The past couple of weeks have really caused me to reflect on our history; Victory Seeds® history, that is.
Throughout the history of civilization, philosophers, theologians, and scientists have all described, in one way or another, that there is, "... nothing new under the sun." The old idiom that history repeats itself is true to a certain extent, but if we study, the patterns do not exactly repeat, they "rhyme."
Back in January of 1999, about six months after founding the Victory Seed Company, we packed our then young family into our minivan, along with two borrowed AST laptops, and headed out to a beach house on the Oregon Coast that my cousin owned and graciously made available. Over the course of three days, using an old HTML editor called HotDog, we created our first web site.
While Denise kept our two youngest kids entertained, I coded the structure of the site while our two eldest girls, ages 13 and 16, transcribed my plant descriptions from pages of longhand into text files. There was no Wi-Fi, no Internet connection, no local area network, and not even USB thumb drives. Our "file sharing protocol" for this project was what we geeks called, "sneakernet."
The process was pretty basic. The girls would take turns on the computer typing the information into text files, save then to a 3.5" floppy disk, hand it to me, and I would then cut, paste, edit, and format into the various web pages. As soon as I got a section of the site created, I would upload it to the Internet using a dial-up connection (long distance calling card and modem). I can still hear the modem sounds in my head!
The first web site, like most from that era, was not much more than an electronic brochure. There was no accommodation for placing online orders; no payment processing, no cart system. Gardeners basically used it as an informational resource or electronic version of the mail order catalog.
I know that everything has to have a starting point and that it is part of our history, but looking at the 1999 web site with my self-conscious 2019 eyes sure evokes feelings of embarrassment. In the context of when it was built, in the early days of the internet, it was pretty nice. You can see a snapshot of the site on the Wayback Machine at Archive.org by clicking here.
Flash forward to this January ... We did it again! The technology and some of the participants changed, but the task at hand, the process, and even the same beach house were repeated.
On this trip, about five web site generations and nearly 20 years to the date later, Denise and our eldest daughter kept three of our grand-kids entertained while my son-in-law and I worked. Using notebooks tethered to the Internet through our smartphones, Ryan worked on coding the site while I worked on content.
We worked into the wee hours of the morning over the three day holiday, and by the time we had to pack up and head home, we have a live, responsive web site that works not only in browsers on computers, but on smartphones as well.
I immediately started getting positive feedback from longtime supporters (customers) who use smartphones, pads, and tablets. I want to issue an open apology to them for having to deal with our old, very dated, mobile version of the site for so long, and thank you for all of your input.
Although the structure is in place, functional, and stable, I am a long way from being finished. There are still a lot of little design tweaks to address. Additionally, the photos ported over from the old site are very low resolution and formatted in the wrong size ratio for the new site layout. I am actively working on this, but since every one of the thousands and thousands of photographs need to be edited from the originals, it will be a long, ongoing process.
As a mission-driven organization, we are very much supporter driven. Through your direct input, the web site has evolved a lot over the past 20 years and we couldn't do all that we do without your support. I hope that this new design makes the time you spend on our site easier and more efficient. Thank you and we look forward to being your garden seed source for decades to come!