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What is this place?:
I used to open the site with this section and title. However, as it's evolved, I got away from that. Eventually I decided to add a section just about the site, mainly to brag a little about how the site runs. The following sections are here:
During the dot com explosion of the late nineties, I started writing. As I began writing more, I wanted to put up a site. However, I couldn't think of a name. I went back and forth trying all sorts of things that had "SQL" in the name, but didn't really like anything.
I love living in Colorado and at the time had been here for about 2 years and decided to try something that related to Colodaro. One day while playing with "ranch", I started thinking about my kids. I had two at the time (Kyle and Delaney) and came up with dkRanch. I liked the mixed case spelling and immediately checked dkranch.com in March of 2000. It was available, but there weren't that many reasonable hosting solutions I could find that day.
So I started looking. Eventually I settled on Easyspace as a hoster. They had great rates, under $10 a month at the time, and seemed like a good setup with lots of options for upgrading. They weren't SQL Server based, but I couldn't have afforded their MySQL option anyway, so I decided in June 2000 to use them.
Unfortunately, by the time I decided, dkranch.com was taken. By some dkranch group in Pennsylvania.
Damn!!!!! I hemmed and hawed for a couple days and then decided to choose dkRanch.net. I registered it and started building the site with Frontpage.
The site grew for a few months and I put up a counter to see if anyone actually visited. Of course, some friends at work then wrote a script to run up the counter to 5000 in a day. Thanks guys.
Anyway, things went well until my wife and I decided to have a third kid. All of a sudden, d(elaney)k(yle)Ranch.net was in danger. Eventually we settled on Emmitt (boy) and Kendall (girl) as names and luckily for the site, Kendall Atieh was born on May 15, 2001. So instead of changing to dkkRanch, I decided to leave dkRanch.net. I recently checked and the .com and .org were still available, so they may appear at some point.
About a year later, I moved the site to my house where I had static IPs and a DSL line. That worked great until the Code Red worm smacked my machine and it never really recovered. I decided to move to a hosted solution, the same one where I host SQL Server Central. That has worked well and allows me to use SQL Server to build part of the site.
So that's where we stand. For now.
Or how this place works.
Well, it started with FrontPage, but as I tried to make a more dynamic site, it became too cumbersome. Plus I wanted to code more. So...
I decided to use ASP (active server pages), a Microsoft Technology. So I rewrote the site using some basic ASP stuff. At first it was all in flat files with the only ASP being a variable that holds the title of each page. I eventually migrated to include files. So there is a file for the menu you see above as well as one for the sidebar. The menu is then included in a page header that is on every page. There is also a page footer that includes the sidebar.
Of course, I then decided to build a page editor for web access from anywhere. So I added a database and used that to log into the site. I then used that build a small admin section which stores by daily notes (BLOG) in the database. There is a process that runs every 15 minutes to write out the daily entry in to a flat file, which is what you see. It also writes the archive file at the same time.
Now, it's not the prettiest thing right now, but I work on it in bits and pieces. It also works, which is the primary function. Contrary to lots of code, I do slowly clean this up as I need to maintain it.
Well, I'm not entirely sure. This isn't the end-all-be-all site for me. It's a fun project and provides a release for writing things. But it doesn't completely work, so I have a few things I want to add. This isn't in any great order, but it provides a list of things that I think will make this site easier to maintain.
There are a bunch of us, so here's the list with a short bio for each. There is also a photo gallery with various pictures. The code is freely available.
Weather at the Ranch
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