History of helmer.ca
helmer.ca was my first attempt at dynamic web site design and I have redesigned it many times. Fortunately, the Internet Archive Wayback Machine has archived the various incarnations of the site.
July 2001: Version 1.0, which included a PHPBB forum (why did I have a heavyweight forum on my personal web site?), had a Canadiana theme.
August 2002: Version 2.0 continued the Canadiana theme, eliminated the PHPBB forum and added an equally if not more heavyweight blog, powered by Geeklog. It also included a photo gallery.
February 2003: Version 3.0 abandoned the Canadiana theme and Geeklog, and used the lighterweight b2 to power the blog. The photo gallery remained. One cool new feature was pure CSS drop-down menus, a la Eric Meyer. Around the time of this redesign, I was reading Jakob Neilsen's articles on web usability.
March 2003: Version 3.1 moved away from the minimalist design of 3.0, but the content of the site did not change very much. One new feature was a list of my iTunes music library. Inspired by Doug Stebila's design, I also moved the navigation menu from the top to the right-hand side (closer to the scroll bar).
August 2003: Version 3.5 switched colour schemes (this time a combination of blues) and abandoned the photo gallery, as the gallery was insecure and not well integrated into the rest of the site.
December 2003: Version 4.0 abandoned the pure CSS menus, which were cool but unnecessary, and switched to a softer colour scheme. It also involved another switch in blog software, this time to Movabale Type. Version 4.0.1 was a very minor change in colour schemes (dark background and light text).
July 2008: Version 4.6 had a slightly different look and feel.
Jan 2010: Version 5.0 uses WordPress to power the whole site, rather than just the blog.