Technical Aspects of This Web Site

The following brief notes describe some of the experiences encountered when building this web site. The basic task is not difficult especially if you are already familiar with word processing packages such as Word. Difficulties do begin to emerge as your site becomes more complex and the need databases and other helpful technologies.

Site Development

This site was originally developed using Microsoft FrontPage. This easy to use WYSIWYG interface was very similar to Word. After a few false starts, it quickly becomes intuitive producing satisfactory results in most browsers. Eventually I switched to Dreamweaver (currently CS6) which has many more features although it needs far more effort to learn.

Search Engines

After spending time building your site you need visitors! Don't be disheartened  as it will take time for people to find you. However you can get help by adding your URL to the search engines. To get the maximum benefit you need to make sure your Meta Tags are well constructed.

Be User-friendly

Slow-loading sites are frustrating. At every stage of your site's development you should consider the speed at which each page loads. Images look great but are often so slow loading that people lose interest and browse elsewhere. Optimisation of image quality is all important and considerable loading time can be saved by compressing JPEG images. File and path names should be kept short as each extra character means extra loading time. Complicated backgrounds and watermarks can also hinder loading times and should also be used with care. There are also many other "fancy" features that can slow page loading and these again need to used sparingly.

Digital Cameras

My digital first camera was a Kodak 240 with images taken on the best available quality settings. Subsequently changed to a Minolta Dimage 7i with my current camera a Nikon D200 semi-pro DSLR. As with any camera you should not expect great pictures in poor light. The best pictures are obtained early morning and late afternoon in sunlight. Concentrate on this time of the day for your masterpieces. Although it is easy to crop and manipulate digital pictures at home, make sure your composition is well thought out in the first place! This will cut out frustration in the digital darkroom.

Images

An essential element of all web sites they help set the scene. However they can be very slow to load if not compressed and some very good sites are spoilt by what appears to be total disregard to loading times. Choose appropriate compression ratios. Quite often you need to alter images on your PC.  To do this you need one of the many pieces of software that allow adjustment of digital pictures. Photoshop CS is the software currently used.

Cascading Style Sheets & HTML

The CSS used on this site has been verified by the W3C. The current mobile friendly rebuild is using CSS3 and HTML5.

Java Script

Some Java Script is also used although needs to be sued with extreme care as some Javascript libraries slow page loading time.

PHP & MySQL

This site is mainly database driven using the usual combination of PHP and Mysql. Has many advantages when you have a large amount of data for your website to manage.

The Future

The future is never fully understood in advance and there are always surprises around the corner. The site is now been made more mobile friendly which has needed a lot of new knowledge and techniques.

Lou Johnson