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Responsive JungleDragon - update IX »

FERDY CHRISTANT - FEB 18, 2013 (08:05:22 PM)

Welcome to the 9th edition of my documented journey of turning JungleDragon into a modern, responsive, content-first web site. This post will not show any new techniques, instead this concerns a planning update. I'd like to offer some transparency on the size of my task, the progress, and what lies ahead.

The size of the task

To those deeply interested in progress, here is the planning sheet (PDF) I use to track the progress of my redesign project. Every entry in there is a URL route in JungleDragon. As you can see, there are over a 100 of such routes. Roughly speaking, each entry also means a seperate page or a partial page. 

All of those pages have to be made responsive, and every single component on it has to scale from 320 pixels to 1200px and above. The sheet suggests I explicity test for specific view ports. Whilst this is true, do note that every viewport width in between those points has to work as well. In addition, each page may require specific work for old IE. It is fair to say that we're looking at a giant redesign here. In fact, I think that currently there are few websites of this size and complexity to be made fully responsive. Hopefully, when JungleDragon V3 is done it will make for a fine showcase.

Still, the amount of unique pages is no reliable measure for the size of the task. Some pages require only 10 minutes to make responsive, whilst others costs me several days.


The sheet shows exactly the progress of the redesign. All pages discussed in the earlier articles are of course done. In addition, the last week or so I have been focusing on simpler pages, those that I can redesign in under an hour. As you can see, it has resulted in a lot of green in the planning sheet.

Right now I am in the middle of redesigning everything that has to do with user profiles. It's a big task, but once done it will complete about two dozen screens. Here's a little preview (tablet view):

I'll publish a lot more screenshots once the user profile section is fully completed.

What lies ahead

I think that currently I am at over 50% of the redesign, perhaps at 60%. There's only a few simple pages ahead, and quite a few difficult ones that will require significant effort. Examples are the forum, species pages and slideshow viewing. There's also work to do not related to specific pages, by means of code restructuring and cleaning things up.

When will it be done?

When I've coded the first version of JungleDragon, I've made the mistake of coding in isolation for far too long. I don't want to make that mistake again, and really have a sense of urgency for releasing V3, or a beta version of it. My plan is to release V3 this summer, hopefully releasing a beta version on a seperate environment earlier than that. Anything earlier than the summer is welcome, anything later a dissapointment. I know that still sounds far away, but I have to do this right, it's a lot of work, and I have to do this on top of a busy life. 

You're going to have to trust me on will be worth the wait.

How does it feel?

This planning update suggests I have brought upon me an intimidating task, a stressful exercise. I'd like to emphasize that above all, I'm having tons of fun doing this. It's been years since I've felt so energized doing web development, and based on what I've learned so far, I will never code websites the same again.

And it is only the beginning. I already maintain a list of ideas and improvements to implement after V3, some of which I think you will find awesome (if I manage to implement them). First things first, onwards with V3 development. Thanks for your patience and interest!

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