Mar 07 2012

The New Website is Here!

Published by at 5:51 pm under Poetry Chaikhana Misc.

Just in time for the full moon — a new website for the Poetry Chaikhana!

Take a look, explore, tell me what you think:

The Look and Feel

I’ve been busily working on this redesign for several months.

First, I had to settle on a new look. I’ve always considered the Poetry Chaikhana website to be sacred space on the Internet, and I wanted the look and feel to reflect that.

I’ve tried to maintain a simple, spacious design. Visiting the Poetry Chaikhana pages should be a serene experience. I want you to instinctively take an easy, full breath when your browser finds its way to the Poetry Chaikhana. Sacred poetry is best savored when we discover those timeless moments.

After testing a few dozen predesigned website themes, I finally found one I thought came close to what I wanted. That’s when I started digging under the hood, so to speak, changing and adapting the code, to get the look and feel I wanted. Nothing too showy, but there are some subtle touches that I think you’ll appreciate.

The Nuts and Bolts

The unique challenges of creating a website for the Poetry Chaikhana are that–

a) I have LOTS of material — hundreds of poets, thousands of poems, notes on important sacred poetry themes, timelines…
b) I need to be able to maintain and regularly update this extensive site in my limited free time
c) I need to use web technology that I personally understand and have the software tools to maintain, since I can’t yet afford to hire someone

The solution I came up with years ago when I started the Poetry Chaikhana site was to use my skill as a database developer to build a rich, customized database. That gave me an excellent interrelated filing system for everything. And then I got a little fancy and figured out how to generate the website’s HTML code directly from the database itself. The result was a customized system that allowed me to easily add new material and regularly post a new copy of the site on the Web — and all the new pages were automatically integrated. (This is different from the more common approach of using a live database back end. Too much technical gobbledy-gook to explain why I didn’t use that approach.)

But a major redesign also meant a major database redesign. So I let the old design limp along for a bit too long. I won’t bore you with the geeky details of how I made the changes for the new site, but the Poetry Chaikhana database files have been extensively reworked so I can now generate and update the site with ease. And, future design changes should require considerably less front end work.

Fine Tuning

With a major update like this, I expect there to be glitches to fix and details to be tweaked. I’ve already got a small list started of things to do. Please let me know if you find any problems or come across anything that seems confusing. I want the site to be inviting.

Most of all, I really hope you’ll think of the Poetry Chaikhana as a great place to discover new poets and, if we’re lucky, a few Aha! moments. So, please, have fun exploring!

…Now, I can turn my full attention to readying the first of the upcoming books for publication. Keep checking back. It will be ready soon!

Sending a warm smile (and a satisfied sigh of relief),


33 responses so far

33 Responses to “The New Website is Here!”

  1. Michael K'shatria Youngon 07 Mar 2012 at 7:50 pm

    Fragrance from tea
    wafts through the
    open door.
    Looking around,
    the tea house looks
    A place for a world weary
    traveler to
    and sigh.
    by the window
    overlooking the mountains,
    shrouded by clouds –
    a small, round, brilliantly
    painted table.
    A place
    for me.
    Thank you.
    Don’t mind if I do.

  2. cinderon 07 Mar 2012 at 8:01 pm

    It looks beautiful, Ivan!
    Thank you,

  3. Barrie Barklaon 07 Mar 2012 at 8:21 pm

    Congratulations Ivan,

    I like it. As inviting and welcome as the Chaikhana itself.

  4. Glendaon 07 Mar 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Change is good and yours is most impressive. Congratulations, Ivan!!!

  5. Cheri Dzubakon 07 Mar 2012 at 9:05 pm

    I like the new website. It looks simple and easy to use.

  6. Lynn Fuxon 07 Mar 2012 at 9:35 pm

    The new web site is wonderful Ivan,calming relaxing a place to think learn and ponder in quiet solitude.As a practicing Nichiren Buddhist I welcome this gift and give thanks to your wonderful efforts on our behalf. Lynn Fux (Israel)

  7. Ba Khanon 07 Mar 2012 at 9:51 pm

    It looks beautiful.
    You can have all the suupprt from us. Just take care of your health.
    Ba Khan

  8. Tiaon 07 Mar 2012 at 10:33 pm

    Ivan, the new website is lovely! Good job! But I do so miss your commentary. The one change I would request is that your commentary be part of the first view. For newcomers to your website (and to poetry) your commentary is invaluable. For that reason, I’d make it part of the initial view.

  9. Doug Westendorpon 07 Mar 2012 at 10:43 pm

    It looks beautiful, Ivan. Congratulations!

  10. carmelon 08 Mar 2012 at 1:30 am

    Ivan … love your poetry and comments … could the poem at first glance be in larger font so can read at glance without having to open up another link to it …
    much appreciated

  11. tarinion 08 Mar 2012 at 2:40 am

    Beautifull website Ivan, a pleasure to read.

  12. marrobon 08 Mar 2012 at 4:57 am

    Nice! The new layout is simpler & easy on the eyes. I especially like the explanation of what chaikhana means. It seems to invite one to rest for a moment. It also links readers of today to that ancient caravan of traders, explorers and sacred seekers stopping for a while….then moving on to the next chaikhana. I like that sense of connecting to the past. Perhaps the photo can vary to reflect that going from place to place.
    Thanks, Ivan, for the time, energy & care you put into the new look. And thanks too for inviting feedback. Well done!

  13. barbaraon 08 Mar 2012 at 7:45 am

    thank you, Ivan. You are brilliant! A Shining Light to all of us. Thanks again.

  14. jehadon 08 Mar 2012 at 8:01 am

    Wonderful idea, I love it 🙂 I send you my best wishes and love all the way from Bahrain

  15. Tanyaon 08 Mar 2012 at 8:24 am

    The new website looks wonderful and as always, a pleasure to visit! Thank you for your work and dedication!

  16. Stoneon 08 Mar 2012 at 9:14 am

    It’s beautiful! I admire that you have used your tech skills to enhance the spiritual experience. You touch many with your insights, and have contributed to a more enlightened world vision. Inspired by your site I took my nephew to the teahouse in Boulder and had a wonderful dinner in a magical space. Keep up the good work!

  17. Gerryon 08 Mar 2012 at 10:21 am

    Beautiful, Ivan, and I’m so grateful that you create such a meditative place for us!
    Many Thanks!

  18. Meghaon 08 Mar 2012 at 10:42 am

    Ah!Blissful…oceans of gratitudes for creating such place.
    Love & Warm Regards

  19. Nanci Warneron 08 Mar 2012 at 11:39 am

    I love the new website Ivan and I shortcutted it to my desktop so I can visit often. It’s like having my own poetry workshop here in my home, especially with the videos. Much gratitude.

  20. Lowellon 08 Mar 2012 at 12:07 pm


    Yours is the gift that keeps on giving…Thanks so much for your efforts…It’s the things like this that help me remember to focus on the internal light, as I sometimes allow the darkness to creep in a little too close…Nice work.

  21. Stan Beattyon 08 Mar 2012 at 4:36 pm

    I guess I am the only one with any suggestions.

    First, although the site is peaceful and quiet I began to feel as if I was looking into the pale blue eye of a beautiful Siberian Husky. I do not know why but is difficult to stare into those eyes. Maybe adding some subtle water mark art would help my eyes.

    Second, the bar slots on the left side spill into your main page.

    Just some thoughts.

    Whatever you do, I will always return

  22. Kathy Stewarton 08 Mar 2012 at 5:56 pm

    I really like the new website, and appreciate the amount of work you’ve done. I am so very grateful for your work Ivan, and look forward to visiting your website more often, as well as emails and FB, you are amazing! I love how you are bringing poetry from every culture and spiritual tradition to so many people worldwide; thank you for stating what you have about showing the positive in cultures we westerners sometimes malign thoughtlessly.

  23. Joyon 09 Mar 2012 at 1:14 am

    a lovely place to rest and sip poetry and bliss! I loved imbibing your poems and feel refreshed! thanks for sharing yourself! you are encouraging me to find and honour my own poems again !

    in one of yr. blogs you said you had Chronic Fatigue… seems you are transcending this condition … at least I am amazed at the energy and passion you bring to this project and trust it refreshes you as well..

    all best! Joy

  24. Carol Burnson 09 Mar 2012 at 4:47 am

    Good morning Ivan,

    Yes I have been enjoying the full moon. I believe the website is lovely. Beautiful
    photograph and space abounds, sacred space. I go on overload with much internet
    material. The Warbler is a great poem to begin.

    I never dreamed when I found Poetry Chaikhana a couple years ago that I would
    grow to love it as I do. Thank you for sharing your work, your knowledge, and
    helping us grow

  25. Val Leventhalon 09 Mar 2012 at 8:38 am

    My only issue is that the text is too wide for the screen, and I have to use the arrows to read the right edge (this could be just the system I’m working on). Otherwise, lovely! Here’s one of my song lyrics.

    I used to think that beauty was my hair
    My eyes my lips
    My hips
    What clothes to wear
    But then I learned
    And my vision burned
    At the beauty everywhere

    I once thought steps went either up
    Or down
    I never knew there was a
    Middle ground
    But then I found
    All this different sound
    Had been playing all around

    We’ve got to open our eyes to see
    All this wonderful diversity
    We’ve got to open our minds to find
    The possibilities
    Of our destinies

    I used to think we never could depart
    From bad or good
    Our nature
    From the start
    But then I learned
    Through pain I earned
    This sympathetic heart

    copyright 2009 V. J. Leventhal

  26. sanaon 09 Mar 2012 at 11:39 am

    i love your website, i love the poetry you share, i love your comments and thank you for taking the time to email poems weekly.. you are a source of joy and peace and love. <3

  27. Em McIntoshon 09 Mar 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Very impressive. All of your hard work is very evident. Your work enriches are lives.
    Thank you for sharing your talents with the world.

  28. Erinon 09 Mar 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Bravo! I love the new images and appearance. It’s fabulous you took an existing template and tweaked it. I don’t know how you manage to do this time-intensive labor of love, but we, your readers, sure appreciate it. I am remiss in getting my proofing back to you in a timely manner. Tomorrow it will happen.

  29. cynthia moranon 10 Mar 2012 at 2:03 am

    Well done Ivan! your new website is very easy to follow ,most inviting, and so rich. I love Chaikhana Poetry and open it every morning first thing in my “quiet time” . It brings me in and sets the scene for my day. I have passed it on to many’s for sharing. Thank you. Cynthia.

  30. jerome bechtleon 10 Mar 2012 at 6:18 am

    So talented… so gifted… and I thank you once again

    from a place in Florida and my place in Montana…


  31. Anahitaon 10 Mar 2012 at 10:37 pm

    Thanx Ivan the new website is very beautiful & its serene eloquence is most welcoming to our world weary souls ! Chaikhana has always been my favourite to catch a quick sip of mental calm & carry the thought process it evokes into daily life. Thanks again for your many hours of tireless labour for our greater good !!

  32. Maria Paula Fonsecaon 11 Mar 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Congratulations Ivan, the new look of the website is wonderful and very relaxing….

  33. Lakshmion 19 Mar 2012 at 8:50 am

    Thank you for such a wonderful website:)

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