April 1, 2004

Tech behind this site

I've had a few questions lately about how I create this site, and figure it's worth a brief explanation in case anyone else wants to do something like. All the ingredients are readily available.

The web site is hosted (along with the rest of simonstl.com at hesketh.net, a great company I found while I was living in Greensboro, NC - they're down the road in Raleigh. It shares a server with lots of other sites; while I'd love someday to have the flexibility that having and controlling a dedicated server offers, it's way beyond my price range.

The engine I use to manage the site is Movable Type, which provides a framework for creating entries and presenting and archiving them in a wide variety of different styles. It's not as flexible as I'd like, but it works well for now.

I type entries in by hand, with some cut-and-paste between entries for common features like photos and maps. I don't like HTML editors very much, and don't think you really need them for a site this simple. I write on both a Macintosh (15" iMac) and an IBM ThinkPad laptop running Windows.

The presentation details are handled by a set of CSS stylesheets derived from the one that came with Movable Type, plus a stylesheet switcher that lets people choose what size type they'd like.

I take most of the photos here on a Canon Digital Rebel, easily my favorite technology purchase of the last few years. It's a digital camera that takes interchangeable lenses and can use an external flash, which I need to get soon to make my pictures of meetings look less ghastly. If you've seen me out taking pictures, I also use a Gitzo Monotrek, which combines a walking stick with a monopod, using a Manfrotto 484RC2 quick-release head so I can take the camera off of it while walking. I occasionally borrow my wife's much smaller Pentax S4, and the early pictures of Varna houses were taken with a sadly defunct Olympus D-620L.

I edit and resize photos with Adobe Photoshop Elements, which came with the camera, and am starting to use Adobe Photoshop Album to keep track of them. I use WS-FTP to upload pictures to the site once they're ready.

Posted by simon at April 1, 2004 8:17 PM in
Note on photos