New site

Business has been good.  Unfortunately, it has been so busy that the smelly old Slingshot Solutions website stuck around way too long.

When I say smelly, think:

  • IE-only (in 2002, IE was 95%+, and Firefox was still a glimmer)
  • IE6-only — IE7 often crashes (why can browsers still be crashed by web code these days?)
  • Outdated in various ways (6.5yrs)
  • Kinda ugly
  • Over-complicated
  • Wordy — can there be too little horn-tooting?
  • Did I mention IE-only?

So my goals for a new site were focused on simplicity and compatibility.  I started designing building it when I started back to Slingshot Solutions full-time, and have been alternating between false starts, second-guessing, and neglect ever since.

It’s finally done now, though.  Please meet the slim and trim new “ 2.0“:
slingfive 2.0  -sm.jpg

It works on any modern browser, plus IE6 (kicking and screaming).  Some other geeky goodness:

  • It’s Javascript-heavy, but it’s all non-obtrusive and progressively-enhanced, so it still works with Javascript disabled.
  • JQuery greatly helped simplify the visuals by hiding less important stuff until it’s needed.  Rather than a second page just for a contact form, Contact Us is just a popup.  Similarly, I built a hide/show toggle for less-important content details.
  • FONTS!  Every web designer hates the fact that you have to choose fonts based on lowest-common denominators (not everyone has your font on their system).  Alternatively, you can use images or Flash to get around this (carefully!).  I certainly wanted automatic as possible, so I tried SIFR (implementation stinks), then settled on DotIR.  Unfortunately v3 only outputs non-transparent GIFs, but with the wonders of open source, I’ve improved it to output anti-aliased transparent PNGs (including IE6 compatibility), and made it medium-trust compatible (for web hosts).  Hopefully my changes will reach the next version.

Weaknesses / to-do:

  • Still way too wordy, this time with TLAs (“acronymy”?).
  • I pulled over my old code section for developers.  I’ve tested none of it though, and will surely need to fix several server-side settings.
  • The layout wrecks at less than 1024×768.  Stats say that covers 90% of the world, but that’s hollow comfort.

For now I’m just happy it’s out and not killing anyone.  Hurrah!