is a blog about design, technology and culture written by Khoi Vinh, and has been more or less continuously published since December 2000 in New York City. Khoi is currently Vice President of User Experience at Wildcard and co-founder of Kidpost. Previously, Khoi was co-founder and CEO of Mixel (acquired by Etsy, Inc.), Design Director of The New York Times Online, and co-founder of the design studio Behavior, LLC. He is the author of “Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design,” and was named one of Fast Company’s “fifty most influential designers in America.” Khoi lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and three children. You can reach him through one of the services below.+
Not long after I moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn, I had that feeling familiar to most everyone who similarly relocates: “This is great. Why didn’t I do this sooner?” Once you’ve given up today’s Manhattan and its generally not-worth-it hassles, you understand how much more livable life is across the East River.
Well, I’ve got something like that feeling again right now, as I take the very first steps towards porting this site from Movable Type over to ExpressionEngine. (This is part of my recently stated desire to resolve the general slowness on this site.) It’s a daunting transition — especially for me, someone with more ambition than free time or technical facility.
To my surprise however, given a few short hours, I’ve gotten much further in getting ExpressionEngine to replicate my existing functionality than I thought I could. I literally started with zero knowledge of the software at the beginning of the week, and with less than six hours’ worth of labor, I’ve hobbled together a rough but serviceable, EE-powered re-creation of Subtraction.com.
By way of illustration, here is a visual overview of my productivity to date: below, early screen grabs from the working home page and article templates I’ve been tinkering with. Everything in red is static and untouched, essentially. But the black areas are currently powered by ExpressionEngine. (Some similar functionality, like the navigation, work on one template but don’t yet work on the other.) The basic functionality is in place.
I’ve got a long way to go, as you can see. By no stretch of the imagination am I nearly ready to debut this new incarnation to the world. And, it’s worth pointing out that I may yet run aground on technical hurdles I won’t be able to steer past. But for right now, it’s going very smoothly. Compared to what I’m accustomed to, ExpressionEngine is quite elegant. And fast. It’s also a lot of fun. Why didn’t I do this sooner?+