Thursday, November 4, 2010

Time to update my website: Beginnings

About two years ago I bought the domain at, bought web hosting, and put up my first website that wasn't tied to my job (I write software at the University or Arizona).  I take a lot of photographs and I like to share them on the web for others to see.  Since then, I've been using JAlbum ( to construct galleries of photographs.  This has worked ok but I've never been happy with the look of the website and have been itching to update it (I updated the look of this blog recently, do you like it?).

The front page of my current web site.
So, I've begun looking at the possibilities for a better looking and better functioning web site.  The first thing I've done is look at a lot of other photography websites.  I find that a large fraction of these sites use Adobe Flash to do animations, zoom in/out, and move things around on the screen.  I also find that many of them don't work on my iPad or iPhone because those mobile devices don't support Flash.

Not a nice result when you go to a web site.
So, although Flash is flashy, it won't work on some important mobile devices.  Also, I find that some of the flash sites are slow for whatever reason, and it takes a while to see the first photograph.  So, I don't think I want to use flash.  Another thing I've noticed is that a lot of photographic web sites are similar with sections for "about me", "galleries", "contact", "blog", etc. and the "galleries" link often takes me to a page with more links like: "people", "places", "mood", "landscapes", "black & white", etc.  So I started looking around and found that there are quite a few website "templates" available, some free, some you have to pay for.  I suspect quite a few people use these templates and that the templates are often copies of other templates, etc.  So, I'm going to try to avoid using templates if possible.  From this analysis, it seems that I should use html (perhaps version 5, although older browsers won't support it) and I'll need to try to write the website myself.  Dang, I've written some web sites with html-4 and css but not many, this will be a lot of work.

There are some html5 plugins for Adobe Lightroom that look interesting.  For example: HTML5/CSS Photo Portfolio and I may use something like that as a fallback if I can't write my own or it is taking too long.  Another possibility is "The Turning Gate" which makes a product called "TTG Stage CE" which will translate flash content, for example galleries made with Adobe Lightroom's web module, into something viewable on mobile devices.

Choices, choices, and a lot to do, and a lot to learn.  Fortunately, I enjoy this stuff.  :-)

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