Joan Fabre Gras
My first encounter with Fabre Minerals was back in 1990, when I was 17 years old and my uncle Jordi asked me to go with him to the Lyon (France) Show and to help him out during the show. During this trip I began to understand Jordi's passion for minerals, and also some of the facets of this amazing world that was totally new to me. Back then the Internet was beginning to grow within the universities, government and military, but was not yet available to the general public.
Some years later, in about 1999, Jordi asked me to help him in running and developing the web site that, with James' help, he had started in 1996. What had started in 1996 as a series of pages where you could post photos and text about mineral specimens had during just three years grown into a major effort for Fabre Minerals, which was being visited by an increasing number of people from around the world. I thought the whole idea was magnificent, as information technology (IT) had a been a passion for me since I was 11, and I felt that I could fit this work in with my main job, as IT engineer for a multinational firm.
Over the years of helping out we have slowly been developing the Fabre Mineral's web site with the basic aim of making it as easy as possible for a visitor to find a specimen for their collection, and to also give them as much information as is possible. So far we have tried to keep the look of the original site, and to focus on adding as many useful features as we can. The great technological leap forward was made in 2003, when we moved from a format that we edited in HTML with a content editing tool, to a large data base driver site that has hundreds of well cataloged specimens that can be searched on numerous criteria. This new system enables us to make rapid, frequent updates and to include far more specimens than we could beforehand.
Since the change in technology we made in 2003, we have improved many aspects of the site, especially those involving searching and navigating around the site. We have also put lots of effort into making sure that the pages download as quickly as possible, especially given the large amount of information and photos. All this was managed and supervised by Jordi, who with his perfectionism made sure that all the changes were well implemented. Over the years we have seen a steady increase in visitors to the site, which meant that we had to double the capacity of the server one year ago.
During these years of working with Fabre Minerals I have learned to appreciate mineral specimens and now see them in a different light, with each being a perfect work of art. Looking ahead, we have lots of ideas and plans about how the site will evolve and we will implement them as soon as we can. In another 10 years we can look back and see what we have achieved.
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