Studium Excitare Developments

A note posted by Caleb Bassett

Greetings to all! It's been a long time since our site last received an update – we feel it was too long. For that we apologize. I'd like to take an opportunity to go over some of the changes that we are undertaking with Studium Excitare.

A New Look
As you no doubt notice, the website looks a lot different than it used to. We think the new layout serves the publication well. We were pleased with the look of our last site, but the overall design was a little impractical for the web. For starters, there was no place to put a sidebar, and this made setting up a useful navigation system nigh impossible, and that's no good. We've fixed that. Now you will find a sidebar with helpful links and navigation on every page of the site.

Secondly, with this new look and feel we've worked to follow accepted web standards and best practices to the best of our ability. We're not blind to the fact that the way people access web content is changing. With the advent of more mobile browsers and other means of accessing the internet, we want to be able to meet those needs and standards-based design is the first step in that process.

Finally, we wanted the site to use some of the best practices of the art of typography and layout. Attractive typefaces, line spacing, and colors seek to make the text pleasing to the eye. You don't notice when a book is typeset well, and for good reason–you're focused on the text! We're hoping to accomplish the same thing here. You'll note that most text on the site is in Helvetica, a widely used typeface which has lasting and wide-ranging appeal. The text of translations is set in Georgia, a wonderful web-savvy serif typeface. All typeface sizes are specified relationally, which means if you use your browsers "increase font size" tool the site layout will not "break" but rather stretch to accommodate the increased text size.

Note also that we've added some special printing styles to the site. This means that when you go to print one of the articles from your browser it will print in a format that looks good on paper. Just give it a try. Be warned however that you need to be using a modern web browser for this to work. We highly recommend Firefox.

A New Numbering System
We felt that the annual number system (volume and issue numbers) was a little too restrictive. For one, when we had a low-output year, we didn't get the full four issues that constitute a volume. Secondly, we'd like to be able to publish more than four issues a year when possible. To that end, we've renumbered our issues in simple sequential order using cardinal numbers. Volume 1, Issue 1 is now "Issue #1." Volume 1, Issue 2 is now "Issue #2," and so on. We've gone through the site and looked for references to volume and issue numbers and have changed them to reflect the new numbering system. If you find one that we missed, please let us know.

A Revamped Backend
This is a website, after all, so there are some "back end" items to relate for those that are interested. We use the Drupal content management system (CMS) and have customized it with several user-contributed modules. We've upgrade the software to version 5.0. We've also streamlined the editorial process of adding new articles to the site, as well as added general usability improvements.

There is one unfortunate side effect of all this though. The URLs are changing again. If you link to individual articles on our site, we apologize for this inconvenience. However, be advised that we are now using a simple, sequential numbering system for our URLs. You will see that our URLs now have our domain, a slash, "content," another slash, and a document id number. That URL will not change, even if we make broad changes to the rest of the site. So, we've followed some best-practice standards there and provided you with links that will not change for at least a good number of years.

To make this transition easier, I will be creating automatic redirects for the old URLs. While they are not in place at this moment, it will mean this: Any old links to articles (whether from the very first version of the site, or the second) will automatically send your web browser to the new link on version three of the site. I'll be sure to post an update when that goes live.

New Content
We're also releasing Issue #10, with three new translations. Look for more regular updates in the future. We do sincerely apologize for the long hiatus.

What the Future Holds
In addition to more content in the future, also look for us to leverage the power of our web-based CMS to add more interactive features and various browsing methods. For example, you can already sign up for an account on the site and leave comments on these note entries.

Keep an eye out on our notes section for more updates as we begin to roll out new features and tools.

We hope that you're as excited as we are about the changes we're working on.

Thanks for visiting, and God bless!