The Wayback Machine

While we all wait around for the new baby, and when I’m not distracting you with pictures of the current baby, maybe I can keep you at bay with some reminiscing on what used to be my baby.
There’s this fantastic tool online called the Wayback Machine, which has been, for over a decade, crawling the web and taking snapshots of popular websites, storing what it sees in a searchable archive. Internet geeks love it because it allows us to see, and remember, where our online home came from, and what it used to look like.
In 2002, this website (originally created in 2000 to store our wedding invitations list and a running journal of our preparations) became a serious enough venture that the Wayback Machine’s spiders took an interest in it. Today I decided to take a peek back…
The site has really only had 3 major incarnations, and although its been through a half million color schemes and banners (some better than others) its really only had 3 real designs.
The top-most in this picture is the original layout, essentially hardcoded in ASP — although I was smart enough, even then, to keep the color schemes in a seperate CSS file. Back then I had much bigger ambitions for the website, and possibly my biggest inspiration was a certain Ensign from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Alas, Wil’s site is not what it used to be, and frankly not as interesting either. But I still give him credit for helping to shape iteration #1 of
The second and third pictures represent the design and technology that probably had the longest life. In this version of my code, something I’d had hopes to productize one-day, the design was implemented by XSL. It was, frankly, brilliant, although it did cost me some of the features of the original site.
This particular design, lifted from my new blogging inspiration, Dooce, saw us through some pretty interesting parts of life: from the kid we bailed out of jail, to a trip to Asia — essentially our whole life between college and kids is recorded on this website, and still online through my own archives.
The third iteration of the site, this time on WordPress, came at the end of our lives as we knew them. When we found out we were pregnant with Benjamin, I knew I wouldn’t have the time I used to have to put into maintaining both the website and the underlying code.
Perhaps it wouldn’t be as interesting to you as it is nostalgically fascinating for me to look back at where we’ve been. But as we sit around waiting for what comes next, you might want to hit the Wayback Machine, and browse some of the other times we were… sitting around waiting for what comes next!
Got a website of your own? Search for it in the Internet Archives and see if you’ve been captured for posterity…

One thought on “The Wayback Machine

  1. JW, check your email! I’ve got a project for you while you’re bored waiting for little Laura Abigail!

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