You might've noticed that Opus had been pretty quiet for the last two weeks or so. Well, you're now looking at the reason. It might not look like much, but it's a pretty significant update to the site, for three reasons.
First, the site is now running on ExpressionEngine 2. I've been wanting to upgrade Opus to the latest version of my favorite CMS for quite some time now, but the thought of moving over a bunch of fairly antiquated template code, not to mention over 5,000 entries, was daunting. Ultimately, I decided to make a clean break from the past. Don't worry, the previous version of Opus is still available, but the new version of Opus is now a completely different site.
This approach allowed me to rebuild Opus as I saw fit on ExpressionEngine 2 without worrying about legacy code or structures, utilizing everything I've learned about ExpressionEngine over the years, and about blogging. Starting over on ExpressionEngine 2 also allowed me to incorporate various add-ons — e.g., Wygwam, Tagger — without worrying about affecting old content.
Second, the site's content structure is simpler. The previous version of Opus was made up of multiple weblogs, or article types. As a result, any updates to the site design were a challenge. Plus, some weblogs never really got utilized, such as the book reviews weblog, which only had one entry. The new Opus has five channels:
- Blog - Contains "normal" blog entries, such as this one.
- Elsewhere - Contains links to interesting articles, websites, etc., along with some commentary from yours truly.
- Reviews - Contains any kind of review that might be posted on the site, e.g., music reviews, movie reviews.
- Artists - Contains information about the various musicians, filmmakers, etc. that I might review.
- Pages - Contains entries for static pages on the site.
I've essentially halved the number of weblogs by consolidating all of the reviews — which all follow the same basic content structure (i.e., title, artist name, sleeve/image, release year) — thus making the site simpler and more efficient to manage. This may all seem trivial, but I've already found that it helps me post more often to the site (such as when I was pre-filling the site with new content prior to launching it).
Third, the site's design is now “responsive”. Responsive web design, i.e., web design that responds, adjusts, and scales to the size of the viewport, is something that I've been wanting to delve into for some time now. Rebuilding Opus seemed like the perfect opportunity for doing so. As you resize the browser window, you'll see the design optimize itself for the available space. In addition to just being really cool — it's like my site is a Transformer! — it also means that I have an instant mobile version of the site without having to do a completely separate design (as was the case with the previous version of Opus).
And now the usual caveats. As with any site launch, there are probably little details that will pop up and need to be ironed out in the coming days. If you see anything odd, or encounter any glitches, please let me know. And of course, I can't vouch for the site in certain browsers — *cough* Internet Explorer *cough* — it looks pretty darn slick in recent versions of Chrome, Safari, and Firefox.