Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Pull the tapeworm out of your ass, Hey

Something almost interesting to post today. I've probably told you in the past that I used to do a bit of webdesign, nothing professional, just sites for friends and acquaintances. I haven't done anything for a while now, except just do small updates to the sites, and one of the reasons is that it often rests on me soley to do these updates and to attract visitors to the sites.

One of the reasons it is left to me is because I am the only person who knows how to do it, knows how to use Dreamweaver, knows some html, and generally understands how the whole thing works. But now I feel like a slight fraud because I don't know as much as I should or could. Now for a bit of history.

Before I went to University in 1999, I had never used the internet, which must seem strange for those of you teenagers out there who have been suckled on a modem, but when I got there the world was my oyster, with computers I could use at all hours, all manner of software, and amazing connection speeds.

I signed up to yahoo mail and with this got access to geocities, their online website creator. I made quite a few sites which I liked, generally personal ones, which looking back at may seem quite simple and messy, but it got me started. Over the next two years I got to grips with the internet and how it all worked, mucked around with websites, and generally surfed around checking out other people's sites, and having fun.

It was at the end of my 2nd year that I was elected to the position of 'Communications Officer' of the Student's Union for the following academic year, and from then on nothing could stop me. The SU didn't have a website, and so I taught Dreamweaver and Photoshop, and was able to make a website and also design posters for events and promotional materials.

At this stage I was very happy to be the only person who knew how to do this, and was regarded as a bit of a technical wizard. It was at this time that I also started doing other websites, and they compared very well with anything else that was around, technically and also aesthetically [I hope I don't come across as big-headed.]

I devoted a lot of my free time and was contantly learning new things to keep ahead, and was a bit like Jonny 5 from Short Circuit "Need more input!!". Now I do not have as much free time, and I haven't kept on top of new advances. I really wanted to learn Macromedia Flash, but that has been a pipedream and now it is too late for me, and I dread to think of other things that I've missed out on too.

I am not very happy with the sites now and they new a major overhaul. They are okay for personal pages but not for professional pages, and I'm sure that professional webdesigners would look at them with pity.

I want to learn more, but it will be hard as I've fallen very far behind and have a lot of catching up to do.

One of the ways I can help myself is to make the sites I currently have manage themselves, and I can also learn a bit whilst I'm at it.

I've installed e107.org which is "a content management system written in php and using the popular open source mySQL database system for content storage", and I'm in the process of setting it up to run my football club's website. One of the main benefits is that it will be web-based and can be edited and updated from any PC, and I can also assign various priviledges to users so that they can keep it updated with news, results, fixtures, etc. I will of course keep my admin controls so that it can't be f**ked up, but in essence I won't have to do anything if the others are doing what they can.

It was fun last night working on it because I was learning at the same time too, which is something I've missed, as I haven't had to push myself much lately.

I'm going to try and learn more and make my websites more functional to other users. I'll have to lookaround for other content management systems as they seem tobe a good way to go, although I'll have to see how e107 goes.

Apologies to those who thought this might be an interesting post. ;)

7 comments:

SwissToni said...

I remember well being introduced to the internet at university. This was pretty much before the www took off, and we were all using 'pine' as our email programme and the only thing worth spending any time on were usenet newsgroups. By the time I did my Masters though, I was merrily building my own website. It was ace. Wandering around the web nicking code I liked and re-using it. I started work in 1997 and they had only just given everyone their own PC and internet access was far from standard.

Anyway. To cut this long and boring story short, I ended up working on a website in the real boom-days of ecommerce (and coincidentally my specialist subject was the content management system - which was bespoke and therefore a black art). It was a blast. When I went down to the offices in London, it was all scooters, free food, massages at lunchtime... the works.

Happy days.

Of course, they paid vast salaries to kids straight out of college - mainly from the USA - put them up in flats in central london and let the loose on the UK and our website. It was brilliant fun, but it was such stupid economics, it was never going to last.

You should get up to speed with this shit mate. You're good at it, and there's a market for it.

ST

Charby said...

Being backwards, I only discovered the internet when I went to uni in 2001

adem said...

That's only 2 years after me!

Aravis said...

Not at all a boring post. Your entry and subsequent advances (or lack thereof) are a lot like my own experiences. I learn more in fits and starts, mostly as needed. Good luck and have fun as you catch up again! :0)

Lord Bargain said...

I'd see how the e107 goes first.

*rubs chin advisedly*

Napfisk said...

Now, now, you're not that old and behind are you? I think it's cool you're trying to pick it up again.

Sure, there may be a few 12 year olds that can't imagine a world that isn't CSS compliant, but that's not really the point is it?

I first 'saw' the web in 1995 or so, but only began using it a few years back, with considerable lapses of 'disconnectedness' in between. I've only been back online at home, with the right gear and good broadband for a year or so.

And dreamweaver? I find it to be a tricky app that I dabble in but don't quite know what it's doing when I mess with it. I'm more of an Adobe CS man really, but also non-professionally mind you.

Good luck with it. Post some links when you're done, okay?

Stef said...

I feel you pain, man. My story is very similar to yours but I started a couple of years earlier.

I too built websites circa 1999 but then struggled to keep up with the technology as I was doing it in my spare time.

From what I can gather the market has pretty much divided now with a host of people using off the shelf content management or scripting products and just using CSS to 'skin' the site and the rest being hardcore techies custom building web-apps. The web-designer of old who did the design, the HTML and maybe some forms and a bit of scripting for DB calls seems to have disappeared.