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Tue, 28 Jul 2009

New Face for the Website

Not sure if you do follow the debian-www mailinglist, but from time to time there are people mailing about that they would like to give our website a new face. Most of the time people just do some mockup in some painting tool without realizing that there is a lot more behind it, with respect to translation and sublayers and accessibility requirements. After mentioning these kind of things, most people go away.

Then there was Kalle Söderman. He took a deeper look behind it, started working for himself in 2007, did notice that there is not only www.d.o but also packages.d.o (or rather wesnoth as example), wiki.d.o, planet.d.o, bugs.d.o and others too. So he started to think about something that might work cross-service, and actually did work with the code and not a painting tool. And even though he didn't hear much from people when he presented it first he kept thinking about it.

This did manage to catch my interest and I started to think about how to move forward from here. I started to contact him and started to mail back and forth about his proposal, started to set up some small testing sites (again: testing sites. They aren't meant to be finished, likewise the proposal from Kalle isn't finished yet), and this is where we are currently: On packages.deb.at/wesnoth you can see a clone of our pkg.d.o that uses his template, feel free to exchange wesnoth with your favourite package—even though be notified that it doesn't get its data regularly updated, I don't want people to use it instead of the main site and that it somehow currently doesn't show packages from the main archive but only the external sources that are used. It's just there to get you the idea.

And we also have a working testing theme for the wiki which works directly in there (thanks to Paul Wise for installing the part that needs to sit on the server side): Follow the instructions on Kalle's page about the wiki if you like to have it enabled.

I am currently trying to get something for testing set up for bugs.d.o and www.d.o; for the later I have to send kudos to Martin Zobel-Helas for giving me a prod and a system to do it on (even though he didn't originally knew that I would want to abuse it for the theme testing ;)). For the time being you can find some more of Kalle's thoughts on his Site about his proposals together with some few pages as examples, but I will keep you lot updated about major progress on this in here.

The work that I invest here is mostly about finding out how much work it actually would be to get things changed, and also because I like what Kalle did. He invested a lot of time and I guess the outcome deserves to have some further exposure. Unlike than in other areas things aren't carved in stone yet, which even Kalle is full aware of, but things have to get started somewhere. Enjoy, send (constructive) feedback (like The distinction on the new pkg.d.o proposal between Exact hits and Other hits isn't clear enough!) and acknowledge that others are doing stuff that many people in the last years did chicken out from.

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