Week beginning 28th October 2013

I completed all of the outstanding work on the redevelopment of the CMSW website this week, including replacing the green colour scheme I’d previously chosen with a snazzy purple one.  The new version of the site can be found here:


But I will be replacing the old SCOTS and CMSW sites with the new version in the next week or so, at which point the ‘new-design’ URLs will stop working.

The biggest challenge this week was creating a script that could process the digitised images of the texts, including displaying them in page, displaying a thumbnail index view and generating ‘next’ and ‘previous’ navigation paths.  These all used the JSON files I created last week that extracted image file IDs and directory names from the file structure on the server.  As I hoped I would be able to do, I managed to get one single (and pretty simple) PHP script to process all of the image management stuff, where previously there existed an individual HTML page for each of the thousands of images in the site.  It works very well, although as I’m embedding the full-size images in the page that’s generated (in order to make the standard view bigger than the more limited view the old site gave) it can take a while for the page images to load.  If this is an issue I might have to revert to using the smaller images.

Also this week I completed work on the ‘microsites’ – ‘Life in old letters’ and the ‘Burns Kilmarnock Edition’.  This mainly required tweaking the image navigation code I had previously created and wasn’t too tricky a task to complete.  I’ve had to leave the update of the Thomas Crawford diary microsite until we go live with the new design as it’s a WordPress powered site and I don’t want to update the templates until everything is ready to go.  I also updated the search input form to make the multi-select options (Genre and year group) look nicer – HTML multi-select boxes look pretty awful as it’s not possible to apply styles to the selected options so they just stay as the browser’s default colours (e.g. a garish blue in Firefox).  Instead of this I’ve implemented checkboxes in a scrollable div, which looks a lot nicer.

There was a strike this week so I lost a day’s work so there is less to report than normal.  Other than the CMSW stuff I wrote a blog post for the Mapping Metaphor project blog and I began looking into the development of the fourth STELLA App – ‘Essentials of Old English’.  I’m just at the planning stage with this for the moment though – going through the existing site and noting any possible tricky parts.  I also read through the feedback the Course 20 students had given for the three existing STELLA Apps, which was all very positive apart for some suggestions about navigation paths in the Grammar app, something that I definitely need to look into.