Letters from Somnolescent July 8, 2020

The Somnolescent Retablening is Complete!

by mariteaux

You might notice the blog looks a tiny bit different than when you last visited! (Indeed, it might be broken altogether, but I can’t fix your cache issues. Or maybe I can, stay tuned.) That’s because Letters From Somnolescent has made the jump, backwards, not forwards, into the 20th century.

Letters from Somnolescent on Retrozilla

You see, despite anti-obsolescence being one of the core ideals as described in our manifesto, Letters From Somnolescent and somnolescent.net were built in decidedly non-older browser-friendly ways. Grid and flexbox for layout purposes, forcing HTTPS, modern-only web fonts and scripts, the works. It was sad say we had a Gopher server, used IRC and MSN, yet didn’t support browsers any older than 2013.

Thus, the retablening began. Both these two sites (and my personal site) were rebuilt to use (yes!) table layouts, and everything was targeted to work on around Gecko 1.8.1 (so Firefox 2.0 or RetroZilla). While these aren’t the oldest browsers around, they do still run on Windows 98, 2000, and XP and I can’t imagine hobbyists sticking with anything older for serious web browsing. I’ve also confirmed things mostly work on IE6, even if they’re not the prettiest.

somnolescent.net in its "new" form

While redoing the blog, I also took the time to go back to the initial inspiration for the Letters From Somnolescent theme, Diane Patterson’s online diary The Paperwork. Prior to the existence of proper blogs, the internet was home to so-called “online diaries“, the difference between which I have no clue. Nevertheless, I didn’t do so hot of a job remaking the theme in grid, and the font was kinda ugly too. This time (since The Paperwork. was already a table layout), I used that as a base, keeping closer to the original. A very heavily modified base, but credit where it’s due. (I was also finally able to get the damn date to show up in the proper spot on the page, which I’m very pleased with.)

Things are admittedly not perfect just yet; images in posts are only loading sporadically on posts in RetroZilla (though they all work fine on Vivaldi), and I’m in touch with DreamHost support to see why I can’t load the top-level somnolescent.net site over insecure HTTP. Nevertheless, it’s a major leap ahead in keeping our sites accessible in as many places as possible.

If you’d like to read about my experience rebuilding the other site (especially from the more Netscape JavaScript end of things, go read “The One Imperfect Side of You” on my Scratchpad. Otherwise, go fire up your old Vista machines and have a peek. If you don’t have an old Vista machine, go get one.

Tags: blog, WordPress,

About mariteaux

Somnolescent's webmaster with way too much to write about and a stack of CDs he'll never finish.

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