Family Website History

History

This page explores the history of this website. It’s mainly written so that I won’t forget my learning path with HTML and CSS and others may find it interesting too.

ISP Hosting

In 2010 my first family website was created using the web space that I got with the Optus internet service. The website is still online.

There is no database available and the whole site is done with HTML files and CSS.  The site has some structure with each page having it’s own copy of the menu and other parts. Each page was done with Macromedia’s (now Adobe) Dreamweaver which has a library feature. Parts of the page that are repeated, such as the menu and footer for example, are put into a library and inserted into the page where required.

The website features a slide show and a basic gallery which displays images using a lightbox done with JavaScript. The images are hosted elsewhere as you only get 10MB with Optus. Photobucket now charge for 3rd party hosting and the images may not display.

Drupal

In April 2013 to develop my skills in setting up Drupal I built a new website. I had already done one using the CMS (Content Management System) Joomla! in building the Eltham Model Railway Club’s website and I was interested to compare the two.

I used Drupal 6 and with integration of the Gallery 2 CMS things were going great… until one day…

Drupal 6 End of Life

The update page first indicated that Drupal had some life left and some days later the End of Life.
The update page first indicated that Drupal had some life left and some days later the End of Life.

In April 2016 I checked the update report on the Drupal site and there was a page of red panels showing every plugin I had was no longer supported.

Even worse Drupal 6 itself had reached its “end of life” and it was no longer being supported.

Like Joomla upgrading to a major Drupal version would need to be done manually, copying and pasting each article, page and goodness knows what else. Drupal 8 didn’t even want to install; the message said a file was missing! Not happy as errors like this should not be in a near production release.

At this point I made the decision to move to WordPress; with its ease of upgrading, adding content and adding images; plus the huge number of themes and plugins available.

Another Rebuild using WordPress

After having using Joomla! and WordPress to build sites, of the two, WordPress is much easier to customise and upload images. Even with Joomla 3 there is no built in way to easily add images to your pages. And with each release WordPress gets easier to use.

Both my professional portfolio and family websites now use WordPress.

Gallery 3

In 2016 the gallery was moved from Gallery 2 to a new one using Gallery 3, as I was no longer limited by Drupal which only support Gallery 2. Upgrading to Gallery 3 was easy thanks to a module and it’s mostly an intact copy of the old gallery I had installed.

Support for Gallery 2 finished years ago and the Gallery Project team is took a break for five years. But now is has been updated with a new project called Gallery Revival. It now runs with the latest PHP releases but I’m guessing the templates haven’t been updated and still aren’t mobile compatible.

After months of moving photos from my Gallery 3 install and onto WordPress with NextGen the gallery has now gone offline.

NextGen Gallery

I started building a gallery using NextGen gallery but the photo presentation isn’t the best. For albums with a lot of photos the user can’t use the slide show function for all without clicking to the next page that comes before the slide show. The images can be slow to load, which isn’t the fault of NextGen, but it shows nothing the user that anything is happening.

To date NextGen has proven to be easy to add more photos to it and to manage. It doesn’t hierarchical albums like the old Gallery 2 did but it seems to have strong support behind it.

Koken’s Demise

I was looking at Koken but its demise shows how important ongoing support is. Without updates your system eventually won’t work due to internet technology moving on. Graham Fisk had a large problem moving his photo collection to  X3 Photo Gallery Website. Read about the process.

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