Justin Hall's personal site growing & breaking down since 1994

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designing donpearman.com

Don Pearman is a building contractor located in Oakland. I met him when he was doing good work on my house.

He had been writing columns for the Sacramento Bee for years, covering a wide range of construction and natural disaster issues. In addition he'd taken thousands of pictures of local home troubles, good examples, and, natural disasters.

Building donpearman.com was an exciting opportunity because he had such a deep archive of material and he wanted to share it. There was no question of holding back. He believed in his work and he thought sharing it might bring him more business and recognition.

I had raw materials consisting of over 100 articles on construction and natural disaster, and a stream of associated photographs.

As is my habit, I built the site by hand with BBEdit on Amy's Macintosh G3. It was actually fun! interlinking the articles and photos and sections.

While this quantity of materials might have warranted a web database, I wanted to build it myself and create a site that Don Pearman or his associates could someday maintain themselves. I figured that if the architecture was elegant enough, we wouldn't need to monkey with any high tech stuff.

The directory structuring decisions were fairly easy - he had done much of that work himself (with help from Joanne his assistant). Fire, Decay, Earthquake, Forensics.

He had an existing account on earthlink so I built the site there. They would only parse server side includes in files ending in .shtml - a massive shift for me, I had to rename everything by hand. Between Windows, Linux and the Macintosh, I found the Macintosh operating system the easiest to perform that pain inthe ass.

Eventually I took a job at Gamers.com and I wasn't able to keep up with the maintenance of his site. So he hired someone else to post new content and change things, within my framework.


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