written by Mike Shea on 8 April 2001
If you have been to Liquidtheater before, you probably noticed a pretty significant change in the layout. The site recently went through a client side overhaul. Basically, all the HTML and stylesheet code that is downloaded by your browser was changed, but none of the actual site structure or content.
Why did it change? A couple of reasons. One, I had a few little features I wanted to add to the homepage and the last design didnt allow that to happen. You will find a couple extra boxes on the homepage including a list of "Hottest Articles" and a "Latest Updates" box. These will offer new users a chance to find the best of the best on the site without having to surf through hundreds of other articles. The Latest Updates box (portlet for you buzz word junkies) is powered by the liquidtheater headline syndication system. If you host another site, you can pull up the latest liquidtheater updates from the Liquidtheater RSS file. You can also get a HTML Version Here. Here is more information on headline syndication.
The site also was reduced so that a single version of the site can be viewed on any browser on the internet including all versions of Netscape, Internet Explorer, Opera, Lynx, Web TV, Avant Go for portable devices and many others. To download the site to your PDA, just point it at the homepage. No need to find a separate version anymore! The site is completely styled using Cascading Stylesheets version 2.0 and uses XHTML 1.0 Transitional for its source code. This allows for a much cleaner and faster load to newer clients such as Netscape 6, Internet Explorer 5 and Opera 5. Older browsers may see a very different version that will frankly look like crap. The key is that the content is all there, though. Even though it looks like junk, everyone should be able to get to the information. Conforming to web standards was the key to this whole adventure and accessibility was also a big motivater in this design. For more about web standards, see the Web Standards Project.
I know these changes might not be that popular to some, but hopefully after getting used to it, you may find that the enhanced speed and ease of use will be a benefit rather than a problem. Feel free to send me your comments, suggestions and any bugs you find.
If you have any interest in the back end technology behind the site, read my Liquidtheater Technology editorial.
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