Building The Website

My original website (CIGN Workshop) was built in 2007 and has been updated slowly since. Whilst writing the original web site I tried to use fairly up to date techniques, that is up to date to me! The XHTML was as simple and straightforward as I could make it and I used Style Sheets (CSS) to avoid huge amounts of unnecessary formatting codes. Most of the pages validated with the W3C for both XHTML and CSS.

2010 saw a major revision with the addition of a blog to replace the What's New page. I had never tried blogging before but I decided to use WordPress to provide the necessary functions. I wanted to keep the site look and feel so I decided to write my own theme! After about a week I knew a lot more about WordPress themes and decided to adapt an already written one. I chose the Arjuna theme by SRS Solutions as this was one of the many excellent free themes published under the GNU General Public License to adapt and edit for your own use. The adaptation was neither neat nor well thought out but it worked for a good number of years without any noticeable problems. WordPress is all about style sheets and I used some of the old styling and transferred it to the new blog site. The blog was on a separate server with it′s own domain and the two parts of the site two parts of the site worked fairly seamlessly together.

November 2011 and I decided that a new more meaningful name for the site was needed and the Journeyman′s Workshop was born. The new name needed a new look so a major rewrite of the CSS was undertaken both for the main site and the blog. The original Arjuna theme was still the basis for the WordPress blog but I incorporated some bits of the Steampunk theme by The Search Engine Guys. A new CSS menu completed the look and like the original the menu system used a server side include (SSI). The menu was entirely CSS and The original code can be found, along with many other great examples on CSS Play. The menu, with a few alterations was also at the top of the blog site and the CSS for the menu worked quite comfortably with WordPress. Error handling was through the 404 error system that is available to most Apache Server systems and the error page was also the site map.

Whilst a novice in web site design I find the concepts challenging and the use of CSS made styling more consistent. I tried to test on a number of browsers but still found it extremely difficult to get a site looking the same in Internet Explorer and Firefox. I use Firefox most of the time and then try to find out why I.E. does something different. I gave up trying to make things work for Netscape 6 and I.E. 5 a long time ago and Safari works differently on the Mac so I never could really test it. As from October 2012 the site was made HTML5 compatible for no good reason other than it seemed like a good idea at the time.

There have always been a couple of small Javascript functions that provide dates and calendars, I claim no particular originality for these having adapted scripts that I have found whilst browsing the web.

In March 2012 I had to change ISP and the Journeyman′s Workshop is hosted with 1&1 who have been my domain name registrar since day one. Now that I have become used to their system the website administration is a good deal more straightforward than my last host.

After a long time with no major changes 2015 brings a radical rewrite to the Journeyman′s Workshop. Apart from changing the old dark colour scheme to a new light design the workings have been altered considerably. The site is now fully responsive (at least it should be!) and is now PHP based rather than just HTML. I had a few complaints that the old menu didn′t work on some mobile devices so I have used Jquery to provide a clickable menu that should work for everything. On smaller devices the menu won′t show at all, rather relying on just links and on small screen phones there is just a menu button. I have tried to make everything fully HTML5 and CSS3 compatible and have removed redundant codes. There are quite a few new HTML5 semantic tags "Article", "Aside" "Figure" and the like so for anyone on older browsers there may be some problems, I doubt if IE8 or below will provide a good experience. I did try briefly to get the whole site into WordPress but couldn′t find an easy way to get the existing pages to be presentable so the site is still a site of two halves. A static section for the bulk of the content with a separate blog. The two parts are considerably more integrated than the old version and I have managed to share most of the resources between WordPress and the static pages. Had a great deal of trouble getting "pretty permalinks" to work though as the htaccess file caused havoc! At least now the whole thing has just one web address - and I did finally manage to write my own WordPress theme albeit based on the Underscores starter. I also found that I needed to keep the old CIGN domain names as there were quite a lot of links to the old name. As far as I can work out I have enabled some Apache server re-directs from old to new sites.

Latest update is to change to secure hosting, I kept getting pestered by 1&1 and Google to make the change, apparently it improves your Google ranking. Fortunately 1&1 offer a free SSL certificate so after a bit of Apache wrangling the site is now secure. Not that it needs to be particularly secure as I don't sell goods or services. Curiously Google require both secure and normal versions of the site to be indexed on their system, I don′t know why but I do what Google want as the ads on the site just about fund the running costs, despite the increasing use of Ad Blockers