How the web was won


Knowledgeable readers will have realised that this is a home-made website residing on a free server (www.freeuk.com). It was constructed in raw <html> without the benefit of any webpage making program. It also does without Frames, and Java; and whatever you're looking at it through, it was designed on a 15 inch screen (15 inch screens are actually only 10 inches wide, due to the very small eyes of monitor manufacturers.) All this accounts for its rough-hewn hand-tooled appearance. The layouts were planned using the draw program of Claris Works, and Claris Works also helped by saving blocks of text into <html> which saved me a few angle brackets. However the indented paragraphs are done simply by bashing them in with a row of six non-breaking spaces ( &nbsp; is the instruction for a non-breaking space).

My standard way of getting an image into digital form from the original 35mm transparency has been to write some words to go with it, send words and slide to a magazine or book publisher, and scan the published image on my flatbed scanner. This is a rather slow and unreliable process... Some slides have been scanned on a bottom-of-the-range slide scanner. Resizing and some fiddling with brightness and contrast for the screen were in an early version of Adobe Photoshop (version 2.5).

The site makes extensive use of tables for its slightly special effects. The Buachaille Beag
index page and the photo index page are made with a table whose border is invisible and whose background is an image. The size of the table is constrained to be exactly the same as that of the background image. Not terribly subtle! The grey navigation bar at the tops of the book pages, and the green one at the top of this page, are done similarly: in these, the ‘Ronald Turnbull’ text has been incorporated into the jpg file. I used the paint program in Claris Works to put the writing onto the image. The idea is that you see my name in my favourite Photina MT face even if you don’t have that face in your fonts. Apart from Photina for the larger headings, the whole site is in Arial with Arial Black on some of the navigation buttons.

My stylesheets are at

http://home.freeuk.net/ronaldturnbull/greenstyle.css
http://home.freeuk.net/ronaldturnbull/books/bookstyle.css

but there’s nothing very extraordinary about them. One effect that did cause me trouble followed by satisfaction is the wide margins on the book pages, with the small illustrations and button boxes sitting in the margins. This is done in the stylesheet, by
div.mostofit {margin: 0, 24, 0, 24}
and then cancelling this <div> definition before each image, and restoring it immediately afterwards.

Thanks to my son Thomas, webmonkey, and More HTML for Dummies; and to Clare for the industrious gnomes image.

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