Part One: Early 2000’s to Present – A Look Back

My Former Life at Geocities

I ran across a page that I was very proud of back when Geocities was alive and well in the Internet Archive, some of which can be found here. The copyright is dated 2001. In a former life, I was an artist and Barbie was my medium. I would add my embellishments to Barbie dolls to create different characters. Some pieces were meant to be satirical in nature such as Anorexic Barbie, Homeless Barbie pushing a shopping cart, and Ken the Santa Monica Blvd Hustler. I built this page to showcase my art, it was just for fun.

Coding Style In The Early 2000’s

My coding style was also a lot different: there was no WordPress and everything I did I coded by hand in Notepad using tables for advanced layouts. I employed a lot of techniques on this page that were cutting edge at the time, but are now considered big no-no’s: mystery meat navigation, non-persistent navigation, (over) use of animated .gifs.

The Rise And Fall of Flash, IIS, ASP, and Frames

Next year in 2002, one of my biggest web projects is still mostly intact and online: http://www.lmrassociates.com/. I had even made a spiffy flash intro for it with sound, which used to auto-play. This site was also coded in Notepad, but it did feature persistent navigation and I used a lot of .ASP to dynamically change the page title across different frames. Yes, frames. I used to use frames a lot before I found out I could use the include statement in PHP to pull in a single header.php and footer.php file for each page. The site is hosted on a Windows IIS 6, something I would never do today, but this is before I knew PHP, so I used ASP which needed a Microsoft Server. The site was modeled after the Jaguar car site, but I coded everything from scratch and I made all the graphics.

WordPress Discovered

Almost ten years after I made this page, I discovered WordPress, but I did not yet fully understand the power that WordPress possessed. I learned the basic templating structure and started modifying other themes that I found. My favorite thing to do was to start with the default Twenty Eleven Theme and tweak the CSS until I had a completely different looking page. One of my favorite examples is the site that I made for my Optometrist, http://www.drdugue.com/. It seems a bit dated now, but when I made the site in 2010, it was top example of the accumulation of the knowledge I had gathered at the time.

WordPress Boot Camp

Around the same time I had made Dr. Dugue’s website, I accepted a job as a WordPress Web Developer for a local company. I worked there nearly 3 years, and in that time, I developed and maintained over 200 WordPress websites. I handled domain configuration and transfers, Google Apps setup and maintenance, and was also able to bring in one of my best friend’s sites to give it a complete overhaul in WordPress. I also started to become a part of the local Orange County WordPress community, including hosting our very own WordPress Meetup.

What It’s Like Today…

Well, I’m afraid for you’ll have to wait till the future (tomorrow) to actually see what today looks like in my world in Part Two. I will say, however, that the biggest changes are not in how things are today, but how they will be in the future. This will be Part Three of my retrospective of the role of WordPress in my professional career.

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Suzette Franck

Suzette Franck has been in web development for over twenty years; she started making hand-coded HTML websites on geocities with font tags and tables back in 1995. Since then, she has taught herself CSS, Sass, PHP, MySQL, as well as becoming a Wordpress expert; evangelizing and presenting at over twenty-two WordCamps across the country and multiple WordPress meetups in Southern California where she resides, about all aspects of building and maintaining sites on WordPress. Suzette is passionate about WordPress the application as well as the WordPress Open Source Community, and loves to code and teach others the wonders of WordPress. She is a purveyor of lowbrow art, and when she is not WordPressing, she is painting or visiting Los Angeles art galleries to add more work to her growing art collection.

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