Static HTML project: first update

I’ve had a couple of days now to play around with how I wanted to approach the whole migration of my Commodore site to static HTML pages.  I wanted to make something simple, but also looked good and was easy for my visitors to navigate.  I think I’ve come up with something that will work for the content I have to share.

The most daunting thing about this project so far is realizing just how much content I’ve published on my site.  To migrate the entire collection of information is going to take me some time.  The most time consuming will be the blog entries.  But, once it’s all done, I think it will be much less work for me to maintain and add new content.

One of the things I was a little concerned over was losing the search abilities of Dokuwiki, which is what the site is currently built upon.  But, with well planned site navigation, I think I’ve addressed the problem adequately and search really won’t be required.  Following the links should bring the visitor to the information they require.  Where the system falls down, however, is with the blog section of the site.

Because the title for each blog entry may not be enough information for the visitor to determine what each entry covers, it may be difficult to find the information they want.  So, what I decided to do is add a “topic” tag line to each of the blog entries, just listing some keywords to help highlight what each blog entry discusses.

I think the solution will work quite well.

The image galleries that I have will not be as fancy or dynamic as they are in Dokuwiki, but they should look pretty good with a little bit of fancy nested table code.  It was great being able to recall how I used to get what I wanted on the page with just the right HTML code.  This is one of the things that I really didn’t know how much I missed, by using these dynamic web publishing platforms.  I really enjoy the opportunity to get creative with my HTML code to get the web browser to do what I want it to do.

Working with SeaMonkey Composer has been great, too.  It’s a very simple and straight forward HTML editor to work with, even though it hasn’t been updated in any major way for so long.  There are a few minor things I wish it did, but I’ve been working with it for so long that I’m very comfortable with it and know what to expect from it.

The ability to easily switch views, between the Normal WYSIWYG view, HTML Tag, Code, and Preview options makes it very easy to see how I’m progressing as I build the site pages.

One feature that I wish Composer had was the ability to colour code the different HTML tags in the code view, to make it easier for me to see if accidentally miss closing one of them (like forgetting to close a <p></p> paragraph).  But, Composer compensates this in two ways.  First, you have the HTML Tag view, which shows you where all of your HTML tags are and what they are producing on your page.  Second, Composer has the “smarts” to automatically close those tags that you may have forgotten.  When you go to another view, from the HTML Source view, Composer makes those corrections that it can identify.

Another nice feature that Composer provides is Properties windows for certain elements that are in the web page, for things like tables, forms, hyperlinks, and images.  Although I find myself much more comfortable doing this sort of stuff right in the source code, for people who may not know HTML all that well, these Properties windows make the entire web page creation process a lot easier.

Well, that’s about all I have to report on at the moment.  Here’s a look at the basic page design that I’ve come up with, with the comparison of the existing site behind it.  I like it a lot.