Link to Brentford High Street Project

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So far the site has been prepared using HTML in Notepad with a style sheet adapted from an Open University Course. This approach has worked well for static pages although I may need to use some scripting in the future. It has been simple to work on and from the users point of view this should display successfully in the majority of browsers, also none of your personal details are kept (when you visit the site I literally don't know you from Adam!). The site has been developed on a budget so I have used freeware where possible, eg FTP Commander to load pages on to the web server and ReaConverter to convert images from .bmp to .jpg.

Preparation of the Property section notes

I started with a very large spreadsheet, with one row per High Street property and columnns for each census return, trade directory and other source. I didn't think the spreadsheet was very user friendly and could not see an efficient way to create a series of web pages from it. So instead I have created Word documents for 33 stretches of the High Street, using the spreadsheet as my key source. The Word documents are handy to take along to events although I am finding maintaining them as well as the web pages a bit of a challenge. To create each web page for a section I have copied chunks of text into a template document, then have created headings, paragraph breaks, lists, formatting etc by adding HTML tags.

Creating pages for Indexes

The PCC wills index and 1841 surname index both started life as spreadsheets. Once I had the rows and columns in the right order I created a column between each spreadsheet column and one before the first and after the last columns, then entered appropriate table formatting tags (ie usually </td><td>) in each new column cell. I found I needed to include ' ' in empty spreadsheet cells. I then copied the spreadsheet into a standard template page in Notepad and added table tags around it. This creates a smaller and simpler page than by saving the spreadhsheet directly as HTML.

Annotated OS Maps

I think there may have been a better way to create these. I scanned the 1894 OS map and inserted the image into a Word document, where I added the house numbers and arrows. I copied this into MSPaint and cropped it, creating a .bmp. I converted this into a .jpg which I then added into a standard template page. However the resulting image is not very clear, I think this is in part due to setting each template page so it fits the browser width. I think the images may be 'blown up' in certain resolutions to achieve this and are getting more blurred than the originals.

Converting typescript documents into web pages

I have received some material in the form of typescript documents - eg newpaper cuttings, typed transcripts. To avoid re-typing these I have scanned each document to create a .jpg then created .tif by right-clicking on the document name in Explorer. In MS Office Document Imaging I opened each .tif file and used the 'send text to Word' icon to create a .HTML document which I saved as a .doc. The text can then be copied into a template in Notepad. Is there an easier way using freeware I wonder?

OU Courses

I have worked in IT for over 25 years but not using web technology, so to prepare this site I have 'attended' 4 modules of the OU's Web Application Development course, TT280, TT281, TT282 and TT380. In practice a lot of the learning is on-line, there are no tutorials and you get to know fellow students through on line conferences. I highly recommend these courses although life stops each time I take one. My other life in IT has given be the optimism that there is a solution to all the technical problems I have hit!


I hope to include the following features
  • allow browsers to control text size by changing the font descriptors in the style sheet (completed - proportional fonts added in Sep 2005)
  • include a site map
  • find a better way to include links to source material - there are lots of references such as (X) and (Q31) within the site but no easy way to access the title / author details
  • it would be nice to include some smaller images as pop-up windows created in Javascript; however since I couldn't force this past MY security settings I am reluctant to inflict this complication on anyone else
  • ensure the site meets the w3c accessibility standards
  • improve images so clarity is not lost in different resolutions