I remember the first time I tried to create a web page. It was back in the dark days of 1994 and the University had just installed its very first web server. If you asked nicely they would give you some space to play with and you were allowed to link yourself to the list of internal sites on the front page. Back then there were no WYSIWYG editors. Men were men, and you coded everything by hand in a text editor, saved it out, pointed a browser at your creation and debugged from there. I don’t think I ever finished mine. It was rubbish and probably nothing more than a list of your own favourite bookmarks, as most personal sites were at the time.
It wasn’t until six years later that I finally succeeded in publishing a site. The occasion was the purchase of this very domain and it seemed wrong to have it sat there without a page to direct people to. It helped that I was mostly unemployed at the time, but it still was a herculean effort to get the five or six pages that the very first version of this site presented to the world online. Designing logos and menus, scanning in the photos one by one, writing the text. I recall vividly the final push to get everything written. I sat down at the computer in my attic room at 2pm and genuinely did not look at the clock again, or even move to eat or pee until 11 that night.
That site lasted until 2004 when I gave up ever having the time to revamp it properly and switched to blogging systems. I’ve never attempted to build a website from scratch since.
Until this month. The need to craft a new home for the Chart Watch columns, and to finally give the full archive the kind of presentation it has deserved, has led to my spending the past few weeks flexing the craft fingers once again. Even in this modern age it is no less of a task. Picking the hosting platform, choosing the CMS, trialling templates, adjusting parameters and then finally populating it with starter content.
But it is almost done. Things need to stay under wraps for just a couple more days to iron out the kinks, but I think it is safe to say that this Friday the Chart Watch column will no longer be in its temporary home on this site, but instead on its own dedicated platform for the first time ever. Watch this space as they say.