October 31, 2004

Ninth Anniversary for My Personal Site

At some point nine years ago I began my first personal site. It was November 1995 and CompuServ opened up space for their users to publish their own site. This trek began with creating a page using a text browser and some prefab components from CompuServ. The computer this adventure began with is long gone. But, the remnants of the site remain, mostly in the links page, which became my bookmarks that I could access from anywhere. I never really went back to using browser based bookmarks after this point.

My personal site has changed over the years, from a site that was named the "Growing Place" that housed poetry, links, a snippet about consulting work I was doing, and a homepage. Version 2 was a move off of CompuServ to Clark.net hosting (which became Verio and was never the same after) came with frames and FrontPage buttons (the buttons never worked right after they were edited) and the links page grew and the consulting page moved from active to "under construction". V.2 also had some CGI form pages, mostly for mail and a guestbook that was not linked.

Version 3 (about 1998) was a move to vanderwal.net and had a black background with electric green and electric blue text. V.3 provided more links and had a small page of annotated links that was updated infrequently, and was mostly short notes to myself and was not linked to by anything but referrer logs. V.3 began using ColdFusion and then ASP, as that was what I was playing with at the time. This version was hosted at Interland, which was not a favorite ISP as I was doing bug fixing for them and their poor system administration.

Version 4 (November 2000) was moved to an ISP with PHP. This was just after our wedding and a photo gallery was born. The site stayed in black with blue and green for a short while, until it moved to a blue and orange theme (April 2001) inspired by the trip to the mother country Holland on our honeymoon. The annotated links were still being kept by hand, but were linked to finally. December 2000 I started using Blogger, which made the annotated links easier and provided a spark to post other information.

We are still in Version 4, possibly in version 5 as the graphic design morphed in November 2003 to its current state. This design validated to XHTML and made maintenance much easier. Off the Top weblog was converted to PHP in October 2001 after leaving Blogger and hand maintaining this section for months. The hosting has remained the same and has been steady.

There are many things in the works, but other outside commitments have been putting things on hold. The markup and CSS need to be cleaned up for greater ease. There are some hosting modifications coming, which could trigger some more changes on the back end programming side. There are some design and presentational structure changes that are being played with as there are a few things that really bug me. I really want the comments back online and I have plan for this, but it needs some time to work out the details. There are some changes external to this site that could be coming also, which will make things much easier in the long run. Maybe these revisions will be done by the 10th anniversary.



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