Rendered Mouse has a rather interesting history. Over the years the site has grown both on the front-end and the back-end. It has slowly grown as a branded name and in actual content. The site continues to grow and it needed a huge facelift to update it to be more current and relevant. But first, let's look at some of the different parts and how they came about.
The current design for the site came from a free template I found many, many years ago. I found the template and started playing around with the CSS in notepad, amazed that I could change some values and it would change portions of the site. I knew nothing about HTML and CSS at that point but I continued to play around with the template. After my first web development class in college I decided that I really liked working in HTML. So I started editing the template heavily to be able to display pictures from some of my summer trips. It began to look more like a real site. I found a free web host and began hosting my little site on the web.
During this time I had been working on an ambitious project of recreating Space Mountain, using a 3D rendered program. I had a blog that I posted updates to so that people could see the progress. I also would upload images with updates to individual forums and sites. I quickly realized it would be better to join the two and move it all to its own website. I spent a while thinking of a clever name and came up with Rendered Mouse, and created a domain on the free hosting I used. At this point I already had a template that I could use for the new site with some minor tweaks and styling updates. Rendered Mouse was born. It was a series of flat HTML files, but it was exciting.
I quickly came to realize that any update required a bit of work, I had to copy HTML chunks around to different pages and add new ones as I updated my project. It was becoming a very tedious process. In my web development class I had learned PHP and MySQL and knew that the site needed a database that would pull in the updates. After a month of work the site now had a PHP and MySQL back-end. I could go into the database and add new updates and they would appear on the site. It was a drastic improvement and I used it for quite a while with this setup.
During college I got a job as a web developer for the chemistry department on campus. They used Django for their main framework and I slowly started to learn it. After a few months of learning it and building projects in it, I was hooked. At some point along the way I decided to upgrade Rendered Mouse to use Django as the back-end language. It was quite a lot of work, I had to create Django models and templates for the current site to fit into. During all of this time, I never updated the look or feel of the site, I was satisfied with it. I had to move my hosting to an actual paid web host and buy a domain for the site. After a year with that host I moved to a new host, WebFaction, which is a lot better suited for Django applications. Recently I've been dabbling around with creating mobile apps and wanted to start building them once my Space Mountain project was done. It's almost done so I'm getting ready to build mobile apps.
After college I got a sweet job as a front-end developer where I have been for almost the past year. I have been able to improve my skills and understanding of HTML and CSS more than I ever would have been able to in any other job. With all of my new found knowledge I would often look at Rendered Mouse and cringe at the thought of how out-dated it is.
With my new desire to do mobile apps and wanting to publicize them on this site I knew it was time for an upgrade. In any spare moment I got I wrote down notes about the site structure and day-dreamed about the layout and theme of the new site. I knew it was time to move away from the black themed template I had been using for so many years and bring the site a huge leap forward with CSS3 and HTML5. The site that you now see was built to be a lot better to update and for you to use. It's responsive so that it fits to any size of screen that comes to the site (which is good since I'm promoting mobile apps).
There it is, a brief history of RenderedMouse.com as best as I could remember it. It really has been a fun project over the years. The site seems to have become my testing ground for what I recently have learned. Luckily I now have a lot of knowledge and the site should reflect that. If you find any problems or glitches please feel free to contact me. I am always happy to respond to you comments and fix any problems that may arise. The site should work, and look good for everyone (unless you are using an older version of IE, then I don't really care).
I hope you enjoy Rendered Mouse!
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