Now Boarding

Now Boarding

Here is one of the main reasons I decided to rebuild my site with ExpressionEngine: this new framework now allows me to publish entries that are primarily pictorial.

Anyone who’s read my blog with any kind of regularity over the years knows that I’m prone to verbosity in my rambling. Modesty aside, I’m proud of whatever facility with words that I have, but I’m honest with myself in knowing that brevity is not among my strong suits. As a result, blogging has always been time-intensive for me: I’ll often labor over posts for hours and expend many words in making a point when only just a few minutes and a few sentences were truly necessary.

So here finally is a solution that, happily, capitalizes on the inherent truth in the equivalence of pictures to words. I say ‘happily’ because, efficiency aside, the ability to publish pictorial entries gets me back in the business of expressing myself visually. I do, after all, make my living in large part as a visual communicator. For years, while blogging, I found it very difficult to find an outlet for that side of my authorial ambitions. Hopefully, this will help.

Of course, this was made much easier thanks to the remarkable flexibility of ExpressionEngine. In order to accommodate these fundamentally different kinds of posts alongside my other posts, I simply combined multiple “weblogs” into a single, coherent flow. Easy. I also needed to make separate provisions for pictures of landscape and portrait orientations with custom CSS. Check. For those looking for my in-depth assessment of working with ExpressionEngine, this is not it, but suffice it to say, it works great for this kind of stuff. Look for more of these pictorial posts soon… probably accompanied by fewer words than this, though.

  1. EE is, indeed, a whole lot more flexible than most blogging platforms — and one of the big maifestations of that is letting you define custom fields so that your posts aren’t blog posts at all, but something different (photos, recipes, whatever). I still, though, for the life of me, can’t figure out why you have to create “weblogs.” I know it’s purely semantic, but having to click a button like “new weblog” or “new weblog entry” when I’m adding a photo or recipe just feels really inelegant to me.

    (This isn’t a dig on EE, really. It’s an annoyance, sure — but overall I definitely feel like EE is the best of the lightweight, off-the-shelf, blogging-oriented CMSes.)

    Maybe I’m just picky. 🙂

  2. @Jeff — EE allows you to customize that bit of semantics. Navigate to “Admin > System Preferences > General Configuration” and look at the bottom for the “Section Designation Word” field. I agree that “weblog” is a poor choice; one of my first steps in every fresh EE install is to change it to “section.”

  3. Your RSS feed, however, sucks.

    Aside from personally hating the summaries-then-click-thru method, it doesn’t even /say/ it’s a summary. I thought you just had a zillion oddly-short entries today.

    And, no images, so these image-centric posts are extra sad.

  4. All this talk of EE lately has my feathers in a ruffle. And, I agree with Steven Hoober that your RSS feeds are less than ideal. (We demand perfection from you, Khoi.) I also thought they were all a bunch of miscellaneous links to non-Subtraction articles. I only saw the fullness of this post by looking at your homepage.

  5. Looks great and I’m really happy that you finally included the short entries in your RSS feed and on the home page (I’ve been following your blog for quite some time now and wasn’t aware of them at all until like 3 months ago!). Can’t wait for the cleaned up version of RSS.

  6. @Chris Jones: Thanks! I wasn’t aware of that. Still, I would like to be able to set this on a per-“weblog” basis. Clicking “add section” still feels inelegant to me. I want to click, “add entry” for a weblog post, “add photo” for a post like this one, and “add recipe” when I add a recipe. I know it’s just semantics, but it really bothers me. 🙂

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