A few criteria we're keeping in mind:
- The Gazette is unique because of its distributed nature: it has to be readable on a wide variety of mirrors and CD-ROMs whose hardware and OSes we do not control.
- Many of our readers pay by the minute for their online time, so even adding a megabyte to the size of the Gazette (e.g., lots of additional graphics) is a major expense for them.
- Readers use a wide variety of browsers, including older versions. Browsers include Netscape, IE, Opera, lynx, emacs, kfm, Mozilla, all the experimental free browsers, etc, etc.
- We also stay away from depending on CGI, because it would require special setup on the mirrors' part, and couldn't run at all on CD-ROMs. We have allowed a few CGI scripts to sneak in (the search engine, the mirror mail-in form), but these work only on the main site, and we want to keep CGI scripts to a minimum. We have considered going to an all-dynamic site (e.g., Zope-powered), but again that does not seem feasable at present without destroying the Gazette's distribution infrastructure, which is what makes the Gazette unique as well as so widely read, and which allows the Gazette to be included in the Linux Documentation Project mirrors.
- The Gazette is quite popular as it is, and we don't want to lose that readership by making changes they might not like. Thus, we prefer to make changes incrementally rather than all at once. One recent change I did was to put the navigation bar both at the top and bottom of the article, rather than just at the bottom. Besides that, most of my work recently has been behind the scenes, making the Gazette easier to generate, using, e.g., configuration files and Python scripts to generate the article headers and the table of contents rather than doing it all by editing HTML. Which makes building the Gazette more fun and also minimizes dead links when typos appear.
Given this, if you have any particular suggestions, I'd be happy to hear them. -Ed.