I am Eric's Colophon

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Up Front

This site is currently being presented using the Fusion Starter theme for Drupal. (I was using AdaptiveTheme, which is a good, solid theme, but I need to learn Fusion.)

My design aesthetic is functional-dominant, so the typefaces are always sans-serif (which reads better at screen resolutions than serif), and large enough that I can read them. (Have you ever met a designer who didn't always want to make the type smaller? Me neither.) And the intensity contrast between type and background is high enough that colorblind people can actually read it. (In fact, as you read this, it may be black on white.)

The original site design avoided graphics altogether to prove a point, and now that the point is proven all over the web all the time, I still don't see any reason to add graphics to the site. Maybe a nice banner someday, if something really inspires me, but ... well ... I'm not sure what the point would be. To distract from the message, maybe.

Down Back

EricScoles.com is hosted on a Linux system at Hostgator.com. I've had really very good luck with them, and in fact I use them to host Brand|Cool's sites, as well. This one is on shared hosting, but I haven't really seen performance problems, and their chat-based tech support is usually pretty on the ball. (Professionally, I've also used and can recommend BlueHost and AN Hosting. I've also used and would not recommend Media Temple, ADDR,.COM and ServerFly. Do stay away from MediaTemple. I cannot stress that enough.)

Pages are served by Drupal 6, mostly without much enhancement except that my résumé is built using Views 3 module. (I had implemented it in Panels, twice, but in both cases it broke after upgrades to the Panels module. So now I'm just using Views.)

With regard to the résumé: I've giving up some niftyness in this iteration, at least in the short run, to move it to Drupal. I had some really nice, detailed logging capability built into it, quite aside from the vaguely nifty presentation in CSS/JavaScript-driven page reveals; I'm giving a lot of thought to how to do something as nice in Drupal. But I don't like to let the perfect be the enemy of the good, so what you see there is where I am on it.

Most development is currently done on a Lenovo laptop, on a dev site implemented using the XAMP WAMP-stack and whatever editor I'm trying out this week. Occasionally I do some work for this site on the MacBook Pro I use for my work at Brand|Cool.

Around the Edges

In the trivial department, here's a litany of tools used non-exclusively in production of this site.

Early versions of this site were mostly edited using an OS/2 text editor that I can't remember the name of. I used HomeSite for years, then moved on to Dreamweaver. Right now I'm in still in the process of re-switching from a Mac back to Windows. (For personal use -- I still use a Mac at work.) So I'm still trying to find an editor that I like, again. Macrodobe seem to have pretty well strangled all the professional competition, which is sad and means that the best available options are lacking features that were readily available in inexpensive HTML editors as recently as five years ago.

For graphics work I use Photoshop out of necessity, but don't personally own a copy. Photos, images etc you see here are more than likely produced using either Picasa or the GIMP.

Currently, I'm driving almost all of my uploads through the Bitvise SSH client. I was using the FireFTP extension for FireFox, which is actually a really nice FTP client, but Firefox has become such a performance hog that I switched to Chrome.

I have a couple of PHP references, both of which are OK in their way, but I've relied most heavily on the on-line manual at PHP.NET. For Drupal, Drupal.org remains the best reference, though I've found several books that were useful in their own way.

History

This site is the latest iteration of what began life as a personal webspace site on a dialup ISP. This is the third domain for this site, as I'm just now migrating it from antikoan.com here to EricScoles.com. The basic structure of the design has been in place since about 1997. I added a blog in April of 2002, then subsequently moved that to another domain, where it now lies stagnant.

I migrated the design from static HTML with "Brain & Eyeball Powered" templates (i.e., manually reviewing the wrapper code on each page to make sure it can be managed by search & replace) to Dreamweaver templates sometime in 2006, when I started building site templates as a freelancer. Nothing helps you learn a technique as well as using it. But though I've been running a blog on Drupal since 2004 and have built (thinking...thinking...) about 20 production websites using either Drupal or PostNuke, I didn't put the content on this site into a CMS until about 2010, occasioned by moving the content from its old home at antikoan.com to its new home, here.

I Feel So Degraded

Rendering degradation is a fact of life in web design. Any who deny as much, delude themselves.

That said, the situation is much better than it used to be.

When I first designed this site, for example, I couldn't use dotted borders and expect them to be visible to most visitors: IE didn't support dotted borders. And I had to use some slightly exotic JavaScript to make the navigation elements change color on mouseover in IE, as well, since it didn't yet support pseudo-classes. (If I'd just used images, it would have been easy. But that would have taken all the fun out of it made it less of a learning experience.)

When I first designed this site, there was a small but significant chance that my target audience would visit the site using a pre-Firefox version of one of the Mozilla family of browsers, which had support for CSS-based borders that was very nasty indeed. Really, the design looked like hell in them. So I had to find a way to degrade the design such that it just didn't include those things. And as a consequence, I had a lot of horizontal rules in the pages back then. They were only visible when presentation degraded (or when I explicitly tagged them with a "show" class).

While the situation is not as bad as it used to be, rendering degradation is an inherent aspect of the medium. Since this is my site and I make the decisions about it, I make the decision to care about that, here. I often don't get to make that decision in my professional life, where the fiction of zero degradation is always a ghost at the party.