ernst jünger in cyberspace

about this site

Why "Ernst Jünger in Cyberspace"?

There has been an "Ernst Jünger in Cyberspace" website since 1995, a short while into my postgraduate studies at St. John's College, Oxford. A spate of over-excited journalism about the internet sparked by the launch of the web had clicked with my more academic interests in virtuality, hypertext and the seeming possibilities of escape from the constraints of the non-wired world and I therefore decided to add to this fantastic new world with my own web-site. The obvious subject was my D.Phil research as it was a topic about which I actually had something relevant to say which might be of more than passing interest. And so I got myself a book on HTML, a quick Unix how-to and made the first version.

Revision History

I have revised the site considerable on a number of occasions - each time there has been a major revision number (I didn't do minor release numbers back then - in fact I'd never heard of them, or indeed software configuration management ;-). The site is currently on its fourth major version after a three-year period of near neglect - version 3 having been created over a period of time between 1997-98.

For detailed notes on the latest features: see the release notes>

Renovation/make-over

This fourth version represents a radical make-over. Since completing my D.Phil I have been working for a major UK-based dot.com (which still has money in the bank) which kept me very busy indeed. However, it has also exposed me to a lot of internet design and technology issues and as things have quietened down (a little) at work, it was time to revise the site. Why? Because the look was dated, the graphics were bloated, the HTML was of dubious quality and the work needed to be done anyway in order to take the site forward.

Technology

The site has always been static and will remain so in the short-term. However, in this revision I have taken great care to write standards compliant HTML (HTML 4.x) and will upgrade the HTML to be compliant with the XHTML specifications once sufficient browser support is available. The appearance and layout of the site is controlled to the greatest possible extent by the use of Cascading Style Sheets as per W3C recommendations. I have kept client-side scripting to a minimum in the short-term in order to accomplish the task in hand - a regeneration of the site with a fresh and up-to-date look and feel.

Browsers are a pain as they have had a tradition of doing decidedly different things with the same piece of HTML regardless of the W3C's standards. You will notice this on the site if you are using Netscape 4.x as its implementation of CSS, etc is less than optimal. There are no known problems with IE 5+. Anyone using Linux or having a particular dislike of using Microsoft kit except where strictly necessary should look at Opera or, if you can wait for it to download, Netscape 6. The site is also quite usable with lynx - the first web browser I ever used.

After I left St John's, I decided that I wanted to continue running the site and so had to look for a third-party hosting offering. Pair Networks in the USA were recommended to me and I am a pretty happy customer so far - the service has been good on the few occasions I've needed to use it, I have more than sufficient disk capacity and bandwidth and the framework is there for adding a wide range of server based scripting which will suffice for site enhancements in the short to medium-term.

Future Plans - Interim/long-term

The next target is to get the search engine working and to automate key elements of site management, including link checking, log analysis and file transfers.

In terms of content, I will introduce a richer set of resources - focussing on photographs and maybe some limited audio/video content. I will also seek to collaborate with scholars, journalists and publishers to increase the extent and quality of content available on the site. One specific goal is to provide the bibliographic content in a seachable database-driven format using the PHP> and mysql> technology available through Pair Networks.

In the long term, I wish to migrate the site to advanced Java (J2EE, etc) and database technologies (Sybase or Oracle) and to run it from a co-located Linux box. However, this must be considered as not being feasible until at least mid-2002.

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