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ratwell
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 4:26 pm    Post subject: ratwell.com Reply with quote

Hi Volks,

I've been thinking about an overhaul of my website...

The original "website" was hosted at homepage.mac.com back when Apple offered people a free email account and webpage hosting and photo gallery and so on. That was back in 2003 and with the gracious donation of a domain name I started a process of migrating off their servers which was completed when Apple shuttered the service in 2010.

Since that time, the basic structure has remained intact:

- photo galleries of the repairs undertaken on my own 1978 Westfalia
- 79 technical articles that I've penned
- the original Baywindow FAQ
- a long a list of bookmarks on the homepage for sites of interest which need to be pruned of dead links.

After 10 years, the site is really showing its age but before I proceed with a major redesign, I'd like to hear from the VW community about what you like or dislike about the site which will help ensure that it remains an accessible resource for the VW community.

Please post your feedback here vs. sending me a PM and thanks in advance.
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'78 Westfalia CDN
'76 Doublecab
Read the Baywindow FAQ
Put your trust in the law offices of Bentley, Muir, Haynes, and Wilson.


Last edited by ratwell on Wed Sep 16, 2020 11:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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ivwshane
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 4:42 pm    Post subject: Re: ratwell.com Reply with quote

Omg you do exist!!

My one request would probably be more geared towards organization similar to like the Bentley. Right now when I want to find something on your site I search google, for example: fan hub site:ratwell.com

And no frames please:D
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ivwshane
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 4:44 pm    Post subject: Re: ratwell.com Reply with quote

Maybe have the ability to allow people to send you updated info like part availability or missing information to you.
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ImAddicted
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:29 pm    Post subject: Re: ratwell.com Reply with quote

I just want to say thank you providing this invaluable resource and sharing your knowledge/research. I have no idea how many you have helped over the years, but I know Iíve been saved countless times (including just this month resolving a 13+ year vacuum leak). Pretty much googling any technical question will point to The Samba, your site, or The Samba pointingto youíre site Smile

While yes, the design is dated, the information Is priceless and the benefit of a simple design is speed. Search function would be lovely, articles organized either by subsystem or alphabetical would be helpful.
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BoltonFTW
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:47 pm    Post subject: Re: ratwell.com Reply with quote

I also would like to thank you for providing your knowledge and documenting it as a resource to all of us. It is so valuable I have considered downloading each and every .html page just in case your hosting were to ever vanish.

Glad to know you are around and thinking about the upgrade/migration to something new but honestly the only thing it needs is a search function. I personally love the dated design.
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scrivyscriv
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:48 pm    Post subject: Re: ratwell.com Reply with quote

Thanks for posting here about your site, it's very thoughtful of you. I have tremendously enjoyed the site and found it easy and simple to navigate. The main page with links to each topic is one of the best parts of your site! I have found the left-side bar on some pages to be a little clunky to work with, but that's about all. Overall it's informative and concise.

I hope you don't take on a huge undertaking to revamp the site entirely on your own! It's a LOT of work to re-do a site with as many pages as yours.
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Dead 1
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:09 pm    Post subject: Re: ratwell.com Reply with quote

Thank you for all you do, Your web site is invaluable. God bless you.
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Globespotter
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:10 pm    Post subject: Re: ratwell.com Reply with quote

To be honest, I love the vintage layout. It's simple and really reflects our vintage VW's - not glamorous or fancy, it just works.

I vote to keep it pretty much the way it is.

Thanks for keeping the site up!
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ratwell
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:11 pm    Post subject: Re: ratwell.com Reply with quote

Thank you all for the kind comments. They are most appreciated.

This is exactly the kind of feedback Iím looking for.

Please keep it coming!
_________________
'78 Westfalia CDN
'76 Doublecab
Read the Baywindow FAQ
Put your trust in the law offices of Bentley, Muir, Haynes, and Wilson.


Last edited by ratwell on Wed Sep 16, 2020 11:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Globespotter
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:12 pm    Post subject: Re: ratwell.com Reply with quote

ivwshane wrote:
Right now when I want to find something on your site I search google, for example: fan hub site:ratwell.com


^^^ This is great information. Use this and you can search easily.
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1971 Super Beetle - May 2012 - Current
1979 Westfalia - 1986-1991
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Read about my Survivor Super Beetle: http://globespotter.com/survivor/

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http://vw-mplate.com/mcode.php?lang=EN&id=30990
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SGKent Premium Member
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:12 pm    Post subject: Re: ratwell.com Reply with quote

Hi Richard - you have been such a great help to me over the years, and often I must admit I've linked your photos and pages to answers here to help others. Your site is wonderful because it is accurate.

Having come from a career in Web and IT just before I retired, much has changed in the web world. For one, pages are built and served up on servers now rather than served up as a static page. That is much more secure. It does cost more to set something like that up, so you might want to set up a fund to help make it happen if you go that way. Another benefit these days are enhanced search capabilities. That is one thing which your site might benefit from. The last is to fund a way to keep it ongoing in a trust should there come a time when you can't or don't want to continue with the site.

Also as an afterthought, Michael Knappmann http://www.michaelknappmann.de/bulli/michaelk/vw_bus_d/fiche/t200100.html has a nice site with a fiche on it where one can click a part and then read the part number. It gets a good number of parts, and any that don't come up often are gone from the scratchy fiche pages also. I have been wanting to converse with him to see what arrangements he has made to keep it ongoing should anything happen to him. This might be a good time to see if he wants to share the source code with a site like yours. I am 70 in less than 2 hours, and often as we get older we think about how we can continue to share our knowledge with others.

Again, thank you in so many ways for all that you have shared.
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ratwell
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 11:34 pm    Post subject: Re: ratwell.com Reply with quote

An interactive and complete online fiche would be awesome.

Did he pass away? Am I interpreting this correctly:

http://www.michaelknappmann.de/
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'76 Doublecab
Read the Baywindow FAQ
Put your trust in the law offices of Bentley, Muir, Haynes, and Wilson.
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Tram Premium Member
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 11:59 pm    Post subject: Re: ratwell.com Reply with quote

Holy crap! Shocked

Is it really you? Damn, it's been quite awhile! Your site seems fine the way it is. Glad it's still up.

And yes, Michael Knappmann is no longer with us- passed 13 Sept 2007. Looks like Michael Eberle is keeping the lights on.

Great seeing you post here- I had to rub my eyes more than once. Laughing
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74 Thing
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2020 12:09 am    Post subject: Re: ratwell.com Reply with quote

Good info on your site-kudos!
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2020 12:13 am    Post subject: Re: ratwell.com Reply with quote

Thank you very much, your work site represents an incredible amount of effort. Are you still Mayor Atwell? or can you just juggle an amazing number of balls at once? I agree on wanting a better index setup for the site, I found it confusing to use until I learned to just use Google to find things.

I have no idea what this would entail, but would it be possible to use a Wiki format so others could make additions to a write up on a specific subject? This would of course require having moderators to keep things from getting out of hand.
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mcdonaldneal
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2020 12:15 am    Post subject: Re: ratwell.com Reply with quote

A short reply to say thank you!
Your site continues to be the most valuable resource, from when I first started doing work on our Kombi.
I see it referenced so often on threads here too.
I donít have any IT background, but I have never had an issue with navigating the site, although searching can be awkward.
Iím sure you will get nothing but positive comment, and gratitude that the information on the site should be preserved for future use.
Good luck!
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sooonice
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2020 12:25 am    Post subject: Re: ratwell.com Reply with quote

Hi Rich, youre a legend. Personally i love the aesthetic of your website. No Bull, starightforward information. The site loads fast and the photos as well.

As other said a better index may be useful, however i believe a google(or other) search function would serve your page well. Keywords, etc.

best regards.
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sooonice
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2020 12:25 am    Post subject: Re: ratwell.com Reply with quote

ps if you need any tech help, feel free to reach out to me!
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2020 3:34 am    Post subject: Re: ratwell.com Reply with quote

I too am very grateful for your site. I like it the way it is. Maybe cause I'm used to it. It's like my well worn Bentley manual with notes and page markers.
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orwell84
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2020 4:57 am    Post subject: Re: ratwell.com Reply with quote

It's an honor, Mr. Mayor. Change it or leave it as you wish. I have appreciated it greatly over the years.
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