Mar
6

Welcome to My New Site!

Posted by Aaron West at 11:24 AM in ColdFusion, Personal, Site News, Blogging

Two weeks ago today I brought aaronwest.net live bringing all my content from trajiklyhip.com and trajiklyhip.com/blog to a brand new, consolidated interface on a new domain. Before I talk about my new site and what I like about it, I want to give a (somewhat) brief overview describing my sites evolution over the last 8 years. Keep reading after the break.

I started blogging at trajiklyhip.com/blog in 2002 using the CGI based software Greymatter. In addition to the blog I was writing ColdFusion and Flash tutorials at trajiklyhip.com. Towards the end of 2002 I began updating all portions of the site with the exception of my blog. A few weeks later I had updated nearly all of trajiklyhip.com, including my blog into a single interface. I was blogging with Greymatter and writing tutorials using my own ColdFusion/Flash paging system.

Three years later, in October of 2005, I made huge changes on my blog. I moved my site to a Linux server on HostMySite, upgraded to ColdFusion MX 7, and completely redesigned my blog while moving it from Greymatter to Ray Camden's BlogCFC. Running my blog on ColdFusion and BlogCFC brought me into the world of content syndication with RSS as well as post commenting, blog subscriptions, and more. The downside to these changes was nothing was done to the rest of my site. My tutorials and articles stayed in the same look and feel from 2002.

In December of 2008 I wrote a blog post that reviewed events of the year. At the end of that post I wrote about my plans to consolidate my blog and the rest of my site into one common interface. It was a goal I had for 2009 that I did not accomplish. I would begin working on the site, realize how much work was ahead of me and get discouraged. I did manage to rewrite much of my tutorials into an MVC layer that proved to be reusable in 2010.

Another big change to trajiklyhip.com came in July of 2009. I had been unhappy on HostMySite's shared Linux hosting and had wanted to move to my own server for about a year. I wrote about the change in this blog post, which included getting my site on Ubuntu Linux, Apache 2, MySQL 5, and ColdFusion 8 Enterprise on Linode. I described the change as phase one and wrote about phase two involving moving all the content - the blog and otherwise - into one brand new user interface. That was in July and the final push to aaronwest.net didn't happen until two weeks ago in February of 2010.

To be honest, I'm not sure why it took 8 months to get everything up on this new domain. I'm also not sure (exactly) why I found the motivation to finally get the project completed. Regardless, it's done and here's what I like about my new site.

There are two things I really like about my new site. First, everything is under one common user interface. After having my blog split from the rest of my site for 3 years it's nice to have everything consolidated. Visitors can get information on my projects, learn about where I'm speaking, find me on social networks, read my old tutorials, and learn about books I've been involved with or written. I've also continued to make it easy to contact me by providing the same contact form with a new Google Voice "call me" widget.

Second, the interface is incredibly simplistic and clean. I wound up purchasing a Wordpress theme and converting the PHP and design to BlogCFC in ColdFusion. It wasn't a hard task, but it was very time consuming. I really like how there's a ton of whitespace and the footer is a favorite of mine too. It shows my latest tweets and provides insight into the activity on my blog with panels for recent posts, popular posts over the last 30 days, and recent comments.

Other things that were important to me in the transition were not losing links to trajiklyhip.com that are spread throughout the Internet. To keep this from happening I wrote a series of Apache redirects to ensure folks accessing pages on the old domain are intelligently redirected to the appropriate page on the new domain. Accomplishing this took a massive amount of testing but it was well worth it to ensure the organic position of my site remains mostly unchanged. Finally, I want to mention that I did explore the use of ColdFusion frameworks to power the non-blog portions of my site. I looked into the new FW/1 as well as ColdBox. I was close to using FW/1 because of its simplicity and ease of use but decided against it based on some limitations it has with deep SES URLs. In the end, the paging system that's part of BlogCFC won me over. You can essentially create any structured URL you want (site.com/page.cfm/this/that/somethingelse/whatever) and map content to it. Using the mechanisms built into the blog code helped me get my site online sooner and without a bunch of fuss.

I'm very happy to finally have this project completed and out of OmniFocus. It took me much longer than expected but I feel good about how it turned out. I have a few small tasks to complete such as making decisions on whether to bring back some of the old sidebar content, but these are ridiculously simple now that the site itself is online.

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This entry was posted by Aaron West on March 6, 2010 at 11:24 AM. It was filed in the following categories: ColdFusion, Personal, Site News, Blogging. It has been viewed 9579 times and has 7 comments.

7 Responses to Welcome to My New Site!

  1. Well worth the effort. The new site looks fantastic.

  2. Nice site. I like the clean monochromatic look. I to have been sitting on the fence with regards to upgrading my site. Afraid of broken links and losing Google rank.

  3. srikanth M

    Good site , Efforts came fruit full.

  4. Nice.

  5. Thanks for taking the time to read the post and comment folks.

  6. Nice job on the site. Keep up the good work.

  7. Wow! Taking a Wordpress theme and converting the PHP and design to BlogCFC in ColdFusion is amazing.

    I am trying to put an email address with my web name with dreamweaver and going crazy trying to figure that one out. LOL

    Stephen King