Nostalgia Time: Freewebs

I spent a lot of time on Neopets coding my own petpages, shop layouts, user layouts, and creating graphics and banners. Eventually I wanted to make a website of my own. For that, I turned to Freewebs.

Freewebs.com (which became webs.com sometime in 2008) is/was a free website builder/host. You could code your own websites using HTML, CSS, and Javascript. I had an outlet for my energy, and I loved it. In 2008 alone, I created eight (8!) different website layouts.

Version 1 (April 2008)

freewebslayout01

This was the first layout I ever created. It’s very simple: just a background image and a couple of tables positioned at various points on the page. The font is only 10px because I was thirteen when I created this and had much better eyesight than I do now.

There was a page for my artwork, an about page, a page about what I was writing and the webcomic I was working on (called WHITECAT), and a news page, used solely for updates to the website. That’s not actually very different from what I have on this website right now.

Version 2 (May 2008)

One month later, I was apparently tired of the really boring brown layout. I decided to code a new layout, and this time, I decided there needed to be a landing page.

freewebslayout02_enter

“Enter” took you to the actual freewebs site, “dA” took you to my deviantART account, “SJ” took you to my Smackjeeves profile, and “email” literally popped up a field to send me an email. I was thirteen. I didn’t know it was a bad idea.

freewebslayout02

This layout’s slightly more interesting than the previous one, isn’t it? The font, however, is still unforgivably small.

Version 3 (Early June 2008)

One month later, I decided to use a fancy piece of art as a website background. But before we get to that, here’s what the landing page now looked like:

freewebslayout03_enter

One button. That took you to this:

freewebslayout03

Now that I’m actually looking at it, this layout was originally based on one of my Neopets’ petpages.

I added a message box and a visitor map, but there wasn’t much of a chance in website content otherwise.

Version 4 (Late June 2008)

This version had a really boring enter page, so I won’t post an image for that. The main layout now looked like this:

freewebslayout04

Yep, it’s also really boring. I think the major difference is that I added a link to Project XLVI, the main story I was working on at the time. As well as a link to my deviantART gallery where I posted artwork, there was also a characters page with a bunch of information that I apparently did not save anywhere else on my computer.

For the longest time, I thought I’d actually lost that information.

Version 5 (July 2008)

This landing page is also really boring. Here’s the layout:

freewebslayout05

Evidently I decided that a sidebar with links was boring, so I made a topbar with images.

Version 5.2 (July 2008)

Evidently I didn’t like the top banner. I somehow then decided that what my website needed was FRAMES:

freewebslayout05.2

I also found a page where I was writing information about my Neopets. Apparently I didn’t lose all the information like I thought I had.

Version 6 (20 August 2008)

This was essentially the same as version 5.2, but with a different color scheme:

freewebslayout06

Version 7 (29 August 2008)

This time, the landing page had links to different parts of the website: the main site, and the Project XLVI pages.

freewebslayout07_enter

This is what the layout for both the Main Site & the Project XLVI pages looked like:

freewebslayout07

The background art is actually of two characters from Project XLVI. It’s really not a bad layout. I think it’s pretty aesthetically pleasing.

Version 8 (October 2008)

Version 8 went back to being really boring:

freewebslayout08

There were three background colors: light blue for the main site, purple for the Project XLVI pages, and green for the Neopets pages. I ended up keeping this layout for quite a while.

Version 9 (May 2009)

freewebslayout09

This layout was actually pretty exciting. I’d learned a bunch of stuff, like Javascript, and I wanted to use it. The buttons changed from light to dark when you moused over them!

I also created a page showing the previous layouts of the website, did away with the landing page, and created a new subpage for another story I was working on.

Version 10 (May 2010) & Version 11 (November 2010)

Then, for some reason, I went back to something extremely boring.

freewebslayout10

Version 11 is literally the same layout, just with a different color.

Version 12 (June 2011)

freewebslayout12

This is the final layout I created. I went back to the shiny mouseover buttons. It doesn’t look all that different to this website, does it?

I kind of miss not being able to do this anymore, but I don’t have any reason to, either – not just because of platforms like WordPress, but because I’m blogging so much lately. Static websites don’t work very well for blogs.

Next week, I’ll have a post up about my further adventures with coding websites!

Nostalgia Time: Oekaki, Deviantart, & Old Internet Friends

For those of you who don’t know (which is probably everyone reading this blog post), an oekaki is a browser-based drawing application. You draw directly on the website and post your images to an imageboard, where other people could comment on them. I remember some oekakis (perhaps all?) recorded all the brushstrokes you made, so you could play back the recording like a speedpainting and see how someone drew their pieces.

I spent a lot of time on oekaki boards in 2006 & 2007, then started growing out of it in 2008. The very last image I drew on an oekaki was actually in 2010. By that time, I’d primarily switched to drawing in GIMP, and the main oekaki board I used, Neoartists.org, was fairly dead. There’s very little evidence of the website ever existing on the internet nowadays.

All of my artwork was posted to Deviantart from early 2007 to mid-2016. I actually found out about Deviantart through Neopets, and ended up friends with the same people on both websites. I don’t think any of them have actually been on either website since 2012.

I genuinely haven’t been able to find most of the people I used to talk to on Deviantart, or Neopets, or any oekaki board. Either they’ve distanced themselves from their old usernames and teenage/young adult social media accounts (which is understandable, as I did the same thing) or they’ve flat-out stopped using any kind of social media entirely.

Wherever those people are, I hope they’re doing well.

Nostalgia Time: Neopets

This morning, I woke up from a dream about…Neopets. In the dream, I still had an active Neopets account – which I don’t! I deleted all of them something like ten years ago. The email I used for all those accounts (my childhood email) doesn’t even exist anymore. And there’s no way I’d remember the password for an account I created in 2004 or 2005.

I don’t remember anything else about the dream, just that I logged into an account that I’d ignored for twelve or so years.

Neopets was such a large part of my life in elementary/middle school. I guess it helped that this was when Neopets was at the peak of its popularity. A lot of my classmates had Neopets. There was a trading card game. You could get mini Neopet plushies at McDonalds for a while.

It’s probably the whole reason that the word “plushie” is part of my vocabulary.

I spent quite a lot of time drawing my Neopets (on Oekaki and in MS Paint) and equally as much time in Warrior Cats roleplay guilds. About half my Neopets had some kind of Warriors-inspired name: Fallpaw, _Golden__Paw_, & Darksweep are the ones I can remember.

I had a lot of Neopets. At one point, I had five alt accounts – just for extra Neopets. That’s six accounts in total, so if I had a maximum of four per account, I would’ve had 24 Neopets.

I don’t actually remember if I had that many.

Neopets is where I first learned how to code. I saw interesting HTML and CSS on other peoples’ petpages and user pages, and wanted to learn how it worked and how to do it myself. That actually led to me coding not just my own petpages and user layouts, but also my own websites – on Freewebs. I’ll go into Freewebs at a later time.

It also let me to Deviantart, which I’ll also go into at a later time.

It was such a large part of my life, and I remember so little. I used to have a list of every single one of my Neopets and petpets, and their personalities and ages and what they did, but all of that seems to be gone. I genuinely don’t know what happened to any of it.

I do have all the artwork I drew during that time period, and I’ll end the post on this: the first picture I ever drew on a computer with a tablet instead of a mouse (on an Oekaki, of course). It’s dated February 24, 2007.

2007_neopets