SonSpring site relaunch

Time to Party

Well, as it has no doubt become apparent, SonSpring has been re-launched, with the all new Textpattern 4.0 under the hood. I pushed it live a bit early, as Scrivs said my place-holder was creating some RSS problems for 9rules. I was holding off on making an official announcement until I was sure I worked out all the kinks in the new design and fresh TXP installation.

This site is now up and running on DreamHost, rather than the cruddy Pro Preview hosting plan. It was good while it was free, but it's not something I would really want to pay for. DreamHost allows for unlimited MySQL databases, whereas 1and1 only allowed for a single database (talk about a bottle-neck).

To celebrate the hosting switch, as well as getting the great web design job at Albertsons, I will be giving some back to the community at large. So, if you've been thinking about getting your own site, but have been putting off a decision, I'm going to give you a $50.00 discount off any hosting plan. All you have to do is put in the promo code SONSPRING when signing up at, and you will get an instant discount. This applies only to new customers, but the offer is good indefinitely. So, take your time to decide.

Code Tips

So, with that bit of business out of the way, I would like to thank Peter, Lea, and Craig for their help answering all my Textpattern upgrade questions. Also, let it be known Jonathan is the man with MySQL database tips. The new site also makes use of the following plugins: glx_gravatar, kgr_safe_excerpt, rss_suparchive, and zem_contact. The navigation bar involves some funky CSS I cooked up, with inspiration from Craig's method on SolarDream.

Using Textpattern's ability to generate the current section name dynamically, I put a class in the <body> tag that looks like this: <txp:s /> then, I added a class to each of the navigation links, n1 through n8. Then, by using CSS I was able to make a conditional that would check the section and us it to style the nav as selected. Here is an example…

body.journal #nav a.n1 {
	background: url(/img/arrow.gif) no-repeat top center;
	border-top: #996 4px solid;

For those of you who are more savvy, I expect that you'd want to dig around in my CSS a bit more, which is fine. Just remember, inspiration is inevitable, but stealing is wrong. The geeks out there may be wondering perhaps why I named my #nav classes n1, n2, n3 etc. Well, for two reasons actually.

First, I wanted to reuse them for more than one section. For instance, when on the archive section, you are technically still in the Journal area, so both will show journal as selected. Secondly, I wanted the numbering to correspond with the access keys for this site, and I put the N before each number since CSS classes cannot begin with a number.

For those of you scratching your head, wondering what an accesskey is, it's simply a way to make navigation more simple and accessible. So, if you press Alt + 1, 2, 3… 8 you will be able to navigate the site by the various sections represented on the navigation bar. Also, if you want to get back to the home page at any time, you can press Alt + 9. Hopefully this will make things a little easier for everyone.

While I have used a bit of @import and single-quote trickery to hide styling from Netscape 4 and IE5 on Mac, I am proud to say that this site does not contain a single CSS hack, and is fully alphabetized, categorized, and in all ways tidy. In fact, the only thing I've noticed is that Safari doesn't seem to like the Flickr photos, but I think this is a problem with how Safari handles JavaScript, and not a problem with my site. If anyone knows how to fix this, let me know.

Note: Safari problem has been fixed. I just switched to <div id="flickr"> instead of a <p> and this seems to work. Oddly, it was only a problem when it involved JavaScript. All the more reason to use Firefox, even on a Mac!

If you happen to notice any other bugs, or have any suggestions for how I can further improve the site, let me know by pressing Alt + 8 and send me an email. Have a pleasant time looking around, and enjoy your stay.