Hillside Hawaii Webpage Diary

Aloha! This isn't exactly rabbit related, except as it relates to the bunnies' website. But in the ongoing saga of "why are we in this handbasket and where are we going", I'll run some background commentary about recreating the bunnies' website.

Originally, back around 2010 or so, we started a bunny web page on Google Sites. It was originally so we'd be able to put the care and keeping details up online so when folks bought a bunny from us, they'd be able to see how to take care of it without us having to tell each new bunny owner individually. It expanded quite a bit from there, being half notebook for us, half information for other folks and lots of pictures of bunnies, too. It's still up, I think, although it's not being renewed much anymore and all the pictures have gond *poof*. Google Sites is at least free, although it was a bit clunky to navigate and change. But, we put a lot of content up there over the years that we had it. At some point, I'd like to transfer that content over to here, but it will have to be reassembled. Which is partly why this website now exists.

Google Sites is free, but it's limited. All the domain names start out with Google Sites and makes for a long URL. Which, considering it's free, isn't too bad. However, there's not much site storage there so it can fill up pretty quickly. In order to keep space for text, the pictures were placed on a different website, Photobucket. That worked well for years. Text and markup on Google Sites, pictures hosted at Photobucket.

However, in late 2016, Photobucket got hacked and all the pictures on the website disappeared. Ack! They stayed missing for three or five days, enough to worry that maybe they weren't going to come back. I'd already kinda found the limits of the Google Sites and I'd been trying to figure out a way to sell yarn online or advertise on the site or some way maybe of making some money from it, but that was just some background conversation I'd been having with myself. Most of that sort of thing apparently requires a 'direct domain name' which is where it's 'www.yourname.com' instead of 'www.googlesites/etc.,etc'. So when Photobucket crashed and the pictures disappeared from my Google Site, it seemed a good time to look around for another online home for the bunnies.

At that point in time, I had no idea how websites were put online. Or even put together for that matter. So there was a time of thrashing around finding out about such things as you buy a domain name (in this case Namecheap.com) and then after you get the name, you gotta find someone or someone else to 'host' the website. In this case, it's Host Gator. (The new web thing today is changing their 'faveicon' that looks like a little blue alligator to a tiny version of our Hula Bunny. Easy peasy, actually. Make a tiny picture, name it 'faveicon.ico' and upload to the root directory of our webpage. I'd thought it would have been more difficult. But, anyway, I digress.) So, we got the domain name and got a web host and then sat and languished for awhile since we weren't sure quite what to do next.

Multiple folks mentioned 'WordPress' as the thing to use, so I wandered over there to see if it was the answer. Well, it worked for awhile, sorta. Apparently, most of these 'easy' answers involve 'templates'. That means you're working with someone else's code hosted somewhere else other than your own site. You put your text and pictures on your site, but they are formatted by someone else's data on a different site. I wonder what happens when those sites aren't updated or what happens when they are? The code over there is completely out of our control, so the bunnies already had their site fall apart once, do we want to rely on someone else's code on some other site?

We went with WordPress and put together a pretty good webpage, but we weren't able to change it much. It was a template and it pretty much stayed a template. Data can be added, but the format can't really be changed much. It also didn't show up on cellphones, which considering how many people get their internet on cellphones these days, that's a huge problem. I was thrashing around trying to get it to work on cellphones and managed to upload a widgit that pretty much crashed the whole enchilada. Mostly my fault, most likely, although it's hard to tell what with not quite knowing much of anything then. Not that I know that much more, now.

Also during this time, Photobucket decided that if folks wanted to use their site as a storage space for images for other websites, then it would require folks to pay. It came out to about $400 per year to keep the pictures at Photobucket and then link them ot an outside website. Considering the bunny website is mostly about the care and keeping of angora rabbits and doesn't actually make any money (still haven't figured out the whole monetize thing and not sure if we'd want ads all over the site anyway) so, since we're not making money, we're not gonna be spending $400 a year to put pictures on a website. That has pretty much done in the Google Site since if we have to redo all the pictures anyway, we may as well put them someplace nobody can mess with them.

Which is how we got to where we are at the moment. Which is directly coding a website more or less from scratch. Our local library has a copy of "CSS The Missing Manual" as well as some downloaded ebooks and then there's loads of lovely info online. We've gotten to the stage of learning about html pages which are then styled by CSS pages. Kinda handy that! Now I'm trying to get the menus as a separate html document that is only a line of code at the top and bottom of each website page. I did have to put a bit of script referring to an offsite snippet. Not real comfortable with that, but until I learn JavaScript, that'll have to do.

******************************* Updates as they occur **********************

October 2nd, 2017. There's now a rough framework to hang old posts on, so I've just started shifting all the old posts from Google Sites. The basic framework is a 'blog.html' page with links inside (had to use a bit of JavaScript) to other post.html pages. They're all coded by date using year/dt/dy so they will line up in chronological order in the directory index.

There's one 'current events' link and then the rest of them are in tables below the heading "Old Farm News" or whatever I decided to call it. The href link for the previous current event is then moved to the new top line of the table below. Which is all done on the 'blog.html' and there is a new PostDated.html document added for each post, too. It's basically a lot of linked documents, but that will keep the code on the blog page clean, I hope. Still dunno how to have this done automatically using just HTML and CSS so all the coding and document making is still all old school.

Still haven't got a clue how to get the underline off from under the 'home' button. It's not on the ones with the drop down menus, not sure why it's at the home and farm news buttons. Maybe because they're direct links or something. But, minor thing, I'll work on it later.

September 24th, 2017 We seem to have the website working on handheld devices now. Woot! There's still no blog part, though. Not sure if that can be coded directly in HTML and CSS, but we can see what can be done. Maybe just a page of links to each blog entry? I'd have to write each entry and then add a new link on the index page, I suppose. Most of the website I've been looking at when trying to figure out how to code a blog page keep referring me to WordPress. Hmpf! Wordpress crashing and not allowing me to write wat I want is one of the reasons this web site is now being coded directly in HTML and CSS. After a bit, I'll learn JavaScript and maybe that PHP and Phython? Dunno, but hopefully next I'll figure out some sort of blog thing and start moving all the content over here from the Google Sites page.

A hit counter did get added to the page since I ran across one while online looking for blog code. It uses code from somewhere else, but it's just a hit counter so if it crashes, no big thing. The other hit counter on the Google Sites page (again from outside code) kept crashing periodically so it will be nothing new if this one does as well. After getting the blog set up, maybe I'll work on a separate hit counter? Well, who knows what will be next, although I think feeding the bunnies may be the next best thing to do. At least, I'd bet the bunnies would thing so.

So, it's now September 20th, 2017 and I'm still thrashing about with code and such. These pages are written directly in code, it'd be nice to find a program that would let me type without having to add in the paragraph markers and such, but at the moment that's what's going on. I'm still working on the basic framework of the site. Hopefully, that will get ironed out soon and then I can start migrating content over from the other site but that's gonna take awhile. It'd also be nice to figure out some way to put in a blog post sort of thing. Now quite sure how to write something and have it show up on the site, although it could be coded directly each day, I suppose. Well, that'll be something to work on after the rest of it gets further along.

If you like, you can send us an email and ask about webpages, bunnies, yarn, Hawaii things, what we should have on our webpage or just about anything else.

Mail to: Hillside Farm Hawaii