Technical Info - The Website

Website Technicalities
Various versions of 'Dreamweaver' have been used as the website editor and the ftp agent (to upload to the remote server). All web pages are in the site root but pictures are scattered around in various folders (dis-)organised by date or subject. All web pages are written to a transitional xhtml format and optimised for fast download times. Few bytes are wasted on padding or page structure. After editing a page, the usual process is a re-read, a UK spell-check, a 'Clean up HTML' (which checks for coding errors as I sometimes hand-code) and finally an 'Apply Source Formatting' which tidies up the source code and removes unnecessary line breaks, etc.

At the last count on there were about 1600 files on the local version of the website. Of these, about 174 are web pages, although some are 'safe' versions of pages I am working on which are not on the remote server. Other files are full-sized and thumbnail pictures, the JB icon and three CSS files. The Google Sitemap gizmo reports fewer pages but some for site maintenance (such as a URLs page) are not included.

As this website started in AD 2,000 using plain HTML, it was not optimised for mobile devices such as smart-phones and some tablets, as they had not yet been invented. As a result, any long-winded pages such as the History Timelines and the Events List are unlikely to display very well. Other sites have circumvented the problem by using simpler and sparser text on each page (in effect 'dumbing down') but my site continues as though nothing has happened.

Although the site still uses the deprecated 'Frames' method, the navbar makes best use of available space with minimum graphics and it loads only once on first visit. Rollover buttons are entirely generated in CSS. Cookies are not directly used by this website but, upon loading the home page, the 'Webstats' site generates its own cookies when its logo is loaded. A small JavaScript line on the top pages prevents page hijacking. The alternative text menu system is a nod in the direction of 'accessibility' and might be useful for old browsers, small monitor sizes and mobile devices. Modern browsers all work well.

Page navigation is mostly hierarchical. The 'Nav' buttons are at the top level (generated by Dreamweaver Javascript) but some linked pages have sub-pages and cross-links to other pages on the site. Each page has a small navigation line at the page bottom, along with a witty quote. Unless it is a very short page such as a menu. most pages have a 'Top' link to an anchor line near the header. Where they exist, 'Back' icons link directly to the next level up. They are missing, the next level up is the top level (Navbar). The 'Home' button on each page re-loads the index frameset. Not ideal but it works and is fast. It also subverts the use of the optional text navigation frames.

Pages cannot be bookmarked directly as they are within the Frames structure. This might change as frames are going out of style now but it is a major job to change every page over to CCS navigation and, anyway, browsers will continue supporting the old coding for a long time yet. Links to other websites always open in a new window (unless I cock up), using target="_blank" and the newer email links also use that method. If I do forget the target, the external page might load within my frameset, and that looks ugly and unprofessional.

Has-been Guestbook
A guestbook for this site started as a good idea in the early days, for site feedback and comments on local issues, but it became increasingly difficult to manage, to the point where it stopped being worth doing. It used a series of free Guestbook websites which would either stop working out of the blue or became overwhelmed by adverts. Some of the adverts were not very nice. Genuine user input declined too as the 'real' messages became lost in the mire or stuck when the site went down (which was frequent). At the same time, social media was becoming popular for discussing local issues (something the local radio station was supposed to do but always avoided). In the end, the Guestbook had to go. Now Facebook in particular is a thriving exchange of information and ideas and it has proved to be a valuable source for this site's Events List.

My ISP (Madasafish) allows 100MB in total for all content. In May 2010, the website used about 80% but by 2018 it is very close to the limit with perhaps only a few hundred kilobytes spare. That's why you do not see any new pictures. Text is far smaller and can be updated. I get the domain name registration thrown in for free. My friends at Eskia Computers used to allocate me a nice big chunk of server space which I mostly used for media files, which can sometimes be quite large, but technical difficulties stopped me uploading and it is no longer used. One day, I'll migrate the whole site to a new server with more room to expand.

Wentworth ArmsI am aware of copyright issues so nearly all of the pictures are my own and mostly from pocket cameras. The early ones were from a Kodak DC280 and later ones from a Panasonic 'Lumix' DMC-LC80 camera of 5 Megapixels. From mid 2007, most pictures came from a Canon Powershot A640, which was a very fine digital camera of 10 Megapixels. Later cameras were the Canon SX260HS and currently (2018) the Panasonic TZ71, with one or two others in among. I try to always carry a small camera in my pocket. I could use the phone but I don't always have it with me.

There are a few scanned prints and some from visitors (suitably acknowledged). All have been tweaked with Paintshop Pro. Most of the large pictures are 600 to 650 pixels wide and the thumbnails usually 200 pixels wide. As time goes on and people buy better systems, the pictures look smaller. Picture quality is variable and often poor as I had some eyesight problems for a few years until 2006.

Photographers might be interested in my digital tweaks, which I use sparingly. This picture of the Wentworth Arms is an example from the early days. I lifted the very dark shadow details using careful area selection and gamma correction. Then I tweaked perspective in both horizontal and vertical directions (a bit too much), cropped the resulting trapezoid, reduced it in size and sharpened it. Then I tweaked the compression for the website. I don't usually take so much trouble and I have discovered a better method of adjusting the tonal range of borderline photos, using histogram correction. Usually, I just crop a picture and play with the contrast/brightness/gamma until it looks right.

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