Site updates

I’ve made a few changes to the site during the past couple of weeks. Some of these changes are cosmetic, some are under-the-hood improvements.

The first change you will notice is that the design of the site header has been revised. By adding an inset CSS drop shadow to the header, I was able to bring the actual content area into better focus. Posts should always be the most prominent pieces of content on any weblog.

Another cosmetic has been made to text present on the site. All headings and paragraphs now sport a slight shadow, so that text “pops” and appears more crisp to the reader. If you’ve barely noticed anything, worry not — this shadowing is meant to be as subtle as possible.

I’ve also made selecting and copying text more pleasing to the eye. Users whose browser supports the ::selection pseudo-element will see a pleasant light blue background with black, non-shadowed text when highlighting something.

In addition to cosmetic changes, I’ve made some code changes as well. First, I’ve stopped using the Modernizr Javascript library on the site. Modernizr, though capable of much more, was primarily used on the site to support browsers that had not yet implemented HTML5 elements such as <header> and <article>. Nowadays, most modern browsers support these elements, so I elected to remove the script. As such, less Javascript is loaded, speeding up the site.

To further enhance performance, I enabled the use of Apache’s mod_rewrite to provide an efficient caching solution (the BarneyBlog has an excellent post on the benefits of using mod_rewrite).

Last, but definitely not least, resources are compressed using gzip via mod_deflate, resulting in less information being sent over the network. This improvement, along with mode_rewrite, should provide a noticeable boost in perceived speed for all users.

As always, feel free to contact me regarding any changes to the site. Reporting any unusual behaviour is particularly welcome.

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