I have had the long-term project of redesigning the Ranter for some time. In the last few weeks, work on a new Ranter has proceeded apace and a nearly complete template has been in use on a test blog for several days. The test blog's purpose is to check the new template's performance, accessibility and standards compliance in real conditions. It is currently working and is written in valid XHTML 1.0. With the exception of the Blogger Navbar (which is not under my control), all CSS used in it is also valid.
I now feel sufficiently confident of the new template to ask for some user feedback.
The testblog can be found here. Comments please in the thread below.
Work remaining to be done on the template is as follows: Install search function. This is taking longer than expected because I have decided to junk the Atomz search currently on the Ranter, frankly because it frequently fails to find searches I know for a fact have appeared in the text. Implement feeds coverage. This is slightly more difficult as I have yet to find a really satisfactory service. Blogstreet, which integrated very well, has been offline for months. BlogFuel is hideous, and the current FeedSweep service behaves differently in IE and Firefox, streams unwanted content along with the feeds, and is infuriatingly unreliable. Further, some webring code will need editing to be XHTML validation compliant before it can be deployed.
IE users should be aware that the clock will be on the new site as soon as I have finished vetting the code for validation and to ensure that other browsers will accept it.