by Carlos Antonio Piñón
July 10, 2019
This is the very first website I coded in its entirety. Written to be a supplementary website to my Webs.com site (rest in pieces), v 1.0 was truly the beginning of it all. Filled with obsolete code, v 1.0 was created in part for my web design class when I was a sophomore at Lane Tech College Prep. Proudly displaying my "Shadow Projekt" manifesto, my first website reads like a diary into my teenage mind. The few photos displayed predominantly on the homepage (and only page) give insight into where my mind was artistically, but perhaps not as much as the design of the page. To say that my use of div tags was chaotic is an understatement, but when I failed to figure out how to center the entire page properly, I improvised. My creative solution to keeping the body of my page left-centered was to have a repeating background only a pixel tall with different shades of grey.
Oh man, v 2.0 was probably one of my favorite versions of my website. It was so extravagant, so excessive. This was the first time the worry box was created. It is essentially a form that leads nowhere, so no matter what you type in there, it disappears. When I think back to what prompted being able to do so, I'm shocked by what I sweet kid I was to invent such a thing. And then there was the navigation box. To this day, that's still the coolest thing I came up with. After all, if not mastery, then it showed my creativity at the time. Additionally, playing with elements that remain static while others move during scroll remains one of my favorite parts about v 2.0. It felt like a real website, even when everything was improvised and not everything worked exactly the way it was supposed to.
My, my, how the mighty fall. If my memory serves me correct, what influenced v 3.0 of my website was seeing Facebook fail to load improperly. Without all of the fancy code, the bare skeletons of a website look intrigued me. It is a far cry from the maximalistic tendencies of v 2.0. The way the main content blended in with the background is the most intriguing aspect about this. As with the previous two sites, this relied so heavily on tables that looking back on it now, it would never survive the mobile age. And that's okay. For it's time, it was crisp and clean, and it would still make a decent website with some structural tweaking.
Typically, each version of my website lasted about a year before receiving a major overhaul, and to be fair, this was not a major overhaul, but v 4.0 lasted less than a year. While slightly more simplified, v 4.0 did not leave a strong impression on me. It finally centralized my website, but at the cost of ugly, unrestrained horizontal break lines. Gross. While that's an easy fix, the fact of the matter is that this would not have lasted very long on account of it being so limiting; and let's be real, this is just a less interesting iteration of v 3.0. The only good thing to come out of this is when I figured out how to make the worry box a stronger portion by hiding messages until after you click the "Let go" button.
Welcome to the most interesting contribution from 2014. While still in the color scheme from 2013, v 5.0 evolved from its minimalist roots. The sidebar—not unlike the original 2012 version—is the true hero of this iteration. Even now, I'm surprised by the elegance and somewhat banner-like design of the sidebar, which allowed for more links to be added without radically changing the width of the page like v 4.0. The shift towards elegance found an excellent middle ground between the minimalism and maximalism of previous versions. However, like its predecessor, this iteration survived a short period of time, in part, because I decided to quit Amazon Web Services (AWS) in favor of a free hosting site.
By 2015, I dropped The Shadow Projekt from my creative endeavors in favor of using my name. The Shadow Projekt felt too high school for me, and I wanted some distance from that seeing as I was now a sophomore in college. In a very college move, I moved my website to Tumblr. This meant that I had to adapt my code to fit that platform. Though the code didn't change much from v 5.0 (seeing as I reverted back to regular code for archival purposes), v 6.0 did see some minor changes. Most visibly, color returned after a few years in the form of one of my glitch art images. Additionally, my copyright note moved from the bottom of the content block to the bottom of the sidebar. Am I still disappointed that this ruined the banner look? Yes, yes I am. I'm not sure why it looks the way that it does, but hey, it didn't even last the whole year and it's in the past now.
The next radical change came from v 7.0. A Tumblr native, this version demanded an advanced sidebar that fit the other blogs. Borrowing styling from the very first sidebar in v 2.0, the div-based sidebar was so clean that I it deserves to be preserved. It was this version that I started adding images so that people knew what I looked like. Made for Tumblr, this version once had a section for "Next" and "Previous" buttons, and complex code for posts that I'm pretty sure never worked correctly.
Okay, I know what you're thinking. Isn't v 8.0 the same as v 7.0, except with the sidebar on the right? Yes, yes it is. I did this for mobile reasons.
Here in the double digits, we dramatically change everything about our website. By v 10.0, I had already left Tumblr completely and came to the conclusion that I will no longer be updating two websites for every one edit. "No more!" I said. Thus, the renaissance period began. So many radical departures from the past few websites began. In the end, v 10.0 worked more like v 3.0 in its leaning towards minimalism while still retaining more advanced code adopted from the mobile version of v 9.0. Yes, the background color for this was once #FF0000, or you know, the reddest of the red, only to be toned down to save people's eyes. And yes, eventually, the Google search bar was killed off and the navigation text became navigation images, but that was all precursor to the most recent iteration of my website.
Eight years later, my website is still my own personal hub for creativity. With v 10.0, I was annoyed by how much of every web page was taken up by my header, so I reduced and demoted that section to the footer in v 11.0. Furthermore, the navigation images were fully designed and implemented with additional styling. The social media links in v 10.0 were replaced by an email sign up box. Really, in a way that previous versions failed to achieve, v 11.0 works the same for both desktop and mobile versions with no compromises in either side. It all just works as one cohesive website for once in a way that helps me show my work to the world. In a way, my website grew up with me—not just in terms of content, but deep down into the structure of what it means to be someone who makes things and puts it out into the world. Eventually, I will update my website again with a new version. Perhaps some minor changes here, or another complete overhaul there. But as people, we are constantly growing; and that is simply the cycle of life. As prophesied by my younger self, "Anyway, if things haven't gotten personal enough, it's about to begin."