New Site Design

I think you’ll agree: it was time for an overhaul of this site. The layout was getting stale, the navigation menu was completely out of control, and the sheer quantity of content was causing serious bloat. Well, finally, today, I delivered: a completely new layout, a completely new architecture/organization, a handful of new features, and a complete content overhaul. I completely killed a few sections of the site which were either not useful, no longer accurate, or simply a pain. Plus, the whole thing now runs on WordPress.

This site has had an interesting history; it went online in 1997 or so, in a rough form (back then it was hosted on Rice University Unix servers). It made a brief migration to dorm-room-PC hosting, then to a free site for a brief while, then to shared hosting out in the real world. It has been hosted on Apache, IIS, and a half-dozen server daemons most people have never heard of, running on Linux, Unix, and Windows. Its backend has been static, CGI/Perl-based, ASP-based, ASPX-based, CFML-based, and PHP-based. It really has been around. Perhaps the most interesting feature of its evolution is how I’ve edited its contents:

  • vi
  • pico
  • notepad
  • Dreamweaver 3
  • Dreamweaver 4
  • Dreamweaver MX
  • Dreamweaver MX + WordPress
  • Dreamweaver MX + WordPress + various custom tools
  • notepad again (Dreamweaver MX is very poorly behaved) + Dreamweaver MX (as needed) + WordPress + various custom tools
  • notepad++ + Dreamweaver MX (as needed) + WordPress + various custom tools
  • notepad++ + WordPress
  • WordPress

That’s right: I’m using WordPress as a full-fledged CMS, now (I am not using it on the half-dozen pages which never get updated and would have been a pain to try to import because of non-standard layouts). Truth to tell, it couldn’t have happened a moment too soon. Even after the massive cleaning job I just did, this site contains dozens of pages and over 500 blog posts; it has over 100 user comments and gets approximately 200 comment spams per day. In short: I needed to simplify things.

Interesting fact: did you know this blog has been online since April, 2001? Back then, it was fully custom-coded in VB Script. It has come a long way.

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