Blog - Goodbye frameset, hello PHP!

January 13, 2022 - 7:00 PM

It’s about time, right? As much as I have a soft spot for frames out of nostalgia for a specific fansite I used to like, it’s such a terrible way of making a website even for the time. I’ve now changed the site to use PHP includes for the sidebar instead, as well as for the footer. You probably won’t notice any visual changes on your end (well, aside from lacking the fixed sidebar position on IE6), but it took me a whole bunch of hours today to make this as I had to learn the basics of PHP and then make a bunch of boring edits to all the site’s pages. But basically the end result is that now the sidebar is seamlessly integrated into each page on the server side, and I’m still able to get the benefit of editing the sidebar as a separate HTML file that applies to every page.

I’m considering using PHP to add a bit of additional scripting to the site, but mainly just for small things like making the sidebar show which section you’re currently in. I did also separate the home page’s updates and blog sections to their own files, but I only really did that so that its changes are tracked separately on the private Git repo that I develop the site on. But other than that, there aren’t really any noticeable changes to speak of, particularly because of how little is on the site in the first place… honestly, I’m only writing this blog post in the first place because I want at least someone to notice the disproportionate amount of work it took to make such a barely noticeable change!

But hey, one of the biggest benefits of switching away from the frameset (and the main reason I did it) is that I’m now actually able to link to blog posts by their URLs! With the frameset, I used to be unable to do that as it would mean that the sidebar would be entirely missing, which really isn’t ideal when I wanna show off the site. I’m really proud of this tiny little site for some reason, so I want to make sure people can see the whole thing!

The mobile site should also be better now, as framesets are an especially ridiculous idea on modern mobile browsers, and it requires an entirely separate link compared to the main index. The mobile layout should now just appear whenever you’re on a sufficiently narrow mobile device, and should be much more seamless. I also made a bunch of tweaks to the mobile CSS, so hopefully it should look and work a bit better too! I plan on eventually redesigning the navigation bar, but for now it's the same one as before, even though it might potentially cause issues on narrow enough devices. There's also a bug that only seems to appear in the ThinkPads blog post where images on the left column of the image table are smaller than the ones on the right on mobile, still trying to figure that one out.

As for the promised site updates, I’m still thinking about how I’m going to handle the Projects section, and there’s another blog post I’m working on that spun off from the ThinkPads post, which is going to be about my personal opinions on KDE Plasma and might end up having more general Linux stuff, though I’m not quite sure yet. Please bear with me here! I promise there will be more stuff on this site eventually!

But for now, I hope you enjoy the site as it is!

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