Say Hello to Aries
After many months of planning, many days of useless mockups and coding, it's finally here. Say hello to the Aries Project, version 22 of Avalonstar. I came as close as I could to rebooting when everybody else did, but I couldn't wait for Adam's deadline. Actually, I did a hell of a lot better than the last time I rebooted, launching almost 12 hours early instead of 12 hours late. Man, what a relief it is to see this site with the avalonstar.com domain. However, as I have been staring at it for the last few weeks, this is your first stroll around.
Now let's get to the juicy bits.
You're probably wondering a few things as you stroll into this place for the first time. At first glance, I have almost completely inverted the color scheme. No it's not because it's a 2006 thing, I've always wanted to take Avalonstar back to the dark, and this was a great chance to do it. The highlight colors and FamFamFam icons were all decided as I started coding for the most part. My apologies to the IE users in advance as I am working on a fix the dreaded PNGs. Stupid IE. Can't forget the fact that Avalonstar now has a sidebar. It'll always have some interesting tidbits, except on the single post pages, where I can't really find a use for it (and no, no more self-promotion). If you scroll down below, you'll notice my gigantic footer which includes (*gasp*) my Flickr photos as well as my del.icio.us and blogroll feeds.
If you're wondering about the name - the Aries Project. I named it that way because obviously, I am an Aries. What I wanted to do with this theme was create a site that expressed who I was in a better way than the previous version. I felt that I didn't do a good enough job of that. If you look through the new about page, it takes a whole different route in how I tell my tale. No longer is it one story from beginning to end, but it is more of an open book - if I may use metaphors.
As you'll also see, the site is graced by one of my favorite anime, Azumanga Daioh. So many blogs feel so friggin' serious when you go to them, so having the Azu screenshots around definitely lightens up the mood for me. If you don't like them, tough luck, you're stuck with them.
As for organization, the site has been split into 7 categories, as you'll see on the front page, and in the new-and-improved archives page. Let's go over those next.
You might be wondering why I suffix all the categories with the word rockstar. It's pretty simple actually. Rockstar is a term that has been used to describe me at work when I get something done extraordinarily fast (at least for them). I forgot who started using it first, but oh well. The word grew on me over time, and I decided to base the categories on this whole "rockstar" theme. That isn't the end of it though, I hope to do a lot more with the term, in the near future. Some ideas I've had in the past included a whole "advertising campaign" with people submitting large photos of themselves with the tagline, "I am a (fill in the blank) rockstar." Sort of like how the whole anti-drug campaign works.
Okay, so now that you know why I suffixed the "rockstar" name, now let me tell you what they do. I've taken a different look at category listings. Usually, they're so boring, only displaying posts and probably some boring information. With Avalonstar's categories, each one is starting to turn out like it's own mini-site. As with all parts of this new version (fitting in with the whole aries theme) you'll be able to learn different things by going to each of these pages! Now, this will be an integral part of going around the site, and what I hope to see is people bookmarking their favorite category pages to stay in touch with what posts fall into each respective one. As my available content grows, those pages will grow as well.
Ahh yes, the homepage. The short but sweet explanation is this. You won't see the same homepage every time. Once I get the cookies working, you'll be able to see just want you want to see - posts. For all first-timers, they'll be able to learn about Avalonstar and I on the page you landed on when you came in. For frequent visitors, you'll be able to see my latest posts plus my 10 most recent ones, along with other important information. I hope to really take this to it's limit, as to give you the best possible and most personal experience. Oh yeah, I brought the search box back.
The Other Bits
I know I've forgotten to talk about a few portions, but I've covered most of them. I'm trying to rush this post out as we speak! Anyway, this is not the be-all end-all of the Aries Project. There's a lot more that will go into it, and the layout is open enough for me to go in all different directions. However, there are also a few little things that are still unfinished... like the missing contact form that I just happened to think about as I was writing this.
Like everybody else that has launched on-time or earlier than expected, I ask that you refrain from being an asshole and start pointing out things that I haven't gotten the chance to fix yet, that time will come very soon. That aside, I hope that you enjoy this new version of Avalonstar. I've literally put my heart and soul into it, and if you ask a lot of my colleagues, this is a redesign... no redefinition that has meant a whole hell of a lot to me.
We've grown so much over the past months, I hope and pray that the coming ones will bring more of the same.