Hi! Do you remember blogs? Well, this used to be one. Now it just serves as an archive for my multiple Twitter accounts.
I’m happy. Nah, just kidding. But I found a new toy. Ever since Macromedia launched ColdFusion (I think it was ColdFusion, but I may be confused), I’ve been drooling at one of its functionalities: server-generated title images. (Yes, I can hear the complaints from a few in the back. I’ll care when Windows XP has real font anti-aliasing and when HTML has embedded fonts. For now, you’ll have to do with images.) A dream for me (and many a webdesigner), because of the reasons listed in the parentheses above. Full control over the display of headers: which designer wouldn’t dream of this?
I had completely forgotten about it, but every time I plan a site redesign (oh, I was tired of the previous layout, it looked like I borrowed granny’s wallpaper, and that concept really doesn’t fit my current mood — see how everything is grey now? that’s much better) I’m back to this problem: how do I make pretty headers? This time, as I felt like getting myself a bit busy, I checked out the PHP documentation for True Type font usage (I remembered there was something like this, but never really studied it). Then I did a phpinfo() and… I was baffled. Yes, my hosting company does support FreeType, the library used to render True Type text in PHP! Long story short (well, too late for being short), after a desperate hunt for information about how to make FreeType work despite the servers’ restrictions (hint: the PHP functions require the full path to the TTF file; since realpath is disabled here, I had to use $document root), I managed to get my system working. See the date headers here in the blog? They’re generated by a script on demand (and cached in a big messy folder that I guess I’ll have to organize someday). You can’t imagine how good that feels for me. I don’t know how long FreeType has been enabled on this server, but I wish I had looked into it before.
So there you go. Blog dates are images again, but they use only one image per date. All headers on other pages are pictures too, and I can change them any way I like without having any administrative stuff to do. So cool. And the design is grey, because that’s what it should be. I like this design. I should stop trying to make designs that aren’t my style. But I don’t want to, I’ve done pretty much everything that was, so I do have to explore other paths. Pixel patterns were one of those paths, and I’m glad I’m back home.
P.S. I knew I had stolen the accolades somewhere, but I didn’t remember where. Uh, sorry. It’s six in the morning, too late to make a new version anyway.
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