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The Beginning
First Steps
Our Hand Is Forced
Change Of Plan

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About Duologue

(this site)

The exciting tale of this site (Duologue). Hold on to your seatbelts for the most riveting story you have ever heard!

Can you contain your excitement?

Ok, yes, you probably can. But you're here, aren't you?

Hmm, actually, I ought to rename this page to "site history", and make another page that describes accurately what the site is about. Meh, that'll keep.

In The Beginning

...there was the idea

A few years ago, I was chatting on the phone to my old friend Alex. From wherever, the idea of having a collectively-run website, consisting of (amongst other things) a collaborative blog style of thing, ended up being discussed. We decided this was quite a good idea, and committed ourselves to such a course of action! Huzzah!

Of course, we would need a suitable host for our website...

First Steps


What was this bit again?

Oh yes. We eventually decided on Geocities. Alex opened the account with them, and we started putting some things on it. You can still see what we put there here if you really want to.

Pretty much all of what we put up was us trying to settle on a layout and style and stuff for the site, and a way to generate the pages in such a way that we could both write stuff to the pages without tripping over each other. The original plan was to use something like Awk, or maybe Perl, with little empty files on the site to implement Mutex locks. This was around February 2002 (or earlier). We didn't get too far.


Our hand is forced!

Then, going one day to update the site, I found I couldn't FTP into the site. I wondered if I'd got the password wrong, or if someone had changed it or something. But further investigation showed that they had suddenly decided FTP was some sort of luxury that ordinary users didn't need. Perhaps it's because Geocities are owned by Microsoft (last time I heard) and they felt like making life difficult for non-windows people.

Anyways, this kind of derailed our plan, so we decided to move sites, to Angelfire. This time I opened the account, and chose the account name- the first half I had to pick from a short list of their names (I chose "super2", it seemed amusingly appropriate for a site intended to be collectively run), and the second half was completely freeform- I picked "duologue". And I know what you're thinking, I must mean "dialogue", as duologue isn't a real word, but sorry, get yourself a bigger dictionary. It has a roughly similar meaning, but sounds a bit more intriguing, although now, it's significantly less relevant to the site.

Of course, as I've no easy way of getting back into the old Geocities account now, those pages are still there for you to laugh at.

Meanwhile, I set about putting up some more designs for the layout and style, and a certain amount of content - like a few of my little programs, a few graphics things, a short links page, but updating the site was grotty work without a proper means of generating the pages automatically as I'd always planned, and I was unhappy putting up the pages the way I was, with the excessively spartan layout (ie- no layout whatsoever). Of course, the act of creating the code to generate the pages was badly hampered by having no layout or style idea for it to generate them with, and I still couldn't come up with anything satisfactory, and Alex seemed to have been too busy with work and real life to come up with anything (or at least anything he wanted to put on the site).

Change of Plan

As it was becoming clear that Alex was largely too busy to be involved any more, I ended up suggesting to him that perhaps we should just do the sane, normal thing, and just each have our own website instead. The collaborative conversational-style blog thing had seemed like a good idea at the time, and I'd felt that whilst many personal websites don't have enough content in them to make them worth looking at, a site put together by 2 (or more) people could end up quite well-rounded. But, a website that's never updated because everything and everyone got too bogged down isn't of much interest to anybody.

So, in January 2004, nearly 2 years after the original site was started, I decided to pick some easy HTML layout with a basic style I liked - I picked the splash screen from the Dillo browser - and I set about creating some macros for the m4 macro processor program to produce the pages using separate files for layout and content, according to that style (this basic framework soon evolved into the mmss package).

Yes, BTW, I did ask the Dillo developers if they'd mind, and they nicely gave me the go-ahead. I also got a kind offer from Sunny Raspet that I could use layout from his site, but as I'd already written the macros when I asked, I decided to wait to see if I could use that layout first. So thanks to all of them.

Anyways, here is the site, the main differences between its current state and the original idea are:

  • It doesn't have that conversational-style blog thing (in the style of, say, a web forum like Slashdot or various phpBB forums); instead, I will occasionally put up exciting (read: uneventful) news items, I'm planning on putting up a "Tag Board" or a "Shout Box" that you can write stuff in, and I'll put up the link to Alex's site at when he sends it!
  • All the content will be put up by me. I may end up putting up some content from Alex or other friends, if they send me some- especially stuff like good links, as I'd like to make the biggest links page known to man! But there probably won't be much stuff like that. It probably wouldn't be that practical either.
  • It won't look half as pretty as I'm not a web designer type or a graphic designer like Alex. Doh!

Hope that clarifies things!

These pages created and maintained with MMSS (Make My Static Site)