I got a question from a reader today–a question similar to the one that originally prompted me to create the NorthrupPhotography.com website:
I was reading your 70-536 MCTS training book, when I saw that that you were a photographer. I find that to be strange, considering the fact that I too am a programmer who is also a photographer. At first, I found what must be your old website (http://www.northrup.org/). Upon seeing that site, I said that this guy must be joking when he says that he is a photographer. However, fortunately there is a link to what must be your new website (http://www.northrupphotography.com). The pictures on that site are incredible. Not to mention the fact that the layout is very appealing to the eye. However, as a writer of many windows books, what are you doing with a PHP website? That’s like going over to the dark side. After I finish the 70-536, it is my plan to update my site in a manner like yours, however I will utilize Microsoft Silverlight. Well, thanks for the inspiration. Take care.
My (wordy) answer after the jump.
This is an interesting study between presentation and function. Both northrup.org and northrupphotography.com are current, and all the pictures you see at northrupphotography.com are also shown at northrup.org. Northrup.org has about 15,000 additional pictures–I only show my “prettiest” work at NorthrupPhotography.com. If you’re looking for a picture of a baby ostrich (and plenty of people are, surprisingly), Google will send you to northrup.org.
NorthrupPhotography.com gets like 20 visitors a day, while northrup.org gets thousands and thousands. NorthrupPhotography.com costs me a couple of hundred dollars per year to run, while northrup.org makes a very healthy profit from selling pictures and advertising.
I also sell my pictures as stock at all the big stock photo agencies. Everyone other than stock photographers would consider them quite boring, however, because they’re meant for business use.
Re: Silverlight vs. Flash–I’ve dabbled in both, but the Flash I use on both northrup.org and NorthrupPhotography.com was written by other developers. In fact, NorthrupPhotography.com (including the PHP and Apache hosting) is a site I bought from BluDomain.com. I know my strengths and weaknesses, and creating pretty user interfaces is a weakness. So, I bought Flash components for both websites and just plug my pictures in (though everything but the slideshow interface on northrup.org uses a .NET Framework back-end that I wrote and Microsoft server software).
About 95% of my visitors have Flash installed (the rest are probably on an iPhone). I don’t even know how many visitors have Silverlight installed, because my analytics don’t track it. This site does, though, and it seems to be about half:
I simply can’t use Silverlight right now because it would leave half of my users without an important component of the user interface. The SilverLight people have already made amazing progress getting it installed on half the browsers out there, and in a couple of years I’ll be able to migrate from Flash to Silverlight.
In summary, I use the .NET Framework for all my own programming, and all my client and server computers run Windows 7/Windows Server 2003/Windows Server 2008. I’m not trying to re-invent the wheel, though, and I’m happy to use pre-programmed Linux/PHP/MySQL/Flash components–as long as someone else is managing them :).