23 September 2008

Updates to the AE Creations website

With Panic Button out of the way for now, I took some time to do some much-needed updates to the AE Creations website. Content was rearranged and some cosmetic tweaks were made. CSS style rules were moved out of the <head> element of the HTML document structure and into the site's CSS file, and redundant rule sets were pruned. As a result of these updates, the website largely follows the frequently-preached web design philosophy of separating content (HTML), appearance (CSS) and behaviour (JavaScript, though that's not used here), and is now much easier for me to maintain.

What's Changed

The home page has undergone the most dramatic transformation. Clippings is promoted as a "Featured Extension," while maintaining links to its own website. The space dedicated to Panic Button and Send Tab URLs has been substantially reduced by replacing its bulky thumbnail graphics with simpler 24 × 24-pixel icons and shortening their verbose extension descriptions to brief one-sentence summaries. The result is a far cleaner layout, making efficient use of space and allowing almost all of the home page content to appear without the need to scroll down, even on 1024 × 768 monitors.

Using table-less CSS layouts, the "Other Extensions" list sits side-by-side with a new list containing the three most recent posts from this blog. It is automatically generated from my own, lovingly-crafted PHP script which reads this blog's XML-based Atom feed and dynamically creates the HTML content.

The pages for Send Tab URLs and Panic Button have also changed. The Download and Install links (the ones users would click on to install the extension in Firefox) have moved to the top of the page, and the installation help content have moved into a separate page to cut down on redundancy.

Website Branding

The general appearance of the site (the "theme" or "skin") has been mostly untouched. It would take too much time to do a complete makeover of the site, which I don't believe is necessary right now. And I wanted to keep most of the default branding to recognize the Mozdev.org organization that is hosting my extensions.

The most notable modifications to the default Mozdev branding are the removal of today's date and the strange "Do you want fries with that" message on the page header, replacing them with links to the home page, this blog and the help-and-support contact page to make it more useful. The left navigation sidebar was heavily revised to link to content in the AE Creations website, rather than to general Mozdev pages.

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