So last summer …

Mock-up for a new design
Mock-up for a new design

I am sure you have noticed it too. It seems that fresh looking alternative designs for websites are rare. Of course, it is a matter of taste and what may appeal to me may not work for anyone else. But really.. all big corporate sites go for a safe look and feel. And most of them are blue and white. BORING .. and so last summer.

So what to do with a website that needs a make over, should not be boring (to my eyes) and certainly should not have a ‘corporate look’ . Of course there are matters to discuss… accessibility, SEO optimisation, use of a CMS which may largely influence the design. Most CMSs use a template, and we all go safely for 2-column or 3-column layouts, and end up with another boring site. *SIGH* *ANOTHER SIGH*

Being determined to have a different look and feel is one thing, actually designing something different is not that easy. I seem to be brainwashed with some basic layout rules and it is hard to do things differently. That is why I started to make a tidy list of what I want my site to represent. It is a struggle, but I know it will help me to focus on the main features of the site. And then I can finally play with the v4RC of Umbraco *grins*

Snap out of it!

*BLINK* So what just happened? NOTHING! As said in a previous post… I relocated to the other side of the world, enjoying a nice sabbatical in Oz. That means heaps of time. Enjoying summer, scenery, short travels and life is pretty good to me. Sounds relaxed ay? Well.. it is… but what about all the plans I have (see About Me)?!?!

Well.. not blogging does not necessarily mean I do nothing. But before that puts the wrong idea in your mind… doing nothing is actually what has been going on. I have browsed a lot. But I have not been productive. So back to the plans!


My computers moved with me. How can I enjoy heaps of spare time without my machines. Unfortunately, the installed operating systems were in my native language. Very useful for me, but not so convenient for native English speakers that I share these computers with… *sigh* so some localisation was at hand. Backed up all my applications, my work, my bookmarks and gave it a go. As I worked with the English versions of the OS before not a too big a change… just a lot of work. But on the other hand… a nice fresh install is not so bad either.


This site was never meant to be an WordPress site. I wanted to implement Umbraco ever since I did a testrun with it. Umbraco is a highly configurable/customizable open source CMS written in .Net C#, and as a .Net developer… that makes me feel happy right away.

Umbraco is installed as an ’empty’ CMS. Not with a zillion features that you probably may not ever use. There are starter kits available tho, which can kick start the launch of a website with Umbraco. I used the starter kits to obtain a good understanding of how Umbraco works, what document types are and how templates are defined. A comprehensive article on Umbraco basics can be found here.

The guys at Umbraco have been working hard lately. And while I was relaxing and happily browsing away… I kept an eye on their blog. They have been working hard at Umbraco 4, which comes with heaps of cool new features. Last Friday they released Version 4 Beta 2… and I read up on ‘why I should be really excited over Umbraco 4‘ … and I got to say that got me drooling *grins*. I am also glad I did not spend too much time on V3 now. I can jump on the next train and implement all goodies right away. The list of enhancements and improvements is impressive and I cannot wait to get started.

In the last few days I build virtual machines to set up a full development environment, got my servers running, Visual Studio 2008 installed and the Umbraco source code downloaded from Codeplex. I am all set!

Creative Designs

I had a basic design layout ready for this site. But it is funny what a few months and a different climate can do to you. I looked at it and took a deep breath. The design did not appeal to me at all! Time to drop it and to go back to the drawing board. Good that I had spent some time browsing tho. Sad thing is that there are many ’13 in a dozen’ type websites, look alikes, uncreative. I want my site to be different! Oh..oh.. that sounds like another good way of putting off some work on it. Will be continued…