Boxing indevelopment  

I've spent far more time on the inner workings on the website than on the content for a long time.

The problem is in part that I am love with a good tinker. Plus, when I began in June of 2000 I was really only confident with the basics of HTML.

The tool that really brought me up to speed on the project is Macromedia Dreamweaver. I've been using version four for 12 months now, even though during a large part of that time there was, on the surface, zero activity on the site.

When the first version of indevelopment was constructed (June 2000), I was working towards the aim that it would become an e-zine that would be wel contributed to, that I could ask the pople around me for articles and I would be able to remove myself from the content side and work more as an editor and promoter.

Because it was going to be a compartmentalised e-zine, each area had its own directory structure. Within a week or two this was unfeasible, so the structure and likns needed to be redone. That's when I got dreamweaver.

At this time too I needed a name, and during a Saturday morning, working on a quiet day, I hit the domain registers looking for names.

I'm not going to waste your time with all of the names that indevelopment could have been but had I gotten in during the mid 90s I probably would have taken egostrange. (On a side note, I did register but never bothered to follow up on it or pay for it).

A customer of the store I worked in pointed me to my first web host, whose name escapes me completely, that had a link to network solutions and was formed.

The server space I got was free. 10mb of advertised space. I had the choice of the website with annoying pop-up or the website with annoying banner ad. For the first month, I took the banner ad because it was not to offensive and it remained the same for 45 days. As soon as they changed it to a garish, green banner, I chose the annoying pop-up version.

With the first launch of indevelopment I'd made the wise move of having a high-profile interview. I spoke to web activist Canadian Tom about his website and internet history via email and put together an interview. I posted the interview as soon as humanly possible, emailed Canadian Tom and he in turn added it to his next mailing list: giving me loads of hits.

What I hadn't done was to finish the rest of the site: so people that checked out indevelopment only saw a whole bunch of half finsished work. We've all been to sites like these and we all think the same thing about sites like these: unprofessional.

By the time I had my next interviews ready, indevelopment as a whole was ready, and I got a far more positive response to the whole.

Always on the lookout for a good deal, I soon was looking for other hosting options. I settled on the current host, Bizland, because even though the space came with the obligatory pop-up, I did get more space. They also offered reasonable pricing for ad-free space: something I was considering upgrading too when I was getting a bit more cash in my pocket.

I think it was two months before I was planning to make the switch to the paid space, my hand was forced when Bizland went to paid space only. I bit the bullet and crossed over in the first week the offer began: 35mb for US$5.95 per month. is a fully self-funded project. I don't mind having spending cash on it but I can't afford the works. During the year I got upgraded to 70mb of space at the same cost, so I'm staying loyal to my host.

Having ad-free space was always the dream.

I have a thing about advertising, especially having no control over what exactly is going to be advertised. It shits me and because I have to fight to get an audience I don't want you turned away because indevelopment sports a twisted humour pop-up or is seen to endorse the voyeuristic x10 cam. Now that I've had a year in paid space I can pledge to you that by hook or by crook indevelopment wil not have a pop-up or banner ever again.

Google has been my best friend. Since March 2001, gets regularly spidered. I even researched how to make a robots.txt file. Okay, I discovered that the structure of the site was not search friendly but isn't that what January rebuilds are for. I'd love to say I get thousands of hits a day. I don't but I do get the unusual.

Sometimes just looking at how someone found indevelopment makes it all worth it.

2001 Edition 2

During July of 2001 I got absorbed into a self publishing project, the guide to windowsxp. August 2001 was a true power month for me, I was working on a site design that would incorporate a flash, HTML and PDF structure, piggy-backed onto the existing layout of indevelopment. The intention of this guide was to have it finished a couple of weeks prior to the October 25 release of xp.

Two things got in the way, the first was getting involved in a flash training course. While it was quite liberating being in the role of teacher again, it removed me from the third quarter of the project and threw me into classroom preparation mode. I was to teach flash, one night a week for four weeks to a small class. Excellent work but work that needed all my focus. When September arrived, I was half was through the teaching and September 11 occurred.

For a few weeks after that date there really seemed no point getting back to the guide. Everything about it became irrelevant.

It really wasn't until mid-October that any spark really came back and there was no chance of picking up the xp guide where it had been left. Although mostly finished it needed the all important text. I posted a link to what I'd uploaded to an xp newsgroup, half and quarter finished material that consumed a great deal of bandwidth. The text that I'd managed to cobble together (salvage from drafts and the like) was rubbish.

The web, for all its programming tricks, animated gimmicks and other bandwidth-hungry diversions, is all about content and essentially, content is the word. I think I left the xp link up for 8 hours, teh posts on the newgroup were enough to confirm what I knew: the text was crap and not worth the bandwidth it was asking. I pulled the material and any thoughts of a hasty relaunch.

My mission for 2002 is to get organised. This time I've set a realistic launch target and I'm not going to be tempted to launch early with no content again. I've done that far too many times.

Grant McDonald

Author: Grant McDonald


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