Web site house cleaning

I’ve been putting this off for years–a major cleanup and trimming of the PhotoGuide Japan Web site.

The site is over 10 years old, and like any house that you live in for over 10 years, you will accumulate a lot of things, both jewels and junk. Not to mention the cobwebs and thick dust on places you don’t normally use or see. The crevice behind bookshelves, closet corners, etc. Some places in the site even smells musty.

There’s a lot of content still remaining from years ago. Lot of it is still good, but there are some stuff needs to be thrown out since they are outdated and will never be updated.

Well, I’ve been trying to tidy up this site by trashing some deadwood and moving things around. Please excuse the inconvenience. Some links might be broken in the process.

The last time I overhauled this site was 5-6 years ago when I converted much of it to a database-driven, dynamic site using php and MySQL. However, these former state-of-art systems are aging now and must be updated or replaced. A lot has changed since 5 years ago with regard to digital cameras/photography and Internet technologies and features. I shoot a lot more photos with a digital SLR (and videos). We also have a lot more ways to show our images and vids with the advent and prominence of YouTube and Flickr, and easy-to-use blog software.

This 800-pound gorilla site is hard to modify quickly to match the changing times. But slowly, I’m getting there. Molding this behemoth into a more modern entity.

The casualties: PhotoWeblinks, PhotoMaps, PhotoRentals, and PhotoSchools will be deleted. Also, PhotoHistory will no longer be updated. It has stopped at year 2006. I know it was one of the more popular pages of the site, but other projects have occupied my free time.

Other pages like PhotoFAQ and PhotoCloseups have been moved to a blog. Even the PhotoBBS section will be moved to this News blog. All these announcement pages should go under one roof. The most important posts here at PhotoBBS will be transferred to the blog.

When that happens, this PhotoBBS in its current form will be closed. The software (phpbb) running PhotoBBS was actually the very first php program I installed. I had intended it to be a forum, since it is forum software. It went pretty well in the beginning. However, I began to notice that most of the posts or comments by users lacked substance and hardly deserved a response. Most of the questions asked were either stupid or something we don’t care to answer (“How can I work as a photographer in Japan?”). Of course, spam soon became a problem and I decided I had no time to filter out the spam. So the interactive forum function was disabled, and PhotoBBS became a read-only notice board. Something that a blog would do better.

I really envy the people who are just starting to set up a Web site now. There are so many Internet and imaging technologies, tools, software, digital images, resources, and free services available now that were beyond my wildest imagination in 1996 when I first started this Web site. 1996 really sounds like the Stone Age compared to now. But I had fun, and happy to have witnessed the very exciting Internet revolution first-hand.

I’m also fortunate to be in Japan with the fastest Internet connection speeds in the world. My optical fiber connection makes my Internet life fast and pleasant.

Coffee break is over. Back to my broom and dustpan…