Willerup Brothers | Trip reports | Our friends
So, you want to know - why on earth make a website so full of stuff about - well - yourself. How do you get time to do it? Don't you have anything better to do, get a life!
|The original "big image" front page|
|The more content based front page|
These are some of the comments we get from people who are surprised about the amount of stuff we have floating around on this site. Well to answer these questions we need to step back in time to 1995/6 when we started the Willerup Brothers Homepage.
In the old days when the only e-mail address I had in my address book was Fred's we used to write trip reports for fun on Fred's little HP 100LX palmtop. When we went on climbing trips for for example Tenerife we planned the trip using the internet newsgroups to hear from people who'd also been down there climbing. This way we could find out about climbing areas that would have otherwise been almost impossible to find without the "beta".
So as we started feeling part of the "Internet community" we found it quite natural to share our knowledge and experience from our own trip for people to use for their own benefit.
Then as I joined Fred in Hewlett-Packard Laboratories in Bristol in September 1995 we quickly made an internal website with a few of our trip reports, our continued climbing log that Fred had been keeping for himself so far, and with the complete lyrics of Jethro Tull which was another one of our shared passions.
The external web was really starting to wake up in the end of 1995 and in Christmas 1995 we thought - let's buy willerup.com and put all the stuff out there, so that everybody can access our limited information, instead of only the people within the HP "firewall".
So in January 1996 The Willerup Brothers Homepage was born.
In the 6 months from September I was getting quickly up to speed with "the internet" and got permanently hired in HP in February 1996 as their web designer. As everything I did was done on an trial and error or an experimental basis I found myself trying out design ideas on Willerup.com before using them "for real" on the HP website.
And while the work I did for HP often got overruled by some incompetent middlemanagement it lived and thrived on Willerup.com.
On the content side Fred, who had in the meantime moved to Boise, Idaho, USA, now kept a log over his new found kayaking activities on the website and we found ourselves using the website as a medium of keeping in contact or keeping track of what eachother had been up to the evening before or in the weekend. Occassionally we would write a trip report of some of the more memorable trips and the content grew. As we'd both done a fair bit of other sport we started slowly expanding the areas of the site to reflect more of our sport passions.
As the website grew it became more and more popular and we enjoyed the feedback we got from users who either thought it was cool what we did or had found the information useful for their own trips. And as it had been around from quite early on, we was reasonably highly profiled on the various search engines, maybe also because of content was "real" content. A highlight in the early life of Willerup.com was when the Danish internet magazine "Webworld" had selected us for "Cool site" and had written a review and rated us - without us knowing it. That was really quite amuzing and made us very pleased. We scored 6 out of 6 stars in all their three categories (design, technology and content).
As the year passed we always added more and more content, optimised the log file systems and tweaked the design here and there. It might be interesting to explain a bit more about the design and the various stages it has gone through.
We started with a very heavy imagebased layout, which was a classic approach at the time. Imagemapping had just been released and although tables had also just been introduced bit fat images was really the only way of having some control over the look and feel of the page.
Then as the tools for creating table layouts came along (First PageMill and later the superb and nothing short of revolutionary Dreamweaver) it became feasible to separate the text and graphics into a complex tablebased layout. Also we were getting increasingly fed up with the static nature of one big image file, and we wanted to much more easily feature different pages, have some dynamic content and indeed have the page load much much quicker. The compromise was that the frontpage certainly looks less "cool" and less like a magazine cover, but the described advantages greatly outnumbers the drawbacks. But we've had feedback from people who thought the big image was much better and that the current design looks more "like a company". Quite intersting.
But we are both much more into the "scalability" or compatibility of our pages than flooding the pipe with megabytes of graphics. We both have a number of other devices that we access the net with (Palm, Windows CE, mobile phones, WebTV etc), so we have always strived to make "browser compatibility" the key factor of our design. This is also why you wont see much stuff using any of the otherwise cool plugins like Flash and stuff like that. When you learn and get brought up in a research environment like HP Labs, where everybody seems to access the web in 100 different ways (I remember watching my tiled background on a 16 colours UNIX machine - yeikess - I have never used tiled backgrounds ever since :-)
Y2001 note: After having been running with the more "scalable" design we've returned to the original design. Reason being that Fred has now moved back to Denmark and there is less expectations from The Willerup Brothers as a team to make the regular achievements that you've all got used to. Hence the textual design was great for frequent updates, but now we wont be having weekly updates and we've gone back to the more "solid" frontpage. Hope you like it. We've added a bit of random changing main photos which links to there respective section. Enjoy.
|What tools we use|
|Photos:||The best photos was taken with a SLR camera on 50 ASA film or better. The worst photos are the ones taken on the disposables cameras. More and more of the photos are taken with digital cameras.|
|Scanning:||Some of the older photos was scanned on a highend Scitex scanner which Mathias had access to at a time, but the majority of photos are from a standard flatbed scanner (HP).|
|Text:||We usually write the trip reports "on the fly" on our all time favourite HP 100LX which is a small palmtop computer. On more civilised trips we usually bring our bigger HP Omnibook 800 or the robust Omnibook 300.|
|Design:||Mathias is the graphic dude who does the gif-files. He uses both Mac and PC but whatever the platform the main tool still remains Photoshop and Dreamweaver.|
|Fred has written all the scripting behind the site. Specially the kayaking logs and climbing logs are Fred's proud work. Not to mention the Overview Page which is one of the coolest pages here. At least from a technical point of view.|
|Server:||The server space is being provided by a company called FlySaturn - the name is a bit of a puzzle, but the service has so far been fine. The server does appear really slow from some machines (especially in HP Labs Brisotl actually)..|
|Why?||Well Mathias works as a web designer and he needs to have an area where he can experiment so this was a nice place to play around. Frederik has had a homepage inside the HP firewall for 4 years and felt the need to expand beyond the boundaries of HP. For the unknowing websurfer this website could seem a tiny bit narcissistic - maybe it is, but nevertheless it is good fun writing trips reports when you go travelling and combined with photos of the same trips it works out as a nice diary of some nice holidays.|
|History - not really complete...|
|January 6, 1997||Throughout 1996 our home page had a pulse but not much else. We have now added pictures, trip reports and overall structure.|
|February 3, 1997||The Linear Index was born. A usefull list of all the pages within the site. Use it to see where you have been, and where you have yet to explore.|
|March 25, 1997||A turning point in the history of The Willerup Brothers Homepage: We have moved server from www-uk.hpl.hp.com to the more logical willerup.com.|
|April 10, 1999||
On our trip in Central America we had two months of creative thinking. This resulted in The Goatchurch Game and a various other additions.
|May 31, 2000||The Original Willerup Brothers Logo which has remained untouched from the start of Willerup.com was changed today. We updated it adding a subtle graphical touch. We hope you like it.|
|July 2000||We have spawned of another website called Adventurehut.com - this takes the log file system that started Willerup.com to another level. If you are a rock climber - go check it out.|