So, it's finally live

The early years

Back in the stoneage when the Internet wasn't a widespread phenomena I moved from Finland to Sweden and joined the Nerd Brigade (University). Even back then, the best way of keeping in touch with friends and family in Finland was by using email.

Beside email I was also quite mesmerized by this application called Mosaic that showed images and texts, and you could even click on some of the texts and it took you to some completely different place - completely random. I found this way of 'randomly' clicking your way very interesting.
I thought it would probably take tons of programming skills to create these interfaces, but then a friend of mine sent me over a list of "tags" that you used to 'mark up' the content of your files and suddenly I had a homepage.
I edited it day and night, I used the pico editor and I generally just tinkered on, without any real direction. But this was, nevertheless, version one.

Time moves on

Version one was not a very pretty sight - but put in context, it was still up there with the best. You see, in this time and age, websites still focused on Tim Berners-Lee's original idea; Sharing information. Times changed though. Into the computer labs stormed Macistis and other weirdos and these people made the web focus on looks, not only content. Sometimes the focus was too much on looks and nothing on content but they still showed us 'purists' a "Good Thing"(tm) - you can make your information pretty too.
Suddenly the focus of the websites were aimed at layout, mouse over effects etc, very interesting, but it put the whole ball game into another dimension.

I followed suit and redesigned my homepage - this time using Java (not JavaScript) MouseOver effects (Thanks P Sandahl!) and animated gifs. The creation was a neon-mayhem.. still funny though!

Version two was, and actually still is, not too shabby, but things move on...

Enter Dreamweaver and SSI

At some point in time Macromedia Dreamweaver had matured into version two. While version one was a revolution in WYSIWYG HTML editing, version two corrected many flaws and stabilised the product. I used Dreamweaver exclusively to create my third version of my homepage.

This creation was a bright red thing - maybe because that's how the angry person in me felt. I used layers to do inline explanations and such. It was quite reolutionary but in the long run it wasn't a very good solution due to the fact that the pages were still static HTML.

I asked my ISP to turn on Server Side Includes (SSI), which they did. This allowed me to do some quite remarkable "programming" with SSI, such as simple if-statements etc. This did move my homepage on a bit, but no matter how I tried, it was still static HTML which had to be edited in Dreamweaver and had to be uploaded (by modem) via FTP to the server.

The other thing that changed by this edition was that I actually started to write content in the form of my thougths and even some tutorials. Somehow I also added a little section where I announced what was new.My previous pages had mainly been focused on reporting facts (Formula 1), or just lamely trying to inform the globe of who I was.

Adding content in the form of articles and a dedicated what's new section was probably the most "remarkable" thing with version three.

PHP and modularity

By now I had been building websites professionally for a while. This gave me the good opportunity to actually run my own server. Sure it was very modest, even by those days' standards. But it still was a full fledged Linux machine and it was all mine.

Having my own machine meant that I could run the technology of my choice on it. This meant the machine ran PHP and stored its content in a MySQL database. I built version four using tons of separate include files and made the design completely modular. This meant that I got rid of the problems I had with my previous sites. I also added a few dynamic features like the comments, guestbook and news section. I even had a newsletter function.

However, my attitude at that point was that I didn't care about HTML standards and such, this meant that I used CSS and font-tags in a really bad mishmash manner. Not good!

This site was also where my plans for the next generation website were getting bigger. I had noticed a few shortcomings and my brain was in gear. Whilst version four was alive for quite a while, my interest was quickly moving towards even greater plans. But credit where credit is due; version four introduced more dynamic content and modularity.

Great plans stayed as plans

My thoughts of the next generation system was growing in all directions, also fuelled by the fact that I was hired to think about this.

Together with a bunch of really smart colleagues we cooked up a basic Internet Application Framework which had tons of bells and whistles in it. It had a site hierarchy, modules that executed the business logic, underlying services to provide for users, permissions and such. It spewed out XML that was transformed with XSL to any format we could desire.

Very neat even today. Unfortunately for me the concept was realized in VisualBasic? which I, sadly, didn't pick up and thus my path parted with that system. Version five was still only plans for me.

An opportunity

Like magic I got given this wonderful opportunity to take what had learnt from my previous experiences and buiild upon it.

Together with a friend of mine we were building a system to suit a large company. We based it on the same principles as the aforementioned system, but naturally we added and removed as we saw fit. Languages for example were incorporated. We kept on building this system like mad men. We got quite far in the development but like everything in life, no path is completely straight. To cut a longwinded story fairly short, I ended up without my coding-buddy and without a client with a product that was built to, say 75%.

During this time my own website had been pulled off the 'Net and I had absolutely no time to even consider creating my own website.

I kept on working on the system but I couldn't wrap it up good enough to attract anyone to use it before I ran out of funds... No sight of version five...

Back to work ,you hippy!

Out of funds, into work. Having no money meant that I had got get some - and the "easiest" way was to get back to the grind and get a "normal" job.

By definition I don't like 9-to-5ers, but I needed the money. For my homepage this meant disaster really, as most of my time was spent working/commuting and then recovering from it. This leaves very little energy for creative outlets late in the evenings. My project was now more or less left on ice and nothing happened apart from that I paid my rent and I time went on. For over a year, there was virtually no movement in the version five land.

Inspiration strikes

A friend of mine tells me that his website that he's running is actually working for him. He says that one can actually make some money on websites these days - lies I tell you, LIES. Hehehe

My personal life is also getting back into shape, and my finances aren't that bad either. This means that I'm noticing this itching feeling of actually writing about stuff and even writing some code of my own.

Sparked by all these small reasons I start to investigate all sorts of Content Management Systems (CMS) and Web Log software. My criterias weren't that crazy. I wanted a clear UI that allowed me to use any browser, including my Nokia 9500, to manage the site. I wanted to be able to publish articles and I wanted to be able to embed images in the articles. I wanted it to be open and free, pererably written in PHP so I could easily extend it and run it on my server.

I searched on OpenSourceCMS for my new system to use. However I was greeted with a bunch of systems that all had their advantages, but sadly none of them completely fulfilled my needs. The ones I ended up testing were WordPress, Plume and Serendipity. I also looked at Mambo as two of my friends run that. They mostly failed on "silly things" like one system uses JavaScript? menus - something I certainly don't want to run on my Nokia 9500 Communicator. Some of them don't handle images in a nice way. Sigh.

After two weeks of reading, investigating, testing, downloading and configuring I finally gave up on the idea of a "prepacked" system and decided to use my own system that's called Frabster. Version five is finally looming!


What is this Frabster system then, I hear you mumble. Well, it's the system that I wrote together with a friend of mine. It's now grown since 2002 and you're now looking at the first site where it's used live.

Technically it uses the Apache webserver, running on Debian Linux. PHP is used as the glue between PostgreSQL and XML. The XML is transformed with XSL into (fairly compliant) xHTML.

Frabster is a framework that provides a place for modules to perform their business logic, such as presenting this article for you. The framework contains things such as users, permissions, languages, paths (URIs), etc.

Unfortunately Frabster isn't released under an OpenSource license - maybe one day..?

This, my chum, is version five!!

The future

As you migh understand now - my website has been part of me since late 1994, even when it has been offline. There's tons of things I want to do here but I think that my time is the limiting factor.

This is a few of the things that I'm planning on putting up on the site:

  1. Geeky stuff - such as this article
  2. HowTo's - I've taken a lot of pictures of what I've been doing; anything from networking your house to putting on a new roof or tuning a 2-stroke Scooter.
  3. Photos and stories about places I've been to, such as the Nurburgring, Finland, Sweden, NEC Bikeshow, Cornwall, etc etc.
  4. Product reviews - I know everyone does them, but I still want to do them. I've got gadgets such as a GPS, robotic vacuum, Nokia 9500 Communicator, Motorbike gear such as helmets, Scooter, etc. I also have opinions about all of them
  5. Thoughs about life in general - have you noticed most of us are complete morons from time to time.
  6. Probably something I can't think of right now.

When these things will surface I don't know, but am going to give it a good try.

Naturally I couldn't be taking on this without friends, and I couldn't have made it this far without friends either. Here's a few ones that deserve a mention (sorry if I've forgotten you)

  • Crazy Caz - without your support I couldn't do anything
  • CB - you "buff poof"
  • Max, Dempa, John, Tony, Sture, Joe, Chad, Shawn, m0th, JW, McBoof, Stooper, Pixelate, Snarfy, the guys on the Stuff-list and anyone else who's provided me with answers to my constant questions.
  • Ade, Simon, Dick and Clare for being fantastic biker buddies - we should ride more and further.
  • All the ones on the Breidsliders list - the best bunch in the world!
  • Young, Young and Scott

Thank you! Let's see what I can make out of version five!


I've kept the site hidden for a month now, and I've asked a select group of friends to have a look at it. To those of you who've had a look and presented me with straight-firing-critique; A Huge Thanks!. Your input is most valuable and please keep giving me your constructive criticism.

Here's what I've learnt from the critique that I've recieved so far:

  • Several people had chuckles/laughs/were in stitches - excellent - My aim is to not be boring and provide you with funny stories apart from informative. Having fun is important!
  • Most people praised the simplicity - excellent - Building a website is not difficult, restraining yourself to not add too many bells and whistels is very difficult.
  • Most people liked that the site is content-focused - good, Content is King - Or as I wrote a very long time back; King Kontent.
  • People who commented on the layout and looks usually said they wouldn't do it that way but that it suited my page. Another input regarding the layout was that I can tinker with that later on - and I agree. Don't expect the layout and looks to stay static - the mecahnics behind the scenen is XML and XSL which means I can change the look, should I feel I want to.
  • Nobody complained that something had broken! This is extremely flattering as I'm working with web on a daily basis and it's more common that something breaks somewhere than that everything just works... So I'm very glad that it all worked, both from a technical-behind-the-scenes-perspective and from an HTML-and-Layout-perspective.

During the last month, I've been adding content, tinkering with layout/headers/css etc. Caz has been adding some of the classics and will add all the 22 that have been found so far.

Without much more mumbo jumbo, I'm going to remove the password protection and make the site public. Thanks again to everyone so far!