Greetings and Salutations!
At long last, the moment has arrived! How ominous. I have finally, at much pain to myself and those near me, have devised and constructed my web page.
Suffice it to say, having already established that I'm an overly nostalgic person, that the process of designing a new "look" for my Web site launches me into yet another nostalgia nose-dive.
So, some tid-bits:
Circa 1998. Liz always thought it was too minimalist. I liked it, anyway.
The current re-design is long over-due. In November 2004, I started working on what would become "My_Stupid_Blog", but I didn't have time or energy left to design anything fancy, so I stole the design (and not even very well) from Daring Fireball. As a mostly-professional Web designer, it bothered me that the design for my own site was a) such a rip-off and b) such a lousy rip-off.
- The new material includes: A new front-end for "thewehners.net", much new "look" (the "feel" is still roughly the same) for my pages/blog, and slightly updated content ("About Me" no longer says I live in Madison, Wisconsin.) I want to update more of the contents, but that'll have to wait for now.
- The top part of the page (currently blue clouds) will change from time-to-time, and I will attempt to restrain to it art or photos by me or of me.
- I began working on the new design in September, but only worked on it sporadically. Altogether, it's probably less than 20 hours of work. I'm not sure if that means I've been busy or lazy, probably both.
- The new site looks weird on Internet Explorer. I could fix this. I do know of ways to make it look better, but then this occurred to me:
- It's too much work. I've done the IE+PNG hoops before, but for one or two graphics. I put in a few hours on it, but it wasn't taking off. If there's anything I've learned on this gig, it's that sometimes you just have to go with what you have done. Maybe I'll get an idle Sunday and come back for it.
- IE 7 is just around the corner. I tried the beta. It looks wonky, but it is still a beta, I suppose. The point is: The PNGs look beautiful on IE 7. So, this is a short-term problem. "How much effort is it worth to fix a short-term problem?" I asked myself. "Not much" was the answer.
- I like it, I really, really like it. It's the happiest I've been with any version of my own Web site, ever. Speaking of which...
The Nostalgia Thing
So, I started looking through old Web sites, specifically, older versions of this site. Some odds and ends:
Circa 1999. From stark minimalism to glaring color. Actually, it's probably an improvement.
Thank god for Subversion. I used to - I kid you not - copy my entire Web site, every time I wanted to make the slightest change. Well, not exactly, if I wanted to make the slightest change, I'd copy the file to, say, "aboutme02.html" or whatever. Big changes got the "copy the whole thing" treatment. I'd put each copy in it's own folder with that day's date. Except, of course, I didn't always finish my work on the same day. Anywho, I have a couple dozen folders now, going back almost all the way to the beginning.
- I launched my first HTML document into cyberspace on May 1st, 1996. In a few months, my Web site will be 10 years old. (Well, sort of.) Depending on how one defines "blog", I've had a blog-of-sorts since 1996. Each entry was edited and posted by hand until 2004, and I didn't start calling it a "blog" until then. I've never been entirely comfortable with what to call this whole kaboodle: Is it a "online column", like 'I'm Dave Barry, here's the column I wrote for the paper' ? Is it a journal, like 'Dear Diary - I hate school!' ? Even "blog" seems an odd title; I'm not out there cracking Rathergate, I'm not "powering Blogger". I've never even been featured on the Huffington Post.
- I like CSS. I really do. This is not a knock on CSS at all. I think the amazing things being done by all the people at the Zen Garden are really astounding. But, here's the thing: Some people laud CSS as the holy grail of content-separated-from-presentation. I've re-designed this site about a half-dozen times, and every time I have to re-arrange the basic structure of the page to get things working right. Zen Garden shows how much you can change, and how good you can make it look, but there's still a lot of work involved in taking a site from X to Y to Z, that CSS doesn't magically "fix".
- From 2000 to 2004, this didn't change much. I changed colors a few times, but this was the basic shape of the thing.
Until 2001 or so, all my Web sites were coded by hand in Notepad. I was, apparently, quite proud of this at one point. I even (briefly) participated in a "All Notepad Webring". (Remember webrings? And geek code? And... Ah, I could do this all day.) Somewhere in 2000 or 2001, I started using BBEdit at work, and found something roughly similar for the Windows world called EditPlus. I've been dissatisfied with it lately, so I've been experimenting with Programmer's Notepad (which doesn't feel entirely finished, yet), Dreamweaver and Eclipse. (There's a great extension/package called RadRails, which is great for Rails development, but I haven't found a good set of plugins for working with PHP, yet.)
- Liz found an old rant, something that appeared on my ~thirdish re-design (late 1996) where I said I probably wouldn't bother to learn HTML because I "despised the Web". For the sake of maximum irony, the quote at the top of this page was pulled off that site.
So, out with the old, in with the new: