A new look

Posted by on Nov 30, 2011

Some 5 years have passed since I started this photo web site. Back then I wanted something with a clean, uncluttered look that would not distract from the photos and be quick and easy to build. Each photo required a separate page to be added but that was OK; analog photography was a slow process and didn't yield in large quantities of new photos.

Screen shot of the old website

Now that I use a digital camera and go out taking pictures more often, also with other people, I found that my old school web site lacked the flexibility to quickly update its content. Social media and photo sharing sites make it very easy to upload and manage an online portfolio and even a simple home page nowadays has some kind of content management for easy updating. Time for an overhaul.

The easiest way...

...would have been to install WordPress, find myself a nice template and be up and running in no time. But as I enjoy the trip as much as the destination, I decided to build something myself.

The last 5 years I have built and maintained a successful online web store for a US company in the card making and scrap booking industry. That job has left me with a fair knowledge of osCMax, a shopping cart and order processing package. Not an obvious choice for a photo website as I have no intentions to sell anything online but let's take a look at it anyway...

In a web store...

...there are products grouped into categories. In a photo portfolio there are photos grouped into albums. In a web store a product has a name, a description and a picture. And in a photo portfolio a photo has a name, a description,... you get it. And all that came with a nice backend for easy updating. Ready to go. Hmmm, sort of.

To cut a long story short, over the past months I stripped down this huge package and removed all customers, orders, payment and shipping related functionality until nothing more remained than a framework to upload and manage photos. And as a bonus the web store turned out to have an articles feature (we never used it before) which is now changed into a simple blog.

The last part remaining...

...was the restyling job. The result looks nowhere near the web store from which it was derived. Like in my original site I wanted to stay with a fresh, clean look without too many distracting elements. Screen sizes get larger so I wanted my photos to show up larger as well. I added this blog feature, in case I feel like writing about something. And I threw in a couple of fancy animations like the slideshow on the home page and the way the album overview pages open. Other things had to go, for now anyway. I decided to no longer have a page with links to other web sites and I have not included my guestbook. I may at a later stage.

I'm very content with my new 'toy', and I hope you will enjoy it as well. Feel free to take a tour and let me know how you like it. I will try to keep it updated with new photos and an occasional blog post.