This is it—the big one, the crème de la crème. Wadny.com is the most advanced, complex, and experimental site in my design portfolio, incorporating lots of custom code, dynamic menus, design evolution, and much more. This page covers the history of the site and some of its design, with more technical detail available in the colophon.
My first work with creating websites was duke3d.com, before I actually knew how to make websites. I recall not being able to do a page background because I kept spelling it “backround”. This lasted for a little while, but Duke Nukem 3D eventually got old. Next I moved on to the Quake 2 Information Database (QID), which went through numerous redesigns before I got ambitious and turned it into the First-Person Shooter Information Database (FPSID). Then a website called YDL was added on and redesigned twice to handle the web design business I pretended I had and the mIRC scripting stuff that I actually did have.
Then I got lucky. Out of the kindness of his heart, a friend of mine named Stal gave me free hosting with PHP, an SQL database, a sub-domain, as much space as I wanted, and no transfer limit—an incredibly nice gift. I repaid him by selling him duke3d.com for $20, which was a bargain at the time. I started adding some personal stuff to my website, such as my wallpaper collection and some experimental designs, and it grew into a hacked-together front end with frames on top of two separate websites (FPSID and YDL). It wasn’t exactly easy to work with, and some of it was downright ugly.
Then I heard about the May 1st Reboot from endeffect and decided I needed to reorganize into a single, uniform website instead of a conglomeration of several sites. I signed up just in time and got to work on trying to organize everything. Slowly, everything started to pull together, and eventually I had a decent site that worked quite well and could easily expand to cover other topics. It was all based on PHP so I could add or delete entire sections quickly and easily. The design, although a little crude, was much better than what I had before and was pretty clean.
Then everything fell apart. I’m still not sure why, but Stal suddenly couldn’t host my site any more, so I started the search for hosting. Eventually, I settled on registering the domain name with Gandi, hosting the DNS with DynDNS, and hosting the website itself on InstantWebsiteDesign (slightly misleading name, since they didn’t design any part of my site). That setup worked well for a couple months before InstantWebsiteDesign broke their servers, replaced my page with someone else’s, and stopped responding to all communication. After cursing at them for a while, I moved to phpwebhosting.com, which was very stable for a long time. There have also been several redesigns of varying magnitude since the first unified page.
That setup worked well for several years, until I started doing doing work full-time (initially internships before I graduated, then regular jobs), and having to do web design for a job made it much less appealing as a hobby. My career has since evolved away from web design to something I’m much happier with, but at the time, the simultaneous rise of social media pretty much killed off my remaining interest in maintaining this site, and it sat abandoned, functional but frozen in time.
Luckily, in some sense, the world kept moving on, and even PHP evolved, despite the best efforts of its community, to the point where wadny.com finally broke. I don’t know when it happened, or how long it was incapacitated, but I didn’t want to leave it in a broken state. Also, social media is no longer the hot new way for people to communicate, but instead the hot new way for corporations to hoover up and monetize our personal and private data and stuff more ads in our face, and the idea of taking back more control over my voice and presence online is pretty appealing.
Being a weblog, wadny.com is designed with a typical two-column layout. The visual design is intended to be simple and readable, and scale cleanly with adjusted font sizes. The yellow line between the header and content is the “theme color” of wadny.com, dating back long ago to designs I don’t even have any record of. The sidebar is shaded to add a little more color to the page; the color of the sidebar changes depending on the header I use. During the winter, I had a yellow-shaded header, so the sidebar was tinted blue. In the spring, I changed to a blue header, so the sidebar became yellow-tinted.
For visual display, body text uses a simple sans-serif font (probably Verdana) and headings use a serif font (hopefully Palatino Linotype). The colophon has more detail on typography.
The current technology of wadny.com is covered in more detail in the colophon.