mattfast1 - the fast one

As authored by Matt

Woah... a theme switcher is born!

Tuesday, January 24th, 2006 12:00 AM MST

I've really worked my butt off today. I earned the $.35 I'm making off of the website, that's for sure.

The theme switcher has been implemented. Simply click the name of a theme on the sidebar, and that theme will stay for a week, on all pages. Not too shabby, no? It even works in Internet Exploder... I figure if I'm gonna do something like this, I should make it as cross-browser friendly as I can. Most of the actual code for the theme switcher came from A List Apart, which specializes in web standards and accessibility.

Anyway, just click a theme name. See how all the colors and stuff change? Yeah, it's awesome. Most of that is my own skillz. I figure I'll give A List Apart a mention, since they did kinda write the base code. If you couldn't figure it out by playing with the themes, the default theme is Black. I doubt that will ever change much, since the black theme is pretty hard-coded into the core stylesheet. But who knows? Perhaps I'll feel in a snowy mood someday, and make Snow the default theme.

I have added notes about the themes to the "About the Design" page.

Dang, that is some schweet new theme, you might say

Monday, January 23rd, 2006 12:00 AM MST

Well, the Denver Broncos have lost their bid for Superbowl XL. However, the mattfast1 - the fast one website and it's staff are still diehard fans, and have created a new theme to show our continuing support of the team and Mike Shannahan. This new theme, aptly named "Denver Broncos", is now linked to all of our pages. You can pull it up by going to View -> Page Style -> Denver Broncos in any version of Firefox or Netscape. Sorry, IE users, there is no comparable option. Frankly, we'd prefer no one using our site use that CSS-impaired browser with our website in the first place. Seriously, why haven't you started using Firefox yet? Is it because some website you go to on a regular basis "doesn't support any browser except IE6"? Are you just too chicken to surf with a better tool?

Anyway, now our next project is not actually the Wordpress theme. Right now, I'm working on a JavaScript-based theme switcher, that works with our Site Info box at the left. The idea is, if you click the name of a theme on the left, it'll immediately switch to that theme, and it'll leave a cookie on your computer to ensure that this theme is kept for all pages in our network to load on your computer for a week. We figure the week is about enough time to ensure that sudden changes, like switching to Snow on a site-wide basis, is respected on all computers. Also, that week will allow us to remove certain themes as we feel, just by removing all reference to them in the sidebar and in the page links. Once we do that, we can use Subversion to schedule them for deletion.

The Wordpress theme should be easy, 'cause all I'll really have to do is import the styling from this site, and push all the contents into pre-existing containers. This won't work with CSS-impaired browsers - yet another reason for you to ditch IE6 and start using Firefox. That'll come after I figure out the theme switcher app.

That is Freakin' Sweet

Sunday, January 22nd, 2006 12:00 AM MST

OK, so I finally figured out how to do the automatically updating build numbers. It wasn't hard, since the explaination is in the Subversion book (Guess that'll teach me to RTFM, right?). So now, I'm working on putting it into all the files. I can't just put it into the functions.js file that I pull all the other variables out of, since then each page would reflect the build number of that particular file! Rather, I'm using that to provide the build number for the previous version, since the file is updated right after I commit changes for the new version.

I can see your eyes glazing over already.

New Crap on Your Screen

Friday, January 20th, 2006 12:00 AM MST

Welcome to the active development process of mattfast1 - the fast one! As you may notice, there's a couple new things on the screen. Here's where we're gonna take a few minutes and explain all the new things to you, and all the painstaking labors I had to go through to make it happen. Speaking of which, the tip jar is over there, to the left of you. Can't find it? That's because it's not here; it's on the blog.

We have built a new site information box. At first glance, this seems only to benefit the development team. In fact, much of the reason it was built was because the development team (i.e. the scattered brain of Matt) started clamoring for a way to instantly tell whether they were coding in the latest version. Therefore, when a new update is commited to the history, we advance the version number by another tenth (x.y.z+1).

However, that isn't a good enough system, because if some developer commits a new build to the database, that version stops being current (gee, ya think?!?). So, we just added a build number into it too, which reflects the version number pulled straight from the repository. At least, it's pulled right from the repository in theory. We're working on a way to pull it automagically; for now, we're just incrementing it manually.

Also, we show the default color theme of the website, and all additional available themes. In the future, this will be a theme switcher that changes your experience on every page of our site for some time, perhaps set to a week or something like that. Conveniently, we're also showing the most pressing project on the site, which is currently pulling the build number straight from the repository. Once we have it working, it'll work the same for quite a few years, which is why we're pursuing it so aggressively. After all, most of the other elements of the site will be outdated in a few years. Hooks into Subversion? They may last 10, 15 years - at which point we might be using some other system entirely!

Alright, I know I threw a lotta geek-speak at you in the last few paragraphs. Bottom line is, the site info box was built by the developers for the developers. However, it was built so that you can use it too. After all, if the site version changes while you're surfing someplace, you know stuff was changed. We always keep our revision notes at http://www.mattfast1.com/release-notes.txt for the latest revision, or (starting with v0.6; we're currently at v), we're keeping the release notes for ALL version changes at http://www.mattfast1.com/notes. We're too lazy to build an interface for that directory, so you'll just have to use the interface provided by Apache. All of these files are in the *.TXT format, and in the notes folder they will all be in the RELEASE-[ver].TXT format. Occasionally, they're entertaining.

New Ideas for a New Year

Thursday, January 5th, 2006 12:00 AM MST

Well, welcome to 2006! This year on mattfast1 - the fast one, we have more development planned than Wordpress.

First and foremost, we plan to eliminate any references in our products to the technologies we're using. URLs that include things like ".htm", ".css", and ".js"? They're gonna go to the bit bucket. Fear not, your old links won't stop functioning; just like when we moved to the new domain, we kept several redirection markers at our old place, designed to keep links pure and unbroken. So, that is our top goal this year. Also, we plan on moving this blog, that usually appears on the front page, to a seperate "development.mattfast1.com" domain, and getting new stuff on the front page. Perhaps we'll choose to spotlight the exclusive content we've secured by creating a contract with a somewhat popular Flash animation developer, Manga Otaku. Currently, we're developing a page for animations he has provided from his dA gallery; in the VERY near future, he's going to create some stuff that isn't found on his gallery.

Also, it appears my hosting company, Dreamhost, has quadrupled their disk space for all clients. However, that's not the really cool thing they did. They also OCTUPLED every client's bandwidth. That means that I have 20gb (plus, it grows by like 40mb a month) of disk space, and I now have 1tb (terabyte) of bandwidth. Anyone who knows something about the internet knows that 1tb translates to 1,000gb. So, in short, there's absolutely no way to go over your bandwidth limits or disk space. Why don't you sign up today? You could either do what I do, and pay two years in advance... that means it's only $7.95 a month. Wanna pay month-to-month, but don't want to pay the $50 setup fee? Your buddy mattfast1 has a solution. Just enter coupon code #coupon when you sign up, and we PAY YOUR SETUP FEES. (Note that this only works with a month-to-month plan. We're thinking about giving a couple months free on the yearly plan, but don't hold your breath.)

Anyway, that's our development plan for the year. Knowing me, I'll get a whole buncha new features done, and I won't do half the stuff on this list. Oh well, I guess that's how it goes. I'll just introduce a mess of new bugs and call it progress. What the heck. I'll be Microsoft for a while.


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