Introducing Single Malt

Jay is now Single Malt (Which should be obvious by now). The old address at still works, as well as Which address you chose is entirely up to you – all the permlinks and feeds will work with either address as well.

As I mentioned before, I’ve decided to do a little rebranding to freshen things up. Jay has been around in one form or another for four years, and while the old site worked, I wanted to go with something different – and this is the result of that process.

The content won’t be changing – I still intend to cover roughly the same mix of international and national politics, with the occasional snarky aside.

Rebooting The Design

You’ll notice the new site breaks some of the old conventions of blogging design. This is quite deliberate. I want to get away from the old 4 piece blog design trend (header, content, sidebar, footer) and get into something new. This new layout features some dramatic new branding, and a new take on the formulaic conventions of the blog. (Yes, I know how pretentious that sounds…).

(The inspiration for this new design comes from this analysis of blog design trends.)

First, we have the new “cover girl”. She comes courtesy of iStockPhoto and the very talented photographer Rebecca Ellis. I figure a little eye candy is a good thing, and the combination of attractive women drinking good alcohol is 99.9% effective in attracting the interest of male readers. The new logo is inspired by the design of whisky bottle labels — and by now if you’re not detecting a theme you’re probably not paying attention…

Below the featured article is a more traditional blog design, with excerpts of recent entries as well as the sidebar.

And it’s the sidebar that has the coolest new feature of this blog. The live search feature uses that great new designer buzzword AJAX . Without going into a long and dorky explanation of what AJAX is, it’s basically a way of taking a piece of content and shoving into a webpage without making the user reload the page. If you’ve used GMail or Google Maps, then you’ve seen AJAX in action. It’s a very promising technology. I’m hoping to expand the live search feature to do some more interesting things as time goes on.

The archive links are also hidden by default – just click on the header to drop down the list of archives. This helps save space without being as annoying as the old form-based drop downs.


Amazingly enough, this page does validate as XHTML 1.0 Traditional for those people who are obsessive about code validation. Obviously, the site uses JavaScript DOM scripting rather heavily with the search function. As always, the structure of the site is designed with CSS rather than using tables. Using tables for web design is so 1996.

The WordPress templates are heavily hacked up, but use no custom PHP – everything done here that isn’t done in JavaScript uses WordPress’ built-in functions.

The site was produced largely through hand-coding from an original Photoshop mockup, and was made entirely on my trusty little iBook.

Looking Ahead

Obviously, this is a pretty substantial change to the site. Should I suddenly decide that this was a really bad idea, the old sites no more than a few settings away. However, sometimes a change is good, and I’ve been itching to do something different for some time now – and this seems as good a time as any.

So, grab a glass, pour yourself a drink, and enjoy…

2 thoughts on “Introducing Single Malt

  1. I’ll drink to that!

    The redesign looks good.

    Of course, us old Chief’s will drink to anything!!!

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