Lavender

20 Years Shredzone

The shredzone is celebrating its 20th birthday today! πŸŽ‚

Actually, my personal homepage is much older. It had started some day around 1995, when I was learning HTML. My first website was just a bunch of hand-made static pages. They were published on the free webspace of my ISP.

In 1998 I recreated my homepage, and called it "shredzone" for the first time. It was still using static pages, but now they were generated by running some scripts on my Amiga (there is a separate article about that if you're interested). This new site got bigger and bigger, and at some point ran out of quota on my ISP's webspace.

On April 15th 2000, I moved my site to a professional web hosting provider. I also bought my very first domain shredzone.de on that day. Now, having content and also a dedicated domain, the shredzone was finally complete!

In the coming years, I was switching from Amiga to Linux, and I was learning a lot of JavaScript and PHP. In 2003, I redesigned the website from scratch again. It was now using a self-made Content Management System called Akiko. A cool feature of Akiko was that I could use different seasonal page templates. On Christmas there was snow and a snowman, while on Halloween the pages were decorated with pumpkins and a manga witch that I had drawn myself.

Some years later, blogs were getting popular. I quickly added a blog feature to Akiko, and was learning about writing my own weblog since then. I found out that this format was much more useful for me, much better than the tree-structured contents I had before.

Soon I had reached the limits of Akiko. Writing a new blog article was tedious, especially when pictures were involved, so I badly neglected my blog for a couple of months. It couldn't go on like that, and I decided to write my own open source blog system from scratch. It is called Cilla and is written in Java now. Just in time for the 10th birthday, it was finally ready for prime time. My new weblog had a sleek and modern design, with a random photo on the top of each page. And it was much easier to use. Some of the old contents were migrated to my new blog, while many other outdated (or embarassing πŸ˜…) stuff was just dumped. But still my very first blog record goes back to the beginning of Akiko in 2003.

I liked the new design. However, it was cluttered with all kind of extras that have been modern when the blog scene started (like a calender and a tag cloud). Also, mobile devices have gotten ubiquitous over the years, but the old design was not optimized for them and just looked ugly on a small display.

So, in 2018 there was another major redesign, the one you are seeing now. It still runs on Cilla, but everything unnecessary has been removed, and some other necessary stuff like the comments fell victim to GDPR. On the other hand, it has a responsive design now.

Looking back these 20 years, it was a very interesting time. I have learned a lot about the internet, about websites, programming, and blogging. Now I'm curious what the Shredzone is going to look like in 20 years.

Read this article...
Shredzone Γ  la Amiga

Look what I have found... This is my very first shredzone, as it was online from 1998 to 2003. First it was hosted by my internet provider. Then, on April 15th 2000, I registered my own domain – shredzone.de – and moved my site to a professional hoster.

The site did not use a fancy content mangagement system, but consisted only of static HTML pages. It was built on my Amiga using a preprocessor called HSC, an acronym for HTML Sucks Completely. 😜 Some parts like the gallery or the download area were generated by accompanying ARexx scripts. It was incredibly easy to add content to the site. Basically it was just adding or changing a file, and then invoking smake to rebuild the affected parts of the site within seconds, including the navigation. It was a big advantage that I was going to miss badly later.

At that time I did not use CVS yet, so sadly all the past versions and changes have been lost. The only version I still have is the final one on my Amiga harddisk. I have found the project today, by a rather lucky accident. It was only the source code though, the final compiled version has got lost over the years. There is a Linux port of HSC, so basically I could rebuild the site on my Linux machine. But the ARexx parts require an Amiga environment, and porting them to Linux would have consumed too much time.

So I started an Amiga emulator and, thanks to the good shape of the project that the past Amiga me has left the present Linux me, I actually only needed to run smake to rebuild the entire homepage in just 3 minutes.

The requirement to run on an Amiga, was what later broke the neck of this homepage. When the Amiga platform died, I moved on to Linux, but I could not move my homepage with me. So, in 2003, I replaced it with a self-made content management system that was written in PHP and was called Akiko. It had some nice features, but on the other hand it was rather tedious to add new content. Because of that, I badly neglected my homepage in those years.

In 2010, Akiko was replaced by a self-made blog system that is written in Java and is named Cilla. Even after a major redesign in 2018, it is still in use today. πŸ™‚