Interrupting Regularly Scheduled Programming …

(… for programming.)

Playing with websites has been a hobby of mine since nearly two decades. What has intrigued me was the combination of different tasks, appealing to different moods – or modes:

  • Designing the user interface and organizing content.
  • Writing the actual content, and toggling between creative and research mode.
  • Developing the backend: database and application logic.

I have distributed different classes of content between my three personal sites, noticed how they drifted apart or become similar again, and have migrated my content over and over when re-doing the underlying software.

e-stangl: screenshotsubversiv-screenshot

(Voice from the future: Of course, now all the URLs point to the ‘same site’ by the end of 2015. Will get ‘more extreme soon – 2019.)

Currently the sites run on outdated ASP scripts accessing CSV files as database tables via SQL. This was not a corporate software project – or too similar to one: I kept tacking on new features as I went, indulging in organically grown code. I hand-craft my XML feeds!

It is time to consolidate all this. I feel entitled, motivated, or perhaps even forced to migrate to a new ‘platform’, finally based on true object-oriented programming. Our other three sites run on the same legacy code, which I don’t want to support forever – I will migrate those sites as well in the long run.

So: I am developing a new .NET site from scratch, and I am going to merge my three personal sites into one.

However, I cannot bring myself to re-doing the code only and trying to migrate the content unchanged and as automated as possible. Every old article brings up memories and challenges me to comment on it and to reply to former self. I have to deal with all the three aspects listed above!

As for the layout, the challenge is to preserve the spirit and colors of all three sites – perhaps using something silly as three different layouts that visitors (especially: myself) can pick from, changing the layout based on category, or based on something random.

This is just a draft - but it seems I prefer to build on the 'subversive' layout.
This is just a first draft – building on the ‘subversive’ layout.

I will dedicate most of my ‘online time’ to this project; so I am taking a break from my usual blogging here and there – except from progress reports on this web migration project – and I will not be very active on social media.

13 Comments Add yours

  1. Michelle H says:

    I was wondering if you had begun your project yet. I have done a poor job of blogging or reading docial media lately; too much urban farming going on this summer. By the way, I seem to have lost the notifications for your blog again. I’ve been wondering if this happens when you’re revising. I don’t want to miss your coding updates–I am being sent back to the CS trenches next term to revisit the process. Apparently coding has changed in the 20 years since I last studied it. :)

    1. elkement says:

      The notifications issue is weird – I swear I haven’t made any changes to this blog recently :-) … and it should be the advantage of a hosted platform that as a mere user I should not be able to break underlying things like notifications, even if I wanted! ;-)

      Yes, I am already knee-deep in code! Actually, I started another heavy coding project today, one related to our core business, and I already sense the infamous synergy effects :-) I have always done some programming as part of all my jobs, but I was more of a scripting system administrator – even when I used compiled code. These current projects are more ambitious now in terms of best practices and object orientation.
      I bet you will have fun with figuring out the abstract models and structures!!

      1. Michelle H says:

        I’m not sure what happens with WordPress notices, as I tend to get emails for things I set for no notifications. I periodically go back and reset everything again and then it works for a while.

        Your project sounds interesting and challenging–something you’d like. I’ll let you get back to it!

  2. Good luck. See you soon.

    1. elkement says:

      Thanks – I’ll keep blogging, just changing the topic and focusing on this project for some time … aaaand perhaps on another programming project I’ve just started :-)

  3. Mike Howe says:

    Good luck Elke and come back soon

    1. elkement says:

      Thanks, Mike! I think I will post regularly – but focused on this project only. So maybe incomprehensible for non-geeks, but too simple for experts.

  4. Irgendeine says:

    Have a good time and good luck to your new Project!

  5. Joseph Nebus says:

    Aw, all right. Good luck recoding.

    I have one middlingly complex web site database project I started in 2007, and got nearly finished when I had to learn some Ajax stuff, and by the time I was good enough to do that the server’s version of PHP had changed enough that my database stuff wasn’t working right anymore, and then the code’s rotted just enough that I feel like redoing the whole thing would be the best course of action, but who has time for that?

    1. elkement says:

      Thanks, Joseph! My stuff is much simpler than that. Though I have done quite a bit of SQL Server programming in the last year (for manipulating and analyzing the data of our heating system), I will stay with a ‘file-based database’ for the website project, allowing for editing content and meta data as text files. I am also using a text editor although I have a license of Visual Studio ;-)
      But I found there are many file-based content management system out there for small sites like mine, using very similar principles as the one I have cooked up for my sites – so I don’t consider it that unprofessional anymore …. if I finally get my classes and objects right :-)

  6. howardat58 says:

    But I do appreciate your comments and likes !!!!!!!

    1. elkement says:

      I’ll not be ‘gone’, just focussing on a topic that might not be too interesting :-)

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