I’ve been, for a long time, a tinkerer with the SOGC website. There’s never really been a single ‘version’ of the SOGC site that I’ve been wholly happy with, and admittedly I doubt there ever will be. But I’d venture so far as to say I’m nearing the point where I’m grudgingly satisfied. With the latest iteration of the site, ‘Sparda’, I’ve designed an SOGC site, and it’s got more clean code and usability than ever before, thanks to a changed philosophy of “integrating things that others have done much better than I could” over “WRITE ALL DE THINGS PROPRIETARY FTW!”
[box type="info"] Did you know? – Every single version of the SOGC website has been named after something in a video game that I was playing at one time or another during development![/box]
The previous version of the SOGC site, ‘Frosty Jensen’ was an incredible feat for me personally. It was a turning point in my approach to the SOGC, and one that many would call insane. I proposed free events by the SOGC, and threw myself into my work on the ideas that a free event would grow, and the community would support us. I applied a lot more effort to it, and developed what I consider, one of my better website design habits (stringent unified layout design).
[box type="info"] Did you know? - The current SOGC site is called ‘Sparda’ after a character in the Devil May Cry series. Whilst the previous version of the site was called ‘Frosty Jensen’ for its appearance, and in homage to the Deus Ex: Human Revolution protagonist, Adam Jensen.[/box]
I based the Frosty Jensen layout on something called the ‘960 Grid System‘ where the entirety of the site’s content fit within a 960-pixel wide column, allowing for optimum display on tablets, mobiles and any portrait style device, whilst still being effect on the common desktop screen (landscape styled). Sparda, follows that same Grid System, but with more refined, accurate spacing and layout considerations. In a way, a lot of Frosty Jensen’s layout tenets carry over as legacy parts of Sparda. Primarily the large, oversize Banner – designed to bring attention, and draw traffic to the event page itself; and the adaptive 3 column wrapper as the main content area of the site.
But I’d like to think that’s where the similarities end. Under the surface of Sparda, all the code has been written from the ground up. In fact, only the Blog, and Forum sections of the site are not original code. Coincidentally, these are the two key components of the site that I integrated with my new philosophy. Undoubtedly countless hours of time and effort have gone into these two applications – WordPress and phpBB respectively, that I had to sit down and consider what the SOGC’s members would use more. Bridging the two applications would certainly solve my issues quickly, but it was cumbersome, and actually quite a messy thing to do. So, instead the site was designed around requiring only the phpBB login for user authentication with event registrations, and forum posting. The rest of the site is now firmly integrated into Facebook, allowing for quick and easy commenting for all our participants (who probably have a Facebook account).
There’s a lot more to do on the site of course, and that’s probably something for a future update.