Musings on Photography

static website news

Posted in web issues by Paul Butzi on November 14, 2009

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For once, I’m actually making progress on my static website update.

That’s partly because, in the update, a great deal of what’s out there now is going to disappear. All of the equipment reviews, for instance, are obsolete, annoyingly out of date, and frankly more appropriate fodder for blog posts now that I have a blog. I understand that some of it might be of historical interest. Sorry, the work of bringing it up to date and reformatting it is too large to make it worth going through.

The articles, too, will mostly go away. Most of them, though, were essentially blog posts but made before I had a blog. I may take that content and recycle it as blog posts. But the articles will vanish from the website. In some cases I’ll leave tombstone html files that will redirect searchers to the blog entry, I guess, to avoid breaking links.

The other big change is that all of the photographs will go away. I’ve looked at flash galleries, and they are horrid. I’ve looked at javascript galleries, and they’re horrid. I’ve looked at what feels like 27 million different kinds of galleries, and the bottom line is that all of them are horrid. Oh, they’re easy to add photos to, so they’re probably easy to maintain. But the actual user experience of viewing photos with them is horrid.

And it turns out that my long slow move away from single images or even collections of single images continues unabated, so web galleries that are just random easily maintained sets of images are boring to me. I’m interested in collections of images. Maybe sequences of images. I want to share larger copies of the final versions of these collections of images.

And SoFoBoMo convinces me that PDF’s are a good way to do this, so PDF portfolios are what is going to be on the static website. I’ve gone through the work that’s currently on the old site, and I’ve re-edited it (think: butzi.net remastered!) and put it into PDF portfolios.

So the static website will be:

  • the obligatory splash page, very plain with just one image
  • a page about how to contact me
  • a page offering information about me and my photography
  • a page for the PDF portfolios
  • a page with info and links for buying books, when I have books available (e.g. Blurb versions of SoFoBoMo books, and Blurb (or equivalent) versions of the PDF portfolios.

The result will be a much, much smaller static site. There won’t be much there, which will improve the chances that I’ll update it more often. The good news is that this change will give me an easy way to distinguish photos I post on the blog (which are NOT always what I’d consider winners but are sometimes losers I find interesting for some reason) and the work on the static website (which will be ‘finished’ work, as it were).

Once I get that done, I’ll tackle the blog, I guess.

9 Responses

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  1. Eric Jeschke said, on November 15, 2009 at 12:57 am

    Sounds like a realistic, practical assessment + a plan.

  2. Tim Parkin said, on November 15, 2009 at 4:42 am

    For the sake of the internet (and for your search engine optimisation rankings) you should keep the old content or at least 301 redirect from the urls to your new blog posts (the latter will help people find useful old information – think of all the people that may have linked to your content in the past?)

  3. Andreas Manessinger said, on November 15, 2009 at 5:13 am

    Is there any reason why you don’t do it in WordPress? After all, you can have pages, and on the pages you can display whatever you want. You’d benefit from the infrastructure, stats, etc.

  4. Hugh Alison said, on November 15, 2009 at 5:30 am

    My website is all done with WordPress – hosted on my own site, not Worspress.com – I’m using it as a simple content management system – very pleased with it considering I threw it together in a few hours, badly need to go back to it and refine it when I have time: http://www.hughalison.com

    It would be a real shame to lose some of your old articles (going off the silver standard, putting away the silver prints, toning black and white digital prints, if you meet buddha on the road).

  5. Paul Butzi said, on November 15, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Is there any reason why you don’t do it in WordPress?

    Several reasons:

    1. Right now the static website is hosted by a friend, for free. Installing wordpress, php, and database software is more, frankly, than I’m willing to tackle on that machine, which is running Windows Server. Yes, I could move the site. But it would add complications.

    2. No matter where I have the new site hosted, even if (especially if) I host it on my own server here at my home, if I use WordPress for the static site it means I have to deal with upgrades to WordPress, security issues, and so on. I’m doing all this to CUT the effort, not increase it. I have watched the amount of ongoing effort people put into ongoing WordPress administration. By continuing to host the blog at wordpress.com, and cutting the static website way down, I can punt the entire wordpress administration problem way down the road.

    2a. If, in the future, I want to merge the blog and the static content under wordpress (a definite option) merging the small amount of static content will be very easy.

    3. The goal here is to cut the static website down to the content that’s truly static, and have the site be just a place to host finished work (as opposed to the blog, which is all about work in progress). For reasons which seem hard to articulate, I find that division appealing. Probably in the real world it makes no difference.

  6. David Bailey said, on November 17, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…

    Some of that old content I find quite enjoyable, and who knows how many have linked to it, so in keeping with Internet tradition why not keep it for posterity? Especially if it’s not making any work for you to just leave it alone. If it really bugs you that it’s out of date, maybe just add a red header disclaiming, “Old–read at your own risk”?

    With Google spending untold millions scanning medical textbooks from 1896, surely your reviews and articles from 2002 are at least as worthy to keep! ;*)

  7. David Bailey said, on November 17, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Ah, just saw your subsequent post.

    I certainly wouldn’t suggest you are under any obligation to keep stuff, or that you should care about popularity or search engines.

    Just wanted to remind you if it wasn’t obvious that you do have friends who enjoy having that stuff there, and don’t much care if it’s outdated, and so if that’s any small satisfaction to you then maybe it outweighs the small amount of maintenance serving that crowd demands.

    I’m doing stuff at work right now that will change a gazillion Google URLs, so I’m no stranger to these hassles!

  8. Paul Butzi said, on November 17, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    Some of that old content I find quite enjoyable, and who knows how many have linked to it, so in keeping with Internet tradition why not keep it for posterity?

    There *is* no internet tradition of keeping it for posterity. Everyone thinks there is, but there isn’t. Really. Everyone who thinks that also thinks that keeping old stuff around forever is free. After all, all you do is leave it there, right? Except that’s only true in fantasy land, which is exactly unlike the real world.

    Especially if it’s not making any work for you to just leave it alone.

    Yeah. It actually IS making a really big pile of really nasty work in the sense that having this huge pile of crud actually DOES prevent me from putting up a new website in a new format. Either I go back and CONVERT all that crud (read: takes my time) or else I get rid of it. “Leaving it alone” is not an option, since I’m trying to update from an old web maintenance tool (Frontpage) to a new one. That means every file needs to be touched, because the site navigation is changing.

    So every single file that gets kept means I spend time editing it, tracking down problems with it, reformatting it, and so on. Every single file.

    Read that again. Now consider that NOT keeping something has truly zero cost.

    The low cost solution is doing what I’m doing. EVERY other possibility is more work for me.

  9. Alex Brikoff said, on November 17, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    Hear, hear!! I, too, am in the process of revamping my website. I’m tending to agree with you, Paul. That simpler is better but for a slightly different reason. I like your portfolio idea simply because it will make downstream maintenance a lot easier. At least at first glance! My galleries have grown terribly large and I’m looking for a way to make that process easier.


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