Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

This old house // Finally releasing Sidepodcast from the Wordpress stable

Published by Mr. C

I've spotted a whole bunch of cynicism surrounding HRT's decision to skip the upcoming F1 test in Mugello, but I can't help having some sympathy for their reasoning. Here at Sidepodcast we too are trying to make the most of a three week gap in the race calendar to squeeze in a bit of housekeeping.

Back in December we started work on a brand new site design aimed at making content more readable on smaller screens and after nearly four months, we are finally just about finished rolling it out across the whole site.

A third of a year is a long time to spend working on a redesign, even when we're only doing it in our spare time. The extra delay was caused by us also wanting to change the technology that runs the site behind the scenes too.

Background checks

The weekend that Christine, in her infinite wisdom, started Sidepodcast, she declared we needed a blog as well as a podcast. I recall arguing strongly that iTunes was all that mattered in podcasting, but she insisted that we could set up a blog using Wordpress in a matter of minutes and that's exactly what we happened. With no experience necessary, we had a working website in almost no time at all. Back in 2006, this wasn't just impressive it was down right magical.

That ease and speed of setup up did come back to haunt us when we tried to add more features to the site, relying on Wordpress for content management began to hold us back. Additionally, we were only using about ten per cent of the available features, meaning the remainder was simply extra weight that slowed down browsing and increased hosting costs.

Owners manual

Most of the hard work we've been putting in since December has been to replace the original content management system with our own design. We had already been through the process with F1Minute, although this site is a little more involved.

At one point during the F1 off-season we had debated temporarily switching off the site entirely, in order to speed up the process, but ultimately found a way to transition more gracefully. This post is the first written using the new system (and new design), while older posts currently retain their original styling. For the next fortnight Christine and I will be manually going through more than 4,000 of them switching each across to the new format, ensuring they all look great on every screen.

Notably, the long standing and much loved 'real-time' page didn't make the switch and has been replaced by the more practical comments page. Most of the functionality is retained and what's missing will be added or improved upon in due course.

There remains a few loose ends and stray pages left to tidy up, and much like HRT we'll be working hard to get our house in order before the Spanish Grand Prix. If you spot anything not working as expected, please let us know in the comments.

All content in the series 2011/12 site redesign