Thursday, May 2, 2019

They Took My Web Site Away

One of the minor disasters that transpired unnoticed during the time of my surgery and the early recovery phase was that my ISP unceremoniously terminated its free Web page support. As a result, the Farm House Journal is currently offline.

To review, the Farm House Journal (FHJ) is the precursor of, and companion to, this blog. I started it in 1999 with no comprehensive plan in mind, and so by the time I approached the end of Chapter IV, in early 2011, it was a chaotic mess, both textually and in terms of Web design.

From chapter to chapter, I would alternate between a present-tense journalistic style and a past-tense narrative style. The page layout also kept changing, sometimes within chapters, and navigation was awkward. Worst of all, I kept falling farther and farther behind in the story.

By the time I started Chapter IV, I had finally figured out what I wanted the FHJ to be, and I resolved to go back and re-write the first three chapters, but I was still clueless regarding how to fix the navigation, and in the event I was far too busy to undertake such a job at the time, because I had at last begun the exterior restoration in earnest.

And so, I started this blog, just to get a fresh start with current events while I figured out how to get the FHJ back on track. Added benefits were much easier and quicker posting, plus the ability to post video. After going on to complete Chapter IV, I just left the Web site to languish, while linking to it from here occasionally.

Once I realized that the FHJ was offline, I at first resolved to get it back up as soon as possible with a new hosting service. When I reviewed it, however, I quickly changed my mind, because aside from its textual and navigational problems, its Web design is fully twenty years out of date.

I created the site at a time when people were still using dial-up modems and CRT monitors with a 4:3 aspect ratio and at best 1280 by 1024 resolution. Moreover, the Web browsers used at the time varied wildly regarding how they interpreted HTML. I thus kept things as simple as possible, so the site would load quickly, with a consistent appearance across all platforms.

The situation now is quite different. Today’s high-resolution, widescreen displays render my 1999 design almost unreadable, with tiny fonts and long, long lines of text. The site is even less readable on cell phones and tablets.

Quod erat demonstrandum.

On the other hand, today's HTML gives one far more control over presentation, with fairly uniform look and feel across all platforms, and virtually everyone is using the latest version of their preferred browser. And by “virtually everyone,” I mean everyone but you, Nik.

And so, the FHJ will remain offline for the time being, while I take this golden opportunity to re-write and redesign it, and redirect the links to it from here. Of course, before I do this, I must learn how to code a modern Web site. This process is likely to take some time.

Please bear with me while I work to get the FHJ back online, and remember in the meantime not to click on any links that go to it. That way lies madness.

* * *

"Non legit illud. Non nimis longum esset."