The Age of Xester

A collection of screenshots from the old Vacilando.org website. A very clean and reliable custom CMS called Xester written, without borrowing any substantial third party code, in PHP and MySQL.

I started to build it on March 5, 2003 (see this Web Archive record), abolishing an even older system of just folders and HTML pages (built since December 12, 1996). It had a huge number of nifty features, including

  • secure login,
  • editing (incl. PHP code) and file upload,
  • public and private pages,
  • four page types - article, travel, reference, and undefined
  • page and file browser,
  • recursively generated dropdown menu allowing one-click access to any page on the website,
  • submit verification (a JavaScript md5 hash of form content compared with a md5 hash of the received content before saving in the database), 
  • a kind of cron scheduler for heavy operations (stats, sitemap generation, etc.)
  • e-mail notifications about problems /  errors
  • markup for entering internal and external links (somewhat inspired by Wikipedia),
  • intelligent tokens in text that resolved into more complex things when viewed, including special links to page creation if a given link did not exist previously,
  • an overlay gallery and a slideshow system (much later morphed into the Brilliant Gallery module for Drupal),
  • related pages (children, parent, avuncular),
  • cookie-stored page crumb trail system (later morphed to the TrailScout module for Drupal),
  • link checking, caching and cache searching,
  • site search,
  • RSS feed generating and parsing,
  • a commenting system with CAPTCHA,
  • network visualizations (SVG, PNG and Flash circles, Flatland JavaSpring, recursive hierarchical, TouchGraph GoogleBrowser, Hypergraph - predecessor of my Drupal module Hypergraph),
  • AJAX functionality (updated pages, stats),
  • automatic backlinks based on referers,
  • 5-digit randomly attributed IDs independent of content,
  • Google's translations for any page,
  • hundreds of useful little functions,
  • even a port of the old Amiga program called Galaxis,
  • etc.
     

Over the time I made 604 heavily interlinked pages in this system (and many of them had countless sub-pages or variants, of course), plus a few special pages such as list of last updates, created, accessed, popular, orphans, tree roots and leaves, etc.

It was a pretty complete CMS. One of the notable shortcomings was the use of old character set Windows-1250 instead of Unicode (UTF8), no tagging, lack of real content types (every content was a page), and, of course, that any bug had to be found and fixed by me, and any new features had to be written and maintained by me as well. Therefore, after testing various open source CMS systems (including Mambo/Joomla and TikiWiki), in 2006 I started to seriously study and work with Drupal (still version 4.6) and started to place new pages and galleries in Drupal (version 5 and then 6) at Vacilando.eu (and later Vacilando.net). And I also started slowly re-working the old CMS to Drupal -- the first redirect was probably on November 17, 2007, and I finally completely finished the transfer on January 30, 2010, at Vacilando.net.

Sometimes I have a feeling life was easier when I knew all the code like the palm of my hand, but advantages of using a quickly evolving open source web application framework as good as Drupal has undeniable advantages in terms of extremely solid base functionality, bug fixing and support by the community, and vast amounts of contributed modules to choose from. And, it is also good to be constantly exposed to new clever (or not so much) code from others. And it's nice to develop new - and contribute to - modules knowing that thousands of people will benefit from the improvements!

OK now, forward, the Light Brigade!
 


00001_gal1998_resized.jpg
00002_gal2000_resized.jpg
00003_edit_submit_resized.jpg
00004_edit_resized.jpg
00005_front_resized.jpg
00006_updated_resized.jpg
00007_sitemap_resized.jpg
00008_hypergraph_resized.jpg
00009_hierarchical_resized.jpg
00010_externalurls_resized.jpg
00011_travel_resized.jpg
00012_writings_resized.jpg
00013_login_resized.jpg
00014_research_resized.jpg
00015_translations_resized.jpg
00016_war_on_terror_2_resized.jpg
00017_war_on_terror_1_resized.jpg
00018_menu_resized.jpg
00019_palo_hudak_resized.jpg
00020_contact_resized.jpg
00021_asia_at_dawn_resized.jpg
00022_cottage_resized.jpg
00023_pasik_resized.jpg
00024_lenin_resized.jpg
00025_island_elke_resized.jpg
00026_php_resized.jpg
00027_parizske_zazraky_resized.jpg
00028_parizska_kaviaren_resized.jpg
00029_fulopp_family_resized.jpg
00030_lew_carpenter_resized.jpg
00031_little_broken_twig_resized.jpg
00032_baska_resized.jpg
00033_gabriela_fuloppova_resized.jpg
00034_odysea_gumenych_kaciciek_resized.jpg
00035_rano_vecnosti_resized.jpg
00036_prehistoric_civilizations_resized.jpg
00037_physics_spanish_resized.jpg
00038_tatko_resized.jpg
Anderlecht, Belgium
March 5, 2003 ~ January 30, 2010

blog, gallery, story

vacilando.org Drupal web design PHP MySQL Xester CMS programming

English

Webmention logo