February 16th, 2010
Last week, Permanent Defense celebrated its eighth anniversary, which means the project is only twenty four months away from being a decade old. As we were contemplating the significance of the occasion a few weeks ago, we decided it would be fitting to begin PD’s ninth continuous year of operations by giving it a new virtual home. To that end, we’ve completely reengineered and rebuilt this site, giving it a new engine, new transmission, new body, and a new coat of paint.
We’ve kept the content and what we consider to be the key, distinctive elements of the old site’s identity, but other than that, everything has been overhauled.
Version 8, or Camano, is by far the most ambitious reorganization and relaunch Permanent Defense has ever undergone. It’s also the most solid: we’re pretty confident that we’re not going to need to retool on this scale for a long time, if ever, because the free software stack we’re using makes it easy to implement and roll out improvements to the functionality and to the look-and-feel.
In its Web 1.0 incarnation, Permanent Defense was a collection of static content that had to be updated manually. As the site grew, maintenance became a big chore for us, and it became hard to keep everything accessible and functional. But in the future, maintenance won’t be so time-consuming, because Permanent Defense is now powered by the best content management system ever created… WordPress!
(Yes, we’ve finally gone Web 2.0!)
With WordPress now responsible for storing and serving content, we no longer need to worry about archiving old pages and posts to a separate subdomain to keep the primary Permanent Defense site manageable. What we’ll use the archives for is to preserve the visual identity of the old site, and show what it looked like at various points in time. The archives will basically be a series of time capsules.
Although we’re launching Camano today, we’re not done with the new site yet. We still have many more posts and pages to import, and it’s slow going, because we’re cleaning up the code as we go so it’s lean, mean, and compliant with W3C standards. Expect to see some empty placeholder pages in places for some time to come, but rest assured we’re working on finishing what we’ve begun. We want to be consistent and thorough… it just takes time!
Finally, here’s a quick overview of some of the biggest changes:
- As should be evident, the site has a brand-new look-and-feel. We kept the navigation menu and the main logo the same, but pretty much everything else has changed. The site is now rendered in a larger gray Georgia font, which looks more readable and professional than the smaller red Tahoma we were using. Tahoma is still in use on sidebars, but it’s gray too… not red. The footer is also totally revamped. It contains shortcuts to Media Center categories, a tag cloud, links to other NPI projects, site search, and an image selected at random from one of our pages.
- We’ve added a rather comprehensive biography of Tim Eyman, which presents a history of his activities beginning in the late 1990s. It’s required reading for any progressive in Washington who isn’t familiar with what Tim has been up to.
- Research and Reports now houses our investigative work, which we’ll be doing more of in the future. Tim Eyman’s Failure Chart is there, along with our in-depth report on the demise of I-917 and our analysis of propositions on the 2004 primary ballot.
- We’ve combined the Press Box, Release Center, and the Journal into the Media Center. The Media Center is Permanent Defense’s blog and news feed. It contains the statements and advisories we send out, along with occasional analysis of right wing initiatives that we’re fighting. All of our prior releases going back to 2002 can be found in the Media Center.
- Finally, Essays & Position Papers is where our “big picture” analysis from years past can be found (as opposed to the news-style posts in the Media Center, which usually chronicle or react to some development that falls within the scope of the project). All essays going back to 2002 will eventually be restored to their original home here.
That about sums it up. We’re excited about this overhaul and we hope it makes the site more readable and useful for voters, supporters, and reporters.