...OR HOW THE SITE WAS WRIT website history

The website is an expansion of the website I had hosted at gbnet since 1995 (well, 1994, unofficially), back when the web was still quite young. Eventually, it just outgrew my webspace, & I wanted to use cleaner code. The gbnet site is still there, but the pages should redirect to this website.

The site has gradually got cleaner & simpler, design wise, as I have a preference for fast loading pages & simple navigation. Don't let those with little real technical experience & lots of hot air tell you any different. You don't need to use flash, you don't need to have graphics intensive sites when so many people are still using dial-up modems, you need fast loading, lots of content, & an ability to reach as wide an audience as possible by using standard, validated HTML & XHTML that works (& is tested) across a range of web browsers, operating systems, & platforms, and not just one. I try and keep as many of the pages small in size for fast downloading. This means the HTML & XHTML looks pretty obfuscated in plain text editors, but it loads far faster. The HTML & XHTML is also tested against the W3C HTML validator.

The design influence for this website was based on several blog themes and a previous version of the excellent n design website. If you want to see an example of how to do really excellent design on the web, then the new n design website is really impressive.

Website Browser Compliance

The website has been tested for code compliance with Netscape 3 to 7, Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 and 7, Opera 5 to 7, Mozilla 1.3 to 1.7, Firefox 0.8 to 2.0, Firebird 0.7, Konqueror, Epiphany, Galeon and Lynx. Operating systems used for testing were Red Hat Linux, Mandrake Linux, SuSE Linux, Ubuntu Linux, OS X, Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows 98 & Symbian EPOC.

Website code editors

The website has been hand coded (yes, I hand code my pages with simple text editors - it gives me more control over page size & subsequent download time), on everything from Linux & Windows operating systems using Notepad (Windows) & vim (Linux), all the way back to vi on SunOS 4.1.3.

Website code

The website now uses more Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) control, to separate the content from the presentation. I waited until there was some degree of interoperability between browsers before incorporating CSS. I would have liked to have started before 2004, but I wanted a bit more stability first. The CSS is tested against the W3C CSS validator. The Server Side Includes are a more recent addition (since I just didn't need them previously), & were tested under the Apache Web Server (1.3) installed with Linux.

Where any Perl / CGI coding was neccesary, Perl 5.8 was used, along with the Perl module. I haven't yet found a good reason to incorporate the Perl module on this website yet, since there is no database needed. The obligatory email response form is written in Perl and uses the module - no it isn't snarfed from Matts Script Archive, & yes I do use strict & switch the -w option on in my Perl code. See nms for how to write good Perl CGI code!