Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, December 08, 2021

What are the odds of something that I uploaded a dozen years ago still being up on the InterWebs, more or less unchanged?

That “something” happens to be the very first full-fledged website I ever built. Slide on over to deyton.com, and you’ll find the online home for The Deyton Group — “Technologists At Work”. In all it’s 1996-coded glory.

No joke. I’ve looked at the text-heavy content, the links in the left sidebar frame (many now broken or redirected, thanks to long-ago consolidation in the tech-storage hardware industry), and the page-source HTML. I don’t have the backup files anymore, but I’d bet any amount of money that 99 percent of that work is the original coding I did before the turn of the century. About the only thing that’s changed is the addition of that background graphic in the top and left frames (formerly plain white), a new email address destination for the now-decrepit contact form, and maybe one or two more tweaks.

It’s hard to believe anyone could maintain a business website for this long without much updating — and just the basic, necessary content updates, at that. Aside from the big-name links, I’d imagine the product list is way out of date (and yes, I’m pretty sure that list contains the same stuff I originally text-dumped in there in 1996). I’m guessing the site’s sole purpose is to provide contact-information brochureware; everything else is basically explained away as, “we need to update that at some point”.

The background story isn’t much. Basically, in 1996 I was put in touch with the owner of Deyton Group through a coworker; the company’s headquarters consisted of a home-office bungalow on St. Pete Beach (I’m guessing that remains the HQ to this day, with that Colorado address doubling as a vacation home). I’d been doing my first tinkering with Web media — nothing more complex than throwing up handmade graphics and copy via America Online’s late-’90s DIY tools. But that qualified me as an experienced webmaster during the Windows 95 era. The owner had already bought the deyton.com domain name; I believe his son’s name was Deyton, so he named his concern after the boy. He was hot to establish a presence on the Information Superhighway; he had the copy and general layout of the site already set in his head, so he just needed a code monkey (me) to make it real. I recall he didn’t want the copy edited or refined at all, despite my recommendations — and true enough, that same bloated wording remains there to this day! I did the dirty work of setting up the directory, recommending the frame structure, doing some logo work, designing the contact form, etc., and turned it around in probably a week. All for (I think) 300 bucks.

I never expected it to last this long. I would type the URL into my browser a couple of times over the past few years, just to check on it, and noticed that it was staying pretty static. I figured that, at some point, it would either shut down or else get a facelift. I guess if it’s not broke…

I wonder how many other virgin website attempts have managed to survive for over a decade. There’s something pleasing about it, given how impermanent Web documents are in general (even with the Internet Archive). It’s slightly embarrassing to have such a primitive site still on display, but it’s not like my name’s attached to it (at least, not until now ;) ), and besides, for its day, it was no worse than most of the contemporary small-business sites that staked out the early mass-market Web.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 12/08/2021 11:42:11 AM
Category: Business, Florida Livin', Internet, Tech
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