Still, now that I have suffered through the worst of it I have to say
Movable Type is doing everything I need. Unlike my foray into Wordpress,
where I spent a ton of time on page style, this time I just left the
default simple, ugly, and plain style and instead worked on content.
I got the section of Sportster pictures filled out. I call this the Sportster Smörg
, as in smörgasbord. It now has an entry for iron Sportsters of every year. All I am missing are 1954 and 1955 K-models, which I consider a pre-Sportster that belongs on the site. Now I hope to solicit photos of your bikes so we can add them to this section.
I added a restoration category
to the Repair section. That was to chronicle the work on the 1952 K-model I bought on eBay this spring. Although you can't see it yet, I also organized the thousands of pictures I have taken over the years as I fixed my Sportsters over the years. Those will be going up as articles over the next year or two.
The effort to show repair work was aided when I broke a chain on my 1962
. It broke the right case out where the speedometer drive goes into the transmission. I fixed it, and will post the pictures soon. Then I started work on my 1977
that was popping out of first gear. I thought it was the simple failure of the gear dogs getting rounded off by use. Turns out the countershaft needle bearing had disintegrated, including the closed end cup. I knew there was something seriously wrong when I could see light through the side of the tranny case. Its a miracle I didn't blow the cases in half. Oh yeah, I drove it for months like that. I just took off in second gear, it is a Harley after all. The '77 is my old faithful, the Sportster I have driven for decades, the first one I ever bought.
The biggest progress has been on the part of the site that will display the aftermarket Sportster engine I have designed over the last 10 years. I call the motor HARM, for Harley aftermarket replacement motor. It took months of suffering with movable Types scripting software, but I think I have a great way to describe and display the design. I designed the engine in SolidWorks, a popular CAD (computer aided design) program. I am hoping to get the SolidWorks company to support the site. There is stll a ton of work to get the HARM section filled out, but the challenging part is over.
The great thing about figuring out how to organize and display the HARM in an automated fashion is that will also apply to the BOM section of the website
. BOM stands for "bill of material". In this section I will have tables that show the part numbers for every iron Sportster model from 1957 to 1984. A table showing the parts are OK, but I want tho make it so you can hover your mouse over any part number and a picture of the part pops up. If you click on the number, it will take you to a page that explains the theory and function of the part and what changed over the years. I am hoping to get some support from Harley for this section. Not only a few bucks to pay for the web servers, but I am also hoping the are wiling to let me see the actual bills of material of the old iron Sportsters. It woulds also be great to see the old ECOs (engineering change orders) that describe all the changes from year to year.
Now that I have some "meat" in most of the sections, I started to worry about the site style. So I have done the following:
- I made the page header "liquid", so it will collapse down to a narrow strip without forcing a horizontal scroll bar on your browser. I would like the page body to be liquid too, like Wikipedia, but it causes readability problems on very wide displays like a TV or CAD monitor.
- I put images in the header, to make each section of the site unique.
- I made a breadcrumb link, so you can navigate up and down the BOM sub-assemblies. That is the great thing about using a CMS. You set it up to figure out the breadcrumb and add it to all the pages.
- I cleaned up the sidebar and made it liquid, so it will pop under the main content when your browser window is narrow.
- I added a contact mailing address in the footer. I am not trying to be a wise ass, using a snail-mail contact. I tried to allow comments on the Wordpress version of this blog and was immediately hit with Russian spam pigs putting in links to their crap spam sites. Same thing when I tried to make the Smörg section an actual wiki that users can add to. The spam pigs started using robots to make pages full of the links to their spam sites. I have decided that the place for us to comment is Twitter and Facebook and Linkedin and places like the XL Forum. I will let those companies deal with the spammers,. I don't have the patience or temperament for it. I guess this means I will create Facebook and LinkedIn accounts for the site. I will keep you posted.
It is good to see that after a year of wrangling, most of the basic architecture of the site is working. Now its going to be a ton of work to fill things out. Its a ton of work, but work with immediate success and reward, so it will be fun, unlike writing software scripts day after day.