the candler blog is new again (again, UPDATED)

· Joanthan Poritsky

You’re looking at the third iteration of the candler blog. For those who have never been here before, welcome; to those who have come and gone over the years, welcome again. A lot has changed since I [started the candler blog two years ago]( blog/). I’d like to fill you in and let you know where I see things going in the future, as well as explain the choices behind this new design.

Still Candling, But Where?

Almost exactly one year ago, I attended an Oscar party thrown by Heeb Magazine. I met one of their editors and let slip that I was headed to SXSW, a trip paid out of pocket to cover for the candler blog. “You’re headed to South-by? Great, wanna get us 3 reviews? Cool.” And that was it. Without any idea of how to deliver on the request (what films, how long, deadline?) I became a writer for Heeb.

I continued to contribute through the summer until the print magazine officially folded. When Heeb moved online only in August, it was announced that I would be the new Arts Editor, and I have fulfilled that role ever since. The main reason I have written less on the candler blog is because of my time taken up at Heeb. I also contribute regularly at Toro Magazine and NachosNY. For a while, I was writing a few DVD reviews at the GreenCine Guru blog, but I haven’t contributed one in quite some time.

My top priority with the new design was finding a way to make all of the other content I publish elsewhere could find a home on the candler blog. Also, there are a number of posts that others write which would be of interest to the candler audience, but I’ve never had a way to quickly link to those pieces here. Now, I can.

I’m taking a cue from John Gruber’s Daring Fireball (and the many who have taken the cue from him) and making some of my links lead to places other than the candler blog. Any time you see a right-facing double arrow (⇒) at the end of a post headline, either on the site or in the RSS feed, clicking the headline will send you out to another site. I imagine this will usually be used for my own work on other sites, but I will also try to curate some links and offer my own opinion.

With this move came the decision to remove ads from the site, at least for now. I never liked the way my ads looked and they never did much but get in the way. The most important thing now is content, and I don’t want anything to get in the way of it. Will there be ads on the candler blog again one day? Who knows.

Grid vs. Ego

The new site design is based on Tom O’Doherty’s Extricate Wordpress theme. I knew I wanted to get something griddy for the new design and Extricate fits the bill beautifully. It’s important to me that the actual text be allowed to shine with the new design. I encourage readers to use services like Readability or Instapaper to take candler blog content with them and format to their heart’s content. I’ve added Readability’s button to all of my posts so that readers can reformat the text as they please. It’s free to use live on the site, and if you’re a Readability subscriber then clicking “Read Later” will put a bit of money in my pocket. This is the way I prefer to read and I’m sure others do too. Of course, if you want to stay on the site, I think the text looks beautiful as it is.

I’m going to use images less, and instead keep either a poster or a small photo of a film to the left of the content. Images have never looked that good in the RSS feed, an issue that could of course be corrected through some coding. However, I really want to focus on the written content on the site, and some parity between what you get here and what you get in the feed is a good thing in my opinion.

It Never Ends/Just You?

The redesign is ongoing, and given that this is my third major redesign in 2 years, you can guess that another may be around the corner. Who knows? Not me.

Speaking of me…for a long time I’ve purported egalitarian approach to the candler blog. The plan was to build an outlet where anyone could contribute. That didn’t pan out, though there has been one regular contributor alongside myself, Sunrise Tippeconnie. He is sticking around and others are encouraged to contribute, but at this point there’s no use hiding the fact that I’m in control of the backend.

So that’s about it. I’d love to hear what you think of the new design in the comments. Please come back early and often to see what’s happening at the candler blog.