Raccowrimo

RACC Site Inspiration and Progress

So, in my ongoing attempt to make headway in my personal projects, I'm nearing the finish line with my RACC subsite. I'm experimenting with HTML5 and CSS3, and developing with Mac browsers in mind foremost, so those of you sporting Internet Explorer machines will probably see gibberish. Until I do some proper cross-browser fixes, here's a screenshot of how it's coming along...

RACC screenshot

Basically, the site's functionality has not significantly changed since February's preview. I'm using a cron script to parse the RACC Google Groups feed every hour, saving the information to a MySQL database. This allows me to massage the data to fit the display, as opposed to previous versions, where I was trying to manipulate my code to display the live RSS feed as I wanted. 

One change I've made is to collect and display the number of replies made to any issue or news post.  I like the idea as it shows visitors there's an active community of writers, and hopefully it will encourage more commenting.

Something I would like to add to the site in the near future is the ability to read the issues and posts right on my RACC subsite, rather than bouncing the visitor to the Google Groups site. Staying on the site allows me to show other issues in the series, display the cover art, and most importantly, display the story in a much more pleasing manner. No offense to Google Groups, but it doesn't currently have an iPhone or iPad specific layout.

The design and layout was inspired by two recent releases, the new Joystiq video-gaming website and the brilliant Reeder app for the iPad. Seriously, be sure to check them both out...

Joystiq screenshot Reeder screenshot

I liked how the Joystiq website laid out it's news items in a clear manner. I cribbed the little elements of the top left of posts, making them the date, imprints, and number of replies of the RACC site. Also, I definitely like Joystiq's clear and sharp header, both the logo and the navigation; I might end up grabbing that, though that isn't a guarantee yet.

I recently purchased the Reeder app for my iPad, and it has easily been one of the best purchases I've made. I use Google Reader every day to keep up with my RSS feeds, and this app has been the first interface (website or otherwise) that has dragged me away. Seriously, it's very good, a fantastic reading experience. So it seems natural that I all but stole that app's colours. As I refine the finish the RACC site, I may choose different hues, but I simply adore Reeder's.

As I keep poking at the site, I try to keep up with new covers for new series. The development of these covers are usually pretty straightforward, just cobbling together some images and fonts, but I enjoy the short bursts of creativity involved in making them. Below are three more I recently put together... if you are interested in seeing more covers, please visit the Cover Gallery! :)

Just Imagine Saxon Brenton Vs Andrew Perron In The Return Of The RACCies Orphans Of Mars Superhuman World 2010