I’ve been staring at multiple computer screens and punching away at they keyboard for far more time in the last couple of weeks than I’d care to admit, but here’s why: I was giving this website a complete makeover for the first time in three years. As Tori (who was of great help the last couple of weeks; thanks!) observed, “Webbing is an interesting mix of talent: engineering, coding, and artistic marketing,” and I’m sure that the dozen or so brain cells that were still remaining in my head two weeks ago are now dead. Script writing and endless debugging can do that to you.
Here’s a rundown of the enhancements.
- Categories: When I started this website in 1995, it was just about my adventures on bicycle and in sports cars. Later on it would include travel and other activities I started to engage in, but still mostly recreation and adventure-related. The last couple of years I’ve been writing on more and more diverse subjects, and it’s becoming harder to decide where to file these posts since my categories (The Open Road, Climb, Water, World) were rather limiting. Hence, I have come up with new top-level categories (just look at the top of this page).
- Navigation: You can now access the subcategories of the top-level topics in a single mouse click. Just drag your mouse pointer over these categories, and drop down lists for their subcategories appear.
- Photo integration: Articles now automatically show photos (at least their thumbnails) from their associated photo albums. I.e., next to or below the text, there will be an “appropriate” number of thumbnails (as determined by a fairly complex algorithm I created, so as to not show, say, 50 photos for a 50-word article). No more “click here to see photos!”
- Photo slideshows: About a half dozen people asked me to put in a slideshow feature for the albums. Ok!
- Photo navigation: You can now view the previous or next (enlarged) photo in an album with a single mouse click.
- Translation/language support: See those flags at the very top of the page? They are not just there to celebrate our international community, although that is one of the reasons. They are actually icons for the following languages: Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, Japanese, and Korean. I can attest that the Spanish translations are decent (thanks to the geniuses at Google); unfortunately, that is the only language other than English I’m fairly fluent in (although am working on French.) So you can use this feature to help you learn a language—just translate the page into a different language, and drag the mouse pointer over sentences you can’t understand to display the text I wrote in English. All right, I may be the only person who will be using this feature, but I think it is super cool!
- Search: Speaking of Google, my site uses them for search results instead of the old script I used to have. The search results are much better, especially since my old script would just return articles that contained the keywords you entered—with no intelligent ranking system.
- The front page now shows my training log data and whatever book I am currently reading. Some people might find that info interesting.
- External links no longer automatically open a new window or tab. That’s now left up to you (either by right clicking your mouse button or by holding down the control or option key when you left-click).
- Advertising: I have actually reduced the number of ads on each page, but the ones that are there are better placed and hopefully more relevant. If you find any of them interesting, please click on them—you will be supporting this site and my efforts. Thanks!
That’s about all of the functional changes I’ve made for now—at least the ones that a non-geek would appreciate. Of course, I made dozens of cosmetic changes as well. I reserve the right to make yet more cosmetic enhancements in the upcoming weeks (for example, I may change the FelixWong.com logo before anyone snickers about how it looks like it was drawn by a three-year-old), but I don’t anticipate any drastic changes for a while. Perhaps another three years. My brain cells would be thankful for the rest.