| Ton Haarmans


opus Somebody asked me recently: "what is actually the purpose of this website?" Good question. I had to think about it...

Well, I just like to write about what I'm thinking and watch my own process. So, what I write here is basically meant for myself in the first place. That's why this website, Wide Open Windows, has changed a hundred times or more since it's conception in 1997 (then as wideopenwin.com), because the contents of the site follows the process of my 'philosophical' and professional development. Putting it on the web gives me the opportunity to hear how other people react to what I'm writing.

I also like to play around with the technologies of creating and designing websites. I've been a webdesigner since 1997. I am retired now, but I'm still very much interested in all aspects of designing and creating sites. And so I fiddle around with this site and the two other sites I am responsible for: the Sierra Mariola Gazet and the site of the place where I live with my partner and 2 dogs, Villa Luz in Valencia, Spain.

Nerd stuff

Nerd stuff To make this site I use a number of programs that may not be immediately obvious. The vast majority of sites nowadays are made with the Content Management System (CMS) Wordpress. And image editing is often done with Adobe Photoshop. There are several disadvantages to this:

Wordpress, and similar CMS's like Drupal and Joomla use a database to store the content of the pages, the menu system, the access to the site and other parts. And such a database is vulnerable. Many who have worked with such systems for a while have had to deal with hacking. Sometimes you hardly notice that. Maybe the site has slowed down a bit, but in fact the website has now become part of an online pharmacy (personally experienced!). Huge hassle to get rid of it! In addition, there are countless plugins made by third parties that are by no means always secure enough.

Photoshop has the disadvantage that it is simply very expensive and works with a subscription system. Furthermore, the program is slow, not very intuitive and it contains a lot of commands that are used by very few people.

Grav This website is made with the free, open source 'flat file' CMS Grav with which you can build a dynamic site without a database. This means that all files can simply be uploaded and easily replaced in an emergency. In the admin environment of the system you can create your pages online and set everything up, but I prefer to work offline and directly in code. As far as the code itself is concerned, instead of the somewhat clumsy HTML, the much simpler Markdown can be used, even interchangeably. I then put the pages online via FileZilla FTP program. For working with code I use Sublime Text 3. And to evaluate the pages offline I use the MAMP webserver. If offline everything looks OK in various browsers and devices, the page goes online ...

Affinity Photo And then the image editing. No Photoshop, but Affinity Photo, which you can purchase for 55 euros, or sometimes even less. No subscription and the updates are free. You only pay again when upgrading to a new version. The program loads and works lightning fast and is very intuitive. At the same time, it contains practically all the functionality of Photoshop (and with the same shortcuts), but without the bloatware of Adobe!