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Date: 09/06/07

A New Start

So what did I spend my forty-fifth birthday doing?

For the most part, sitting here putting the long-awaited site revamp into operation. I started at about 2:15pm by deleting the files which were on the web server. It probably wasn't necessary to remove them all, but I felt it would remove the possibility of confusion. It worked, by and large, except for the twenty minutes I wasted afterwards when I realised that I'd deleted a folder which I'd only uploaded a few minutes previously.

This was followed by uploading the new site in its entirety to the server. As the new version is only 2MB smaller that the old one (the space I thought I'd save by using common CSS files wasn't as much as I'd hoped), this took quite some time.

Then, I went through the whole site, checking for screwups. And, of course, I found a few, which I had to correct. I finished the whole thing at about 10:30pm.

I know there are still some 'issues'. Some images (especially the thumbnails on the Gallery pages) haven't loaded properly. I'll sort that out soon.

Some of the changes were long overdue: the old archive pages were ridiculously large and slow to load. Breaking them down by years should help a lot. Also, the naming conventions for page and image files has been made much more consistent (now all I have to do is remember them). Similarly, external links should now all open in a new window or tab (this will be greatly to the annoyance of the purists), and internal links shouldn't (with perhaps the odd exception for practical purposes). I've also had to remove all links which take you to somewhere else on the same page. Due to to the new structure of the pages, the links would have taken you to where I wanted you to go, but the 'Back' button wouldn't have returned you to the place you started from. I find that slightly annoying, but I can live with it.

I hope you'll also find the new navigation panel to your liking. You wouldn't believe how much frustration that one aspect of the new design caused.

All the same, I know I'll have missed some boo-boo or another. I'm sure you'll let me know if you find them.

A lot of people were of assistance (even if unwittingly) in the reconstruction: indivduals such as esmi, Len Oil, kwatq and Jeroen Wenting of alt.fan.pratchett, and the writers of the tutorials at W3 Schools and HTML.net, along with coding experts at individual sites whose writings helped a lot (especially with how to make the site work properly in that crap browser known as Internet Explorer). Mention must also be made of the validation services for HTML and CSS at the World Wide Web Consortium. I hope what I've managed to achieve has been worth the effort for you the reader (end of gushy bit).

I haven't been doing just this, though. I did make time to go out into the garden a few times, mostly to watch the bumble bees hurtling around the buddleia globosa, which is in particularly vibrant mode this summer, largely because I forgot to cut it back last year. Here are a couple of pictures I took.

Photo of part of a buddleia globosa bush

Photo of a bumble bee on a buddleia globosa flower