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Message Details

Date Sent:      July 17, 2013
Subject:           The History of the EBCHG Website
From:               John Bondon

EBCHG website circa 2003 Before our hiking group had a website, I managed everything via email.  Adding new members, current members asking to be removed from the list, and of course sending announcements of new hikes.    I think I might have even created an email distribution list at one point ... don't remember now.  But soon I found managing all those contact names, especially as more people joined, was too time consuming to do manually.  I needed some form of automation to help manage things better.  And thus the idea to create a web site was born.  I enlisted help from a coworker to help me create the website.  He had helped me create a similar website to help manage a Weekly Lunchtime Soccer pickup game group I had inherited. Building an RSVP system for this new hiking project would be very similar, but at the time beyond my own technical capabilities.   Once my friend built the core RSVP system, I then was able to complete the simpler coding parts of the site in my spare time on my own.  But in my spare time still meant it took a few months before it was completed.  By the end of 2003, the major search engines, Yahoo, Google, etc, had already discovered my new hiking site before it was even completed! I now had added pressure to get it done!  Now new members were finding us via the web!

Sometime around late April 2004 the first web based RSVP system for the EBCHG, with a very simple non-graphical layout, was fully functional.

That original website resided on my employer's web server. Their web server hosted the soccer site as well. As 2003 drew to a close, I moved both the hiking and soccer websites to my own server. And in so doing, the permanent internet address for the EBCHG became what you know it as today -

EBCHG website in 2013 Most of the content of that first website was contained in a single page, which made for A LOT of scrolling. And it didn't look all that professional either. So in 2004 a high school friend of mine offered to create a new graphical layout for the hiking website. His contribution is the professional looking website you see today. Unfortunately, the new design did not integrate well with my existing coding, so a complete redesign of the backend (web programming) was required. It took me well over a year, working infrequently and in my spare time to sort out all the bugs and problems along the way (remember, I was still very new to web coding and working only when I could find the time so I made lots of silly mistakes that would cost me severals days, sometimes WEEKS, to figure out!)

Finally, in the early morning hours of September 21, 2005, the new website debuted, with it's sleek new look and completely revamped backend. Today word about our group continues to spread thru word of mouth, search engines (Google/Yahoo/Bing/etc), reciprocal links with other hiking websites, occasional postings on Craigslist, and thru occasional listings in local newspapers.

The most recent behind the scenes improvement to the hiking website occurred back in 2009, when I automated the sending of these Weekly (now Wednesday) RSVP emails. You can read more about that from my past email, titled September 19th and Email Automation .

Please take a moment to mark your calendar right now and save the date of Sunday, August 18th.   Help me celebrate our 10 Year Anniversary at Castle Rock Regional Recreation Area in Walnut Creek.  We will have a special lunch time pot-luck get together and, of course, a morning hike too!   I'll be posting the details on the website next month. 

Happy Hiking!

:) John

Happy Trails,


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