Week Beginning 20th February 2017

I spent a couple of days this week getting a new exhibition website set up for Johanna Green.  This is for a Chancellor’s Fund application that we submitted quite a while ago, back when Johanna was still working in English Language.  Setting up the website was quite a useful refresher course in using jQueryMobile and other associated web technologies as it’s been a while since I created a website from scratch.  I decided this time to use a single HTML page for the site and store all page data in a JSON file with the page constructed in JavaScript based on hashes in the URL.  It makes page loading a lot quicker as the browser doesn’t have to connect to the server to load a new page – it already has all of the content stored in the client side.  It also means I can use some swishy page transitions, but I haven’t implemented any of those for now as I personally find them a bit annoying.

The only aspect of the development that proved to be a bit tricky was ensuring that bookmarked links and links from external sources to specific pages in the site would work.  I wanted the hash value to appear in the browser’s address bar so people would be able to bookmark a specific page, or share the link to a specific page with others.  By default jQueryMobile hides page navigation hashes if you’re using a ‘one HTML page for all the site’ approach, meaning that no matter what page of a site you’re viewing, the main page is the only thing that appears in the address bar.  This makes it impossible to share a link to a specific page in the site, and I guess Google searches would only be able to link to the main page of the site too, which is not really very good.  After a bit of experimenting I managed to make the hashes appear in the address bar, and I also wrote a small snippet of code that ensured the correct content was displayed if the page was loaded with a hash present – i.e. from an external link as opposed to the page being loaded by the user clicking on a section navigation link.  It’s all working fine, although rather annoyingly, jQueryMobile seems to override my manual setting of the active button class, ‘ui-btn-active’.  I add it in and the relevant CSS styling is applied, but then before the JavaScript finishes running jQueryMobile removes the class!  It seems like very strange behaviour, but I made a simple work-around – I created my own ‘button active’ class that uses the same styling as ‘ui-btn-active’ and applied this to my active button instead.  JQueryMobile thankfully doesn’t remove my own class so the button stays active!

I probably spent the best part of a day on administrative tasks this week, including some relating to my role that I can’t really go into details about here.  I also arranged to meet with Bryony Randall next week to discuss her text encoding project, and arranged a time for the Arts Developers to meet, which will be the week after next.  I spoke with Gerry McKeever about a proposal he’s putting the finishing touches to and I helped Luca with a WordPress issue he wanted my advice with.  I also had a chat with Graeme about a new proposal he’s helping to put together.  I read through the materials he sent me and gave him some advice about technical approaches and costings.  I also arranged a meeting with Catriona Macdonald next month regarding the People’s Voice project and helped Carole with a spam issue with one of her websites.  I also spent about a further half a day on AHRC review duties, and will have to continue with this into next week too.

Other than the above I also spent a little bit of time on the Historical Thesaurus OED data import, ticking off another bunch of rows that Fraser had checked and speaking with Fraser about the next steps.  I also launched this week’s Burns ‘song of the week’ (see http://burnsc21.glasgow.ac.uk/o-logan-sweetly-didst-thou-glide/).  I had a hospital appointment on Friday morning so unfortunately lost a bit of time because of this.  The remainder of my week was spent continuing with the migration of the ‘STARN’ resource to T4.  As previously mentioned, it’s a pretty tedious task but it will be great to get it all done.  I’m now about half-way through the final section: prose.  This is a particularly long section, however, containing as it does a bunch of novels by Sir Walter Scott.  It’s still going to be quite a while before I can get all of this finished as I am only doing a few pages here and there between other commitments.