March 2006 in the Life of Ben (Blog)

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  12. December

GTA Forums Archive (17th March 2006)

Illspirit asked me to make some forum archive mockups a few days ago and progress has been excellent. The archiving system was announced in June 2005. We expect it will take a few months before the system is fully operational and ready for members to use.

The stylesheet for the mockups has been produced using relative units for everything, so the whole page will adjust to user preferences for viewport width and text size. The markup is structurally meaningful, improving its performance in search engines and limited devices like mobile phones. There’s a few more container elements than I’d like but they make the layout much more reliable.

A logo for it is being made by illspirit. He is also writing the PHP backend code which will construct these pages from the archive database.

New Homepage (17th March 2006)

The old design used bog standard bullet lists, which didn’t reflect the structure of each entry very well. It now uses my current favourite markup element, the Definition List (<dl>). Furthering that structural improvement, it uses heading levels more logically and the items are better categorised.

GTA San Andreas Handling Overhaul Updated (10th March 2006)

The handling overhaul has been updated during short breaks from work. A GTA Forums topic for it is now present, so you can make comments and suggest other vehicles which might deserve a new setup.

Theo Jalil’s Website (10th March 2006)

A GTA 1 car maker of some acclaim, Theo Jalil (better known as Superfly Driver) contacted me today. I’ve given him some space on my account to put his stuff for some years and now he’s started building a portfolio website in it.

I could do with more experience working with graphical layouts, so I offered to tidy up the markup to make better use of standard technology. He’s agreed and been very grateful and we've already got a draft of the site underway. He has to meet a deadline for that site on 2006-03-17, so we won’t be doing serious work on the new version until after that.

Calthorpe Park School Goes Live (4th March 2006)

Hoorah! My first professional project, Calthorpe Park School, has been released. My first contact with the school was in October 2005 and work began very quickly. It’s been about five months in the making but now it’s released and has been getting some favourable feedback.

As the site progresses I hope to make it look good but for the time being our primary concern is making it useful, usable and accessible.

Tony’s Map Editor (4th March 2006)

Tony and I havn’t been in contact much over the past month because we've both been buried under our professional projects. He has been working on the saving user preferences to make the tool more user friendly. I released my demo of a validating parser, which is something we are hoping to implement in a future version so that mappers can find and fix errors much more easily.

Away Last Weekend (4th March 2006)

I was a Flissy’s house from last Saturday evening (2006-02-25) until last Sunday (2006-02-26). I came back earlier because we were getting on each other’s nerves from lack of sleep but I left on good terms with her. We will probably be meeting up next weekend (2006-03-11) but will make sure we rest better beforehand!