I’m trying to repair the damage, please excuse the sorry state of this blog in the meantime.