Mark Bult Design: San Francisco, CA, Established 1988

Web design and development for small and large business, e-commerce, b2b, b2c, SAAS, and community websites. User experience design and usability testing.

Friday, January 08, 2010

What I use to create and related websites

A drive-by reader sent me an email today months ago after seeing Mark & Velma’s Hitchin’ Party picured on a roundup of “30 Green Websites” on TutorialBlog. I replied via email, but then thought I might as well post it here too.
Found your website by accident while searching for other things.

First off, I am overly impressed with all your efforts under! As a web services manager of many years gone by, I’ve been trying to spend more time for myself and my wife putting together little jewels like I’m not looking to start up any kind of consulting gig. I just want to have some weekend fun geeking out on some web goodies to kinda kinda combine a lil’ blogging and a lil’ photo collections of our trips to like Tuscany, Germany, San Fran, and the like.

I’ll admit to you that I’ve been looking at some of your source code under trying to determine what tool(s) you’ve used to put it all together. Besides movabletype and PixelPost, you’ve succeeded in keeping is all a secret. I did get a chuckle out of the witty repartee of ‘Powered by web geekery and strong coffee’ !

Would you be willing to share some of your secrets behind a project like &

My reply:

The original Hitchin’ site on was built with Photoshop and Dreamweaver, and uses Lightbox2 for the photo gallery. I was intending to power it with WordPress but I didn’t have enough time before the wedding to set it up, and I haven’t had the time or impetus since, although I still intend to convert the whole mini-site to WP some day, so Velma and I can use it as a singular place for posting family news and pictures and stuff.

The Holiday Gift mini-site we put up there in December 2008 was also created with Photoshop and Dreamweaver, and uses a customized version of a JQuery-powered unit called the Coda Slider.

As you saw, I use Pixelpost for my photoblog. I like Pixelpost a lot and I’ve been trying to find time to upgrade to a newer version so I can start putting photos up again. I created a custom template for my photoblog using, you guessed it, Photoshop and Dreamweaver. There are a couple worthwhile WordPress photoblog plugins which I may consider using instead, but I really like Pixelpost, so I’m not wholly interested in moving from it until a better alternative comes along.

The rest of was cobbled together a few years ago using Photoshop and Dreamweaver for the portfolio page and home page.

The blog is powered by Blogger and uses a slightly tweaked version of one of their standard templates, although I host on my own server, instead of on I’ve always like Blogger but it’s not customizable enough and the Google team develops new features mostly for the customers and the self-hosted folks like me get left out. I installed Moveable Type a few years ago and fully intended to switch to it, but ran out of time. Later I decided WordPress was overtaking it in terms of development and add-on support, so I decided I’d use that in future. But I still haven’t finished converting it, so it’s still Blogger for now.

I’ve been working on a huge redesign of everything on, to make it all finally look the same, but I keep getting inturrpted by things like contract work. Since that pays the bills, my side projects go on the back burner for another month or two at a time. Oh well. Things could be worse, right?

It currently is just Photoshop, Dreamweaver, JQuery, and Coda Slider, but it’ll be converted to WordPress once I’m done formalizing all the templates, which are still in development and haven’t been optimized yet.

I heartily recommend leveraging the many, many, many services and technologies that keep emerging that allow hobbyists like us to do these sorts of fun personal sites faster and easier than ever before. There are so many of them, with varying offerings, it’s impossible to recommend just one. But since you mention you interest in putting up photo collections and blogging in a family context, there are a couple I’ve been impressed with: Vox and Kinzin (I saw another one recently I liked even more, but I can’t remember the name). The thing about these two that a lot of people like is the ability to manage persmission so only invited guests can view your vacation photos (for example). You can do this with WordPress plug ins too, btw, you just have to install an add-on or two.

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