Revisiting Documentation Practices

March 26, 2009

So, this was a video blog for an entire year! Who’d have guessed? I suppose after twelve years online, taking the freeform approach to information architecture on a personal site leads to these sorts of interludes.

And let’s be honest – did you want incessant philosophical ruminations based on my daily bird feeding excursions, or did you want me to take advantage of the fact that I love public domain video archives and share my faves? I guessed you’d want the latter. But we’re back to the former.

In September I switched my CMS of choice from WordPress to Habari. I was really excited – Habari was going to allow me to grow this site easily for another ten years, and another ten after that. And the interface! Oh, it was a joy to use – pretty, fast, clean and simple.

Then I didn’t use it.

Habari was never going to get a fair shake from me, I have to admit. I spend 8-12 hours a day using WordPress on behalf of our clients, and to participate in Illustration Friday. As irked as I was by the slowness of the WordPress 2.7 admin panel, eventually my stubbornness was worn down simply by numbers – all the plugins I worked with and customized daily were for WordPress. When I outlined new features for this site in my imagination, the underlying framework was always WordPress. Yargh.

This site has always been my web playground – sometimes I break things and leave it, sometimes I turn it into a video blog, sometimes I wipe it clean and leave a simple splash screen up for months at a time, until the changing of the seasons romances me back here. This is where I ask all my questions – how can I explore my travel photos to really convey a sense of the places I visited? How can I dress it up like a magazine so all this useless streaming info about my web wanderings gets displayed? What can I do to bring a little sunshine into these pixels?
It’s my messy notebook and my digital imagination, and it’s shown up in my dreams for over ten years now. I’ve dumped some of my thirteen years of web making into WordPress since I first installed it here five years ago, and there’s much more archived outside of it that I’ve yet to integrate – and I may never. Let it be a mystery to explore, this digital past. For once, I’m more excited and curious about what will be like in the future.

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