Sunday, January 11, 2009

Why am I not surprised...

that getting the new Print and Book pages together is obviously going to take far longer than I expected?

As some of you might remember, I started to study CSS nearly a year ago. (The first post about it is Feb. 20. Wowzza!) I tried. I really did. But the penny didn't drop. I wrote some really easy stuff; just plain text, and it worked well. But when I tried to do more complex things, like manipulate floats, I just couldn't "get" it.

So after a couple of weeks of frustration, I wandered off, and did other things. Lots of other things.

But the site was still there, still needing badly to be made compliant, and so I decided at the beginning of this year that I was going to sit down again, and tackle CSS. I started to study it again last Wednesday.

And the penny dropped!

So now the pages really are getting made, the way they should be. :D If you'd like a Sneak Peek, go to the Print page on my site and scroll down the menu to "Songbirds" in the Oil Paintings section.

The Zoom thing, which you can see by mousing around on the picture, is a canned Javascript that I bought from Magic Toolbox, but all the rest of it I coded myself.

It took me a while to figure out how to center those buttons at the bottom without using a Table, let me tell you! But I did it, and then...

In order to show those really wonderful zooms, I had to have all the large images to use for the zoomed part, which had to include that watermark on them and the proper metadata in the File Info, for obvious reasons. So I had to make all of those.

There are 50 prints in production, at any one time. Did you know that? So I had to manipulate 49 images, on Friday and Saturday. (I haven't done the Tarot Print yet, because I'm not sure which one I want to use.)

Those are all done now.

And now I have to update 50 web pages.

I thought that wouldn't be such a huge deal. I mean, I have the template done, and it works perfectly. So really, it's just a matter of flowing the old text and graphics into the new template, right? Should only take a couple of days, right?

Umm... wrong. I had no idea how badly out of date those pages were. There are broken links, text that has to be rewritten, things I never linked at all that I should have, and endless similar problems.

Not to mention all the local formatting that has to be changed, and italics, bold, and colored text that need to be replaced with the appropriate meaningful span tags. But I am getting there. It's just not all going to be done, including the work in Excel to get the shopping cart into shape, by this time tomorrow. Not a chance. Sorry.

At the moment, I have 12 done. Which, with the books, means I have 43 to go. And that's just doing the pages that you can buy things from, so I can get the cart up the way I want.

But the good news is that I have the template, and I know what I'm doing; so even though it's not going to be finished by this time tomorrow, it should be done by this time next week!

I'll keep you posted!


Magic Toolbox said...

Hey Robin, thanks for using Magic Zoom :)

CSS is great, isn't it? It makes it so much easier to manage the design and layout of a website and there it also offers some useful tricks for speeding up websites (e.g. combining multiple images into one).

One trick for adding a watermark to 50 images (or any other repetitive task on a batch of images) is to record an "action" in Photoshop. Then you just play the action on each image and it implements all the things you want it to do.

Here is a video tutorial:

Magic Toolbox

Robin Wood said...

Hi Jake!

Yep, I'm really liking CSS! Now if I could just manage to type without ever leaving a space where there shouldn't be one. :D

Thanks for the tip! I love PS Actions, and I use them all the time. I couldn't do that in this case, though, because I'm too compulsive - I mean careful - and didn't put the watermark in the same place on all the images. I moved it around so that it would obscure faces (or other important things) as little as possible.

I even went so far as to put masks on half of the watermarks, so they would be visible on the light areas, but not too obtrusive where the image was dark.

But yeah, I use batch actions a lot in my normal workflow! :D

Magic Toolbox said...

That's admirable attention to detail :)

Robin Wood said...

Thanks, Jake!

What a nice thing to say. :)

I'll tell people that, the next time someone complains that I'm compulsive!