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  Online persistancy
Tue 10th March 2009   

Defence-Force logo
Defence-Force logo
The World Wide Web is not that old.

At least not in the way you, me, and our parents uses it.

Sure, there was all the original military and university networks derived from Arpanet, but what I'm talking about is when the random person could get a modem, a (insanely expensive) subscription to some ISP (which will be gone in less than two years), and a large (100 kilobytes) storage for their personal homepage (accessed from an impossible to remember link using some tildes or complicated city based domain structure).
In 1996 I was one of these persons, and then my ISP died. So in 1997 I decided to get my own domain name (defence-force.org, of course), and to pay for a decent hosting.

Knowing that I would not have much free time to update the site, I decided from the start I should try to find a design that would kind of stand the test of time. This is the main reason about why you will not see black backgrounds, red titles, and animated gifs on the site :) These aesthetics choices predate the creation of CSS and XHTML, and I have not changed any single page style since I started the site: The look and feel of Defence-Force.org today is exactly how it was... hu... 12 years ago.

Let's consider: White background, Verdana font, consistant color scheme (light blue and cream), it's not that different to what you can see today on many web 2.0 websites. So yeah, even I'm not going to win any more award in the webdesign category, at least I managed to reach my objective: Nobody had complained that my site looked bad (at least to the point where it had become an issue).

Now about the resource usage, I found out that using pure HTML (hardcoded) pages, optimised by a custom compiler (space removal, attribute checking, link checking), seriously helped having a snappy website. Checking at the stats on my webhost, I found out I was using one third of the allocated storage (ok, I knew that), and 0.75% of the allocated bandwidth (was expecting more). I guess there is a probability that the site would actually resist to the slashdot effect - that's purely a theory, but I have the feeling that most slashdoted sites are actually using some database in the background, either because they use a blog engine, or some php generated pages, so of course serving static html pages that can happily be cached by proxies is seriously going to help the webserver -.

Anyway, all that for saying that after 12 years the site is still there, and it actually evolved to the point it now includes a forum, a wiki, a second dedicated server for file storing and subversion hosting, automatic online backup, etc... and of course this blog that nobody reads simply because I've not posted the link anywhere :)

Next step, to still be there in 2017 :)
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