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Lake Sawyer Hawks Radio Control Flyers Club

AMA 4204

 

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About Our Website

January 2018

Our website was originally built with Microsoft FrontPage. In 2010 the website started to grow, especially the photo galleries and videos.  Photo galleries were built with proprietary FrontPage wizards.  A few years later, FrontPage was no longer supported, but I continued using the software to expand the website.

 

As time went by, FrontPage Extensions were no longer being supported by companies hosting websites (including our site).  As the move to modern web standards progressed, I had to remove all website elements that relied on FrontPage Extensions or proprietary wizards.  This required rebuilding all the photo galleries and creating new templates to create future web pages.

 

After a couple more years, it became necessary to upgrade to Microsoft Expression Web to use newer HTML code standards to built our web pages.  Many of the web pages are now compliant with "transitional" HTML standards and the photo galleries were again updated, but the process took less time than  upgrading  from FrontPage's Photo Galley Wizard.

 

Today, current webpage standards are HTML5 and CSS3.  Despite all my upgrade efforts, there is still some HTML code that is not compliant with current standards, but most web browsers are still backward compatible.  Today, HTML5 should be used to define the content and structure of a webpage, then CSS3 used to format that content.

 

There are numerous web browsers and devices that should consistently display the same webpage content, so what is now called "responsive design" is a consideration.  Webpage design can be accomplished with a simple text editor or an IDE.  The advantage of text editors is that they only require learning how to code , but the advantage of IDE's is that they have built in functions to search for broken links, suggest code options and syntax, and provide error checking and color coding to make coding easier, and some have FTP integrated to upload pages to a server.  Some IDE's have pre-coded modules that can be installed to save time.

 

Websites like ours, that contain early and transitional code, need a design tool that allows maintenance of older code while implementing new standards.  Currently our website is maintained with Expression Web, but it appears that Visual Studio 2015 Community, while also free, is more complicated than what's needed.  Dreamweaver and other IDE's are available, but code can be just as easily developed with a plain text editor.  For example, I've created a test photo gallery that takes 30 lines of code, but when using Design view in Expression Web it takes 67 lines after removing all proprietary FrontPage and Expression Web wizards.

 

In Expression Web, Dynamic Web Templates made updating code that appears on many web pages easy to update.  Unfortunately, it added a lot of lines of code and now requires Expression Web to easily update.  Expression Web is now no longer supported for security updates, but can be used to create and maintain HTML5 and CSS3.  It may be required to uninstall Expression Web in the future to ensure system secutiry.

 

Currently I check web page display in Internet Explorer, Edge, Chrome, Firefox and Safari (on an iphone).  These appear to be the most popular web browsers in use.  Current versions of these web browsers are able to interpret older code and display nearly all pages without any noticeable visual issues.

 

Maintaining the website today is not much different than before.  HTML and CSS continue to be updated and improved.  I use code that is developed on each page as a template to update pages or create new pages.  This takes about the same amount of  time as before, but allows even more control of what is displayed.

 

To replace Dynamic Web Templates I have used "includes" in PHP.  PHP is currently the most popular server side programming language, but JavaScript is becoming more popular.  Our website does not have the security risks of websites that require commerce level code for email and financial transactions.  I plan to keep it as low risk as possible and mainly focus on content that is interesting and useful to radio control model flyers.

 

Steve Black

 

 

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