JBQ's spot on the Wild Wild Web
The musings of a French mathematician living in the heart of the American technology industry

Web site, version 2.5
The history of my public web sites goes approximately like this:

Around September of 1998, I created my first public web site, where I had my first decent BeOS utility available for download. That site should be called 0.9.
Geocities didn't allow direct linking of zip files
It was made of purely static web pages, so that I had to update every single page when I wanted to change the structure of the site. That site was hosted at GeoCities, which wasn't ideal because GeoCities didn't allow direct linking of zip files from outside sources, so that users couldn't directly download my applications from BeOS software repositories, and updating files at GeoCities was a slow manual process.

Two years later, in September of 2000, I bought my own domain name and moved the site to a serious hosting company (Hurricane Electric)
I got my own e-mail address
which allows me to do just about anything I want. That allowed me to offer direct links to my downloads. I got my own e-mail address, and all the convenience that comes with a Unix shell account. That site would be the real 1.0, it was really what I had in mind when I had started to create my GeoCities pages. I continued using it for a while and developed several more BeOS utilities during its lifetime. All pages of my site 1.0 are still here (except for the home page), but they're not linked any longer.

Fast-forward about 18 months. A few changes in my life made me want to change my web site as well. I needed an outlet to vent some frustration,
I took Joel Spolsky's advice and started to write on my own web site
and at the time the notion of a blog was only starting to emerge. At the time I wasn't very comfortable writing anything, and therefore I took Joel Spolsky's advice (Painless Functional Specifications - Part 1: Why Bother?) and started to write on my own web site. At the time Joel mostly wrote full-length articles, at the rate of more than one a week for his first 6 months. His articles contained some strong content, and 7 years later the majority of them are still as relevant as they were when they were first published. I was hoping to follow in Joel's footprints and write some interesting content. I switched to using CityDesk instead of manually-coded pages, and that allowed me to create version 2.0 of this site. It only took me a few months to realize that what I actually needed at the time was a "classic" blog and its short posts whose "value" (if there was ever any) only existed for a few days at most. I started my online journal in September 2002, and the rate of publishing on this site dropped dramatically. I wasn't helped by the fact that
The rate of publishing on this site dropped dramatically.
switching PCs and updating CityDesk made it almost impossible to update my site other than by manually updating all the pages by hand, and I only published one minor update and two technology rants in about 4 1/2 years.

Finally, a few months ago I decided that I wanted to do something with my web site. The idea grew in my head when I saw that Hurricane Electric was now offering me a lot more storage and bandwidth than they used to, to the point where I could consider hosting a photography portfolio directly on my site instead of continuing to use GeoCities (which still had the annoyance of being made of static pages, with the added pain of ads and of tight bandwidth quotas). Before I could move in the direction of a portfolio, I needed to bring some life back in the rest of the site, and I went ahead
In addition to displaying pretty photos on my site there were quite a few things that I also wanted to write about here.
and I wrote my own custom content-management system. The task took me a while (I had to build two prototypes before I started to get a feel for what I really needed), and when I was done I realized that in fact in addition to displaying pretty photos on my site there were quite a few things that I also wanted to write about here. In addition to re-creating all the capabilities that I needed to continue managing my content in the way that I used to with CityDesk, I made a few significant improvements to the site itself. I moved to CSS for most of the layout and styling aspects. I added a navigation bar so that I could link to various sites that I find interesting. I introduced a notion of categories so that I can sort the related articles together. I also added RSS support so that people can track updates to my site without having to visit it over and over. At this point I claim that there have been enough changes to call this version 2.5 of my site. There will be a few tweaks here and there (I need to resolve some CSS issues with IE, to have an RSS feed for each category, to limit the number of articles displayed on each page, and to reduce the size of the markup itself), but those will all be minor updates to v2.5. The next upgrade will probably be the one that takes care of my photography portfolio.
Home page Related articles Posted on Apr 14 2007