The Great Recovery of My Old Webpages Project

So while the whole meltdown of my primary computer is going on, the secondary one, Savah, has actually proven useful for reasons above and beyond “because Aroree is being stupid”.

I’ve been doing this ongoing massive re-org of my files, with an eye to creating a proper archive that Dara can burn to these fancy archival-quality discs we have. As part of this, I’ve been digging into my old web page files and thinking it’d be nice to restore working copies of earlier versions of my sites.

More technogeekery as well as screencaps of my work behind the cut!

There are a few motivations for this:

  1. It’s giving me a reason to play with Docker some more on the Linux box, where I can set up a working dev environment to play with restoring the older versions of my sites without having to worry about them being live on lodestone.
  2. It’s just fun to see my old homepages again!
  3. I do have a bit of an endgame in mind here of seeing if I can create a WordPress theme based on the old look of my site, but that also requires me to have a functioning version of that site to refer to. This would be something else fun I could put up on my Github, to have as a project I can point at the next time I have to go job hunting.

So I’ve started pulling together a bunch of my old web page files and have discovered a few things. First, my backups of these are not comprehensive, which makes me a little sad as it means certain old pages of mine cannot be restored. I have also been liberally using to grab things I no longer have local copies of. But that site goes back only so far, and I’ve only been able to go back to 1998 or so when my site was still called Rillwhisper’s Glade.

I cannot currently find a version of it from when it was Dewshine’s Den–that, I think, would go all the way back to when I had an account on and the whole idea of the web was still in its infancy. Back then, Netcom didn’t even have proper HTTP support set up. They were serving web pages over FTP!

That said? I have been able to reconstruct a couple of my site indexes from later than that, and I’ll be working on the main one I’m interested in–the from just before I made the jump to WordPress.

And as a teaser, here a couple of the screencaps I’ve taken of what I’ve done so far!


(Folks reading this on Dreamwidth, the code I use to build my galleries on WordPress doesn’t really translate well to Dreamwidth crossposts, so this’ll look a little broken to you. But you can still click on the individual images to see them, or come over to the master post!)

Also, for the interested, the Docker system I’m using to rebuild this is based in Docker Compose. I’m using the code provided off the docker-compose-lamp project on Github, albeit with a couple of minor modifications.

Out of the box, the docker-compose.yml file sets up a little network of Apache, PHP, MySQL, and Redis. (I need only the first three, really, but I haven’t bothered to delete the Redis parts yet.) The modifications I’ve been making have been to accommodate the specific Apache things I need (server side includes, processing PHP not only out of .php files but also .html and .phtml, allowing use of .phtml as indexes, and a few other things).

What’ll be really amusing will be seeing if I can pull in the MySQL database from the versions of my site between 2003 and 2008, which is when I started tracking site updates in MySQL. And the Two Moons timeline and ALL of my roleplay logs as well!