This page shows some of the designs that this website has had through its history as “The Mad Marmablue Web Portal”, “Only Dreaming” and as IanRenton.com. A lot of awful stuff from my younger years is on display below!

April 1998

My first foray onto the Web was a site created in MS Word. It was everything you imagine and more—animated GIF backgrounds, auto-playing MIDI music and all. Mercifully, no content appears to have survived on the Internet Archive or elsewhere. I believe its original URL may have been http://members.tripod.com/__lep.

2000-ish

I learned how to use frames, and how to code my HTML from scratch (by copying other sites), so there was another version of the site that proudly sported a “built in Notepad” badge. I remember a drop-down menu for navigation, a second drop-down to choose the auto-playing background MIDI (what luxury!) and a white on black/blue colour scheme, all of which may have been “borrowed” from emulation site Zophar’s Domain from about that era. This version of my site was hosted at http://www.geocities.com/marmablue, and no content has survived.

February 2001

This is possibly the third version of the “Mad Marmablue Web Portal”. It was a static site and had a Javascript-based tree menu on the left, which the Internet Archive has not preserved. Again I learned by ripping off other sites’ code.

This version (or variations of it) seemed to jump between a number of free hosting providers over a couple of years, and may have been hosted at http://marmablue.cjb.net (probably itself a forwarder), http://members.dencity.com/marmablue/, http://marmablue777.f2s.net, and http://members.lycos.co.uk/marmablue7/php/index.php.

April 2003

An early Wiki version, my first move from static HTML pages to some kind of “proper” back-end. It was contributed to by a few friends. This is the first archive after the site received its own domain, marmablue.co.uk. Having a proper domain seems to increase the chances of the Internet Archive capturing its content, so there is more recorded from this point onwards.

June 2003

A slightly nicer-looking version.

January 2004

A blog entry from this month refers to the launch of “MMWP 9th Style”, which presumably means I was onto the 9th redesign of the site at this point. Several of them must presumably be lost.

May 2004

I abandoned the Wiki around the end of January 2004, apparently because I was the only contributor and I intended friends to contribute more than they did. With my blog on LiveJournal, I made my homepage into a simple index page, and split off a number of smaller sub-sites. Unfortunately the “chat” box on the left hand side was largely filled with spam.

June 2004

The chat box was quickly dropped, replaced inexplicably with direct links to stuff running on my home PC—all apparently offline.

August 2004

My blog was hosted on LiveJournal at this point, and looked something like this for the whole time I used it, from my first post in 2003 to the point I quit in 2011.

March 2005

Back to hosting real content on the Mad Marmablue Web Portal site, now centred around fiction and stories. This used a custom back-end written in PHP that I remember being very proud of at the time.

July 2010

The site migrated via Drupal to WordPress between 2006 and 2009, and I can’t find a lot of screenshots from this progression. The site was renamed from “The Mad Marmablue Web Portal” to “Only Dreaming”, and was moved to onlydreaming.net. My blog moved over from LiveJournal in around 2009. Here’s one of the still largely fiction-oriented WordPress themes.

October 2011

And a cleaner, sans-serif version. Use of CSS-minifying plugins has prevented the Internet Archive from capturing the stylesheets for a number of intermediate themes.

July 2013

From around 2013 I moved from WordPress to Octopress 2 and dropped the “Only Dreaming” name in favour of simply ianrenton.com. This version is a plain HTML page that largely links to Octopress sites on a number of subdomains. Social network links and links to other sites I made are prominent.

September 2013

The Octopress 2 version of the blog, which was separate from other sections such as hardware/robots and software.

September 2014

A prettier but much more image-heavy version of the homepage. Pictures for each link are monochrome until mouse-over when the CSS effect is removed and full colour is displayed.

November 2014

A small iteration on the Octopress 2 blog.

August 2015

Everything back under one subdomain, now on Octopress 3 which makes this more easily possible.

September 2015

A short-lived “typewriter-style” version which I liked visually, but proved hard to read.

December 2015

Possibly going a little too far to distinguish the menus.

January 2016

Back to a more stock-Jekyll theme, still serif and focussed on text.