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Site Re-design, An insiders guide

Site Re-design, An insiders guide

 
Depending on how observant you are then you may have noticed that Weebl’s Stuff has a brand new look about it! Now that the new design is one week old and here to stay I thought I’d tell all about its conception…

Warning: This article is seriously geeky and may damage your health.
 
We’ll start with some trivia. The design you are looking at now was based on a very swanky looking design created by Manny and murdered altered by Weebl, Manny was devastated overjoyed when he saw the final result.
 
Random Stats
Before we get started with the geeky new site stuff I thought I’d share some statistics about our wonderful website and her visitors. Did you know for example that in the average month weebls-stuff.com will burn through over 1 TB of bandwidth! That’s thanks to the 1.5 million unique IP’s we see every month!
 
The breakdown of web browsers visiting the site looks something like this: roughly 80% Internet Explorer, 16% Firefox and 1.7% Safari, the rest is made up from more fruity browser choices. 
Web Browser Breakdown
Figure 1. Break down of web browsers
 
In terms of operating systems the break down looks like this:  95.6% Windows, 3.4% Macs, 0.3% Linux, the remaining 0.7% contains everything else.
 
Operating System Breakdown
Figure 2. Break down of operating systems
 
The New Design
The new design has been on the cards for a long time, it’s just taken a while to sit down and create it. Even after all the effort we’re still not finished and there’s loads more planned for the future, if you want to know what just skip to the end. For me personally the redesign was required for a variety of reasons:
  1. We have a desire to easily provide more content on the site, including articles and other guff. With the old design this wasn’t going to happen easily.
  2. To make content more easily accessible, hopefully this is the case though some people are finding the amount of links on offer overwhelming.
  3. To prettify the site, I wasn’t a big fan of the old design. This one offers a more modern, friendly design.
Hot Points
The site has got some hot additions to it when compared to the old design, not other websites, including:
  1. Funky t-shirt message. The message on the little chap’s t-shirt in the top left is loaded randomly from the database. There is also a page where you can set the t-shirt message; I’ll leave it up to you to find it though!
  2. RSS Feeds. We thought we’d keep up and offer proper RSS feeds like any good website should these days, in total we have 5 separate RSS feeds; if interested you can check them out here.
  3. A sexy camouflage background. All the cool kids tell me that camouflage is seriously in at the moment, I’m not sure if I believe them.
  4. Hot new profile pages. You can now see how ugly sexy we all are!
  5. All of the Weebl related content under one virtual roof! How awesome is that.
Geek Overview
From a geek’s point of view this site operates slightly differently from what I’d normally do. Firstly like the previous design we use PHP/MySQL but this time we’ve employed Smarty to handle the page layouts. Using templates makes tweaking the design so much easier.
 
The most important part of the new design is possibly the least interesting. As the new design queries the database far more than before we had to stop this overloading the MySQL server. To do this we generate a static copy of the each page within the site and so when you look at a page it is pulled straight from disk without the need to go the database! This provides us with a secondary bonus; if the MySQL server dies unexpectedly the site will still function as normal (well nearly), just don’t try searching for things!
 
One thing I’m not actually sure about is if the site validates, I can’t stay I ever checked but it works so I’m not overly bothered; there is no need to cry if a site doesn’t validate.
 
Future Plans
There are loads of additions planned for the future; consider when you see before you now the base. I’m not sure I should tell you what is planned in my big head (it literally is large) but as Weebl is currently on holiday sunning himself he can’t intervene!
 
So, we have the following planned:
  1. Comments on articles and maybe even news. These will tie into the forums database so you’ll have to be registered to post. No more anonymous flaming! Woo!
  2. A proper search facility that searches everything on the site, can’t find that news item you want? No problem!
  3. More articles covering loads and loads of things! Hopefully Splush will do us proud with his writing skills.
  4. The ability to list episodes by character - something so sexy I think I may have wet my pants.
Feedback
If you guys find anything that you think is wrong or not displaying properly then please let me know about it, when filling out your information be sure to tell me what browser and operating system you are using.
 
Also if you think some parts of the site are designed in a retarded manner then please do let me know, while I probably will ignore what you are saying it’s still nice to know what people think.
 
 
 
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