The new Apike.ca finally leaves behind the static html files that I had been using for Drupal. I had a nice script that allowed me to template and generate those html files but it definitely held back what I was doing with the site.
There's a lot to like about Drupal after you beat it into submission and get it doing what you want. I've always thought it's handling of media to be bizarrely lacking. The combination of a filter and overloading the alt attribute allows me to pretend Drupal has a clue. This allows me be easily add credit and caption to an image. It also makes aligning them simple.
The big list of modules:
The theme I developed for the site was going to follow more directly from the old design. I call it "Forest." I had a fixed-width version of it in mind but, as is often the case, things organically came together a bit differently. I looked to Universe Today, Arstechnica and a couple other sites for inspiration.
I wanted to move away from embedding ads in page content (a huge pain and unsustainable) to large site-wide ads. So, I went with a large primary banner ad and a large secondary rectangular ad. What surprised me was how quickly that and a 20 pixel margin led to it looking more like Arstechnica than intended. About the only thing I could have done was having a larger content area but 640 pixels is a nice number.
The color scheme came out of randomly filtering an image of trees reflecting off the water that now graces the bottom of the site.
The previous site was not setup like a blog. In my mind, it was a resource page. So, the landing page was for directing to the different sections.
Before the previous site, I found about some free hosting and decided to try my hand at web design. I spent quite a few hours hand tweaking in the dark at night getting things looking just how I wanted things. What can I say except that I did this about 10 years ago.
I can only say that I've come a long way designing web pages.