Some people may know (or not know) that I’ve had a website since early 1996. My first website was a static html with light beige background and dark purple text. It was a 2 column page with a caption at the top. On the left was an image of one of my paintings; on the right was a ‘welcome to my website…’ kind of thing. The caption was just text (robinart) and at the bottom of the website was a little ani cat that ran from one side to another. I’m sure you’ve seen that graphic at some point 🙂
By 1997, I had a full website that heavily relied on graphics. I had an online gallery, a news page (a precursor to a blog/journal) and a guestbook.
My first few years of website building were all handcoding, except for the guestbook, which was a Matt’s Scripts. Once I discovered the Netscape editor, I used that to make more complicated edits, e.g., nesting tables to control alignment.
I tried my hand at frontpage(bleech!) but the code was so awful, I just couldn’t use it. I a lso learned a smattering of perl~ just enough to be dangerous! 😉
When Dreamweaver came up, I gave that a whirl, although I didn’t luuuuv that, either. Dreamweaver is better, but I still continue to use handcoding even in Dreamweaver today. Three years ago I decided that my website was just out of control. Updating content by hand was getting nearly impossible. Keeping the news page, gallery, and exhibit list up to date, seemed to take all of my time. My ISP died (literally, we all received telephone messages saying that we would lose access the next morning!) and everything that I had not archived recently, I lost. 🙁
At the time this seemed like a terrible thing, but now I realize what an opportunity it was. I transferred what I could, and started looking around for a good CMS. What I settled on was (open source) greymatter for a journal (collapsing the news, exhibits, and guestbook). I used greymatter for about a year, and started learning how to manipulate CSS (just a little). greymatter was ok, but it scared me that no one really seemed to be supporting it. I then checked out movable type (which was entirely free but not open source) and found that it was really cool. I migrated to movable type in mid 2002. The migration went fairly well and I didn’t really lose anything.
In 2003, movable type went to a structuring/licensing/fee based arrangement which was kind of scary…and expression engine (pmachine) targeted mt-ers as a new clientale. Many of us got expression engine free 😉 In order to use expression engine/p machine as well as the gallery software that I discovered, I was going to have dump earthlink. All of the things that I wanted to do, earthlink would not support, at the time. They provided no support for PHP. Ok, that is stupid. 🙂
At the beginning of 2004, I started investigating webhosting, finally, settling on verve (thanks Wendy!), which has been almost perfect! They even offer a lot of software as pre-installs, and it is much cheaper than earthlink. I was able to install open source coppermine photo gallery (love it) and expression engine is a dream. Of course, now expression engine has a photo gallery module, but I’m not ready to migrate my photo gallery. In the course of working and configuring these php dbs, I am learning more about both CSS and php.I am now very keen on CSS and still trying to learn everything that I need to know to make a presentation to csszengarden.com