For the UI, I used the jquery.scrollable plugin for jQuery. The ability to scroll through the content using your mouse wheel, arrow keys or the page-wise navigator is pretty neat! And since it's jQuery, it's unobtrusive and cross-browser compatible. Getting the functionality right was a simple copy-paste of the example you see to your left; customising it to seamlessly blend in with the rest of the site, on the other hand, was a major pain. Took me the better part of a day to customize the CSS and replace all the images to get the look and feel right.
VarunAbhiram.com now also displays all the latest posts made on my blog in a neat and elegant fashion!
I had initially thought of writing a PHP script myself that would parse my blog's RSS feed and generate a list of the most recent posts, but a little crawling through Google and I came across a lot of little widgets that allow you to read a site's RSS feed and display them on a webpage very easily. They all had one problem though — they were not customizable at all. After some more searching, I found exactly what I was looking for — the Google Ajax Feed API. Very easy to use, very little code and highly customizable. Have a look at the final result on my site, it blends in so well!
Apart from the revamped homepage, there are a couple of other changes/enhancements as well —
- No more Snapshots. Most people I know found the floating dialogs annoying and removing it improved page loads by a couple of seconds.
- The Artwork Page now shows both the Traditional Art and the Digital Art together by default. You can use the Filter option to uh, filter content by Artwork Type.
- There's a funky new About Page with all the content that first time visitors will be interested in.
Please feel free to leave your comments — I'd love to hear what you all have to say! Oh and by the way, the drawings are courtesy Karthik (much thanks!), the comics were made by me.