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 no longer display.

Drupal

In April 2013 to develop my skills in setting up Drupal I built a new website using Drupal. 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

The gallery has been moved from Gallery 2 to a new one using Gallery 3 and it can be viewed here. Support for Gallery 2 finished years ago and sadly the Gallery Project team is taking a break but it looks like it will be wound up for good. Upgrading to Gallery 3 was easy thanks to a module and it’s mostly an intact copy of the old gallery I had installed.

As for the previous gallery some photos are restricted for privacy reasons. To have full access please send a request to glenn3095@gmail.com

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.

So I am not convinced that NextGen will be usable for all albums. It will be fine for smaller galleries like those accompanying a post but for larger albums I need an alternative.

Koken, A Photographer’s CMS

Graham Fisk had the same problem and wrote a great article about it. He looked at two alternatives, Piwigo and Koken. He chose Koken for his gallery. After taking a look at both I chose Koken. The new Koken based gallery is slowly and progressively being set up.

Koken Pros and Cons

The presentation is great and you can customise your pages to suit. There are a number of free templates to chose from but the better looking ones can get expensive, making Koken somewhat unsuitable for the amateur.

Photos can only be searched for from the back end. To get front end searching for your users a template needs to bought. The free templates are not mobile compatible but a smart phone can be used if you’re prepared to zoom in and out as required.

So there are a few drawbacks preventing the full development of my galleries using Koken and I have focused my efforts on getting the WordPress version up to date.

Post/Article Restoration

Now that I’m using a CMS made for writing restoring the old posts and creating new posts/articles will be less pain and time. Expect to see them appear soon.

Be sure to come back again and see how my WordPress site is progressing.