Yeah, things are a bit different around here.

Posted on July 03, 2014

Caroline C. Blaker

Yeah, things are a bit different around here. Image

Welcome to my fabulous new website. It's clean, easy to navigate, and responsive. It got built in only a couple of weeks. It shipped quickly. It reflects just about every sensibility my business carries day-in-day-out. Let me tell you a little bit about it.

It wasn't too long ago that I decided this site needed an overhaul. was soon to be 4 years old, and my skills had evolved quite a bit as well as my expectations for UI design, etc. The trouble was, I really wanted to do it right, but I'm not a master at the whole web design thing, which had to come first. Furthermore, I was going to have to update a lot of software. Some of the decisions that had been made for the former site did not prove to be the solid long-throw investments for which I had hoped. I was gazing down the barrel of a long project for which I had an end-game but almost zero direction to get there.

Start with the obvious

I started by getting out all of my gritty desires onto a page. It came out the way I expected it to, but it didn't look great. I switched up some fonts, bought some fonts, switched out some more fonts, added damask to the background. You see where this is going, but the important thing was, the point of hitting this dead-end was not to suffer and admit failure, but to be able to throw it all away. It was what I wanted, but I didn't like it. You wouldn't have liked it either. But now that all I wanted was out, where was I going to get a directive to get started again?

In a short part of a much longer conversation with a mentor and soon to be cohort, Jess D'Amico listened to this (from the point of view of trying to salvage this,) and suggested merely that maybe some free stuff from would freshen up my outlook. Hm, maybe, I thought. But even if not - hey! free stuff! So I started to visit this site every week - and soon I got something.

Enter Bolt

Bolt was a freebie. Ordinarily $12, It got downloaded almost without me noticing. But when I had a second look through my downloads I noticed that it had everything I needed, including ways to showcase responsive sites, and it itself being responsive was the home run for which I was looking. Using Bolt, I got the chance to completely skip the grit in the design process and let my inner art director do the talking. The difference here is that the Art Director oversees decisions and accepts/vetoes and (*cough) directs design decisions, while the designer mucks through it all. My inner art director saw this and I knew I was 80% there, and my inner designer was capable of handling the rest.

Enter Craft

The same friend mentioned above (gawd I owe her a lot of wine..) had invited me to Peers Conference where I expected to learn new things, but not a new CMS. Well, I learned a new templating language and learned about Craft as more than just an ExpressionEngine competitor. It did a lot of things differently, so I decided to give it a try with this site.

Aside from a rough start and the docs being a leeetle bit nerdy (and not really directive for beginners like myself,) I got it going and actually managed to move the old site to here in just 2 weeks! I'll be delighted to learn more about this CMS in upcoming projects or even just improving this one.

I totally have not left ExpressionEngine behind. This is a popular buzz going around right now - where developers who try Craft apparently never go back. I think this is a bit silly, don't you? Where some new popular and very dynamic kid shows up on the playground and suddenly the teenagers have like no game anymore? (I've been neither of these parties, but that's beside the point.) Developers on either platform can be delighted for the competition one brings to the other, the spirit, and the benefit to all parties derived from that. It's becoming a healthy ecosystem and as such it's a much better place for me and everyone else to be.

That's really it. If you'd like to chat any further about stuff here, feel free to contact me here or on Twitter (no blog comments at the moment.) Or in the blog comments, just added! (7/15/14)

About Me

Welcome, I'm a solo-preneur web professional living in the Land of Enchantment. I blog about things related to personal and professional life. My business specializes in Content Management Systems - ExpressionEngine, Craft CMS — and learning of new-to-me tech like Vue JS. I also like writing content like you see here. Please consider hiring me if you’re looking for a developer who is responsive to email and gets it done on-time and in-budget.

comments powered by Disqus