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HebWeb update: thanks to Ariadne

Thursday, 5 August 2010

It became very clear over the past 2-3 years that the Hebden Bridge Web, now a very large site, could benefit from being completely recoded using the current coding standards.

Last October, we were approached by Ariadne, who was coping with living with ME. She was looking to do some web design as work experience in those periods when she had a little energy, and was enthusiastic about some of the recent developments in using style sheets for design. Over the past 9 months, she has worked steadily at developing templates for a redesigned Hebweb.

This week, we were finally able to go live with the updated site, with great thanks to the efforts of Ariadne.

The new site makes it much easier to bookmark particular pages, and to link to specific web addresses. Accessibility appliance has been significantly increased; at the top of each page is a "skip navigation" link which we hope will assist those who use screen readers or aren't able to use a mouse. It will also make future developments of the site so much more easy.

We still have to work through many of the older pages to conform to the new look but now have most of the main sections and this year's pages done.

The Hebden Bridge Web started in 1995, fifteen years ago this summer. Internet Explorer didn't exist as Bill Gates had said he could see a future in the Internet. The browser of choice back then was Netscape

The techniques for creating webpages were very crude by today's standards, and there were no books to turn to for help.

There were limitations which no longer apply today. No-one had broadband. We connected to the Internet by dialup which was painfully slow. This meant that images and sound has to be kept to the very minimum as they required larger files, and would therefore slow things down even more. Websites which worked on one computer would fail to work completely on another.

As the Internet began to develop, more and more techniques came long, but often website building was held back by the lack of standards. We were forced to do things far more simply than we would have liked, just to make sure they worked on the widest number of computers.

Today, there are agreed standards for web coding which are followed by most browsers - Firefox, Safari, Opera and a to a great extent even by recent versions of Internet Explorer.

Thanks once again to Ariadne for all she has done, and her perceptive understanding of what would work for the HebWeb, and thanks too to all those of you who send us regular news and event updates, photos and forum contributions.

As ever, any comments and suggestions are gratefully received.

Just email the HebWeb

See also

Journalism and the New Media - talk by Chris Ratcliffe to the local NUJ, October 2009

Phoenix Radio interview - Dave Boardman interviews the editor of the Hebden Bridge Web - 2008

Ten Years of Pennine Pens - written nine years ago, but includes some amusing anecdotes from Elaine Connell on the early years of the HebWeb and Pennine Pens.


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