As you can see, Ookii.org has gotten a revamp. Now you may wonder, why make such a radical update to a site when the content doesn't change that often? The main reason is that I wanted to get my hands dirty with some modern web technology.
While web development has never been particularly important to me, it was something I knew how to do and I kept somewhat up-to-date with. This dates back to making the site for my high school (at the time in Frontpage). However, as I'd been busy with my Ph.D. in Japan, I had very little time to keep up to date with stuff I didn't have any need to use in my research. Now that I've finished and haven't started my new job yet, it was the ideal time to brush up a little.
Back when I started this site, I wrote it in ASP.NET 2.0. I hand-rolled an AJAX library, because jQuery was years from being invented and actually AJAX support in websites wasn't all that common yet. The AJAX parts of the site used web services that returned data in XML, because no one had thought to start using JSON yet either. "Mobile browsers" at the time meant IE for Windows Mobile, which didn't support script at all and was barely on par with IE6 on the desktop otherwise. And speaking of IE6, supporting that was still very much a priority at the time.
But things have changed, and the goal was to re-familiarize myself with the state of the art. So this site is written in ASP.NET MVC 4, using the Entity Framework for data access. On the client, it uses HTML5 and CSS3, with scripts utilizing jQuery and a few related libraries. The site now has a responsive layout thanks to Zurb Foundation (try it: resize your browser window and watch the layout change), which has the side-effect of making it much more friendly for mobile devices. I've also used Knockout.
I have to say I was surprised at how much web programming has changed. ASP.NET MVC is light-years beyond the old web forms. Not only are the frameworks much better and the HTML/CSS much cleaner (at least, as long as you only target modern browsers), the tooling (in the form of Visual Studio 2012 in my case) also has improved tremendously.
Besides just redesigning the layout, I've also made a new front page that de-emphasizes the blog a little (since I don't update it that often), and instead provides a few more useful links as well as news about my Let's Plays from the associated Twitter account.
Note that not everything uses the new layout. Currently, only the blog has been updated. I intend to move other sections of the site to the new layout over time.
Let me know what you think, or if you find something that's broken.
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