Brian's Photo Blog — Article 512
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Preparations For Going Mobile
Tuesday 19 January 2016   —   Category: Miscellaneous
Seeing that I have a bachelor degree in computer programming, it is no surprise that I have created this entire Web site from scratch. Although has grown into a fairly extensive site, there is an equally (or more!) extensive back-end which I developed in order to maintain the content and functionality of the site. This kind of back-end is commonly called a Content Management System (CMS).

I do all of my Web site development on my Mac computer at home, which runs local Web and database servers. Once the content is ready to be made public, I copy it to a server on the Internet. With this dual system I have an exact copy of this Web site on both my local computer and on a remote server. If for some reason everything on the server would disappear, I wouldn’t lose anything — I would simply copy the entire Web site from my computer back to the server.

The heart of this Web site is the database which stores all of the blog articles and a catalog of the thousands of photos it presents. One useful and clever (if I can say so myself) aspect of my CMS is its ability to update both the local and remote databases at the same time, so that they are always in sync, and are always exact copies of each other.

At this point you may be saying to yourself, “OK, Brian, all this is quite fascinating, but exactly why are you sharing these details with me?” Don’t worry — there really is a point to it all, which I am now getting to.

Next month, perhaps in less than two weeks, I hope to go on a week-long drive through the snowy backcountry of Oregon, Nevada, Utah and Idaho — an area known as the Great Basin. My primary objective is Bryce Canyon National Park, but there will also be lots of interesting things to see along the way. And probably more photo ops than I will have time to take advantage of.

Most of my photo outings are generally one-day events. But back in 2012 I kind of overdid things by going on three multi-day outings within six months. No wonder that by the end of that year I had (temporarily) become fed up with photography! I haven’t gone on any such photo outings since — except to California, but that’s more to visit my parents than to go on a photo outing.

For my 2012 trips to Eastern Oregon and the Oregon Coast, I didn’t write any articles or share any photos until some weeks or months after my return. However, during my expedition to Stehekin that year, I managed to write some articles while still on the road. But due to the remote location and lack of cell signal, I wasn’t able to post them until I had returned. See The Chelan Chronicles, Parts I-IV for all the intriguing details.

Now, four years later, wanderlust is calling me to hit the road once again, camera in hand. During next month’s planned adventure, I would like to post a blog entry, with a handful of photos, each day. But first, in order to make that desire a reality, I need to make some preparations for going mobile, and make some trial runs — on my computer, not in my truck! — so that I can be sure my CMS and other technology are up to snuff.

The main trick is to update my Web site on the Internet without trying to update the duplicate Web site on my local computer, which is not how my CMS was originally designed. Last week I spent a few days making the necessary tweaks to my CMS programming, and then testing it to make sure it all worked properly.

I don’t have a notebook computer, so I will have to rely on my beloved iPad Mini for all of my computer needs while on the road. Even though the iPad Mini is an amazing device straight out of science fiction, is it up to the task? That is the question I am attempting to answer before I leave. Waiting to figure all this out once I’m traveling would be a huge mistake.

In a couple of soon-coming articles, I will be taking an in-depth look at how I am accomplishing both text processing and image processing on my iPad Mini so that I can post articles and photos while on my Great Basin backcountry outing. The adventure is only just beginning!

P.S. As part of this experiment, the text and images for this article were all processed on my iPad Mini. The first trial run was a success!
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 512
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