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About this website

Information before you read

The text below is about a previous version of my website, version 3. The current one is version 5 already (number 4 was just a test version though). At this point, there is no article about making the current page, but if you know a bit more web design, and compare it with the old version, the reason is easy to spot:
Version 5 is a fast, clean and semantic XHTML site, while version 3 was rather a Javascript overkill that had many amazing effects, but at the cost of flexibility and ease of use.

Making of franknaggies.com v3

I got inspired by a sheet of paper lying on my desk, which was nicely illuminated by a lamp - just as the background behind these lines here. Of course, the paper wasn't blue, but in my imagination it turned out blue after a quick thought. I started directly with getting the page alive, because I was curious how it will look like.
3dsmax was my way to go: Created a plane, set up some nice blue default material, added a light with falloff, and rendered it - looked good already. After tweaking the light color a bit, I saved the render and opened it in Picture Publisher to play a bit with the actual webdesign layout.
Testing that stuff with a GFX program can save you a lot of time, because it's just faster aligning things. In html you need to create tables or use CSS to move the objects to their intended postion, which is quite complicated and slow compared to the easy layer/object moving in a GFX program.
The white font I planned to use looked very nice, and I didn't even think about changing it. :)
I played a bit with the background for the windows, and I decided to make it transparent, which turned out to make the webcoding not really easy.

The main problem was that I had to use a table for the bg, and set it's opacity to 20%, which resulted in transparent font in FireFox, since it doesn't support attribute overwrite in sub-objects.
Thus I thought about making the whole background as a div and place it underneath the text div, confronting me with another problem: The divs will always resize the table surrounding themselves, even when their position is completely different.
I thought quite a while about how to solve that problem, and I didn't see any other possibility than placing the whole website in an Iframe.
This allowed me to still have the whole page centered, but I didn't need to set a relative position for the divs anymore - I could place them anywhere on the page, without affecting or resizing any tables. It wasn't the most elegant solution, but it fixed all the problems at once. :)

Later I implemented support for a nested menu layout with sub-categories. All the content is now being generated by a php script, which reads the data from text files, based on an array to sort everything, and creates the menu. Everything works automatically, you only have to define an array to get the menu structure, and create the text files for the content :) Easy adaptability!
I also had to add special tweaks for FireFox, because this browser had big problems with the transparency. Everything should work nicely and smoothly now also on Mozilla based Browsers :)

Currently, the whole scrolling script is being re-written to make resizing of the windows possible, which will give the user much more freedom to align the windows as he wants. Also, I'm thinking about a new window management, which will allow to have more than only one window active, whereas the active window will be fully visible, and the inactive ones will be placed in the background and be only barely visible due to a high amount of transparency.

In the last 2 weeks or so, I have done a lot of work on the page and most things are working very well now.
Many bugs have been fixed, fullscreen was added, the submenu-loading was improved, it's now possibe to open links via the url, the content of any window can be reloaded, quickinfo_onmouseover was added, but it sill has to be tweaked a bit to not stop the other mouseposition-related scripts, and many optimizations that make browsing nicer, faster and save your CPU power.

further reading

I have written many blog entries while developing version 3 of my website. You can find them in the menu by clicking "blog/news", or by using the direct link.
A comparison of all the 5 versions of franknaggies.com can be found here later.
post: about this website