What's New on the Site
This diary lists the latest significant changes to the site and provides some sort of history. As well as keeping new and regular visitors informed I also introduced it to help me to stay in touch, since maintenance and development of the site can be a fairly continuous process and it's easy to lose track! It started way back at the beginning of 1997...
13 December 2015
Added a discrete Sitemap page in this information area, using the same HTML code as the sitemap at the bottom of the home page, with appropriate styling. And of course updated all the navigation menus.
2 December 2015
Made a proper mobile index page for the revised Lake District section.
30 November 2015
Finished a complete rebuild of the Lake District section, based on the design and code of the Photography pages but with a number of necessary changes, and in particular showing 25% larger images. This has called for more active layout management – on top of the customary flexible design – to make everything work on small screens. Plus all the tweaks for 'mobile friendly'.
2 November 2015
Added a site map of the main pages on the site at the bottom of the home page, and standardised the copyright panel below it. By way of a technical exercise, the 'Recent Work' line in the site map counts the number of gallery pages so I don't have to remember to update it :-)
27 October 2015
Added a bit of jquery code for the Photography galleries so that they display larger (and proportional) thumbnails on larger screens, or – more correctly – in larger browser windows. The cut-off is currently set at 1052px, so that iPads and the surprisingly popular 1024px screens still look good with the default thumbnails. Hopefully the change won't have a significant adverse effect on download time – if it does on slow connections the images should still appear quite nicely on the page.
28 August 2015
Replaced the static main image on the home page with a short 'slide show', which I hope is interesting rather than distracting! Hovering over the image pauses the sequence, clicking it goes to the appropriate page for details and caption. Fixed it so that the slideshow doesn't play on mobile and its images don't download.
14 August 2015
5 June 2015
Reached the end of a long exercise to get all of the Photography section to be mobile-friendly without having to rebuild all the pages. Mostly this has been achieved through a 'mobile' style-sheet, though in the end a little bit of jquery programming was unavoidable for fine tuning. Some of the pages – such as the IOTM Archive and the Timeline pages – were entertaining as they have sub-menus which need to work very differently on the small screen. It works well enough, but any comments are welcome.
TBH I consider this an interesting technical exercise rather than an essential feature, because I don't think many people are going to browse an image-based site on an iPhone. But a particular benefit to come out of it has been the redesign of the Photography index page – the only page that needed significant change. Although on the surface it still looks much the same as before I took the opportunity to completely rebuild its structure, making it proportional and 'breathable', within certain size limits; it stays proportional vertically as well as horizontally as the browser window is resized. Of course website designers are the only people who actually resize their browser windows...
29 April 2015
Last week – on 21 April 2015 – Google started rolling out its 'mobile-friendly update': "We’re boosting the ranking of mobile-friendly pages on mobile search results." Which seemed like a good incentive to explore the problems of making at least some of the site mobile-friendly, starting with the home page which went live today. No change to the structure of the page, but a 'mobile' style sheet makes the necessary adjustments, and cuts out a fair amount of text which is unwieldy on the small screen.
3 November 2014
After all the work to simplifiy the home page I've now doubled its size by adding a Highlights section at the bottom of the page, with the intention of giving visitors a preview of what the main sections contain. The new display is all "below the fold" on most displays – off the screen when the page first loads – and it's hopefully an optimal solution to the problem of how to give the visitor a look inside the site without a confusion of images when they first arrive.
2 October 2014
Added a single page in the new Movies section to host a short video on the suspended overhead railway – the Schwebebahn – in Wuppertal, Germany. Hopefully there'll be some more movies there in due course!
30 May 2014
18 April 2014
It might look from this diary as if there have been no significant updates to the structure of the site for two and a half years. In fact I've been working – albeit intermittently but sometimes quite intensely – on a fairly radical redesign of the home page; it goes live today. I note that it's ten years, almost to the day, since the last redesign (right) on 14 April 2004.
Inside the site not a lot has changed yet, in appearance anyway, other than the navigation links on the left of every page in the Photography section, which look much the same as before but which now share the drop-down mechanism of the new home page menus (in fact they use the same code).
But "under the hood" there has been much reorganisation and cleaning up of style sheets and structure, which will hopefully make it easier to add and change content. Significant new additions will be announced in a banner on the home page. There are no plans to change the Grand Tour menus, which are already quite complex and which seem to work well in that self-contained section. Any comments on the new design are welcome!
29 August 2011
I'm coming to the end of a tedious exercise throughout the site to limit the displayed page width. Not made any easier by the fact that the main sections – Grand Tour, Photography, Lake District, Trekking and Postcards – are all effectively independent sites with their own stylesheets and design rules. And some of that code is very old.
The trigger for all this activity has been the arrival on the Mac of OSX Lion, which introduces the concept of full-screen apps. Since most of the site has a flexible design, which expands and contracts according to the size of your browser window – and which I believe provides a nicer browsing experience for most people – a lot of pages look very silly if expanded to full size on a wide monitor. So now they're all limited to about 1280 pixels wide (slightly less in Grand Tour because I think it looks better).
According to this excellent page, 1280x800px is currently the most common screen size, closely followed in the UK by 1366x768 (16:9). I am aware, of course, that wide screens have been around for a while and that some people run their browser windows 'maximised', but they've had the ability to reduce the width if they want to. Lion's full-screen mode, if turned on, is just that.
Inevitably, while digging in to the code I've felt obliged to tweak and fiddle, so it's been a much bigger job than I'd hoped. There have been a few other updates since 3 December (below), mainly of photos on Competitions 10/11. Otherwise I've been really busy on other things – see my Camera Club site at www.hdcc.org.uk/sixty for a start. And the Grand Tour Blog.
3 December 2010
Small design changes to the 20 Grand Tour Destination pages.
25 November 2010
Introduced a new and easier-to-use scrolling system for the thumbnail images on all 92 of the Grand Tour highlight pages. It replaces the original method of hovering over the image strip to make it move, which was logical enough but which some visitors found confusing. Plus, the old system didn't work on the iPhone and iPad, which have no concept of hovering. See Beethoven in Vienna by way of example.
21 June 2010
Back from 'Grand Tour II', which was a great success and very enjoyable. Much blogging on the move in the Grand Tour blog.
14 February 2010
Went live with the Grand Tour blog, which is mostly a diary of the planning for 'Grand Tour II' to Italy this year, and which I hope will also allow me to record the progress of the trip itself when the time comes.
31 January 2010
Added a new gallery of images of Venice – Spirito di Venezia – from a visit I made in 2004 and never got around to putting on the site.
17 January 2010
3 November 2009
30 October 2009
14 August 2009
I thought it would be interesting to try the site home page through the W3C Validator. Whoah! I didn't realise how much old code there was in that page! But after quite a bit of tweaking it now passes (as does this page).
6 August 2009
Added the Rail Trail page to Grand Tour, providing notes and thoughts on my experience of the rail networks in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and Poland. There was already a rail Timetable page as part of the original upload. Not finished yet – I want to add some train photos when I can decide on the best way to do it – but a fair amount of text and some images.
29 July 2009
I've been putting some of the Grand Tour pages through the W3C Validator to make sure the code is as clean as it can be. Amazingly they're all passing, after a few small errors that needed fixing (mainly things like extra Close tags where there shouldn't be). I think it would be churlish to put the logo on all the pages, but OK discretely on the main ones.
25 May 2009
Continuing to fiddle with the Grand Tour pages (despite the lack of notes here) and in particular have just finished adding « and » navigation arrows beside all the images, so you can browse sequentially without having to choose from the thumbnails [Yup, I should have done it in the original design]. Also over the last month: changes to page titles and descriptions, mainly for SEO, and small edits and corrections to the text. Some tweaks to the menu colours to improve the UI and balance the pages better. Added a 'jump menu' to the home page so visitors can go straight to a destination. Added the Composer Index and a page of church organ photos to the Music Trail.
15 March 2009
Added the Grand Tour section, subtitled "a musical rail journey in central Europe". A massive new addition to the site, which documents my five-week tour of classical music centres in Germany, Austria and the Czech Rebublic. Over 1,300 images and 40,000 words of text – and still some work to do!
31 January 2008
Added another 10 images and photo pages to Iceland, to flesh out the diary a bit.
28 January 2008
24 October 2007
18 August 2007
Uploaded the individual photo pages for Morocco. All redesigned, with the nav bar at the top, links to the Next and Previous images, and at least some sort of caption. Phew! The images have mostly been (automatically) processed from original not-very-good scans (consumer Kodak PhotoCD; remember that?) and some need some further manual processing.
12 August 2007
Completion of the first stage of an update of Trekking, the part of the site with photos and diaries on treks in Iceland, Greece and Morocco. So far the main pages are done; the individual photo pages will follow on later. Most of the changes are 'under the hood', making the pages faster to load and easier to maintain. Most obvious is that Iceland and Morocco have been split into four sections each, which ought to make them more manageable for visitors. Second, there's now a fixed navigation bar at the top of every page, linking to the main sections of the site. And third, although the design looks mostly unchanged, it should 'breathe' a little easier on different size screens.
31 July 2007
As promised, almost all of the pages in Photography have been converted to the new design. More consistent, easier links between galleries, slightly larger images, simpler and better colour scheme, and more emphasis on photography and captions rather than graphics and page titles. Well, that's the idea! Many of the captions are new, but there's a long way to go. Some new galleries based on my Club competition entries over the last few years, which is a way of highlighting what I think is the better work. And it's all on a new server. Any comments welcome.
8 June 2007
Another year and a bit – oh dear! How time flies when... you have too much else to do. But the plan is to rebuild the whole site, starting with Photography, to bring the appearance and technology up to date (it started more than ten years ago, after all). Nothing clever, but taking account of bigger screens, cleaner design and some automated processing for making the galleries. Plus better grouping of images. The first gallery will be here RSN – yes really – just as soon as I've written some photo captions.
9 February 2006
Eek! Almost a year since I posted anything here.
The Blog: Well it's not exactly photography, but today I started my Well, really! blog, as a way of letting off steam from time to time, and an opportunity to find out how blogs work and what you can do with them.
27 February 2005
Lake District prints: For a long time I've wanted to offer prints of some of the photos here, in case anyone might be bold enough to want to hang one on the wall, but I've backed off selling inkjets because of the fading problem. Now prints of 20 of my Lake District photos can be bought through the excellent PhotoBox service. They're printed on (Fuji) photographic paper, gloss or matt au choix, and can be sent almost anywhere.
Details of the prints available are on the Lake District prints page.
The PhotoBox gallery itself is at www.photoboxgallery.com/johnsandell.
17 May 2004
I still have a lot of trouble with spam. Well, don't we all? But spam to my company account has become really bad, due to someone at the ISP switching off the filtering, or not paying the bill, or something. So I've put up a name-and-shame Spam Report page to track it.
5 May 2004
Added a page about Copyright and availability of photos from the site, plus a Contact form so that all the open email addresses can finally be removed. Spam is a big problem (for us all) – my Eudora statistics seem to indicate it's three to four times worse now than a year ago :-(
20 April 2004
Added a small collection of photos from the 2004 London Marathon.
Created a completely new home page. I felt the old one was both brash and tired. Amazingly, it had been there since October 1999 – and four and a half years is a heck of a long time on the web! I'll put an image of it here for the record...
The new page has the same links to the 4 main photo sections, and to other pages like the Image of the Month, but a lot more text by way of introduction to the site (and – let's be honest – to appeal to the search engines). Nothing clever like the changing text panel of the old page; all explanatory text is now shown as text on the page.
So it's back to basics with a bit of simple old fashioned design. In particular the page should look a lot better over different sized screens, especially very wide ones which many people are using now.
26 March 2004
25 February 2004
Oh dear. I see it's over a year since I updated this page. Bad, bad, bad. But actually the rest of the site has been added to gradually, over the year, mostly in Photography. There's a complete mini-gallery of 18 photos from around City Hall in London and along the south bank of the river Thames. City Hall is a really striking building, pretty outstanding for London! And there are other new pics in the 2000+ gallery. And I've done some work on tidying up some of the text in the Photo galleries. And of course the Pic Chart still shows what's in, if not any longer what's out.
10 January 2003
And another 35 pics added to Hillwalking, taking the total up to 95.
9 January 2003
Three galleries containing 60 new Lake District photos added to the Hillwalking section, at last!
1 January 2003
Happy New Year! This site has now moved to a new server under its own domain name. If you have it linked or bookmarked, please change the URL to www.johnsandell.co.uk. Thank you.
5 October 2002
Not strictly to do with this site, but I recently launched the edgypix on-line royalty-free photo library, which has been (and continues to be!) a lot of hard work and has kept me busy most of the year -- hence not much change to this site recently. Some of the photos from this site, and many others, can now be purchased and downloaded from edgypix for editorial, advertising and other uses, and eventually more will work their way in to the library. [UPDATE: Sadly the library is no longer active.]
27 January 2002
Removed the Send an e-Postcard facility, as the site that ran it seems to have closed down.
24 December 2001
10 October 2001
Split the Image of the Month Archive into two pages, as it was becoming rather unwieldy.
30 March 2001
Added headings and Previous/Next arrows to every photo page (such as this one) in the Postcards section. That pretty well completes the recent clean-up operation, and I like to think the overall presentation of images on the site is somewhat improved.
16 March 2001
1 March 2001
29 January 2001
Over the last few weeks I've been working on the Photography section of the site. Much of it is behind-the-scenes stuff to improve text layout and the like, but there has been some editing. The main visible change is the creation of the 2000 on gallery, for the new millennium. To maintain the layout of the Photography index page (which I like) I've combined Early Days and Starting Again into a single link from the index (their text still not updated).
5 January 2001
At last, 56 Morocco trek pictures and the trek log uploaded to The M'Goun Massif. Thumbnails big enough to view sensibly on the page, all linked to full size images as well. Some graphics and the map still outstanding, but at least the page is there now. All feedback very welcome. I see it's 4 years and a day since I uploaded the Iceland trek photos!
11 December 2000
Added the Send an e-Postcard facility. Now you can send a friend a short message plus a picture from this site -- they will be sent an email telling them the web address to go to to collect their card. There's a choice of 8 images and I'll try to change the selection from time to time. I'm not entirely sure how well this is going to work in practice, so any feedback about it will be very welcome.
6 December 2000
Added a Search facility for the site to the home page. Powered by Atomz.com it works rather well, though there's not a lot of text on the site and I should add some more to make the search more effective. Please tell me what you think.
20 April 2000
Uploaded half a dozen photos of the London Marathon 2000 [UPDATED] to a new gallery. Although I've often wanted to cover the event in the past, this was my first actual visit, as my daughter Gill was running (and she completed the 26.2 mile course in 4h 15m 48sec).
11 April 2000
12 January 2000
Rebuilt all the gallery pages in the Photography section, to sort out some appalling formatting that's been there for more than 3 years.
10 January 2000
Added some fuzzy arrows to suggest a browsing order on the Photography index page.
31 October 1999
Completely redesigned the home page -- something I've wanted to do for a long time.All linked thumbnails to the main parts of the site should now appear within the typical 800 x 600 screen, on most people's browsers. The Pic of the Week and Image of the Month now have a thumbnail image on the home page, which I hope you'll find either useful or enticing!
The graphics at the top of this page not yet reworked! Any comments on the new design -- good or bad -- will be welcome.
22 October 1999
Restructured the Photography, Trekking and Hillwalking sections to allow for easier bookmarking and simpler URLs. The main sections can now be reached via...
12 July 1999
Added a few more links to the Photo Links page, plus an index to the different sections at the top.
16 April 1999
Changed the page titles to graphic versions throughout the Photography section, in place of the original rather dubious and unpredictable (in browsers) text headings.
8 April 1999
Introduced the Pic of the Week feature -- not a new image each week, but highlighting an existing image from within the site which doesn't seem to be getting enough attention! And in practical terms, much easier to handle.
29 March 1999
Image of the Week changed to Image of the Month -- not a very catchy name, but a more realistic timescale for updates. And yes, I did change the picture.
10 February 1999
Updated the Image of the Week in the Photography area, at last. Clearly it's no longer Image of the Week, as I don't have the time to update it that regularly, and when I can think of a suitably catchy name I'll rename the page. In future it will be used to introduce new images to the site -- there should be some more along soon!
8 January 1999
Added a page for website awards received. Many of them were not too hard to get, but sincere thanks anyway to all the people who spend so much of their time sending them out, and helping to make the web a fun place to be.
25 November 1998
Redesigned the layout of the Home Page to be more compact, with less scrolling required to get to the main links.
1 October 1998
Updated the design and content of the Pic Chart at last -- the page that presents a 'popularity chart' of most of the photos on the site. My webstats database has been reworked and I can (and will!) get the latest Pic Chart up right at the beginning of each month.
23 February 1998
Added some new graphics, titles and links on the Towards Torfajökull page, plus quite a lot of background tweaking of the HTML (yes, it's been a long time since any other significant changes!)
14 March 1997
Updated the Photography | Links page and added brief site descriptions against photographers' links.
20 February 1997
Added this What's New? page.
16 February 1997
Added markers next to the thumbnails in all the relevant Photography galleries to show exhibition acceptances. Added details of the exhibitions to the full size images.
Finished laying out the Photography: RPS Associateship page, now showing 10 out of the 12 photos in my ARPS panel. There are still a few fine adjustments to be made to the sizes of the full size pictures. Plus, of course, the comments...
12 February 1997
Ran all the main pages in this site through Gerald Oskoboiny's Kinder, Gentler HTML Validator, corrected errors and added the KGV logo to the pages that passed. This is a really useful service, which finds typos and unnecessary code as well as confirming that the HTML is generally OK. A few of the Photo pages will not pass as they use % WIDTH tags in table columns -- this is acceptable in Netscape, and causes no problems in MSIE except that it doesn't recognize the tag, but it's not in the HTML 3.2 spec. I'll find a workaround when I have time. Unfortunately this page won't pass either, because it's maintained in Netscape Gold (the only page on the site that is) which doesn't generate pure HTML 3.2.
Created and added a new Pic Chart link graphic on the home page.
5 February 1997
Added the WebSearch logo to the home page, so they'll list this site in their Photography index! It's actually quite a good way to access the best of the search engines, and the site has some lists of links to sites relating to specific topics.
Updated the presentation of some of the full size photos linked from the Image of the Week Archive.
19 January 1997
Added the Pic Chart page to show the most and least popular full size pictures downloaded by visitors. Information is gleaned monthly from the ISP's webstats, with the HTML file created automatically by our custom webstats analysis database (a Helix Express collection). Added a link from a thumbnail on the Photography page to the Diafade Photo Portfolio, with some supporting text.
4 January 1997
The Iceland pictures and trek log uploaded at last! There are 45 new photos on the Towards Torfajökull page, all big enough to view on the page but most also linked to larger images.
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