site revisions and greymatter news

i spent a good chunk of time in the past couple of days doing some long overdue site maintenance. a lot of it was behind the scenes–adding google analytics tracking info so i can see how the site is used, finally revising some last remaining odd pages to give them valid xhtml, and tweaking the css (the preferences file that gives the pages their uniform look).

you know, technical boring stuff that interests me for some odd reason.

some of the changes are more apparent to all of you, the browsing public. the navigation links on the side have been revamped, regrouped and streamlined. some pages have been combined (the games page and the sounds page, for instance). and i’ve increased the line height of the blog entries’ text to make them more legible. hopefully you’ll more easily see stuff that you never noticed in the previous disorganized mess of a website.

one final technical note–this site uses the open-source software greymatter. it was the progenitor of nearly all blogging software, and its flexibility is still, in my opinion, unmatched. if my blog looks somewhat unlike the standard blog you come across, it’s because greymatter is coded so that you can tweak the appearance of your site to your heart’s content, if you know a little about what you are doing. most other blogging software forces you into certain appearance parameters, and you get all these blogs that generally look pretty similar.

that’s why i was a bit dismayed to learn that the support forums at greymatterforums.com had been taken off the web. apparently the site managers felt that it was “time for greymatter to die” and yanked the treasure trove of helpful posts off the web without warning or full explanation.

perhaps they are right. i used the wealth of info in the forums to greatly modify this site for rss feeds, for spam blocking in comments, for visual issues, and many other things. but certainly those of us who already have their sites set up and feature-complete have little use for the forums, except to occasionally help new users when we could. i’m not sure, though, that new users should be encouraged to use greymatter, especially with all the alternatives out there.

alternatives that are moving forward with active development. at the end, there were not more than 5 or 6 well-informed forum users who posted even infrequently. it’s probably a bit deceptive to make new users think that they are going to get decent support with aging software via a somewhat stagnant forum, and it’s definitely unfair to expect a very few power-users to support an entire community.

i’m happy with greymatter, even though it’s last generation software that in all likelihood is not going to have further development. i like it, it works, and barring some unforeseen events, it’s here to stay on my site. and there’s a new support forum starting, albeit without the historical posts, so maybe there is a bit of a future for the old girl. i’ll stop by occasionally and see how it’s going.

probably, though, it’s r.i.p., greymatter. it’s better to burn out than to fade away.

and thanks, noah, for giving birth to it.

update: shut my mouth. the new forum site is pretty active already, and there’s a core of people proceeding apace on a new version of greymatter. shows you how much my punditry is worth.