Egyptological Has Launched

18 04 2011

We lauched Egyptological over the weekend – well phase 1 anyway.  As Andie Byrnes revealed on Egyptology News, further sections of the site are in development.  The intiial phase includes the main Magazine and Journal sections as well as a new site news section.

For that reason, this site will no longer be updated.  We hope to see you on the new site now it is up and running.





Colour Scheme

5 09 2010

Since we are happy with the layout of our second attempt at a site design, we have been playing with colours. We can skin the theme quite easily with a different set of colours for different microsites.  There are three different example sif you are interested, which show what a difference the colour scheme can make.

http://egyptological.com/magazine

http://egyptological.com/resources

http://glyphs.info/

I won’t say which colour scheme is attached to which site because we are experimenting with moving them around, but as of tonight (Sunday) we have:

  1. A swirly tourquoise background with a blue and green colour palette
  2. A Tiffany type stained glass background with a red theme
  3. A blue temple ceiling with stars and a generally blue theme

None of the colour schemes is final yet.  All need further work.  It’s obvious that  the menu colour- a mustard yellow – on the blue star theme isn’t right.  So obvious that it will have changed if you don’t read this in the next day or so.  Generally, though, the themes still need refinement.  There are titles appearing in the content that need suppressing or moving for instance.

(PS Andie wants everybody to know that the shockingly bright layout on the World of Hieroglyphs is entirely down to Kate and not her idea.)

The World of Hieroglyphs has a second sidebar on the right.  That is because that site will eventually carry adverts in that space.  The main sites, as you will see, don’t have that second bar because we don’t want adverts on the main site.  (We are aiming to do this as well as we can not to make money from it.)

Initial content is even more of a pressing task!

Still, we have made a lot of progress since the last update.  A good example of what has been done can be seen at http://egyptological.com/resources/egypt There is no content yet but the idea is to have a reference section.  You’ll notice that this is a micro-site which has its own sidebar menu (as an addition to the main menu).  We also can now have an additional single line of pages in an horiontal menu so that related pages can be placed side by side.  The layout of the bar needs a bit of refinement, but it is getting there.

We feel as though we have been building this for ever.  Getting a design we like has been hard but not as hard as creating a structure that can grow over the years to come.

PS if you have any comments on the design so far, feel free to leave a comment!





Site Largely Stable Again

8 08 2010

I promised an update at the end of the weekend.

Subject to discussions with Andie, everything is now in it’s right place on the screen.  There is a lot of work to be done on colours and the layout of posts, but the site is at least usable again and everything I want from the old theme has now been migrated across.  There will be another minor hiccough over the next few days as I am about to remove more functionality from the theme into another new plugin.  It’s work which adds nothing directly to the site but a secondary aspect of the rebuild is to ensure that code is correctly modularised.  In the long term it will make the site easier to maintain and expand.

I’d guess it’ll now take Andie and I a couple of weeks to think about how we want the site to look within this structure so there might be few visible changes for a while.





Yippee! My first plugin

5 08 2010

I know it won’t mean much to anybody else but I’m excited.  I have just created my first plugin using some code from the old theme.  It’s an embeddable newsreader so that I can include newsfeeds within pages and posts (articles).

I tend to work by setting a target for the day.  That was today’s target.  Tomorrow’s is to move the hieroglyphs engine into a plugin.  That’s a bit more complicated because there is a lot of complex code.  Don’t get too excited though.  Even when it’s working as a plugin on our site, there is still a lot to do before I would be happy releasing to the world.

Then over the weekend, I’ll move the rest of the core material across so that by the end of Sunday I have migrated the code from the old theme that we need to keep. Next week, we can start moving forwards again.

That’s the plan anyway.  I’ll update on Sunday or  Monday.

Kate





Egyptological Effectively Down

3 08 2010

We just weren’t happy with the layout so we have embarked on a complete rebuild.  For the next week or so the site will be a total mess. We have reverted to a blank theme.  The next step will be to migrate things like hieroglyphs out of the old theme and establish them as plugins.  I should have done that to start with but it was the first WordPress site I have built and the learning curve was steep.

The site should be back up in a week or so.





WordPress 3.0 and Hieroglyphs

20 06 2010

Not much seems to have happened but there was a reason: we were waiting for version 3.0 of WordPress.  That’s one of the biggest releases ever and it made sense to wait for it.  Sadly, it was several weeks late but in the long run a stable version is worth waiting for.  It was released during the week and we have now upgraded the site to use it.   It gives us at least two crucial things.  It comes with a new menu system which hopefully will make redoing the lower horizontal menu for the site much easier.  It also has something called custom post types.  That solves another problem for us.  Published magazines tend to have a foreword by the Editor at the front.  That’s something we would like for the bi-monthly editions as it would allow us to describe what is in the edition, but we want it to be separate to the content.  Custom post types allows us to do that.

The final piece we are waiting for is the new version of the Hybrid theme framework.  In computer-speak that’s middleware which sits between our design and WordPress.  That should be available over the next ten days and we can then press ahead.

Separately there has been a lot of progress on hieroglyphs.  There are still some minor formatting issues but the engine now supports three different sets of glyphs:

  • the images from WikiHiero;
  • a coloured set of images; and
  • the NewGardiner font in either black or red.

Adding the ability to use a font was a big step forwards and, so far as we are aware, a first.  The technique used should be extensible to use the Aegyptus font, although there is quite a lot of work needed to achieve that.  Success would be ground-breaking though and make Aegyptus accessible to many people who don’t wish to learn a specialist offline editor.

We can also now support shading and rotation of all glyphs, whether they drawn from images or a font.  Hopefully the underlying approach is sufficiently flexible that we could also add any other glyph sets.

If you are interested in learning more about the Hieroglyphs manual page is available.  That’s a very early release and will be updated further (and the typos corrected!).  You’ll also be able to spot the minor formatting issues that still need to be tackled.  (Hopefully that link is stable but until we finish the menu system, there is a chance it will break.)  Obviously the more general development work for the magazine needs to take priority now that WP3.0 is available.   If you read the manual, you’ll see that the intention is to release much of it as an open-source plug-in so that anybody can have hieroglyphs on a self-hosted WordPress site.

PS  If you do read the manual, then please be aware that:

  • none of the other content is in place yet; and
  • during development the page might be temperamental.

The site is still very much under construction.





Roadworks Ahead

1 05 2010

We have just started building the menu system for the main site (egyptological.com).  Id’ suggest avoiding it for the next week or so as navigation could be awkward.  We’ll post an update here once the site is stable again.