The ‘Making Of’ this Site

Thought I would share some of this site’s origins as I personally find it fascinating to glimpse into the creative process of how things are built. Much of the work was spent on planning. I have always wanted to create some sort of repository to showcase my thoughts, projects, and artistic works but never quite wrapped my mind around how all of these things would come together. At the same time, I wanted a site that would continually feel fresh with minimal effort. I have also wondered whether this site would cater to my professional side of life or be used to connect with friends. Either audience would dictate a very different presentation.

What you see directly in front of you has been a cumulation of past computing experience (and a labour of love!). However, arriving at what turned into a monolith beast of a personal project hasn’t been without trial and error. The first iteration of was aptly named The Perpetual Machine as it was designed to maintain itself through scouring of feeds. It provided a one-stop destination where friends could easily find me as I was moving around frequently at that time and required zero maintenance. It also aggregated all of my social utilities but in a flaky sort of way. At last, the web has changed and with the myriad of free web services available that offer the same functionality without any programming knowledge, the former site had lost its relevance. It also did not solve the problem with showcasing my various projects.

Behold: the new (but certainly not the end all be all). Today, we see a gamut of frameworks and platforms to mount upon. Gone are the days of coding from the ground up. In some ways, I would think that we live in a period that is post Web2.0 and, with all of the tools available before us, we can now really begin production instead of stumbling along defining new technology.

Where shall we begin? I started with the concept. Basically, I considered all of the conflicting goals mentioned above and tried to look for a pattern among everything to be presented. The design also needed to be flexible enough to account for future forms of content — future proofed. If the correct patterns are derived and modeled against, then any subsequent variation of the information should still be able to fit into the model.

For instance, in my mind, I would like to present projects and pictures. But how do we accommodate video clips and some unknown type of content that has not yet been conceived? Thus, I have designed “content blocks” which are containers where I can dump anything and can be expanded upon while maintaining visual coherency. As for navigation, I wanted to flatten navigation as much as possible rather than having the user traverse an endless stream of posts. I wanted old content to feel continually fresh and thus filters have been created to launch users directly into the thick of things.

WordPress was chosen and Sandbox was used to strip down the site under the hood. Jquery was also sprinkled throughout the site along with few paragraphs of PHP. CSS was also used extensively. The general architecture inherently follows MVC principles. Props to those individuals that have created all of the aforementioned frameworks as works of engineering are typically built upon past innovation.

Visually, the look and feel was abstracted from modern vernacular and has touches from street art thereby grounding the site and connecting concept with reality. Monochromatic colours were mainly used to enable visual coherency but to allow emphasis to be selectively drawn with use of colour where desired. Layout adheres strictly to standard grid sizes to organize presentation and for compliance with third-party content and advertisement.

Hope you enjoy the site (and hope I don’t need another redesign, at least not too soon!)

This entry was written by ianhung filed under Commentary, Web Development and tagged .