Ordinarily at this time on a Friday morning, I’d be relentlessly pressing snooze button on my alarm clock in a futile battle against going to work. As indescribably exciting as that is, this morning I’ve been able to do something substantially more exciting; unless you’re new here, you’ve undoubtedly already noticed some things which are very different.
After 175 days of being nameless, RickBeckman.org is now known as Kingdom Front! Coinciding with the branding is also a change in the design of the site, eschewing K2 for the leaner, meaner Neoclassical. Various other changes abound as well, and honestly, I’m by no means done making them!
Kingdom Front‽ What the heck does that mean?
The name was heavily inspired by Bible studies which I’ve been leading in our home from the Gospel According to Mark. Jesus’ teachings in Mark that we’ve covered have been very hard hitting, and they are definitely of the “where the rubber meets the road” variety.
As an example, Jesus said in 3:34-35, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35Whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother,” (ESV).
Jesus here establishes that the Kingdom of God supersedes even biological family. In so doing, He creates a front — a line of division between the kingdom of this world and His Kingdom.
Therein is the inspiration for “Kingdom Front”; as a part of His Kingdom, I am called to stand on the battlefront of two opposing kingdoms. And always am I comforted by the thought that the gates of Hell never stood a chance.
Okay, enough about the name… How’s the site performing?
Perhaps the most significant reason I did this redesign was that I was dissatisfied with how poorly the site was performing. Pages routinely took anywhere from six to fifteen seconds to load; my Internet connection is via a cable modem, and frankly, I shuddered to think what it must be like to be browsing the site via a dial-up modem.
Browsing around now, it seems pages are loading with three seconds. The most substantial items to be downloaded are the randomly displayed header images; however, I ensured that these are cacheable. Unless you clear your browser’s cache or otherwise force the images to be refreshed from the server, they are sent with a five year cache header. That should help out any dial-up users who are regularly using the site.
Overall, the YSlow grade has gone from an F to a solid B on most pages; certainly the content of posts and/or comments will affect the grade, and it is just not worth the time to go through every single post and ensure that YSlow is giving it a good grade. The core site works swell, and that’s far more important.
If you’re so happy with the design, why does X, Y, and Z look so crappy?
Hey, how would you feel if I called your site crappy? I have feelings you know!
Hmm, okay, I admit, there may very well be things that look downright crappy. My test site didn’t have the wide variety of posted content that this site has, so I undoubtedly missed styling certain things. I do plan to go through the bulk of my archives here, cleaning up the markup to bring it in line with the new theme. Until that time, please be patient.
Hey, where’d the Cars toys collectors’ pages go?
They were hopelessly outdated and have been superseded for quite some time by Lightning McWiki. Requests for the old collectors’ pages will (should!) seamlessly redirect to an appropriate page at the wiki.
Well, I’m here; can I at least have a mint?
As far as keeping track of statistics here, I’ve decided to completely wipe the slate clean. I also decided to open up viewing the stats to the public; follow the “Mint” link in the footer of this page if you are curious enough to care!
Umm, did you know that A, B, and C are broken?
Maybe I do; maybe I don’t, so I’d greatly appreciate it if you dropped a comment below letting me know what’s screwed up so that I can work on fixing it. :D This was a bit of an ambitious refactoring of the site — I tweaked plugin code, fidgeted with just about every aspect of the theme, dabbled in the mystical voodoo of Apache rewrites, and more — so if everything is actually running properly here, I’ll truly be surprised.
I really do hope you enjoy the new style of the site, and I appreciate any and all feedback. Be brutal!