New website

Every so often I rework this website. The plan this time was to develop my own WordPress theme, but two days into that project I could see my entire Christmas holiday going down the drain. It was a fun two days, and I learned a bit about SASS. But I was getting out of my depth, and fast.

In the end, I’ve gone for a WordPress theme called Rebalance and tweaked it here and there. By the time you read this, I may still be tweaking it.

Anyway, here’s a brief history of this site…

2003: Angelfire

This was the first website I ever made. I did it on MS Publisher and hosted it on Angelfire. Great days. I love the fact Angelfire is still going.

2006: Blogger

This was my first foray into blogging. It was back when a blog was like an online diary: you’d just write about what you’d been doing. I also wrote a few stories and stuff like that. I never found a Blogger theme that worked for displaying images though.

2007: Drupal

My older brother set me up with a Drupal site and showed me the how to use FileZilla and PHPMyAdmin to access the backend. I had no idea what I was doing and broke the site a few times.

Drupal was tough. It kept telling me to run cron and it was a constant job keeping all the modules up-to-date. Eventually the site got hacked and I decided to start again from scratch.

2010: WordPress.com

This was a good experience. I still rate WordPress.com as the best free blogging platform out there.

2012: WordPress self-hosted

About this time I wanted to teach myself how to run my own WordPress site. That way I could tweak it and make it look more how I wanted. I spent ages moving everything across. It used the Illustratr theme, and it looked good. The only problem was that it was too slow. Page loads sometimes took ages.

2014: Static site with Foundation 5

The slowness of WordPress got me interested in static websites again. Foundation was a great way to get into this. The site was bare bones, but this meant it was really fast. I started off using PHP for the header and navigation. Later I moved the site to GitHub Pages, which is free but doesn’t let you use PHP. People usually get around this by using a static site generator like Jekyll or Hugo.

I figured if I made the site even more minimalist, I could do without this. All the content was images, so I just made the homepage a big list of thumbnails and linked directly to the jpegs. This is rustic, but I still think it’s a good approach for a portfolio site. If someone loads a jpeg, most browsers show this at a fit-to-screen size. With another click, you can zoom in to the full resolution.

The only trouble was that I stopped writing on the site. I had a blog for work stuff, but nowhere to write about non-work stuff.

2017: WordPress self-hosted

Back on WordPress means the site is going to be a bit slower. I’m using the plugin WP SuperCache, which should speed things up a bit. I might end up writing a bit more here though, so the speed thing is a trade-off.