- Written by Jeff Summers Jeff Summers
This web site has gone through several metamorphoses. It began quite simply with just a static page but soon additional pages and content were added turning it into a web site rather than a web page. As the number of pages increased so did the time it took to maintain this site.
When I first created this I intended it to be just an electronic business card providing information of how people could contact me. Now it was turning into more of a life history; that was something I had not expected nor planned.
It became very clear that I needed to find an easier way to maintain this site if it were to survive. A few years passed and I happened to stumble across a content management system that touted its ease of use. I have been in the software business long enough to take these claims with a large grain of salt. Given the situation I found myself in I decided to take a chance and install this software.
My expectations were set relatively low when I started. I was looking for anything that could cut down my time in managing and maintaining this web site while at the same time providing me with enough flexibility that it could grow as my vision evolved of what I wanted the site to become.
At the time the software was known as Mambo and the development community was involved in some sort of power struggle over the direction the application would take. I waded in with some degree of nervousness wondering if I was making the right decision of picking the OpenSource Matters side. It was difficult as I tried not only to learn this new piece of software but also to try to piece together a framework that would work in months and years to come.
When the first version of Joomla was released I eagerly downloaded the software and began developing my site. It was yet another learning curve but based on my previous experience it was not as difficult as I had anticipated. Before long I had the skeleton of a new site up and I slowly began migrating information from the static page site into this new dynamically driven web structure.
In the early months of Joomla I was heavily involved in the community testing and coding extending the software to fit my needs. Things were looking very good and the time it was taking to maintain the site had been dramatically reduced. Just when I started to get comfortable and complacent something happened. The Joomla developers introduced version 1.5 which was substantially different than the previous software.
I felt as though I was starting all over. Many of the extensions and plug-ins I had been using were now broken and needed upgrading. Some others worked but in legacy mode which took a significant amount of server resources to maintain and serve. Rather than jumping in like I did during the Joomla 1.0x days I took a more cautious path and continued using 1.0x. As version 1.5x began to mature most of the mainstream extensions were rewritten for the newer framework. I still did not feel the need to migrate being perfectly happy where I was at.
From the debacle of 1.5 I thought I had learned my lesson but that wasn't the case. Just as I was recovering from the last upgrade Joomla took another step forward with their 2.x update. It was so much better than I could have imagined but much of the custom work I had just done had to be recreated. It was a great learning experience but I with time constraints I was hoping that would last for a while.
Last year the inevitable occurred. The Joomla developers announced that version 2.5x would begin to be end-of-lifed at which point I would be forced to either abandon Joomla or upgrade. I chose the latter and began the plans for migrating my sites. You'll notice that I used the plural "sites". Joomla 2.x had proven so useful that I had built several sites with this software and now they too would need to be migrated.
The migration could in no way be categorized as easy. It is not like upgrading from one version to the next in the Joomla 2.x world. There you simply copied files replacing old with new and the software was "magically" upgraded. Going from Joomla 2.x to Joomla 3.x requires migration scripts, basically tearing the software out and replacing it with new and then importing old data all the while praying that everything would work.
With baseball season over I have spent the greater portion of the off-season working on Joomla trying to get things ready for migration. My personal web site is the first one to be migrated and what you see here is the end result.
Overall it went longer than I had originally anticipated. Much of that could be attributed to the fact that I took the opportunity of not just upgrading the guts but also hopefully setting things up in a more responsive perspective so that the user experience is better regardless of what platform the user is using.
So after several days of migrating and testing I am happy to report that everything seems to be working. I'm of course knocking on wood, crossing my fingers, and saying a prayer to the computer Gods hoping that I didn't just jinx it.
Please look around and feel free to contact me if you find anything not working correctly. Now I have just a few more sites to migrate and I am already hearing that Joomla is getting the next version ready just in time so I can start the process all over again.
One tenet of my life I have always adhered to is that my career will never define who I am. Despite that philosophy, I cannot help but realize that what I have accomplished professionally consistently comes up in conversations. Whether I am attempting to explain to my family what I do for a living or deep in a technical conversation with a colleague; I am constantly bringing up something from my professional background.
I received some very wise advice very early in my career. I was told never to chase the money or the prestige but rather focus on finding opportunities that would give me personal growth and make a difference. If I focused on the latter, the other would follow.
This advice has served me well and given me an opportunity to look at my career and my accomplishments in a different light. The professional path I have taken is not traditional but then neither am I. It has been a journey filled with adventure and ups and downs. Through it all I've learned a lot and I hope I have made a difference.
If you are interested in my career please check out the Professional section for details.
Is our personality a product of our genetic code or is it something learned through the various life experiences we have had? Reality is probably somewhere in the middle of these two theories.
Each of us are placed on this earth and given a set of raw materials. Who we become depends on how we utilize the materials we are given. For some identifying and utilizing these materials seems easy while for others we are left wondering whether we were given anything to work with at all. It is during those times that we often gain the most perspective. Like chemists we are free to try new things and bring new combinations together. In some cases it can be explosive (sorry mom, you were right, a chemistry set was a bad gift idea) where at other times it opens new avenues up to us.
The key is to find a mix that will allow us to grow and realize the potential we were given. Our personalities and who we are are simply brief snapshots of time that we show to the world our work in progress. Sometimes that work in progress becomes a masterpiece while others it opens us up to difficult change. In either case we are better as a result of the experience.
I’m constantly trying to understand who I am. If you would like a glimpse into my personal life and the journey I am currently following, a good first step would be looking over the Personal section of this web site.
I tend to collect interests and hobbies like other kids collected baseball cards. I am constantly intrigued by something new. Trina cringes nearly every time I utter, “You know what would be cool…” usually followed by a grand scheme to try something completely different. This may be a result of my perpetual curiosity or possibly my desire to seek out the unknown.
We live in the golden age of innovation. It seems as though no product or thought stays stagnant for very long. For many this can be confusion or frustrating since just as we learn or use a product it is outdated and something new comes along. I look at it differently, the world can be a challenging place and for us to succeed we need to adapt.
Flexibility and the ability for us to morph our thoughts and usage gives us the greatest opportunity to be successful so instead of fearing change we need to embrace it. That doesn't mean changing for the sake of change but adapting and always looking for new use cases for how we can take advantage of what we are given. For me that means continually modifying my interests and hobbies to see how they can be utilized to allow me to take advantage of the opportunities I see.
You’ll find a list of my current hobbies in the Interests & Hobbies section.
Life is filled with precious moments. Sometimes they are simple like the sparkle in the eye of a child and at other times those moments overwhelm us. As I have gotten older I have learned to look for those moments and cherish them. I try to capture each one and carefully place them in my heart. They are there for me to recount and relive whenever I need them
Memories can come in various shapes and sizes. Some of my most vivid memories are associated with images and pictures. In an effort to reminisce and relive some of these I have created a scrapbook of some of the more fascinating images and memories. Some of these are a result of my photography while others may be from another expression of my artistic side. If you would like to view these I invite you to look through My Digital Scrapbook.