RickBeckman.org » Kingdom Front

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.

Accord­ing to YSlow, which pre­vi­ous­ly gave this site a pret­ty low rat­ing, the only prob­lems which exist now are so minor, I’m ignor­ing them for the time being; the prob­lems main­ly con­sist of objects — such as JavaScript or Flash — not being sent with future cache headers.

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!

4 thoughts on “RickBeckman.org » Kingdom Front”

  1. Hey Rick! Glad to see the new site is up and run­ning. I mixed stay­ing up with sleep last night, but my body is now say­ing I need to sleep again. :)

  2. Were this an ordi­nary week, I’d be walk­ing in the front door of work right about now. :P

    We’ll see you this after­noon, hope­ful­ly. I’m get­ting excit­ed for Clover­field!

    Now I’ve got­ta go clean up our liv­ing room. :P (And yes, I know, we don’t have to clean up just for you guys… Whether you come over or not, it needs it!)

  3. Still plan­ning on “Game Night” after the movie either way, but you are right-no need to clean for us.

  4. The redesign is def­i­nite­ly faster and the new look has the nice min­i­mal­is­tic look to it, and i love the slo­gan ‘The Gates of Hell Nev­er Stood a Chance’.

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Rick Beckman