UPDATE: Due to me chickening out (worrying people would think I couldn’t design for web), I’ve reactivated my previous theme (also made my me!). Sad face.
AliDark.com now runs on a bare-bones theme whipped together as a homage to the very early web. If you remember the sites of that time, before the flashing lights and tiled backgrounds, they were extremely simple. It was assumed that the web would be pure informational, and while it’s great that it isn’t, it has definitely become bloated as entities compete over style and fanciness.
The Oooold Web
Folks used to handcode each page on their website, and thus their sites mostly defaulted to a single, longwinded index.htm, with everything a just click away. We’re talking ten to twenty years before content management systems which made it easy to categorise and manage content, making site-wide changes automatically.
The romance of the very early web is the unique nature of many sites from the time. There were no themes: people handcrafted their code in text editors for a much simpler but more personal experience. Usually these such sites were quite specialised and sometimes a little strange. It was a thing people who were very inside their own heads would do, especially those right in the cross section of intellectual and creative.
About the Theme
For the WordPress aficionados out there, this is also an experiment with a one template theme. Index.php handles the home and content pages (I’m not using categories or tags). It differentiates between intended pages with queries such as
<?php if( is_home() ) : ?> which checks such as whether the current page is the homepage (category or tag), or such as
<php if( is_single() ) : ?> which checks if the current page is a blog post. It’s a little limited, but for the purposes of this novelty theme works well. I also host most ‘posts’ off site, but they have entries in the database but links that redirect.
Responsive by Default?
I had assumed that this website, with no additional formatting, would be natively responsive, but to my surprise when I loaded it up on the phone it appeared as a shrunken desktop width page. I needed to insert a viewport description in the html head to get mobile responsiveness –
<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1">. As I understand, this is a HTML5 change. My surprise came from my understanding of the web as natively responsive, and it still kind of is besides this small change.
I hope people recognise this homage for what it is, instead of assuming I have no taste. I guess it’s a risk.
About the Fugliness
There’s no real reason to make a website as unstyled as this, except to remind you how the web used to look.
Old, personal sites. I’m still looking for some. But below are some modern sites built on the basics: