F5! F5! or: What I Did On My Holidays. • 31 December 2007 • The SnowBlog

F5! F5! or: What I Did On My Holidays.

Phew, and phew again. This Christmas I have mainly been up to my elbows in code, sprucing up the website all ready for 2008. And here it is! Press f5 if you can't see any difference. As is the natural way of things, Rob has written some of the most elegant XSL you can imagine which I've used to automatically create some of the new pages that you'll see if you take a look around. Everything's changed, from the CSS to the structure. There's a new section on our authors, which will be added to over the coming months. (Snowbooks authors: take a look around, and if you have any extra content that you'd like to share with visitors to Snowbooks.com, email it to me and I'll put it up.) For instance, if you visit Sarah Bower's page you can read two chapters that were edited out of Needle in the Blood. Bonus content! W00t! It's now (hopefully) much easier to buy our books from snowbooks.com, since I've got PayPal buttons for each book. There's an Offers page too, which I'll keep updated with some super deals on our books. Oh, and it's pretty much entirely XHTML and CSS compliant (there's the occasional glitch from third party forms and such like, but hey, 95% ain't bad). There's a whole new section launching SnowAngels, too - a bunch of services that we've been providing other publishers for a while but which I wanted to bring together more coherently. See some of the covers we've designed for other publishers, and watch how easily I create 50 html files using XSL. The most important thing about this new-look website is that all the data comes straight from our APM bibliographic database which spits out an ONIX (XML) file at the click of a button. There's no re-keying, no duplications, no out of date information (unless it's out of date in the database! Point is, we have to update just one source of data, then everything else is current.) It's the future, kids - and now that SnowAngels is up and running, you can get us to help you make the most of your ONIX data just like this. Drop me a line if you're interested. What else, what else. A splash of new CSS and images for the blog, as you can see. I did, actually, completely upgrade from Movable Type to Wordpress - but this morning I realised that all the permalinks where people have linked to us from would be broken. I thought there'd be a plug-in or something to fix it, but I couldn't find anything. And Wordpress runs on PHP which is just plain weird. So I flipped back. The lesson there is to plan ahead properly - another one for my New Year Resolutions list. There are bound to be a few errors, so please do let me know if you find anything broken, or wrong, or weird. Prizes to people who find really awesome mistakes! Would love to hear what you think of it - but only if you like it. (I'm only half-joking. No, really, ideas for improvements always welcome, as we'll be tinkering with it for a few more months.) It's weird, coming back to interacting after being immersed in a big project for a week or so, especially when the email's slowed down to a trickle over the holidays. It's been really enjoyable to focus on just one thing, and do it properly. I suppose that everyone goes back to work on Wednesday, so the email and phone calls will start up again, but I'm glad I've done this huge project now because I probably wouldn't have had the time to do it any other time of the year. That feeling that you get when you've walked a long way, and you look back over the hills and dales and feel quite chuffed that you can't even see your starting point on the horizon, you've come so far? That's how I feel about this website upgrade. Blimey, I hope you like it. And I hope it sells some more books...


The SnowBlog is one of the oldest publishing blogs, started in 2003, and it's been through various content management systems over the years. A 2005 techno-blunder meant we lost the early years, but the archives you're reading now go all the way back to 2005.

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