How Switching To Gmail Prompted ErikJHeels To Redesign His Website

Goodbye static HTML, hello PHP.

In January 2008, I switched to Gmail after 15 years on Eudora.

I was doing an OK job of managing spam, but Gmail does a much better job. In fact, the switch to Gmail revealed that my previous anti-spam “solutions” were merely masking my spam problem.

In particular, I am getting contact form spam at the rate of about 6 message per hour. I use nms FormMail (which is a good contact form) but clearly I need something better.

I found a couple of good anti-spam contact forms, one that is a standalone form and one that is a WordPress plugin:

I implemented the WordPress contact form on my blog, and it works great. No more form spam from my blog.

Today, I installed the new standalone contact for on my website, but I didn’t implement it. The form is PHP-based, and like all good PHP applications, it can dynamically insert messages into the pages that it generates. The problem is that my website is static HTML, using tables that are often of fixed height and width. I can (and did) force the form input page to look fine, but then the form results pages looks horrible. My static HTML website simple isn’t designed for dynamic content. Square peg, round hole.

2008-02-14-clocktowerlaw-home.png

So I’m throwing out my current website (which is three years old) and starting over. I’ll use WordPress to manage my website rather than having static HTML pages. The “pages” feature of WordPress makes it a decent content management system (CMS) for websites with “static” pages that don’t change frequently. (“Static” is in quotes because these pages will be dynamically generated when they’re in WordPress.)

The alternative would be to implement a solution that stops the form spam but ruins the user experience. I’ll opt to keep the pain and ugliness on the back end until the problem is fixed for real.

So thanks to Gmail, I’m getting a new website.

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