Dominic Smith ⇓

about this website

 
This page is archived. It was last modified in July 2007 and it will probably not be updated.

about this website

All pages in this site are written in XHTML 1.0 and most should also meet the criteria of Section 508 of the US Disability Discrimination Act Amendments 1998. The only exception to this is a couple pages which use JavaScript™ but I hope eventually to rewrite these in PHP, which will make them compatible.

In late March 2004, the site was completely redesigned, to improve the contrast and to ensure that the site met accessibility requirements. You can chart the designs from 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2004 in these screendumps (click on them to view them full size). Sadly I no longer have the 1997 design, which used frames.

My homepage, as it looked in 
1999
My homepage, as it looked in 
2000
My homepage, as it looked in 
2002
My homepage, as it looked in 
2004
My homepage, as it looked in 
2005

The previous layout and design was used on this site since Spring 2002, but in May 2003 I was able to re-code most of it in PHP. This gives me benefits (such as the fact that it is easier for me to add pages) but I can also use it to offer features such as integration with a MySQL database that runs behind the site.

What follows is a brief summary of my web presence over the years...

I set up my first website in October 1997 and it was completely hand-coded in self-taught HTML in Notepad. Like any first attempt, it was terrible with a horrible background and images.

After this, my designs became gradually more complicated, especially once I got my hands on a copy of Macromedia's Dreamweaver 2.

At this stage the different bits of my website diverged and became very different. In particular my M0BLF Amateur Radio webpages became very high-tech and used lots of JavaScript to control visibility of dynamic layers, etc.

I was aware of browser-compatibility problems at the time but wasn't concerned because I assumed (incorrectly) that everybody used the latest version of either Micro$oft's Internet Explorer or Netscape - it was only when the University gave me access to a UNIX box running the original version of Lynx (a text-only browser) that I saw the extent of the problem. At about the same time (Autumn 2001) I became aware of the importance of making webpages as accessible as possible to speech-based browsers for the partially-sighted and blind, which contain a much reduced ability to interpret incorrect or nonstandard HTML than their graphical cousins. I soon realised that my pages would need simplification and better all-round design and resolved to launch this in the following Spring.

The result was the 2004 version. The basic layout design was done in Dreamweaver 2, with subsequent hand-editing in Notepad. All the pages on the site are XHTML 1 compliant and this may be verified using the image link at the foot of every page. The only exceptions to this are pages with, for example, JavaScripts™. In accessible format, no errors are generated by Bobby, the accessibility checker, unless it is one of the very few which have some JavaScript™ behind it.

The page layout has been standardised across all my pages on all the different servers I am currently using and fonts, etc. are controlled almost exclusively by a CSS stylesheet, allowing users to change the appearance (eg font-size) easily if they so require*, yet giving me full control over the layout for other people. As well as being XHTML 1 compliant, the majority of pages are actually HTML 2 compliant and display correctly in every browser I have tried (including the notoriously bad Netscape version 2 and Fresco on the Acorn!) If you have any problems, however, please email a screendump of what you see, together with details of your software and screen resolution. Where there are limits on the browsers able to view the page (such as one experimental page written in XML/XSL), this is clearly marked on all links to the page.

Almost all of the photographs here have been scanned at 100dpi and are in JPEG format, compressed to 10kB. Whilst this does increase the risk of unsightly pixelisation of the photograph, it also keeps download times down for people on modem-based connections, which was my main priority.

* - To make this page more accessible in Internet Explorer 6, go to Tools > Internet Options > General > Accessibility. It is recommended that you specify your own stylesheet based upon your own needs but you can just turn off the display of different fonts, colours and sizes if you wish. It is suggested that you move into accessible format first, for best results.

Updated July 2007: The page up to this point was written back in 2004. So what has changed since then? In 2005, I changed to another new template, which was the first time that I had not used a fixed-width design. In December 2005, I added a blogging system to the site (home-grown, of course), although within a year I became dissatisfied with it, as I found it actually made keeping the site up-to-date harder, and it also meant that lots of content was being lost in an archive black hole.

In July 2007, therefore, I decided to re-develop the site once again. The CMS which I had written for the site in 2002 passed page ID numbers as GET requests (eg. index.php?article=200 for the Amateur Radio page), which is not only unsightly, but also can cause problems for search engines. I therefore chose to move to nice-looking URLs, whilst doing the coding carefully enough to ensure that the old GET requests should still work if presented by search engine referrals, etc. Much of the content was also updated at this point and was integrated with social / web 2.0 sites.

[x] Me

I am Dominic Smith and this is my personal website.
I am a radio amateur, Agile project manager and website developer living in Cambridge.   More about me »