Beyond the Aesthetic
by: Pedro Azevedo
Chronicles of Chaos is fast approaching its tenth anniversary -- a milestone of undeniable impact for any endeavour. That matter shall be covered in due time, but the fact remains that 2005 has all the makings of a memorable year for CoC: not only does the publication turn ten years old, it also finds itself rejuvenated.

Back in 2003, we created an entirely new database engine and website from scratch. This time it's about upgrading what we have and improving where we thought we'd get the most impact. When our previous website was built, great care was put into its logical structure and underlying data engine. Our new website uses an improved version of said structure and engine, while presenting a number of improvements. We had far richer aesthetic requirements, but those should be evident; beyond the aesthetic changes, however, we also added cross-browser code compatibility, W3C HTML and CSS compliance, new navigation, a brand new quick search, new sections, and new ways to access the site. Confused? Allow me to explain in more detail.

The visual changes should be quite apparent to anyone who has visited the website before, and constituted our first concern when myself and CoC editor-in-chief Gino Filicetti began planning all this. While still shunning unnecessary graphical bloating, this new version aims to have a more recognizable and pleasant graphic environment, as well as a more easily accessible navigation menu. The front page has also suffered considerable changes; for instance, you will now find that some articles are highlighted for your convenience. While I was personally responsible for programming the new features and creating the general structure of the new website, I couldn't have done it without the graphic design help of Pedro Daniel (header and structural arrangement) and Pascal Quidault (gargoyle logo).

Equally important for those of you using not using Microsoft Internet Explorer, all our code is now cross-browser compatible, and should therefore display and behave the same across all common browsers (so long as the version is reasonably recent). The code is also slimmer and facilitates more effective rendering than before, resulting in fast loading pages. On top of all this, our HTML and CSS is now W3C compliant. We all have Chris Flaaten to thank for these improvements, and also for the menu layout.

Inside the new navigation menu, you will find a ubiquitous quick search box that will allow you to search our article database for a given word from anywhere on the site. You will still have a full search page where you can refine your search like before, including the possibility of searching inside the text of all our articles.

We are also using this opportunity to open two new sections -- or rather a section and a sub-section of sorts: News and Tour Dates, both of which will be coordinated by Jackie Smit. Our News section will of course strive to keep you up to date on the world of metal; we do not aim to provide instant coverage or produce a huge number of news items, but instead we will strive update you on is most important and present it in a balanced, condensed way to make sure it all becomes easier to digest. As for the Tour Dates, we shall be updating it regularly with all the information we can gather from who's touring where and when, ranging from Europe to North America and the rest of the world.

This new version of our website also comes with two new channels for you to access it: RSS and WAP. RSS (Really Simple Syndication) will allow you to check for new articles published in CoC remotely from any RSS aggregator (such as Bloglines), where you can aggregate a number of your favourite websites that provide an RSS feed. WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) support enables you to reach a simplified version of CoC from your WAP-capable mobile phone or palmtop -- for instance when you want a second opinion on an album you are thinking of buying on a whim in some record store. More information regarding RSS and WAP can be found in our website under "More CoC" in the navigation menu.

This editorial has gone on long enough, and I hope it has given you some insight into how busy we have been lately and how determined we are to keep providing the best service -- and above all, the best articles -- to you, our loyal reader. We hope you will enjoy what we have done, and either way make sure to drop us a line via our message board letting us know what you think.

(article submitted 16/2/2005)


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