This week’s long awaited site change to use a content management system (CMS) based design culminates over 18 months of work. As site visitors may have noticed, blog entries, updates on the main page and Interstate-Guide, and new content additions trickled down due to the back end work. A lot of back and forth with Matt over at TWCClassics, who helped tremendously with both coding and also teaching, and assistance from my cowebmasters and wife led to a design we were all happy with.

So what is different? The core aspect of the site remains the same, although with improvements, especially from a webmastering stand point. Besides the new look and a more mobile friendly design, here are some of the changes:

  • New Albums section, which hosts a mix of photos formerly found on our “Archive” pages, and photos from our backlog that never made it onto our regular highway guides.
  • Improved highway guides that group photos with the same captions together. Saw this idea on Facebook and other Social Media Platforms, and it should help cut down on load time on some of the more photo heavy pages.
  • More user friendly URL’s. So instead of the cryptic guide.php?page=s0141de for Delaware 141, you get guides/de-141/
  • Reformatted State Gateway pages with tab-based navigation (less scrolling)
  • Reformatted City/Area Guides (still a work in progress with many in both the old html format and the old guide script format)

Upcoming work will finally address the long standing problem with updating the Shield Gallery, and redesign it so that it is mobile friendly. When the script is reworked, we will again be able to regularly update it, and take photo submissions too. Unfortunately the problem with the flash-driven Shield Generator has no easy fix, as Jake indicated that the code is depreciated and that something new will need to be compiled to replace it. If anyone wants to take a crack at it, let us know and I’ll pass along the old code.

We will also be switching Interstate-Guide to a CMS based system. Hopefully this will take place over the next few months as well. However given that there are still over 2,000 html pages on AARoads to convert (which unfortunately retain the old design), it will be difficult to get everything moving forward all at once.

As always, thanks for your continued support and patience as we rebuild AARoads!