Out With The Old, and In With The New

Posted by Sean Francis N. Ballais on December 16, 2016 02:58 PM

I have to admit. I have not stuck with my usually one or two articles per month since this year. Worse, I have not been blogging since June of 2016.

I apologize for that. Starting next year, I promise that I will be churning out one or two articles per month. One hurdle that stopped me from writing is that I wanted to redesign this site before I write new articles. The original design just does not feel satisfying for me and the files of the old design were a mess, further discouraging me from writing for a while. University life and the election system I was developing for was taking a lot of my time from blogging. Fortunately, after a “hiatus” of a few months, I am finally back to blogging. My return is signified by the redesign of my website.

The old design of my blog was based on the Clean Blog theme for Jekyll. When I started this website in 2015, I was looking for a theme that resembles Medium. Clean Blog was the closest theme I could find. So, I stuck with the theme, and began blogging on this website. A few months later, the design felt uninspired. I want a design that I personally made. So, on December of 2015, I began working on the homepage and the blog page.

Old Design of the website

Working around the current theme is a pain in the ass to handle. I have to make sure I do not mess up the old design and made sure what I was trying to make was built without problems. However, progress halted. I became busy with other projects I needed to do. I was just starting on my Youtube during this time.

My first year of university ended and I was planning to do the redesign again. Sadly, I was only able to write one article on June 2016 as I needed to study for my removal examination in my Calculus class of which I failed (I have to retake my Calculus class during the second semester of my sophomore year), and I needed to complete the election system in time for the student government election in my high school alma mater.

Months went by and I finally finished my first semester of my sophomore year. On the very day my semester ended, I decided to work on redesigning the website and finish it up in a few days. I initially started with a design similar to my previous design.

The first iteration of my redesign of the website

However, the first iteration felt empty in content. I was feeling a bit burnt out during that time since I recently just finished my final project for our Computer Science class. I started from scratch and deleted most of the original files, saving just the posts and the static files the posts depend on. I searched across the Internet in the hopes of finding inspiration for the new design. Fortunately, I stumbled upon a WordPress theme called Soledad at Colorlib.

The Soledad WordPress theme

I initially dismissed it for another design but soon came back knowing that it was a perfect fit for the new redesign. I based the new design of this website around Soledad but taking in some design decisions I see from the website of Scott Hanselman, and Apple.

The “Sean Ballais” banner you see just below the navigational bar was clearly inspired from Soledad. The banner was created using GIMP and uses Jenna Sue as its font. For the navigational menu, I went with Montserrat for the font as I needed something elegant, easy to read, and fitting with the overall theme. Most of the content uses Raleway (for the title and headings), and Lusitana (for the text). The rest is the code-fu of HTML5, CSS3, Jekyll, Markdown, Bootstrap, and jQuery. In four days, I was finished the redesign. It would have actually taken only three days if not for a form handling bug in Opera that pushed me back by a day.

The homepage of my newly redesigned website

With the cleanup of my website, I am now able to write new articles properly. In the coming months, I will be updating the website with new articles and even page updates. I will do my best to push two articles per month but I could settle with one post per month.

That’s it for now. See you soon!

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