My dear Bagginses and Boffins, Tooks and Brandybucks, Grubbs, Chubbs, Hornblowers, Bolgers, Bracegirdles and Proudfoots, welcome to a new step in this blog’s sheepishly modest evolution. I have been blogging in the darks for too long, and even though it remains ideal for showcasing photography, I have decided to turn my back to darkness and ease into lighter tones again. Pompously, I named this template Rebirth as a wink to both the new look of the premises and recent events in my life. But with no further delays, I’ll take you for a walk around…

First and foremost, you will have noticed the "Web 2.0" feel. Unless, that is, you don’t have a clue of what Web 2.0 is, in which case you are still part of a vast majority. Well, let me reassure you, Web 2.0 is not yet-another standard or a another programming language or set of rules. There is nothing hardcoded to be learned, no syntax to master. Instead, we are offered a tendency. A trend. A direction. Almost a philosophy. Web 2.0 simply is the emotional result of over 20 years of web evolution.

The term was first invented in 2004 to describe the emerging use of the World Wide Web and web design as creative and collaborative efforts. Computer users are currently experiencing a migration from their computer-based applications towards a web-based community where information sharing and communications are leading us into a new era. Social networking, wikis, blogs and photo sharing sites are at the heart of Web 2.0. It has become possible to work exclusively online through the use of webmail, messaging and web-based word processors, photo-editors, calendars and the like.

In addition, Web 2.0 marks the end of boring text-only browsing and the appearance of pretty online interfaces that mimic desktop applications, enhancing user-interaction and once again promoting a communication exchange. Surfing the web is now less about reading passively and more about participating and providing input and feedback, in real time.

Of course, to support such improvements, new technologies are being developed and my favorite is AJAX, or Asynchronous JavaScript And XML. To keep things simple, let’s just say that AJAX blurs the line between static web pages and a dynamic information exchange between server and visitor. It for instance allows you, as my visitor, to drag and drop the right sidebar widgets – reordering them as you see fit, or to collapse them by clicking on the Mac-looking green icon, all without the need for a full page reload. It saves you time and makes me popular by improving your experience and allowing for a pleasant visit. Go ahead, try it! It’s fun, and it’s very Web 2.0.

I have kept some of the core functionality of the previous template such as Lightbox 2.0 for all slideshows, because once again it falls into the new trend and because it is just one of the best scripts out there. I finally agree with my "editor" that the photo thumbnails inside posts are too small and will from now on include bigger ones. The template I based this one on was initially created for WordPress and eventually ported to Serendipity. The credits are at the bottom of the page. I redesigned it to follow my inspiration, got rid of the elements that were too obviously Mac-ed and reworked the comment display system to improve a touch on what I had with the dark skin. You can still toggle the comment display instantly (without a time-consuming page reload) with a link at the bottom of each post, or chose to immediately reply or post if you are the first one to do so.

Should this one not be your first choice, the old skins are still available via the sidebar. If you re-arrange the sidebar widgets, your browser will remember your preferences and the next time you visit, it will all be peachy. I have tried to streamline the loading process and cut down a single page’s list to 10 entries. You should experience slightly faster loading times.

Any way, in the end, blogging is not about the envelope, is it? It’s about the content. Right. Well, this IS content, about the envelope. I hope you’ll enjoy both.