Future Web Platforms: From LAMP to where?

Tongfamily.com kind of missed a generation. I can’t believe it is 20 years since the first post on the site (1994!). And I still somehow have the 5,000 posts done over the years. There have been several major iterations of the site and while the text has survived not much else has:

1994. FrontPage Extensions

Wow, remember how cool it was to have a WYSIWYG editor that posted to a site. So the stack back then if you could call it then was:

  • Hoster. I actually forgot the name, but they let you put a few web pages up.
  • Server Side. Really there wasn’t anything, you generated HTML and it lived in files
  • Client Side. Just write generic HTML (back then!)
  • Content Management. Manual linking and that seemed to work pretty well

2004. MoveableType

Remember that era. I sure do, with Mina and Ben. This was a big move to a real database and having something that today would be called a content management system. I can almost remember Tqhosting.com really well. I used, but it was this really nice guy in North Carolina who was one of the first who did MovableType installations.

  • Hoster. TQHoster
  • Server Side. I seem to recall it was LAMP, but don’t remember
  • Client Side. HTML and Javascript, but no frameworks
  • Content Management: MovableType. The big change in many ways

2008. WordPress

This was the first time that we had a formal system and it was (at the time!) really quite modern, using WordPress for CMS, LAMP as the platform and pretty much becoming a php hacker trying to get things to work.

  • Hoster. Bluehost
  • Server Side. LAMP and I got good at editing PHP and CSS
  • Client Side. Nothing at first and now Bootstrap
  • Content Management. WordPress as it has evolved to a full CMS, PHP Gallery for photos and Docuwiki for structure content (I don’t use that much anymore).

2014. Where to now? Experiment!

Well of course, the lost generation for me was the Ruby on Rails era. Worked on plenty of companies that used it but never wrote Ruby myself or understood Rails. So the question now is, to stay with something trusted or embark on something that is at the cutting edge. We talk about that plenty in the various projects I work on. Right now, the site uses:

  • Hoster. Bluehost has been a faithful hoster for me for years. It is decently expensive at $10/month but provide unlimited storage (well a 1GB per file limit and they are not happy if you use a lot of the server). But they are relatively stable. Wonder if it is time to trade up to a true VPS somewhere else. Site5, Siteground or maybe upgrade to their VPS/Wordpress optimized plans get mentioned, but perhaps a dedicated Node.js hoster might make the most sense like nodejitsu, modulus, joyent or others. When I look back, I sure seem to have picked the hoster based on their friendliness to the middleware.
  • Server side stack. Ruby on Rails is neat, but some of the cool kids have jumped into node.js (and we’ve been using it quite a bit ourselves). It is nice to have Javascript on both client and server in many ways for a small site like this. This has basically replaced LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and Php/Perl) with a new stack sometimes called mean.io (Mongo, Express.js, Angula.js and Node.js) which you can install.
  • Client side. There has been so much evolution here, but Twitter’s Bootstrap and the Responsive layout idea (the client changes layout depending on device) is pretty cool.
  • Content Management System. Sometimes called the blogging tool. The node.js seems to be Ghost. I need to figure out how to handle 40K photos in a private gallery too!

So what does it all mean, well I’m going to build a parallel site to tongfamily, maybe call it http://tongfamily.com:8080 and see how it goes, so stay tuned!
 

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