19….n n n n n n n n n 19

A poor title that both shows my and thus this blog’s age. As March the 10th is 19 NINETEEN years since I wrote my first post on this blog.

Obligatory link to said first post (I still don’t understand Pingbacks, never will). I like to think that the search function to retrieve that post had to work really hard to get it from such a long time ago. Like internet mining.

Talking about mining, this year I blogged 9, NINE times, and that’s nothing to do with Tw*tter Leeroy Jenkinsing into even more of a hellscape because some narcissist thought it would be lolz.

No, nothing to with that.

In unrelated news I stopped using Tw*tter. It wasn’t easy, the urge to reach for that sweet sweet hit of information was strong. Breaking news events left me waiting for traditional news orgs to catch up, I had no idea what was going on in Eurovision. It was hard.

I moved to Mastodon, started from almost scratch (I did initially set up my account in 2017, but had only posted once and only followed a handful of people). It’s different, I chose for it to be different also, I intentionally avoided politics / journalists accounts. I missed being hyper-informed but my mental health was the main beneficiary. The Daily Outrage ™ / Daily Pile-on ™ / Culture War Du Jour ™ was suddenly not there, I would still probably read about it in the Gruaniad but its power was sapped and I was not party to some client journalist / social media mob pouring petrol on a nuanced topic. I followed mostly tech accounts as well as some funny / interesting / good people. It’s more chill, I still get my fix of great tech articles and have seen a notable uptick in people blogging. This is all good.

I’ve continued to build WordPress websites professionally and found a new love for something that itself is due to be 20 this year, TWENTY! So this blog is not far behind. Crazy. I’ve embraced a lot of the new tech for WordPress this year and am eagerly building out sights using the block editor. I rebuilt this site as a Full Site Editing theme, however it wasn’t to my liking, great as it is, I am a developer I like a lot of the no-code tools but I also love coding, finely crafting something with HTML / CSS / JS / PHP so I’ve generally taken a hybrid approach, I still build out themes, but will leverage blocks and block patterns allowing more to be done in the editor.

I’ve also built a bunch of sites using Eleventy and also love using this. Version 2.0 came out and it’s ace, so much goodness and very much in the spirit of early web dev, it gets out the way to allow you to build websites but with superpowers.

I’ve kept a few side hustle projects going.

I’ve started to use AI in my workflow, it’s like magic. I am able to do much more around the edges of my abilities – I am no back-end developer so being able to explain what I want and the AI to present it on a silver platter with a little silver fork anagrammed with my initials is wonderful. I have more time to spend on the things I want like renaming class names, so win win.

Otherwise the earth still spins, I still stand on it spinning, many good and bad things happen whilst I stand on it spinning. And I continue to blog. Onwards.

AI generated image based, that says 'The The the 19'
The above image is generated from an AI based on the prompt ‘this blog is 19 years old’

dogwonder.co.uk is dead long live dogwonder.co.uk

This site has been running since 2004 💪 primarily as a blog. The origins of the url are that it was a nickname I received early on in my career. I carried it through to internet usernames and then the title of my blog. And in 2012 the name of my Ltd company. Dogwonder Ltd. As such it made sense to have this site as a sort of blog / company site. I had a few different layouts, but it never quite worked out, what was the purpose?

Anyway after some recent discussions, it was pointed out to me I am mostly known professionally by my name not my brand so it made sense to leverage that for my professional work (whilst still trading as Dogwonder Ltd) and retain this site purely for blogging once or twice a decade 😜.

richholman.com is now a thing. Focused purely on my professional side.

dogwonder.co.uk is just for shits and giggles now (and some code probably).

The many many other urls I have registered over the years, who knows.


It’s 20 years to the day since I started my web career (and indeed my first full-time job). 16th November 1999. 

Last millennia. 


I started as a ‘Web Development Assistant’ (and something about Sales) at Macmillan Publishers in London. 

Here’s the first website I’ve worked on.

I had no idea what I was doing, but rather fortunately it was still relatively early days for the web, so easier to get a job in it through enthusiasm and willingness to learn. 

We had Internet Explorer 4. Netscape Navigator 4.7. No mobile. Google wasn’t something people had really heard of yet. Wayyy pre-social networks. Many people still thought it (the web) was a fad. 

See what it was like, it was wild. http://oldweb.today/

This was a typical day for me back in 1999 (on a giant beige Dell desktop with CRT monitor)

  • Processing online orders  – our e-commerce platform went like this – a form sent an email to me, I would phone the person up, take the credit card number enter the details into a Word form, print it out then through internal post send it to Basingstoke to be processed by another person using a system built in the 1970s.
  • Tech support for some of our online products (online encyclopaedias, lol). Including a memorable time when I spent the best part of an hour a day training an 80 year old on the fundamentals of computing and the internet (he expected the online encyclopaedia to appear when he turned on the computer)
  • Updating the website, via FrontPage 98. Editing files LIVE on the server. 
  • Creating GIFs for new products / menu items in full 216 dithered GIF Technicolor. And 640 pixel wide monitors
  • Learning HTML/CSS from my boss, who was awesome and very patient. 
  • The day I started work as a Web Development Assistant is also the day I sent my first ever email.

Things have changed somewhat, although some of it hasn’t, I still try and keep learning, I still update the live server 😉

I didn’t even know what my profession really was until I started looking for a new job after 8.5 years in Publishing. Turned out front-end developer was closest to what I enjoyed.

Since then I’ve worked on many many many websites, I left publishing and worked in an exciting and forward thinking agency for 4.5 years, with some of the smartest, most creative people in the industry, and learned a ton. 

I’ve travelled round the world helping people understand their needs and translating them into working sites. 

I then created my own company, Dogwonder Ltd. in 2012 and have spent the time since then working directly with awesome companies, people and collaborators. 

I’ve enjoyed having the opportunity to connect with people though building websites. Clients big and small, colleagues of all kinds, family, friends, communities and my wife. The internet connects us all. 

I am still building websites. I really didn’t think from that point 20 years ago that I would or even could still be building websites. And I still love it. It’s a constant journey of learning and understanding and  I feel very privileged to be able to be able to do it. 

Job title now – no idea. I build websites. 

We went from static websites (remember Movable Type) to database driven (WordPress) / restful API (Ruby on Rails) back through to static sites again. We went from static designs to responsive websites, with the advent of mobile. 

Lots has changed but also lots hasn’t. Building websites that work for the user, allowing them to get done what they need to get done, whilst making sure that the widest number of people, devices and browsers can access them have been core all the way through 20 years. As I was starting web standards was becoming a thing, it still seems very very relevant today, sure things can be improved, but we should never forget the fundamentals, build good stuff that works well for as many people as possible.

I think now one of my biggest concerns is someone starting their journey today. I see an industry where some of the players have put up barriers, making the learning curve and steps massive before you can even render ‘hello world’ in a browser. It isn’t as accessible as it should be and that makes me sad. It’s an amazing job, and we shouldn’t be making it harder to start.

But I digress. It’s been a great 20 years, and feel very privileged to have been able to work in this industry.

15 years!

Today marks the anniversary of the day I launched this site. 15 years ago! That’s like a century in internet time, maybe an epoch or two.

2004 preceded YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and well, pretty much everything that we understand of the web today. I didn’t post here for many years indeed preferring those platforms and the communities that went with them.

But I am glad I kept this space, with the social networks’ nut-jobs, trolls, privacy issues and overall forced curation, I am increasingly happy I still have my own space to express my thoughts.

Even if no-one reads any of it, I have 15 years of my stuff safely stashed away and no internet giant can decide to ‘retire that functionality’.

This is my house.

A year of Dogwonder Ltd.

So I’ve been running Dogwonder Ltd. since 10th September 2012, just over a year. It’s been quite a ride, I’ve learnt an incredible amount about myself and had to deal with many challenges, not least project managing myself. I’ve not shared much during my first year as really just wanted to get on with it, but felt it was time to show some of the sites I have been working on in the last year. I’ve not put everything here, as mostly wanted to share the sites I have built responsively. All of the sites below are built on WordPress.














Dogwonder IX

So this blog turns nine years old today.

Still posting rather infrequently, but it’s still mine, and now the official company website.

As per tradition(ish) I will re-post my first ever post, which still holds up imho as a way of viewing the web, by the much missed Jean Baudrillard

“Virtuality, being itself virtual, does not really happen. One lives in the very Rousseauistic idea that there is in nature a good use for things that can and must be tried. I don’t think that it is possible to find a politics of virtuality, a code of ethics of virtuality because virtuality virtualizes politics as well: there will be no politics of virtuality, because politics has become virtual; there will be no code of ethics of virtuality, because the code of ethics has become virtual, that is, there are no more references to a value system.”


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