Mark E. Buckley

My History with Web Design (Circa 2005)

I studied Basic and Pascal in High School. I studied Fortran and Cobol in college. In the early 1990's at John Hancock I wrote numerous internal memos and procedures about our systems. I often used Symphony for spread sheets and other long forgotten word processing programs. In the late 1990's at Fireman's Fund we used Lotus Notes, Lotus 1-2-3, Lexis-Nexis and several other systems.

My first computer was a Commodore circa 1981. My next computer was an Apple circa 1993. Around 1996 I started to use the internet via my Gateway.

The first web page I authored was at DeWolfe in 2001. You can still see one of the pages I wrote.

There were about 5 pages discussing the insurance operations at DeWolfe. The other pages have since disappeared. I think the pages were deleted when DeWolfe was purchased by ColdWell Banker.

My first 'blog' was in 2001. Well, it was not really a blog but had the same purpose. I was the Technical Specialist at DeWolfe Insurance Agency. I reviewed our work for quality. Every day I sent out an email detailing my findings. I kept adding additional admonitions and advice at the top of the email.

In early 2002 I led a team that developed our intranet site. My team developed the content for the insurance section.

Also in 2002 I authored three articles for our 'Legal Alert'. This was an electronic newsletter distributed by our legal department to all our realtors.

Also in 2002, I led a team that developed our Agency Procedure Manual. This was an online document ( 120 pages! ) with every bit of information anyone could possibly need to do their job. It was a good education in taxonomy and hypertext. While the document was in a Word format, I created hyperlinks throughout the document so that it worked like an HTML document.

Also in 2002 I started developing our IRS - Insurance Referral System. This system would take all the real estate transactions and create sales referrals to our insurance agency. This was a complex project involving many different departments. I learned a great deal about Access, CSV files, field delimiters, user interface, Cognos, Oracle, user interface, Visio, SOW's.

At DeWolfe, I worked on several other projects that necessitated PowerPoint. The great thing about knowing Power Point is that it made it easy to learn other software like Flash.

In 2003 I started a consulting business. I created my own web site with my free ISP account with Comcast. This was just a basic wizard / template type of site.

Next I bought my own domain i.e. I was waiting for a friend who does web design to help me create a web site. But I got tired of waiting and did it myself. Again this was done with a site creation wizard. It looked pretty good.

Then in July of 2004 I was consulting with a start up firm. They were going to do web design and bring me in as a partner for investment and management purposes. While researching this project I decided to buy Front Page so I could possibly help out with some basic editing and maintenance of client web sites. Unfortunately the partnership did not last.

I then decided to add web design to my portfolio of consulting services. Over the past year, in between other projects, I have learned HTML, Visual Basic, VBScript, JavaScript, PHP, MySQL, Perl, ASP, and XML. I have also learned many software programs including Front Page, Dream Weaver, Fire Works, Photo Shop, Paint Shop, Swish Zone, Publisher, Apache, IIS, Xitami, etc.

I registered two additional domains in the summer of 2004. My first site was table based. I then switched all three domains to frames based. Then I learned that was not correct so I switched them to CSS. I used shtml for a while but then started creating dwt files instead. Now I generally stay away from dwt templates and create a php template if necessary for larger sites.

In November of 2004 I bought The cause of this was a consulting project. I needed to locate local business on the internet. It is impossible. I perceived a need for a local directory.

In studying web design I was shocked to learn about cookies, pop ups, IP tracing, browser sniffing and all that can be done with a little knowledge. I have tried to design my sites with the audience and their cyber safety in mind. I never use cookies and I always keep scripting out unless absolutely necessary. On my local site I have tons of goofy script stuff if I ever need it.

To be continued.