Feral Beagle Reborn

One of the most difficult things for a free-lancer/contractor to do is work for themselves. It's important to do that work, but actually sitting down and making it happen - drag feet, pull teeth. Such was the case for FeralBeagle.com. In my own defense, I did get caught up in a standard job for a couple of years, and that took up some of my time. Since that was a web design job, I didn't feel much like doing more web design when I returned home. But, really, I needed to sit down and do this. So I made a New Year's resolution and stuck to it. I sat down in front of my computer and ripped open FeralBeagle.com. I tore it apart. I stripped it down to its foundations. I rebuilt it, better, stronger, faster - hopefully.

I started on my little test server I have at home. The old site was built on Drupal 7. I had futzed with that old site, experimented on it, and done some crazy things with it. It was fun and interesting, but there were parts that were not holding up well. The new site is built on Drupal 8, and I needed someplace to learn the ins and outs of doing custom theming on this platform. Turns out, at least in my mind, Drupal 8 seems to be a little easier. Sure, YAML is picky (Thou shalt have 2 spaces here, no more, no less. 2 shalt be the number of spaces...) and Twig took some getting used to, but when I got over those humps, pretty straight forward.

Once I had the basic design done, I needed content to check the design with. I exported all the content from both feralbeagle.com and kibble.feralbeagle.com and began importing it. That went fairly well. Tags and categories got a bit muddled in some places, but all was generally okay. I also started loading in various media to test with. Drupal 8 handles media quite well, and I definitely wanted to take advantage of that. I then spent a couple of weeks coding and tweaking and nitpicking. A 1rem of padding added here, another preprocess function added there. Down another rabbit hole figuring out why a display wasn't doing exactly what I wanted, only to come up hours later realizing I hadn't eaten, or really moved my body, in a long while.

Then, about a month ago, I took down the old site. I backed it up, then nuked it. I began this site with a clean install of Drupal 8. Then I transferred the work I did on my test server. I tested the site, tried to break it, broke it, fixed it, tried to break it again. And about a week and a half ago, I took the site out of maintenance mode, and FeralBeagle.com went live.

Here are some basics about this site:

  1. It is running Drupal 8, on php7 and MySQL 5.6.
  2. The theme is a mobile-first custom design by yours truly. I don't like the term "mobile-first"; it strikes me as buzz-wordy. But it does apply here, and I'm not in the business of creating new terms.
  3. It is WCAG AA (ADA) compliant, with a temporary caveat. The videos don't have description tracks yet, but I have a plan. The site might be WCAG AAA compliant, but I haven't fully tested for that at time of writing.
  4. Kibble.feralbeagle.com is gone and has been integrated into the main site.
  5. Chris's content and artwork have not been transferred yet. He wants to go through his stuff himself.

So, as the title of this post implies, FeralBeagle.com is back, reborn (over-dramatic but mostly accurate), and ready to face the world again.

Cheers! -Kelly

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