A long, long time ago…I can still remember…
In the fall of 1996, I decided to try my hand at making a web site. I had just received my engineering UNIX account, a big step up from the VM account that I had through the university itself. I had no idea how to make one, so I searched for HTML references online and found the University of Illinois HTML primer. If you made a website in 1996, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. Armed with this, in 15 minutes I had created my first web page: nothing more than a couple of links on a plain gray background.
It has snowballed from there, to say the least.
This is version 10 of of the site, but only the fifth version actually known as pressing on… The first five versions were known as Brandon’s Page, at once unoriginal and a misnomer, as it was really my site. But enough of that. Fortunately, some of them were lost to posterity; however, if you’d like to look at some of the old versions (ugly as they are; my web design skills started at mediocre and haven’t improved much), they are archived at the Internet archive project. You’ll have to search for the old location of the site,
In June of 1999, I made the sixth version of the site, and decided that a name change was long overdue. I came up with pressing on… after some thought, which I document in my tribute to God. He’s the reason the site’s named pressing on…, after all.
On January 28, 2001, with the introduction of version seven, the front page of pressing on… became a weblog. It’s had that form ever since, and my guess is that’s how it will stay for a while to come.
design and goals
First off, standards. I believe in them. I won’t bore you with my rationale, but if you’d like to learn more, it’s spelled out well at the Web Standards Project. The entire site is coded in valid XHTML (1.0 in some places, 1.1 in others) and CSS. At least, I hope. The site will look best in modern browsers, but its text should be readable on all web browsers.
images and tables
There are no GIFs on the site, as far as I know. Starting in June 2002, I’m using JPG and PNG formats only. There are lots of reasons I could give for this, but it’s easiest just to say that PNGs are smaller than GIFs for the most part. If you’re using a really old browser version (say, something from over a decade ago), this will mean you won’t see some of the images. Admittedly, you’re not missing much, but if you’d like to, consider upgrading your browser.
I do not rely on tables for design layout anymore. I didn’t really do so much in the past either, but now tables are only used on my site if I want to display data, which never happens on my personal site. 🙂 Instead, I use CSS to make my layouts. The biggest reason for this is that if I want to do a complete redesign over my site, I only have to change one file, not hundreds of table-laden files. (Anyone who maintains a large enough website will understand the accompanying joy this brings me.) Given that I use WordPress for my content management system now, and I am by no means a web designer, I use their themes.
One of the eventual design goals of this site is for it to be accessible to any user using any device. Here are a couple of good accessibility sites:
Section 508 – the government’s site with information about site accessibility for those with disabilities.
The Web Accessibility Initiative – the W3C‘s effort to make the web more accessible to everyone.
I realize that there are some people who use other types of browsers (aural browsers for those who cannot see, for example). One eventual goal of this site is to be both Section 508 compliant (the easy one) and WAI Triple-A compliant (much more difficult; there are many more tests that have to be passed).
Another acid test is to check my site with Lynx (a text-only browser) to ensure that the site looks good and can be easily navigated in it.