A Brand New Blog
Here we are then. I’ve finally gone and done what I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. I’m ditching the Ramblings and now I’ll be blogging here instead. It wasn’t an easy decision. The good old Ramblings have been a part of my online life for many years, but as time passed more and more limitations started creeping up and I couldn’t keep up with the new needs for blogging while maintaining the host of other features that I’ve built into RalphvandenBerg.com.
I created the old site by hand, coded it line by line. At the time I didn’t plan ahead very much, so the entire website structure, appearance, and functionality is very rigid. I can’t make big changes or massive upgrades without having to deal with hundreds of thousands of lines of old code which were written by a much less experienced me. The only option would be to start building RalphvandenBerg.com again from scratch, something that I actually have attempted before, but there are just so many bits and pieces that have to be rewritten that it became too much work. I couldn’t even change very much even if I did start from scratch because I had to maintain the old Ramblings (backwards compatibility). The only real option that was left was to leave the old site behind and start a new site: this blog.
What did I gain?
Moving to a WordPress powered solution allows me to take advantage of all the features that WordPress has to offer. For starters, WordPress has a great back-end for writing posts, adding media, formatting, etc. This is something I couldn’t have matched with my own solutions on the old website. On top of that, WordPress is very decent when separating form from content, so at some point if I get bored of the looks of the website, it should be much easier to whip up a brand new face without losing the precious content.
Starting from scratch is also a big deal when creating websites. If you keep trying to update your old website you’ll end up with a mess of leftovers from previously implemented technologies that you have to circle around continuously. A fresh start is great, because you implement the features you want in a nice clean manner without any headaches.
What did I lose?
Moving away from RalphvandenBerg.com and it’s Ramblings did cost me quite a bit. The old website had a nice group of users and some great interaction at times. Members had written their own Ramblings and commented on each others Ramblings. Starting from scratch means I’ll have to rebuild that entire community again.
The old website had a feature where members would get an (optional) email notifying them whenever a Rambling was posted. If you would like to receive emails whenever there’s a new post here, please contact me and I will email you myself!
And besides, I’m not really losing that much, because I’m leaving the old website right there for, I might say, historical purposes. If you’re in the mood, check it out!
Much more gain!
Some awesome new features I’ve built into this website are:
Responsive Design– The website will work on small and large screens, scaling elements wherever appropriate. This means that if you’re in front of your giant PC monitor, your tablet or on your phone, the website will look as intended and work as intended. This is actually more important than you might think, not only because so many viewers now visit websites on mobile devices, but Google actually ranks you down for not being mobile friendly!
Large Images– The old site was just a whole bunch of text. The text might have been very interesting to read and, depending on your opinion, laid out in an attractive way, but all that text was still boring to look at. Featured images for the blog posts really create a more attractive website.
Easy updating and maintenance– Because WordPress does all the repetitive boring code, what I’ve created is just a glorified WordPress theme. That means that it’s just 3 pages of code, which is very easy to maintain!
Still to do
As of writing this, there are still several features that I’ve planned to implement that aren’t there yet. The main one is comments. If you’re reading this and you can leave a comment below, it means I’ve made up my mind about what commenting solution to use. But for now, just enjoy reading!
That’s the update. Thanks for coming here and reading. Hopefully I will be posting articles much more frequently, so check back often!