Two Column Layout

I’m in the middle of updating the exubero.com site to try and get a more three dimensional and less blocky look and feel.

Phase one of this project is to convert to a proper two column layout (now complete). I borrowed design ideas from Dan Cederholm’s SimpleBits to come up with a right floating content div, with the navigation and sidebar part of the regular layout on the left.

The next task is to work on some background graphic elements to enhance the “lush” look and feel of exubero.com, and to mask the blocky effect that the use of div elements brings.

Working on CruiseControl

Using CruiseControl day in and day out for months on end gave me a lot of appreciation for the power of the tool, but I wasn’t really satisfied with the standard of the documentation available.

In the spirit of open source development, I fixed it. The problems I saw (and fixed) were:

  1. There was no navigation feedback: clicking on a link in the navigation list should provide some sort of highlight to indicate the current page in the web site. This is enormously useful in allowing a user to get a mental picture of the structure of the web site.
  2. The navigation was inconsistent: clicking on “build loop” or “jsp” completely changes the order of the menu, which makes it confusing and can be hard to find the link back to where the user came from.
  3. The navigation was not complete: there are a large number of pages that do not appear in the navigation list, which means that it is confusing and easy to get lost once you have left a top level page.
  4. Some information on the site was (and still is) out of date.
  5. The configxml page is a bit big, and doesn’t give good indications on the xml elements to which it describes.
  6. The HTML markup was non-semantic (for example, headings are not marked up as headings). This makes it harder for search engines and other automated tools to understand the structure of the documents.

My fixes were recently checked into version control, and are now visible on the CruiseControl home page. I’m planning to continue making enhancements to the CruiseControl documentation, which can be previewed within the exubero domain.

Tweaking the Design

Based upon feedback from some friends, I’ve updated the look and feel of the Exubero website. Basically, I’ve tried to cut down on the number of colours that I’ve used, and in general provide a consistent theme: lush.

Launch of New Exubero Website

The newly designed Exubero website was launched today. With an emphasis on simplicity and standards compliance, the new site aims to provide quick access to important information, while maintaining a visually pleasing look and feel.