History of a website

It’s time once again for a Mad Dog Movies re-design. Lately, I’ve been a bit tired of the Sliding Door effect for my top links… plus it doesn’t behave well with the latest WordPress iterations. So… on with the new!

How has my site changed over the years? Here’s a brief history.

2001: THE HAND

Before I ever bought maddogmovies.com or even mikeboas.com, I had a free site hosted on Tripod.  I was trying to share my resume, so to that end I created a Flash “interactive resume.”  Cute, eh?  The Animation Scoop was a cartoon news blog idea that I never did more than a dozen posts for.


After getting fed up with pop-up ads at Tripod, I moved over to another free host.  Not surprisingly, service there was intermittent.  Eventually, I moved my personal site to Cyberpixels.com, where I bought legit domain names.  The site itself had a spooky sci-fi theme, with sounds and music borrowed from The Outer Limits and The Creature From the Black Lagoon. The design of these bio pages went unchanged until I re-organized the site in 2009. (This snapshot is from 2007.)


At this point, Mad Dog Movies was the name I gave to my network of sites.  The bio site stood on its own, and the Mad Dog Blog was a third entity.


As I created more websites and cartoons, the landing page became more and more crowded.   I won’t get into it here, but Almost A Movie, Subterranea, and Ominous Events also went through a few versions over the years.  Oh, and those references to the Cinematic Almanac?  That site encompassed a half dozen articles I felt (at the time) should stand on their own.  I later moved them into the blog.


Meanwhile, the blog continued.  Cyberpixels became unreliable in 2005, so I moved everything over to Hostgator, where I continue to reside today. Early on, I chose the B2Evolution blog software.  A sort of competitor to WordPress, Blogger, and Moveable Type, it later made me crazy.  

2008: Brightcove

At some point, I wanted to put more video on the landing page.  Brightcove was a cool Flash player that allowed me to do that.  Until they discontinued their free service, that is.  After that, I made due with a Youtube playlist for a while.

2008-2009: CHANGING HAIR

Over on the B2Evolution blog, I made some significant changes.  Unfortunately, I don’t have screen caps from that time, but I do have this selection of vanity headers showcasing my various haircuts.

2009: WordPress

In December of 2009, I bit the bullet and migrated from B2Evolution to WordPress.  There was some angst involved, as I didn’t want to lose all my old posts, but I managed to keep everything intact.  I also took this opportunity to combine the bio site, the blog, and the Mad Dog Movies identity all into one.  The Atahualpa theme lasted a week or two, and then I created something crazy…


There was something about the “Sliding Doors” theme I liked.  It had javascript-powered sliding banner links at the top of the page.  But there were other design elements in the “Dark Red” theme that I wanted, also.  So I combined the two — which was fine for a year or so.  Eventually, WordPress updates (and the lack of updates in both Sliding Doors and Dark Red) necessitated another change.


I burned through a ton of test themes in the last few days.  I landed on one called “Platform” from Pagelines which has a great interface for making changes.  I rarely want something straight out of the box, and I need to make changes to colors, fonts, backgrounds, and column widths.  Platform lets me do most of that without hard coding.  Here’s what it looked like yesterday.


And today I’ve brought in my current logo and scratchy paper look.  I’d like to tighten the spacing a bit (mostly in the sidebar) but it’s pretty satisfactory.  Pagelines offers pro versions of their themes, so I might consider upgrading.