Wow! It's been that long? It just occurred to us that our web site is at least 15 years old. If you are old enough to be an adult that long ago, you may remember that was -- if not the Paleozoic -- then the Stone Age of web sites. But we've been here since then.
The late 1990s was a time of change in this practice. Prior to 1996, partner Stuart Smith was consulting as a sole proprietor and partner Allen Comeskey was in previous professional employment. Smith-Comeskey Ground Water Science LLC was formed in this period by the partners, and work accelerated in this relatively prosperous period in the economy.
That World Wide Web thing was also spreading into the interior of the country and off university and government campuses. Companies were forming web sites. By mid-decade, the Lima, Ohio-based internet service, WCOIL, was offering dial-up internet service and web site hosting for businesses and individuals, and it served Ada, Ohio, our headquarters through 2000. About late 1997 (we’ve lost track), with the help of WCOIL’s Jeff Oestreich, we put up a web site. And remarkably enough, in the same year, it attracted a large government customer. “Can you really do what you say you can do here?” the customer asked. “Of course!” we reply and a long relationship was born.
If you have written code manually, early web site development was something like that. Web sites were written in HTML language, and before there were true WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) HTML editors such as Microsoft Frontpage (remember that?), a web editor often encoded by hand, entering the HTML commands to make the page look as the writer desired. The initial Ground Water Science site was written in the HotDog HTML editor, but making changes was easier just inserting the codes. As using DOS-based software was still part of the mix, this was no burden. An upgrade in composing ease came in the form of Netscape Composer. Frontpage and the like were really expensive and never became necessary.
From the first, this web site was conceived as both an information resource and a major sales window on the world. The “cool” thing about web sites was that it put you on a more equal footing with larger competitors. As many of those sites were sterile and strictly sales, ours stood out in its throwback helpful information style, which many appreciated.
Communication across generations. Now, the developers and brain trust at Ground Water Science are Boomer-age technogeeks. We read books and are comfortable with dense text. Our younger advisors, including our current (and only ever) webmaster, hated the look. By 2005, we had a new site written on the Joomla platform, with essentially the look you see today. Major upgrades in 2011 improved function. This site keeps the best of the “internet is information for all” throwback features. The platform permits us content editors to load on our quirky content. As we have no bosses or legal department chains around our necks, we try to keep it different from those of our corporate creature colleagues.
Anyway, enjoy. Tell us if it is useful. Make suggestions. Call or email if you need anything technical from us. We’re here to make a living.