Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The TidBITS 2018 Infrastructure

Adam C. Engst:

After years of planning and months of work with our developer, Eli Van Zoeren, we’ve finally pulled back the curtains on our new Internet infrastructure. If you’re reading this in email, head over to the TidBITS Web site to take a look and click around — all 28 years of TidBITS articles and comments are there.


Our new system relies on the Paid Memberships Pro plug-in for WordPress and uses Stripe for the actual payment processing.


Designed by the talented Geoff Allen of the Denver-based design house FUNISOK, the logotype starts with Avant Garde, but Geoff tweaked every letter so, for instance, the first T’s horizontal bar slides into the i’s stylized dot, which is meant to evoke the leaf in the Apple logo. Each letter has both sharp and rounded edges so they flow well together. And we’re using a deep, rich purple to separate the BITS from the Tid, tying the two together with color in the leaf as well. You may also notice the new square favicon, which connects the black T and the purple B.


First off, all our ads are hosted and served locally, which means that there are no trackers associated with them [even the social media buttons]. We’re offended at all the ad tracking on the Internet, in part because it’s an unnecessary privacy violation that hasn’t even resulted in good ads. (The only off-site JavaScript we use is for Google Analytics, which we use for site statistics.)


At the bottom of every article, you’ll see a Read More About This Topic row that contains up to six related articles — click one to read the article. We’re relying on a WordPress plug-in called SearchWP to identify related articles algorithmically, and we can set them manually as well.


Comments still appear at the bottom of articles for quick reading, but if you want to participate in the discussion, you’ll end up clicking over to the Discourse server, which is running on an entirely different host for technical reasons. […] Finally, TidBITS Talk has been a mailing list for its 20-year history, but we’re moving it to Discourse as well.

I love these behind-the-scenes articles. The new design looks great. Areas for improvement: removing the excessive <span> tags and making the archives more easily browsable, e.g. by date or headline.

Update (2018-04-04): See also: New TidBITS site feedback and ideas for archive browsing.

Update (2018-04-17): See also: Unco.

1 Comment RSS · Twitter

Even as the important of Apple technology has become greatly reduced in my life, there's a few sites I keep going back to because of the superb writing and content. Your blog is one of them clearly, but Tidbits is another big one. Glad to see they are still plugging away year after year. Not afraid to adapt, making changes as necessary.

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