A Brief History of MykeWEB

The function of MykeWEB has changed several times since its inception back in 2000. It’s been an interesting 13 years with three consistent factors;

  • The colour purple
  • A recurring issue with (lack of) content
  • Very few visitors

 

This page serves as a brief history of the various incarnations that got us to where we are today.

 

2000 – MykeWEB is born

January 20, 2000 to be exact. The entire Internet* was set talking as the very first incarnation of MykeWEB is uploaded to some free webspace at the long-ceased XOOM.COM.

v1

MykeWEB v1

* As far as I know, no one knew about, let alone talked about MykeWEB.

Without a doubt the most complete and therefore the best at it’s job, MykeWEB’s first version was also my first attempt at HTML and it probably showed. Never-the-less the graphics were clear and crisp with big bold logos for the section headings; The obligatory F.A.Q., Links and Downloads, Soap Box (a doomed ‘chat show’ on the internet that only ever got one response), Who Gives a S#*@?! (stuff that you may be interested in.. or not), Brandon Stranger (a psyudonym under which I wrote a novella at University – the first 8 chapters were online for all to read), Eleven! (a music section that never got off the ground) and UDG Games (in which my aspirations of game-writing stardom began its run of failures.)

 

2001 – MykeWEB 2.0

Almost exactly one year on (January 28, 2001) and, having joined Retrospec (a team of Internet Retro Game-makers) and been given some new webspace, MykeWEB got a facelift. Inspired by another website (Honda UK, IIRC?), the new version was focused on looking big and sexy..

v2

MykeWEB v2

 

.. Unfortunately big and sexy doesn’t necessarily mean a successful design. Manual maintenance of such an ambitious site, still written in static HTML, became a nightmare very quickly and aside from a similarly complex but ultimately unsuccessful redesign of the UDG Games pages, there was little or no content on MykeWEB 2.0.

 

2001 – MykeWEB v3

Having registered the domain www.mykeweb.co.uk and begun paying for my own private hosting MykeWEB 2.0 was abandoned pretty quickly and development on MykeWEB v3 began.

One of the major problems with such an intricate menu-driven design in static HTML pages is that when you need to alter the design, you need to do it on every single page. To change a spelling mistake, for example, could take a couple of hours to do for all the pages. I addressed this by writing a (shockingly cumbersome to use) Visual Basic automation tool called MenuManager which inserted the appropriate menu items into each static HTML page to give the impression of an expandible context-driven menu system.

v3

MykeWEB v3

 

The design of the site and menu themselves were derived from Version 2, but without the worry of maintaining them I was left to concentrate on content once again. Menu options for UDG Games, Brandon Stranger, Eleven! and Who Gives.. returned and the site ran for another year or so. Unfortunately, for MykeWEB at least, I gave up my programming job at BT and moved to France with my girlfriend (now wife) Stevie to pursue Games and Web Development and MykeWEB fell a little silent in favour of ‘business’ website Demon Star and, inevitably, I took the decision to close the site.

 

2002-2005 – MykeWEB: The Return

I wasn’t particularly successful at either Games or Web Development and we eventually returned to the UK penniless, however, I decided to resurrect MykeWEB (I’d kept up hosting/domain name payments) and heavily simplified everything into a virtually text-only affair.

v4

MykeWEB: The Return

There was actually a decent amount of content on this one with fun articles accumulating over time including; How to Cook Stevie’s Bolognese, Our Move to France and our cat Ken.

Never being one to learn from my own mistakes, however, it wasn’t long before the Over-ambitious Redesign Demons reared their ugly heads…

 

2005-2006 – MykeWEB v5

I installed PHP and, after a week or two of working through examples, began writing a site with a dynamic Header/Footer/Menus and CSS styling abound all pushing out content from my flat-file ‘database.’ Once again there was a reasonable amount of intial content and the website looked pretty good, despite a rather creepy blinking statue of me in top-left corner!

v5

MykeWEB v5

Naturally maintaining a flat-file ‘database’ and manually inserting inline <?php codes, to create smiley faces for example, was a bit of a headache but I persevered for a year or so.

 

2006-2009 – Deafening Silence…

In the meantime I’d got myself a job in Desktop Support and, after 8 months back in Chester, Stevie and I decided to move Reading to pursue a career in IT.

I scored a job with Norsk Data (now 2e2) as a night-shift helpdesk support analyst and, after staring at dreary monitors in low-light night after night for 6 months, my desire to spend my days off in front of a PC as well ebbed away.

When I moved to the day-shift my interest in computers, particularly Windows Server, Active Directory and Citrix, returned, however, my home PC was generally demoted to an Internet/Email-only affair.

Once again I dutifully paid my hosting and domain name fees, just in case, but MykeWEB itself has sat for nearly 3 years doing nothing much.

 

2009-2012 – Experimentation…

My hosting provider moved me to a new Linux Web Hosting product and, naturally, I decided it was time to redesign again. Without a decent database and a content management system v5 wasn’t realistically scalable which is when I came across WordPress.

I installed WordPress (back then I had to manually copy the files to my server via FTP) and popped up the following message on index.html; “This is MykeWEB’s new server, however, I’m currently experimenting with that promised overhaul so give me a couple of months…”

I tried changing the colours on one of the readily available themes and got as far as configuring a header logo and a couple of test posts to see how things worked, however, I decided that I’d really need to beef up my CSS skills to make MykeWEB (v5.5 according to the screenshot) anything close to what I’d mocked up in Paint Shop Pro.

v5.5

MykeWEB v5.5 Mock-up

 

It was quickly apparent that I didn’t have the time or patience to fully realise my own WordPress theme and MykeWEB lay dormant once more.

 

2013 – MykeWEB 5.1

… Several years, a wedding and two kids later and here we are.

Just before Xmas 2012 I cleaned out everything from the MykeWEB server and installed WordPress 3.5 (this time via a one-click feature on my hosting providers site) and set about doing a basic theme customisation.

It’s purple, naturally, and I don’t think it deserves any more than a 0.1 increment from the 2006 version number. I can’t promise I won’t be tempted to redesign again or get frisky with CSS layouts, but for now it’s very much out of the box functionality so I can focus on quick posts about stuff that interests me and/or blasts of artistic output.

 

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