Ten years old today; not me of course, but the website that bears the acronym opobs, the Old Photographs Of Bridgend webSite.
Conceived way back in the latter part of 2002 as a vehicle to share my own photographs of Bridgend, mainly from the 1970s, I first had to design and build a website before it went live. A copy of Dreamweaver was purchased and then came the huge learning curve of interpreting the manual which caused many anxious and fraught moments. Eventually the site went live on the 9th February 2003, or at least very soon after that date which is the anniversary of purchase of the opobs.co.uk and opobs.org.uk domain names.
The first site was designed using the frames method and served well for the first couple of years. Back in those days all internet connections were on dial-up and so page sizes were kept very small for speed of upload and subsequent download. The first site had to be uploaded in the middle of the night in case anyone else in the house should accidentally pick up the telephone and disconnect me, uploading took hours. Initially the site contained only those photographs which I had taken but I was loaned a large collection of photographs of school classes so decided to include those as well.
The first major rebuild, and the move away from a frame-based site occurred in January 2006 when, over a period of a month every page was reconstructed. At this point I also started to include extra pages with photographs from other sources. Since then there has been another major update (2011) to clean up the interface and I have continued to add pages and more photographs at intervals, the whole site now becoming very unwieldy and difficult to manage. The most popular section is without doubt the old school photographs and a large number of hits are recorded every month, that’s not to say that the other pages aren’t visited but the numbers are significantly smaller by comparison.
In June 2007 I joined the photo-sharing website flickr and for my flickr name chose to use the acronym of my website, opobs. I soon began to get a reputation for beach photography and became well known for turning up for a shoot wearing shorts, wellington boots and a hoodie; shorts because wet knees (from kneeling on wet sand for low level photography) dry quicker than wet trousers; wellies allow me to get into the centre of the action such as rock pools, rivers and waterfalls whilst retaining relatively dry feet; and the hoodie keeps the wind out of my ears. I therefore decided to choose a flickr icon which reflected that image and (I like to think) I’m still young at heart hence the kid in shorts, wellies and a hoodie splashing in a puddle, an icon that I also now use for every other site of which I am a member, facebook, youtube, WordPress and a host of lesser places.
But I digress, what of the future of opobs? Well, I must confess to thinking it’s coming to the end of the road in its current format, in this day and age there are many social sharing sites which can (and do) cater equally well for the masses who wish to view old photos of our town. I have been investigating the possibility of altering the site so viewers can interact and add their own comments, but this will involve a complete reworking. The school section is likely to become the predominant feature in any future rebuild and I’ll probably phase out some of the pages that are rarely visited and rationalise the remainder to make management easier. For the moment though, nothing is likely to happen, I have renewed the domain names for a further three years and paid for the web space for a further twelve months but updates are unlikely for a while, be patient, I’m thinking about it!