Web Log

To New Beginnings

Starting over, but not from scratch.
by Trevor, 11/12/2023 4:19 PM EST

This web site was neglected for far too long in a non-optimal state. I really like the design that I came up with for the site -- all of the colors and fonts and clean lines look good, if I do say so myself. But the content was severely lacking. I blame the mental fatigue of designing a web site for the lack of content creation.

But I have started anew with a mild refresh of the site and a purge of the old non-content. Primarily I was inspired by finding some other person's personal site and seeing a collection of computers. Hey, I have a bunch of old computers too. Why not show them off? There was some minor updating of the versions of libraries behind the site as well. So now I have at least one baseline reason for a web site to exist.

There are still more things to do, of course. It would be nice to be able to zoom in on images if you click on them, and I need to make my life easier when it comes to adding more content. It has been a long time since I just wrote (or, well, typed) something for myself instead of for work. I'll have to find my voice again, away from all of the regular professional concerns and topics.

So, here's to new beginnings -- better off when not entirely from scratch.

On Rabbit Holes

by Trevor, 08/10/2018 10:57 PM EDT

There has been a boom in the rabbit population where I live over the last couple of years. When I step out of my car after returning home, I am almost immediately surrounded by cute and fluff.

Well, I've found more fluffy bunnies to pursue in my web design too. Rather than make content to fill out my pages, I've redone a number of internals.

I also finally added that footer I talked about in the first post. The CSS for that was particularly frustrating to figure out, but only because I'm picky about what I want. Which, of course, is that the footer be at the end of the content or the bottom of the page, whichever is lower. Can't have a proper footer hanging up in the air, now, can we?

See you next time.

Static vs. Dynamic

Never underestimate how much work an engineer will put into being lazy.
by Trevor, 08/01/2018 11:09 AM EDT

My next grand adventure has been the setup of photo albums on this site, and I've run into the decision of whether I should just generate pages for everything or have the CMS handle finding image files and filling in albums every time they're loaded. Of course, I wouldn't generate static pages manually. I've already written a Python script to do that for me.

In favor of just making static pages:

In favor of seeking a dynamic solution:

So I guess the argument is about more than just ease of use in the future. It's also about saving time now or later. I've already decided it makes more sense for me to work towards a dynamic solution. This is one of the things though that makes it looks like I'm not making any progress on this site when in actuality a lot is happening behind the scenes. Maybe that's why I leave test items littered all about: so it feels like I'm actually doing something.


The Creation of a Web Site

For those who wish to read all about how I made a thing.
by Trevor, 07/22/2018 7:01 PM EDT

After over a decade of starts and stops, punctuated with realizations that I have not kept up with modern web development techniques very well at all, I have finally set about creating a personal web site with a dedication strong enough to have something to show for my efforts. Behold the trappings around these words.

Back when I last made a web site for myself, my standard method was to design the page in Macromedia Fireworks then cut the menu items and other parts into separate image files and arrange everything with tables. Clearly such techniques are frowned upon these days (and what better way to sound old than to use the phrase "frowned upon these days"). But I've found that I just don't keep at things if I have no hook into what's going on at all, so I began designing this site in Fireworks as well.

I have always been a fan of minimalist design, and it turns out that rectangles are some of the easiest things to create with CSS. Once I got the design converted to some basic HTML and CSS, the next adventure was, of course, getting web fonts set up. One can't proceed to the programming phase if the site doesn't look nice, after all. It would be too distracting. After some experimentation, I settled on Delm and Core Sans M. The fact that they were on sale might also have been a factor.

The next step was to figure out how to not deal with duplicate text. That is, I wanted the menu to show up on every page, but don't want to deal with having to update every single page on the site if I change my mind about a category or change a filename. I've had success with simply using PHP includes in the past to take care of this problem. However, I soon realized that if I was serious about properly organizing things, I would have a lot of PHP coding to do. It would probably have been fun, but it was daunting enough that I spent some time researching available CMS platforms. Boy howdy are there a lot of them out there. Wordpress would be overkill, as would most any CMS that includes user account setup. I lucked into finding PicoCMS, which is what I've used here.

The theming was pretty straightforward, and the performance seems to be quite good so far. Of course, I haven't really taxed it much yet. I may not ever. This may end up being the only post on this site. But I do still have plans, and some more things I'd like to add to this site:

I guess my next post will be about this web site too. How very meta. But it is what I've been working on lately, so it is at least temporally relevant. See you next time!