Raiding the Wayback Machine: A Look at My Website Ventures
I present the historical archives of my corners of the internet; my brain dumps.
4 min read
This post was originally intended to form the about page, however, I felt my venture into my website ownership past was too lengthy and image-heavy for that purpose. Thus I present the historical archives of my corners of the internet; my brain dumps.
In 2007 I built my first website using Freewebs creatively titled allthingsgaming. Intended as a hub for my friends and I to share game cheats and discuss the latest releases on the Playstation 2 and Playstation 3, it was never popular, even amongst said friends. Here's that relic in all its glory.
Later in 2007 "ATOP" pops up, a "branding" I used for a good while if memory serves. Another Freewebs website but I seem to have dabbled into the area of shared hosting, noting that it "went funny" and I'm back on Freewebs. A much more modern template choice this time, putting the textured borders and backgrounds of allthingsgaming to shame. Here also notes where I first dabbled in programming, a link to a Visual Basic 6 "web browser" visible in the sidebar. I never used my creation. Another freewebs relic.
The third and final Freewebs website, this time in 2008. Still running with the ATOP branding, but now I've put my name on the website! I remember making the radio station before heading off on holiday, leaving my computer running with Shoutcast so I could listen to my music on my laptop while abroad; my laptop lacking any space for my burgeoning music collection. I'd also continued my exploration into Visual Basic, developing a notepad application, as well as a Halo game which I don't remember finishing.
2009 saw my first real venture into web development. I purchased my first domain name "streeteye.info" and started to host everything on shared hosting. The first iteration was a Simple Machines Forum, again intended to be a place for my friends and I to chill out - and I think we did for a bit. I'd also built an image host in PHP and put it under host.streeteye.info. If memory serves a few internet strangers did use this random image host, which was a great feeling at the time. The waybackmachine makes this look a little worse for wear.
The same sparseness can be seen in the recovered Simple Machines Forum screenshot.
September 2013 saw me purchase this domain, alwilde.com. A Wordpress blog existed for a short while, before being replaced with a simpler, single-page affair in 2014. The image host apparently still existed at this time, as did links to ViewPanel, a blogging script I'd created in PHP in 2009. I'm unsure what that PHP API helper is.
A static site generator (Ghost or Jekyll) replaced this page in December 2014, giving rise to the first blog post that still stands on this blog today, even after various backend moves. A Hexo blog replaced this in December 2015, with some more posts from that era still standing on this blog today.
October 3rd and the Wayback Machine demonstrates what might be my favourite iteration of the site yet. A simple single page with a link to a Ghost blog. Incredibly minimal, beautiful.
As much as I love a nice single-page website it's time for a change, hence why the blog has been brought forward from its subdomain prison. It allows for better engagement and brings back that sense of community I was trying to create with the websites between 2007 and 2013.
I think it's interesting to see how far I, and the internet as a whole, have come in the past 12 years and this makes me pause for thought. Freewebs, while useable for everyone, was pitched at a younger audience. This was in the years when Piczo, a social network-esque website builder was in its prime and Freewebs were there to capitalize. This was in the years when Youtube allowed users complete freedom in changing their channel designs, allowing the insertion of custom HTML and CSS.
That freedom, that prospect of adventure into the realm of website development simply doesn't exist anymore. There are no services, to my knowledge, that allow a kid to create a website with such ease as Freewebs did. Sure there's Wix, Squarespace, and even Webs, Freewebs' successor, but they feel incredibly corporate and foreboding. I suppose what I'm saying is that I think there's currently no fun entry point into web development.
It's very strange how a dive into your past can make you consider the present and future. Perhaps I'll expand on my point soon in another post. In any respect, I hope you enjoyed coming with me on an adventure through the internet.