ABOUT THIS WEBSITE...

Updated 1st May 2010

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WEBSITE CONTACTS
There are, in effect, several sections to this Website. In order to assist you in e-mailing me about different subjects I have provided a list of e-mail addresses which you may use to get in touch with me. (This will also assist me in spotting genuine messages amongst all the spam!) Please make sure that you use the 'Subject' line as well.

SUBJECT LINEE-MAIL ADDRESS TO USE
Astronomy SEND E-MAIL astronomy@delscope.demon.co.uk
Hamble SEND E-MAIL hamble@delscope.demon.co.uk
Lapidary SEND E-MAIL lapidary@delscope.demon.co.uk
Solent Amateur Astronomers Society SEND E-MAIL society@delscope.demon.co.uk
Webmaster SEND E-MAIL webmaster@delscope.demon.co.uk
BACK TO TOP In the beginning | The computer | Website design | Website maintenance | Website statistics | Website visitor countries | With thanks to...

IN THE BEGINNING...
About three months before this site appeared in June 1999 I got on to the internet for the first time and was astounded at how well astronomy was represented on the Web. So many Societies had websites - I thought I'd add to the list! However, before I could start I had to make a layout of some description and forward my web page outlines to the Society's committee. This outline consisted of a very basic website of about 10 pages containing little else but information about the Society.

At that time there was an HTML feature in a magazine I read and I realised that it wouldn't be too difficult to design a website, indeed, this was one of the things that first gave me the idea that I could design a website myself in the first place. It took me about a week or so to learn the most basic HTML coding and another similar period experimenting with it to see how it worked. One page at a time the Society's website started to take shape...

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THE COMPUTER...
At this point I should say that I went about this process in what might be deemed an unconventional way. For one thing, I don't use IBM/Intel/Windows/PC clone computers exclusively. The machine this website is edited on is a CBM (the now defunct Commodore Business Machines) Amiga, model A1200, a computer that many computer snobs still regard as a games machine. To all intents and purposes it looks like your average computer in a tower case but its architecture, operating system, and overall 'feel' is quite different from your average PC and is based on the Motorola 68xxx series processors, rather like the old Mac.

But, a computer is a computer, its just that this one is different from most you'll see in the shops or in people's homes. Despite some difficulties in obtaining hardware and software (you're unlikely to see either in the shops) the Amiga is something of an 'underground' computer but one that has a strong, almost fanatical, following around the world. Making up perhaps as little as one percent of computers worldwide the Amiga may not be the perfect computer (there is no such thing), nor the most popular (the PC/Windows dominance is more to do with marketing rather than reliability or ease of use), but it works, and there is little, if anything, it cannot do that the so-called 'PC' can.

Being a 'different' machine it does not use Microsoft/PC programs. (Thus depriving the computer monoliths of an irrelevant portion of their already huge profits.) In fact, the only time mainstream computers and programs were used was in the testing stages when it was important to see if the site I had designed appeared to work on them. This having been done, I can safely say that this is PC/MS Free Zone! But, let's not get too heavily into the politics of one computer/operating system/program versus the next at this point...

One of the things about the internet that is so remarkable is that it spans generations, countries, peoples, democracies - and computers! Unless I told you, you would have little, if any, idea what machine or software I use.

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WEBSITE DESIGN
The next hurdle was generating the pages. Although I have dedicated HTML editors rather like Front Page/Hot Metal Pro I had already learnt to edit HTML code via plain text, a practice I continue to this day. This involves manual, long-hand editing of code and content but it does have the advantage of my having total control over what is entered. This has the advantage of my generating smaller, simpler pages and files with less unnecessary, bloated, redundant, or flashy code. This also means that the pages should load quickly, whether via modem or broadband. It is possible to maintain very close control of what appears, something not all HTML editors can claim to do. It is also a good method of keeping in touch with what all those HTML tags mean, so much so that on several occasions I have been able to help other webpage designers.

The downside is that you have to type very carefully and keep a close eye on what's going on. HTML is very unforgiving, the slightest mis-type can do some very strange things to a document - tests on a page may reveal faults which are the result of a single character out of place or missing!

HTML is not a complex code to master, unless you start to venture into the likes of scripting languages or employ some of the more advanced and recent features of HTML. But effective webpages can be made with quite basic HTML code and this is something that I have tried to stick to. Looking around various websites taught me a great deal about web design principles and gave me many ideas about what to do. It was largely the attributes of other sites that I wanted to employ, and in some cases avoid at all costs! (Think of all those banner-strewn sites with gaudy colours and annoying animations and you'll see what I mean.)

For a start, I wanted to make pages that were simple, had no frames, were fast loading, not too fussy, easy to navigate, informative, and easy to maintain. Bearing in mind that I have limited time to maintain such material, this was and is the ethos of this website. Further, it should be visible in ANY browser, avoid unnecessary gimmicks and annoying animated gifs where possible, and have some thought for those who do not enable graphics on their browser - a tough set of conditions to adhere to. (If I have goofed in this respect please let me know.)

Not only that, I didn't want to use too many third party graphics and because of this the backgrounds, logo and buttons are largely my own doing. Up until recently only the counters and news pages employed material from outside - my only control over them was to add or remove them! However, in recent years I have had to abandon my principles about using 'outside' content and with the advent of so many excellent 'free to use' graphics available these days, it is inevitable that graphics of outside origin have appeared on this site. While people want information it seems that people like to look at pictures too... And why not!

Apart from the written material, some of which already existed, I spent about a month progressively making the basic pages for the site. With much of the meat of the site done, I got around to testing and displaying them on browsers to see how they appeared. Only when I had done this did I feel confident enough to upload them.

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SITE MAINTENANCE
With those basic pages done most of my time spent maintaining the site is keeping the pages up to date and steadily adding new material. Since the site was first launched in June 1999 the amount of pages has quadrupled and the overall size of the website is still growing. At first the site was just about the Society with lots of separate, small pages but since then some of those original pages have been consolidated. Additions from that point on were the astronomical news pages, and pages about topics of astronomical interest as well as a few personal projects. As time has permitted, small changes have been added here and there to improve the content and navigation around the site. On average I spend an hour a week maintaining the pages. The only really time consuming task is when a new page is added or when an existing page is substantially rewritten.

Future pages I hope to add will cover other interests of mine, some astronomical, some not. These include...

And that really is the story of this website...

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WEBSITE STATISTICS
Naturally, one of the things that Webmasters want to know is how many people have visited their site. From the beginning of the site in June 1999, to October 2000 there was just a series of digits, rather like the odometer of a car, to indicate the simplest visitor count. That is still in use and is a simple but useful indication of the amount of people who have visited the site. But, it doesn't say what visitors looked at or for how long, for example.

Until the end of 2003 many statistics were available to me via Hitbox but their free service was discontinued. At the start of 2004 a free website statistics service from Webstat was put into use. Although not as comprehensive as Hitbox, the Webstat counter does allow me to keep track of which pages are visited among other things.

The table below lists the amount of visitors the site has had and the number of pages viewed...


MONTH   YEAR    VISITS  TOTAL       PAGE     TOTAL
                        VISITORS    VIEWS    PAGE
                                             VIEWS
----------------------------------------------------
June    1999       60#       60          -         -
July               39        99          -         -
August             39       138          -         -
September          32       170          -         -
October            26       196          -         -
November           68#      264          -         -
December           34       298          -         -
----------------------------------------------------
January 2000       96#      394          -         -
February           63       457          -         -
March              59       516          -         -
April              45       561          -         -
May                62       623          -         -
June               78       701          -         -
July               70       771          -         -
August             74       845          -         -
September         117#      962          -         -
October           172#    1 134          -         -
November          175#    1 309        726#      726
December          149     1 458        735#    1 461
----------------------------------------------------
January 2001      181#    1 639      1 043#    2 504
February          140     1 779        846     3 350
March             101     1 880        511     3 861
April             176     2 056        707     4 568
May               503#    2 559        788     5 356
June              625#    3 184      1 045#    6 401
July              570     3 754        957     7 358
August            680#    4 434      1 299#    8 657
September         713#    5 147      1 062     9 719
October           868#    6 015      1 426#   11 145
November        1 027#    7 042      1 801#   12 946
December        1 014     8 056      1 491    14 437
----------------------------------------------------
January 2002    1 049#    9 105      1 596    16 033
February          998    10 103      1 478    17 511
March             975    11 078      1 435    18 946
April             665    11 743      1 084    20 030
May               815    12 558      1 260    21 290
June              717    13 275        950    22 240
July              919    14 194      1 227    23 467
August          1 416#   15 610      1 964#   25 431
September       1 513#   17 123      1 993#   27 424
October         1 810#   18 933      2 413#   29 837
November        2 535#   21 468      3 237#   33 074
December        2 219    23 687      2 751    35 825
----------------------------------------------------
January 2003    2 335    26 022      3 002    38 827
February        2 179    28 201      2 752    41 579
March           2 622#   30 823      3 236    44 815
April           2 605    33 428      3 342#   48 157
May             3 257#   36 685      4 049#   52 206
June            2 312    38 997      2 907    55 113
July            2 538    41 535      3 254    58 367
August          4 894#   46 429      6 323#   64 690
September       3 766    50 195      4 754    69 444
October         3 485    53 680      4 063    73 507
November        3 694    57 374      4 369    77 876
December        3 396    60 770      3 844    81 720
----------------------------------------------------
January 2004    3 734    64 494      4 421    86 141
February        3 070    67 564      4 011    90 152
March           3 373    70 937      4 689    94 841
April           3 444    74 381      4 637    99 478
May             3 516    77 897      4 780   104 258
June            3 101    80 998      4 318   108 576
July            2 513    83 511      3 406   111 982
August          2 976    86 487      4 073   116 055
September       3 905    90 392      5 558   121 613
October         4 591    94 983      6 345#  127 958
November        5 750#  100 733      7 699#  135 657
December        6 071#  106 804      8 306#  143 963
----------------------------------------------------
January 2005    6 221#  113 025      8 599#  152 562
February        4 573   117 598      6 517   159 079
March           4 940   122 538      6 180   165 259
April           5 206   127 744      7 012   172 271
May             5 834   133 578      7 910   180 181
June            5 418   138 996      7 310   187 491
July            4 786   143 782      6 696   194 187
August          5 606   149 388      7 878   202 065
September       5 379   154 767      7 945   210 010
October         6 166   160 933      8 861#  218 971
November        6 973#  167 906     10 115#  229 086
December        6 170   174 076      8 663   237 649
----------------------------------------------------
January 2006    6 534   180 610      9 484   247 133
February        5 460   186 070      7 690   254 823
March           5 978   192 048      8 577   263 400
April           5 280   197 328      7 411   270 811
May             5 200   202 528      7 226   278 037
June            5 098   207 626      7 156   285 293
July            5 839   213 465      8 012   293 205
August          6 619   220 084      8 857   302 062
September       6 067   226 151      8 183   310 245
October         6 517   232 668      8 982   319 227
November        6 496   239 164      9 115   328 442
December        6 182   245 346      8 245   336 587
----------------------------------------------------
January 2007    6 822   252 228      9 529   346 116
February        6 314   258 542      8 857   354 973
March           7 486#  266 028     10 217#  365 190
April           5 751   271 779      7 883   373 073
May             6 758   278 537      8 904   381 977
June            5 248   283 785      7 230   389 207
July            5 540   289 325      7 647   396 854
August          7 541#  296 866     10 172   407 026
September       6 343   303 209      8 867   415 893
October         6 479   309 688      8 986   424 879
November        6 971   316 659      9 657   434 536
December        5 863   322 522      8 094   442 630
----------------------------------------------------
January 2008    6 287   328 809      8 691   451 321
February        6 895   335 704      9 121   460 442
March           6 044   341 748      8 324   468 766
April           5 269   347 017      7 433   476 199
May             5 023   352 040      6 618   482 817
June            4 818   356 858      6 448   489 265
July            5 633   362 491      7 392   496 657
August          5 284   367 775      7 054   503 711
September       5 113   372 888      6 805   510 515
October         5 535   378 423      7 332   517 847
November        5 491   383 914      6 951   524 798
December        5 829   389 743      7 309   532 107
----------------------------------------------------
January 2009    5 517   395 260      7 428   539 535
February        5 150   400 410      6 656   546 191
March           5 299   405 709      6 955   553 124
April           4 745   410 454      5 991   559 115
May             5 027   415 481      5 981   565 096
June            4 196   419 677      5 210   570 306
July            5 216   424 893      6 224   576 530
August          5 099   429 992      7 311   583 841
September       5 683   435 675      6 771   590 612
October         5 305   440 980      6 562   597 174
November        5 092   446 072      6 374   603 548
December        4 550   450 622      5 618   609 166
----------------------------------------------------
January 2010    4 657   455 279      5 942   615 130
February        4 080   459 359      5 096   620 226
March           4 053   463 412      5 222   625 448
April           3 906   467 318      5 095   630 543
----------------------------------------------------
MONTH   YEAR    VISITS  TOTAL       PAGE     TOTAL
                        VISITORS    VIEWS    PAGE
                                             VIEWS
(# = record high count)

As you can see from the above figures site traffic has grown steadily since this website was first posted on the Wibbly Wobbly Way. Monday's tend see the busiest levels of site traffic, Saturday's the least. Overall, the busiest time for the website is Monday to Thursday. There are over 30 pages on this website.

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WEBSITE VISITOR COUNTRIES
I would have expected the bulk of visitors to come from the United Kingdom but since adding the Hitbox and Webstat counters it has become clear that visitors from all over the world have visited the site as well. That said, over 75% of all visitors come from the UK and US. Just 10 countries account for 90% of all visitors. It is not possible to trace all visitors since not all visitor countries are logged. However, for those that are identifiable, including the UK, the countries visitors are known to have come from number 196. These are:

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Ascension Island, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan

Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bermuda, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Botswana, Bouvet Island, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso

Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde Islands, Cayman Islands, Chile, China, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia (Hrvatska), Cyprus, Czech Republic

Denmark, Dijbouti, Dominican Republic

Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia

Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Fiji, Finland, France, French Polynesia

Gambia, Germany, Georgia, Ghana, Gibraltar, Greenland, Grenada, Greece, Guam, Guatemala, Guadeloupe, Guernsey, Guinea, Guyana

Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary

Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast

Jamaica, Japan, Jersey, Jordan

Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea (Republic of), Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan

Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg

Macau, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Martinique, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar

Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, New Caledonia, New Zealand (Aotearoa), Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Northern Mariana Islands, Norway

Oman

Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico

Qatar

Reunion, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda

Saint Helena, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & The Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria

Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tonga, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turks and Caicos Islands, Tuvalu

Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uraguay, U.S. Virgin Islands, Uzbekistan

Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam

Yemen, Yugoslavia

Zaire, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Overall, about 50% of all traffic comes from the UK alone and another 25% from the U.S., the remainder from elsewhere. Typically, something like 98% of all traffic will come from just 15 countries.

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THANKS TO...
Finally, I would like to make a few acknowledgements. Although the great bulk of initial work on this site was done by me, none of this would have been possible without the valuable assistance of a few others...

Firstly, Joyce Hamilton-Dyer who lent me a book which proved to be (and still is) an invaluable guide to the many different aspects of HTML. She was also responsible in helping design and select the backgrounds used on the Website and had some input into the written content of the original pages, as well as some that have appeared since.

I would also like to thank Dave Allen who assisted with the early page testing, proof reading, and constructive criticism of the website itself.

Thanks also to Matt Myatt for some of his helpful suggestions, his ideas for pages, all of which are still featured on this website.

But, the most thanks must go to Pete Cutler who helped with extensive testing of the pages and who provided many useful comments about their content, something he still does for me. He also writes some of the material for these pages and in all, his kind, patient help has been instrumental in the continued growth of this website.

And finally, my thanks to visitors who have made helpful suggestions and comments, corrected errors and so on...

Thank you, all of you.

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Feedback about this site and suggestions for additional information and pages are welcome, please send an e-mail to The Webmaster.

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Derek Haselden 2010