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Enhancing the enjoyment of taking pictures with news that matters, features that entertain and images that delight. Published frequently.

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Site Design   Graphic Design | CMS | Images

TWO GOALS guided decisions about both the graphic design or appearance of Photo Corners and the technology used to turn text and images into published pieces on the site.

The first goal was to create a site that is friendly to the reader. It had to load quickly and swear off popup advertising and autoplay video ads, first of all. But it also had to be pleasing to look at, minimizing the chaotic clickfarm approach of so many publication sites.

The second goal was it had to be easy for an author to write stories that might require complex layouts. Those layouts might use pull quotes, specifications tables, indented quotes of some length, popup images, slide shows, sliding images and other tools to tell the story. But the author should not have to remember how to implement any of those tools.

Graphic Design   Site Design | CMS | Images

THE GOAL of a reader-friendly site design was mostly achieved by avoiding unfriendly behavior. But it entailed a good deal more.

The color scheme was limited to black and dark gray for text with highlights in teal for emphasis. A few other highlight colors, associated with specific events, are also used.

This subduing of page color allows the images to shine. And images are what the site is all about.

A lot of thought was given to navigation, starting with directory layout. Two clicks should get you anywhere you want to go on the site.

But you can get there a variety of ways. There's the feature carousel of thumbnails, the left column list of stories by category, a full text search, listings by category and the archive of headlines.

Content Management System   Site Design | Graphic Design | Images

LONG BEFORE the Markup language was invented to convert plain text files into HTML, Mike was writing software based on regular expressions to convert files of all kinds into HTML. To convert word processing files and page layout program files into HTML, he applied some artificial intelligence to the process.

Today that simple markup for attributes like italic has evolved into simple markup for including slide shows and tables which are embedded in a set of templates that reflect the design of the publication.

All of that complexity is hidden from the user. Mike himself uses nothing more than the free TextWrangler to keyboard his stories, relying on a palette of Keyboard Maestro macros to list his formatting options and drop them in with nothing more than a keystroke or mouse click.

Those macros include a 1,300-line embedded Perl script to enforce the publication's style so Mike doesn't have to worry about consistent usage.

When the story is ready for publication, he merely drags the text file onto an AppleScript for processing by a 4,000-line Perl program which also intelligently updates the RSS feed and creates a file of optional code that can be dropped into the headline page and the various other indices.

To publish the site, he just drags the new and revised files to the server's window on his desktop in the order he prefers they be made available.

None of these operations are unique to the content management system. They're all familiar methods used regularly to do things using any current operating system. So there's nothing to learn.

Images   Site Design | Graphic Design | CMS

IMAGES ARE HANDLED in several ways. The site, of course, is about images, so a variety of applications are used to demonstrate their capabilities.

Routine resizing is done by a small Applescript-Perl-ImageMagick application called Cambi. Images are dragged to the application's window, options are set and the images are processed.

Slide shows of various kinds are almost always processed in Lightroom, which makes it easy to batch edit images.

Individual images, which include 500-pixel standard image to panoramas that can be panned in two directions, are created in various applications including Photoshop, Optics Pro and Exposure X.

Keyboard Maestro is used to automate much of this with a version of Cambi that can be called with a keystroke and macros to extract image dimensions and metacode for layout as well as to add copyright information to the Exif header.

There is no restriction, in short, on how you can process images.

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