Status of site rollout

No time for a long post today, and my head is full of lists of
things I have to do by tomorrow morning, so you get some of the
list.

I’m attempting to roll out the SerpentPublications.org
site by the time I start distributing flyers about it at the Boston Early Music Festival. The
exhibition starts tomorrow morning, and I’m planning to be there
with a stack of flyers.

If you aren’t interested in the site, come back later in the
week, when I’ll be mostly posting about all the exciting concerts
I’ve been seeing.

Site Content

All the database-backed stuff is there, with enough PHP and
mysql to provide most of the functionality of the old site, plus
previews where I’ve generated them.

Unfortunately, moving all the relevant written stuff from the
old site to the new site is being more of a pain than I expected.
It needs a lot of editing, and should probably be completely
redone from scratch. This can happen in the next month, but not
today. So I’ll probably just leave some of the old stuff on the
old site, and move and redirect it as I get it rewritten or decide
it’s not relevant any more.

One missing piece of functionality is the list in order by the
date the PDF was last generated. I don’t believe this is getting
used much, but it’s certainly useful to me when I write the blog
posts, so I may end up putting something like it back.

I haven’t yet written the PHP for the search form, or added the
number of parts to the database.

But I did get the code for generating previews, and a script
for automatically uploading the files when they’ve been rebuilt.
So working on the site is going to be a lot easier, and
updates should happen in much closer to real time than they have
been.

I’m also hoping that the previews will make the site a lot
easier to use even without the search functionality and the part
counting in the database.

Appearance

Page design

The pages don’t look like I’d planned them yet. Doing major
image editing while I’m also doing major programming in two
languages I don’t know very well just didn’t turn out to be
possible. I’ll take a Friday afternoon art session some day soon
and beat the images and the wordpress PHP into submission.

The plan is to have an image at the top and bottom of the page,
where the facsimile of “Adieu mes amours” from Petrucci’s
Odhecaton merges into the lilypond transcription I’ve
done. (See this
post
, and this
later one
for the material I have to work with.)

I haven’t either gotten the images of the merge, or convinced
wordpress to put images where I want them yet.

Color scheme

One comment I got from one of the friends I asked to look at the site
was that it was pink on white, which isn’t the color scheme scheme
she would have picked. This is actually not true of the site as a
whole, but the page I asked people to look at particularly, the Music
by
composers
page, is all links, and the links are
currently fuchsia. So I might change that to a darker pink, that
would still go with the teal body text and headers.

Navigation and sidebar

I think the current theme with the page hierarchy as drop-down
menus along the top is a clear improvement over the old two (for
the blog) or three (for the static site) column layout. And when
I get all the pages written, it will be more obviously useful.

The sidebar looks a little cluttered. When I have time to work
on it, I’ll get the links a bit better organized.

Also, when there’s a bit more data, I’ll put in some links to
the most frequently downloaded pieces and blog entries.

I wrote the framework for counting how often a file has been
downloaded and putting it in the database in a fairly short amount
of time yesterday afternoon. This made me feel good about having
recovered my programming skills.

Interface

As I said, I haven’t written the grand search form for
searching by country and century and number or parts. But I think
people will find that the
bycomposer page is easier to use than it used to be, and if all
you want is to search on title or composer, “find in page” there
will do it.

Another thing that has to happen today is linking from the top
level to the wordpress site. I haven’t decided whether to just do
a redirect or to have a splash page.

I did a laymusic.org splash page once in the Gimp that I felt
pretty good about, but it can’t be used directly as is. But you
should look at it anyway:

[proposed splash page for laymusic.org]

Unfortunately, it won’t be usable for the laymusic.org redesign
either, since I’ve split the music off to the new site.

Another concern is that the view I defined on the database is
pretty slow. I set up some more indexes, and cut a couple of
seconds off the search, but it really takes about 10 seconds to
get anything out of the database if you go through that view. I
may have to work on that some more later.

Summary

So as of tomorrow, there will still be rough edges, but I feel
pretty good about what I’ve done.

I did pretty minimal changes to the brochure from two years
ago, so that wasn’t an enormous amount of work. I posted it on
the serpentpublications
blog.

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