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A Brief History of DaveCafe…

It has been a long, strange journey to document my love of all things Hard Rock, and sometimes I have trouble remembering the trip! To sort it all out, I went back through my computer archives and came up with a timeline of important events from the very beginning of DaveCafe’s existence. Hopefully you’ll enjoy a walk with me down memory lane.
   
DaveCafe Hard Rock List: June 1997
I first put up a Hard Rock Cafe fan page as part of my “DaveWeb Network” in the Summer of 1997. I named it “DaveCafe” and used it to keep track of the cafes I had visited and the pins I had collected. It wasn’t much more than a crude list that was all hand-coded in HTML, but it got the job done…

DaveCafe List
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DaveCafe Version 1.0: April 2000
Within a couple years DaveCafe had outgrown DaveWeb, so I started playing around with the idea of a new site exclusively devoted to the Hard Rock while on Christmas vacation in 1999. The “beta” version of the site turned out great, so I purchased a new domain (davecafe.com) on April Fool’s Day 2000 so I’d have a place to put it. This energized my Hard Rock obsession and resulted in my setting a goal of visiting 50 Hard Rock Cafes by the end of that year…

DaveCafe 1.0 DaveCafe 1.0
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DaveCafe Version 2.0: April 2002
As part of a relaunch of the site in the Spring of 2002, I gave DaveCafe a new look by changing everything to black. Latching on to the “grunge” fad of the day, I built the design around roughened type and glitzy graphics…

DaveCafe 2.0 DaveCafe 2.0
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DaveCafe Version 2.5: July 2002
A couple months after the redesign, I was looking at my site and winced whenever I came across something negative in my journals. It’s rare, but occasionally I do have problems with a Hard Rock visit, and feel it’s important to be honest when describing my experiences. The problem is that I didn’t like negativity mixed into the text. That’s when I decided I would rather take the “pros and cons” approach to my journal so my general impressions didn’t seem like such a downer. But rather than have ME say something negative, I created a cartoon character called “Bad Monkey” to say it for me. I then created an alter-ego for myself, Lil’ Dave, to balance things out with the positive…

DaveCafe 2.5
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DaveCafe on Blogography: February 2004
I started and abandoned two blogs (named “Dave’s World” and “DaveBlog”) from 1999-2001 because I just couldn’t seem to make a commitment to the emerging blogging scene. I tried again in March of 2002, this time coming up with a new name (Blogography) and purchasing a domain to go with it. I struggled for a year, but eventually gave up again. In April of 2003, however, I finally decided to get serious. I scrapped absolutely everything I had blogged before and started fresh. The “DaveToon” characters I had created for DaveCafe made their first Blogography appearance in an entry dated February 11th, 2004. Lil’ Dave & Bad Monkey proved so popular with my readers that they were soon making regular appearances there, and ended up on T-Shirts, hats, games, buttons, prints, and anything else I could think of. A DaveCafe re-design was inevitable…

DaveCafe 2.0
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DaveCafe Version 3.0: April 2004
In honor of their origins here at DaveCafe (but mostly due to their popularity at Blogography) I redesigned DaveCafe to more prominently feature my Davetoon creations right on the front page. Now that the website was covered with Lil’ Dave and Bad Monkey, it seemed like overkill to have them in the journal entries, so I folded everything into a single block of text again…

DaveCafe 3.0 DaveCafe 3.0
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DaveCafe Version 4.0: January 2010
They may have looked radically different, but all of the various incarnations of DaveCafe had one thing in common: they were each hand-coded in HTML. As my Hard Rock count increased, this made updating the site a real chore and pretty much killed my enthusiasm for maintaining a record of my visits online (which explains why updates were rare in the five years after the last redesign!). Since I was accustomed to using blog software for Blogography, I decided to rebuild DaveCafe on top of a blogging “engine” to more easily manage updates and design changes. I had used WordPress with great success for friends and clients, and selected it to power my site in May of 2009. The challenge, of course, is migrating 20 years of hard-coded HTML data to the new site. It’s a daunting task because it all has to be extracted and input by hand. Which brings us to December, 2009. Right now, the templates for the pages are mostly done and the old site is slowly being transferred over. I hope to have the cafe data completed by the end of the year so I can relaunch (again!) in January 2010 with daily updates of pins, shirts, and glassware from my Hard Rock collection. What the future holds beyond then is anybody’s guess, but I hope DaveCafe will continue to change and grow as I do.
   
   
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