This website hasn't always looked like it does now. It's been through many changes, most of them unnecessary as it turned out. Over the years, I have repeatedly torn the whole thing down and started again, breaking links and losing words and photos as a result. I've been a hooligan in my own house.
Thankfully, the Wayback Machine remembers many of this site's former incarnations, and with its help I was able to grab some screenshots from the past. Almost all of them make me cringe.
My very first hand-coded web pages, hosted on some free webhost somewhere. ml.org? What the hell was that? I can't remember. There's nothing there now. I taught myself HTML, and documented it (painfully) in public. One of so, so many mistakes. That awful, awful colour bar across the top was painstakingly assembled in tables. Ugh.
By this time I'd started reading Jakob and become a disciple. I started slimming down and simplifying. Blogging still hadn't been invented. Note the STAND support badge! Ha!
These are Blogger-generated pages. Blogger was great. You gave it your FTP details (yes, you read that right) and typed stuff into a box in a browser and it figured out all the site structure stuff and posted your pages to your server for you. Genius. Insanely useful. Quick. Lovely. Probably a security disaster waiting to happen, but I don't remember if one ever did.
Later, I approached Rob Manuel because I liked how he made his tsluts.com site. He said he'd make me one like it, if I bought him some beer. So I bought him some beer, and he did. Some time after that, Phil McCarthy coded a bit of PHP to handle comments. It was a rough-and-ready assemblage of a CMS, but it worked.
I'm pretty sure this was Wordpress, which by then had replaced Blogger as the most popular means of running a personal site. I think I spent ages twiddling around with the templates to get it looking as plain as this. By this time, I'd become a devotee of Philip Greenspun's photo.net site, which had a simple undesigned look about it back then (his personal site still does). I thought it was ace though, and tried to emulate it.
One of my breaks from blogging, here. A single hand-coded index.html, but a link to a weblog - probably one I kept on wordpress.com for a while.
More Wordpress, with design iterations throughout the year. You can see that I couldn't resist tinkering and fiddling.
This one's still Wordpress...
... but this, I'm sure, is back to Blogger again. Ha.
And here's what I seem to remember as my favourite layout. At the time, no-one needed to worry about responsive design for mobile, and this looked just great on my computer (an iBook at the time, if I remember rightly). I should have stuck with this for longer.
Of course, I didn't though. Here we are back with bloody Wordpress. Again, hours of faffing with templates, and I ended up with something really very simple and straightforward. But I was losing my bloggin' karma.
And so back again to hand-coded HTML. A deliberately retro look, what with the grey background and the blue links and the Times New Roman. There wasn't a lot of bloggery, or writing of any sort happening here for a while.
The hand-coded look iterates a bit. Not a lot changes, but there's a lot more links now.
Settling into something like website middle-age, by this point I’d decided that grey backgrounds and default link colours were always going to be the thing.
A slightly lighter shade of grey, perhaps, but not much change. The hand-rolling html process still very much alive, and preferred.
More grey. Slight twiddles with css. Not broken, why fix it, etc.
Filed under: computers
(Posted: 2011. Updated: 2 May 2019)