Well, the cat’s out of the bag.
Pamela just unveiled her latest creation. You can read all about it on her blog.
Francophilia is a niche social-networking site, for francophiles, something she’s been meaning to do for years.
My involvement is more recent.
I spent the last couple of weeks putting a fresh coat of paint on her site, which is built on an open-source, PHP+MySQL software package.
As is usually the case with such things, the default design, out of the box, is pretty boring and/or ugly, although I’ve seen worse.
It is also made up of literally hundreds of .css style sheets and images in dozens of folders, all tied in to hundreds of .php files.
There wasn’t any question of truly designing the site from scratch. It was more a case of giving it a total makeover: a new hair color, French nails, fake eyelashes, a bikini-wax, that sort of thing.
So I patiently learned my way around the maze of folders and files, and with the help of my trusty and invaluable sidekicks CSSEdit, BBEdit, and Fireworks, spent hours modifying style sheets, designing icons (based on these « Sanscons » icons by Some Random Dude) and tracking down the occasional hard-coded design elements in the .php files.
And though I’m no PHP programmer, I even ended up fixing a few functional bugs in the code, too.
Now I’m no Francophile (I’m French, there’s a difference), and I certainly am not into social networking of any kind (I’m always quoting Groucho’s famous line that goes « I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member »). As a rule, I also tend to manage my expectations by expecting the worst, while accepting that a positive outcome isn’t entirely out of the realm of possibilities.
But I have to say that I’m quite happy with the result (although I have to question my addiction to #FF6600 orange), and I’m eager to find out how Francophlia will fare out there in the open cyber-range.
So do go and check it out, for the design of course, but please don’t join the site unless you are a true Francophile (whatever that may be) or we’ll have to ruthlessly prune your account, ban your IP address, and other such cool things that all-powerful site designers and administrators have the power to inflict.