I have made some changes to the website. This article is to describe briefly what those changes are, why they have been made, what remains to be done and at the end, in case anyone is interested, some technical details.

These changes still have to be vetted by the branch committee so if you have comments on the content or appearance then please contact Sue or Tricia.

The changes.

The first change is the provision of a blog. This will be used to report items of interest to branch members, for example news about our reserves or reports of field trips.

The second change is a replacement of the old Events page. This change allows corrections or last minute updates to events to be made easily by anyone with the authority. It is also possible to link to Google maps and websites directly from the events page.

I have also added Ordnance Survey maps for locations that do not have a convenient postcode and are therefore less easy to find with Google maps.

OS map of Prestbury Hill

Example of an OS map

There also some formatting changes that were necessary in order to provide the blog and the new events page.

Why make the changes.

The branch committee want to be able to write articles for a blog to keep members better informed about what is happening in and around the branch.

The old events page was very inconvenient to change and because of the way the website was constructed the changes had to be made by me. This was a nuisance if an urgent change was needed when I was not available.

What remains to be done.

The main website has some pages that are clearly very different such as the moth maps and the Species and Habitats pages and there is no plan to change these. However, for pages with the banner at the top and a menu on the left there are now two different styles in use and the old ones will be converted to match the new design.

The Search option on the home page will not search the blog or events but still works with all the other pages, this will have to be replaced but is not urgent until we have a few more blog entries.

The information that previously occupied the whole home page is now below the lists of recent posts and future events. That looks very messy so improving that is my next priority.

There are a number of fairly minor formatting problems to be resolved if possible.

The technical stuff.

A WordPress blog has been embedded within the website. The blog is just a standard WordPress blog. The events pages use an event calendar plugin created by Tribe Inc.

The hardest part of the work was in creating a WordPress template that matches our existing website template. The match is not perfect but, I think, is passable.

As a result of this work it is now possible to modify all existing pages that use the current template so that they use the new one instead. This makes maintenance of the website much easier, for example if we want to add a new item to the main menu then previously every page had to be edited, now only one file is affected.

Website problems.

If you have problems with any part of the website not working then please email me at webmaster-email. Note that it will look slightly different in different browsers, e.g. I think it looks better with Internet Explorer than with Firefox.


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Written by Bob Smith