As you can see, HNBP is back in action, and a few things have changed:
- All parts of the site (including inside static pages, not just the weblog) now run on Movable Type 3.2, in tandem with a bit of PHP for easier templating. I was partly inspired by Tim Murtaugh’s work on the MT-driven structure of Seed Magazine. Hierarchically, my site is nowhere near that complex, but it was while browsing Seed’s content that I realized it would be a trivial matter to open a separate “Pages” weblog in MT, then have the different sections of my site reside in category folders at the root level, separate from the weblog stream, with the main index published as a simple navigation list.
- Speaking of navigation, I’ve consolidated non-weblog content into just two sections: About and More. After a review of the pages on my site, I realized that my nav bar could be a lot simpler than it was, so now it is. Probably the only down side is that the links to my Christian testimony and contact info get pushed off the front page, a layer into the site, but a sidebar author bio (coming soon) can fix that with a few links.
- A split-sidebar brings HNBP into the world of 3-column layouts. Sidebar links, formerly handled by a large and ungainly PHP-parsed text file, are now published in an MT template, augmented by MT-Blogroll.
- The travel logs have been integrated back into the main weblog stream. I don’t know why I insisted on maintaining a separate “travel” folder of tedious, manually uploaded files for so long, when the weblog itself was a perfectly fine venue for trip narrative.
- Along the lines of “simplify simplify simplify,” the inside pages currently have an austere, unadorned, bare-bones, plain-vanilla look, which suits me just fine for now.
- Finally, HNBP has gotten off Affordablehost. It was a great hosting service back in the day, under Tina Peters, but the sale to DotCanada signaled the end of an era, and the multiple server crashes, spotty data backup, poor support, and changes in pricing finally drove me to leave. I’m now hosted with the most excellent Site5.
I have to admit, I reached the brink of switching over to WordPress several times in the process of rewriting the site in Movable Type. WordPress is an excellent publishing solution which gives you a great-looking site, with themability, link management, and non-weblog content pages, all right out of the box — features which MT does not give you without a bit of a struggle and a couple of plugins. Nonetheless, I decided to stick with Movable Type, mainly to reap the benefits of static pages, and to maintain technical familiarity with what is still a versatile and adaptable content management system.
There’s still a lot that needs to be done. My links page is currently a blank slate, and it’ll take me a while to refill that blogroll. More importantly, the photo section is woefully incomplete, and the photolog and travel log are plagued by broken images, as I have not yet finished (1) transferring my old photo albums to Flickr, and (2) updating the image URLs in the archives. That will gradually be fixed. And of course, randomizing CSS layouts are coming back.
So how do you like it? Any issues?