BAYKO - Geek's Corner

WELCOME!!!
Several people have asked me about the technical aspects of the site itself - as distinct from the BAYKO related bits - so I thought I'd add this page to try and help!
For the record, I don't allocate myself full 'BAYKO Geek' status - I'm just not sufficiently technically adept!
The object of the exercise here is to explain what I've done, in terms of the approach to various site standards and the software tools involved in carrying it out.
I thought it was important to standardise most features of the appearance and layout of the site as part of my attempt to make the site easy and comfortable to explore for regulars and new visitors alike - done properly, it actually makes life easier for the webmaster too!
I've also detailed one or two potential legacy issues, which will be of interest to my successor - when I'm gone!
 
The key tools and standards are set out below : -
DREAMWEAVER
I currently use DREAMWEAVER CS4 for all web pages and use the site-wide 'find and replace' facility to ensure consistency of spelling and / or presentation with words like post-war or 'Oak'.
DREAMWEAVER CS4 also has, as standard, a 'Clean up html' feature which I use religiously to streamline the html code as much as possible, but this facility isn't perfect.
As a general comment, I don't speak html, but DREAMWEAVER does. However, particularly in the early days I was forever cutting and pasting until I was happy with the standard layout, and there are some consequences to this. You can often end up taking more code with each move than you intend. Add to that my preferred method of duplicating a page, from the right section, as stage one of creating a new page, and you can see that the surplus code can quickly get multiplied across the site.
I recommend taking action, perhaps every couple of years, to bring this back under control. Time has helped me learn how to read html, to a basic level, which allows me to edit the html code, directly. Using the DREAMWEAVER split screen facility allows you to easily check what you have done, to minimise risk! This enables large, complex pages, with lots of surplus code, to load much more quickly when tidied up.
I also try and remember to be a good little boy and use the standard spell check facility of DREAMWEAVER CS4 every time I change a page.
C.S.S.
I've used Cascading Style Sheets [C.S.S.] to impose standard fonts, colours, text sizes, etc. for headings, sub-headings, labels, quotations, links, emphasis, etc. - using straightforward English descriptions for each style to simplify the process.
One of the C.S.S. features I've used is to make links change colour when your mouse passes over them and identify destinations that the visitors have already been to. I also got rid of the, to my eyes, ugly standard underlining of all links.
I also use them to add a standard BAYKO Brick Pattern background on each page, using different colours for different sections.
Links
All links, including email links, embodied in the main text area have explanatory descriptions which pop up when the visitor's mouse passes over them. [There is an exception to this in that tables specifically set up as 'Navigation tables' do not comply - to avoid 'clutter'.] This is done using DMXZone Advanced ToolTip software, with consistent formats for different types of links : -
"Link to BAYKO Information"
or
"email link to BAYKOMAN"
Each email link also carries unique identification in the form of the email TITLE and first line of MESSAGE text by adding something like the following [between the " " below] additions to the link : -
"mailto:pete@baykoman.com?subject=TITLE&body=MESSAGE"
I always use italics to emphasise commercial brand names, like BAYKO, and force this on Advanced ToolTips by enclosing the brand name as follows [between the " " below] : -
"<i>BAYKO</i>"
Similarly I put published works titles in quotes, e.g. 'Daily Mail'. To do this, or use other characters which may otherwise be interpreted as HTML control characters, I precede the character with a back slash [\] as follows [between the " " below] : -
"\'Daily Mail\'"
In both cases, experience has shown it's safer to start each script with a standard character.
Images
Every image on the site carries a label describing it that appears whenever the mouse moves over it. This is also provided using DMXZone Advanced ToolTips.
A few images incorporate a transparent background for enhanced effect. This is done done using standard features of PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS, but remember, each file then has to be saved as a .GIF file - with transparency enabled! Normally images are saved as .JPG files.
DREAMWEAVER offers the choice of an outline to each image you add to the sight, which I don't like, so I change the 'Border' parameter to "0".
Wherever there is an alternative, I use the facility to pre-load images, etc. in the background. I'm not sure of the impact on overall loading time, but, by using a small table first on each page, so that there is something to read A.S.A.P., then, as the reader scrolls down, everything should be instantly available.
PHOTOSHOP
I currently use PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS for initial work on images [tidying up, cropping, etc.] and for most home produced artwork.
It's perhaps worth pointing out that some of the images, mainly those on poor quality newsprint or other cheap paper, have taken me as much as 8 hours - yes, 8 hours - to tidy up ready for the site!!! This is a consequence of the decision to [generally] show all paperwork in 'mint' condition, unless 'atmosphere' would be lost.
FIREWORKS
I currently use FIREWORKS CS4 to make the images ready for the web [batch processing, sizing, slide shows, managing transparency, etc.].
I like using transparency in photos of interestingly shaped items, to move away from the ubiquitous rightangles of normal images. There are two wrinkles you may find useful : -
If the image is surrounded by white and also has large white areas within, you can change the colour of the internal white from "255, 255, 255" to, say, "253, 253, 253", then you can use Alpha Transparency to make the white surround transparent.
If you have small, pure white patches in the image, far too small to manage separately, you can change the colour of the internal white from "255, 255, 255" to, say, "253, 253, 253", then change the surround colour [and possible areas within the image] back to pure white, using the "Contiguous" option on each section, and then use the Alpha Transparency option to make it transparent.
An alternative, particularly where there are lots of required transparent areas, you can 'Paint' all these areas a distinctive colour, not used in the rest of the image, [lime green, bright pink, anything easily found in the colour palette, in the next phase,] and then use the Index Transparency feature to make that colour transparent.
Animations
All the animations on the site are created using FIREWORKS CS4.
I'm particularly pleased with the folding BAYKO Fliers which were achieved as follows : -
Create a copy of the base image to be covered by the folding process, with a transparent expansion to the canvas big enough, and in the right place, to hold the portion which will fold over, and place this on 'state 1'. This canvas should be exactly the same size as the unfolded image initially displayed on the website.
Set the 'state' duration to 7/100 second.
Create ten duplicate copies of this initial 'state', making eleven 'states' in total.
Create a copy of the image which will fold over, and locate it in its start position over the transparent area of the canvas on 'state 1'.
Create four further versions of the part of the image to be folded over which are 80%, 60%, 40% and 20% of the size of the original - shrunk in one dimension only, towards the fold - and locate these, in the above sequence, on 'state 2' through 'state 5', each in contact with the point at which the fold occurs.
Do not put anything extra on 'state 6'.
Create a copy of the part of the image which will be revealed as the folding process proceeds, then create four further versions, shrunk to 80%, 60%, 40% and 20% of the original, again shrunk only in the direction on the fold.
Add these four images, in ascending order of size, to 'state 7' through 'state 10', always located against the fold point, but on the opposite side to the one you used previously.
Add the full size [100%] part of the image to 'state 11' in the same way.
Reset the duration of 'state 1' to 150/100 seconds and 'state 11' to 350/100 seconds, and make sure the animation is set to 'loop' indefinitely.
Make sure you export the file as an animated GIF, with transparency enabled.
Use the DREAMWEAVER CS4 Swap Image feature to interchange this animation with the original, unfolded image.
Alt Text
In a similar manner to the links described above, and in line with international website standards, every image and piece of artwork has an explanatory description [Alt Text] which gives specialist software a script to read to the visually challenged. Prompting to add Alt Text to a new image is a standard feature of DREAMWEAVER CS4.
Unfortunately a non-standard feature of INTERNET EXPLORER means that Alt text gets automatically interpreted as a tool tip. To prevent this I add the following [see between the " " below] to every relevant line of html code : -
"title="""
This 'null' title is not displayed on the viewer's screen.
Image Swapping
A few images on the site change when the visitor's mouse passes over them - this is a standard feature available in DREAMWEAVER. Note, to guarantee to work properly, the two images should be exactly the same size. Generally this feature is used, for example, to highlight the BAYKO section of a multi-product document, or different variants.
Pop-Up Windows
Just about every image on the site - well over 3,000 anyway - will display a larger version [generally restricted to a maximum length or width of 600 pixels]. I do this using a DREAMWEAVER extension provided by JustSo PictureWindow 3, which has much better features than the DREAMWEAVER standard equivalent.
I make particular use of three key features - the addition of a close button; automatic closure after two and a half minutes; and a background brick pattern matching the one on the page from which it was launched.
I then further modified two aspects of the Pop-Up Window caption functionality by using DREAMWEAVER to edit, directly, each page's JustSo PictureWindow 3 generated C.S.S. to change the Caption Background to 'Transparent' [see between the " " below] : -
"background-color: Transparent;"
and the Caption font weight to 'Bold' [see between the " " below] : -
"font-weight: bold;"
CAUTION. You should be aware that JustSo PictureWindow 3 seems to dislike these modifications in its links with DREAMWEAVER. I therefore only keep the fully modified C.S.S. on the web server, and use the C.S.S., without these modifications, locally, for all developmental purposes.
I keep control of the 'type setting' of the captions by adding the following to force the script onto a new line [see between the " " below] : -
"<br>"
In order to allow more than one pop-up window to display at the same time, each window requires a different name, e.g. "WindowName". Unfortunately this is then displayed over the thumbnail version as an additional tool tip. To prevent this I delete the relevant section of code which JustSo PictureWindow 3 creates [see between the " " below] : -
"title="WindowName""
A final small detail, JustSo PictureWindow 3 has a 'padding facility', which allows you to control the way the caption looks, personally I've gone for straight forward centring with zero padding, meaning that the 'apparently random' standard figures need to be edited to "0". [See between the " " below] : -
"padding-left: 0;"
"padding-right: 0;"
Frames
Although web cognoscenti advise against it, I've organised my site using 'Frames'. This really simplified the developmental work from my perspective.
However, it meant that, given the way GOOGLE and the like index individual pages, those pages could be reached without the supporting Frame [i.e. the top banner and the side navigation links]. It's too long to detail here, but I'm very pleased with the solution I've been able to implement [found on the web] which completely overcomes this problem.
Similarly, I found a natty piece of software, on the web, which prevents other webmasters from 'capturing' my pages and inserting them into their frames.
Tables
Another one in the eye for the purists, I'm afraid, but I've used Tables with zero-width [hence invisible] borders to create the layout for every page.
To facilitate page loading, I ensure that the first table isn't too large, making sure there is something available to read A.S.A.P.
Visible tables, like this particular one you are reading now, have a border width of one, coloured blue, [not really supported and thus usually displayed as black] with a table background of white to create the frame edging you can see on this page.
I then cycle the cell background colour [blue, green, yellow] to emphasise the change from item to item. My hope is that people will get used to this, very quickly, so that, if and whenever, I use any other colour, it stands out, giving the emphasis, or visible connection, that I'm looking to achieve, like the pink heading to this table.
For substantial pages, with lots of images, links and complex code, I recommend splitting the layout into more than one table, perhaps several. Although technically this will marginally increase the total page load time, it gets something there, for the surfer to see, much more quickly, which is always a good idea! All the so called 'delay' actually happens in the background while the viewer looks at the first bit, so the viewer gets the best service.
As a general rule, for large 'Data Tables', like set contents, I repeat the headings at the foot of each table, or each section where I have split the table, hopefully making it easier to read.
Blank cells don't work properly in many browsers. This proved to be a real pain until I learned that you can add the following non-printing character direct to the html [see between the " " below].
"&nbsp;"
Ironically, DREAMWEAVER CS4 now does this for you automatically - if only...
This works for INTERNET EXPLORER, OPERA and FIREFOX.
Search Engine
Given the substantial size of the site, I felt that an internal search engine would be a valuable feature. I chose, and am extremely happy with, software by ZOOM.
Apart from the excellent functionality, its use of an html template file means that the appearance of the search engine pages can be fully matched to the site.
It even comments on the html on each page, facilitating de-bugging.
Forum
Last, but by no means least, I added a BAYKO by BAYKOMAN Bulletin Board or Forum to the site. Customising the appearance has proved to be beyond me, non-the-less I'm very pleased with the software by PHPBB and thoroughly recommend it.
Unfortunately, due to repeated attack by 'undesirable advertisers' I've had to close this feature.
FREEOLA
For the record, my I.S.P. is FREEOLA, who's fees are not too bad and who host baykoman.com.
They have delivered me a very good level of service for several years, with an extremely helpful, very patient, telephone support service.
Page Reveal
Not everybody likes it - but I do!!! I've added different page reveals to different sections of the site, similar to those used in POWERPOINT presentations.
This is simply done by adding one of several alternative single lines [e.g. between the " " below] at the top of the head section of the page, to take advantage of a standard, if little known, web feature.
"<META http-equiv="Page-Enter" CONTENT="RevealTrans(Duration=4,Transition=3)">"
This feature is ignored in several browsers such as FIREFOX, and is also susceptible to personal browser settings.
Scroll Bar
That's probably not its correct title, but I've added a message scroller which puts basic page related information along the grey scroll bar towards the bottom of the screen.
Whether or not this works for you is dependent on your browser and its settings.
OPERA
For those who don't know, OPERA is an alternative to INTERNET EXPLORER - and I don't like it!
OPERA is much faster than INTERNET EXPLORER, so, as a surfer, I love it, but, it seems to deliver its speed by a lack of attention to detail, meaning that things don't always display the way the webmaster wants. In my case, I've had to do lots of work to make the site OPERA friendly - hence my opening emotional response.
There is one particular bug which OPERA trips up on - column sizes on tables. Try to change the appearance of the table too frequently as you move down, and OPERA gives up and does things its way - not yours. INTERNET EXPLORER isn't totally immune to this, but is far less petty. I'm afraid the only way to conquer this is that when you feel another bout of restructuring coming on, split the table and start a new table underneath, even though this must slightly slow the display time!
To be fair to OPERA, it's possible that some of the issues originate in the DREAMWEAVER coding, but OPERA always shows more errors than INTERNET EXPLORER.
Internet Table Cell Size
I believe this is a known bug amongst professional website designers, but they don't suffer too much from it as it relates to tables - and the pro's are very snobbish about NOT using tables!
You can define the size of a cell [a slot in a table that you want to put something in] in various formats, the commonest two being as a percentage of the width or height of the table, and as a count of the number of pixels to be allocated.
Nothing complicated there, but the two formats don't mix well, particularly in large, complicated tables. Define a cell as 20% of the table width and 170 pixels high, to house an image with a small margin, and you can't be certain how it'll appear. INTERNET EXPLORER isn't immune, but OPERA is the big offender.
After much heartache, I've resolved the issue. I'll give you an example showing the best approach to minimising your exposure to this frustrating bug.
Take a simple table, two rows by two columns. Reasonably, given modern screen width variations, you want to set column width as a percentage, to control the proportions across the screen. Equally unsurprisingly, you want to use pixel count to control the height of the cells holding images, to give them a margin.
If, say, you specify a column width of 20% on the top left hand cell, then the left hand column will be defined as 20% and thus the right hand column will be defined, by default, as 80%.
If you then specify the cell height as 170 pixels in any cell in the right hand column, then its row height will be set as 170 pixels.
Despite the overlapping impact, avoiding using different formats in the same cell, solves the problem.
Of course, you could eliminate all these issues by specifying the table and column widths in absolute [rather than percentage] terms, but that means your readers have to put up with a wide 'waste' area at both sides of their modern wide screen monitors.
Thankfully, except to accommodate images where you want a boundary around it, you can avoid the problem altogether by not specifying cell heights, and let your browser run on autopilot.
I don't, for example, label the width of each cell in a column, as processing all this extra coding can only slow the display process - and one is always enough to give the control.
Manuals - Page Numbering
Careful observation of any of the web pages of the various BAYKO manuals may cause you some confusion when it comes to reconciling page numbering and the image file numbering.
The page numbers, etc., as shown to the sides of the tables and in the ToolTips which appear when you slide your mouse over the thumbnail images are exactly as used in the printed manuals themselves - without deviation.
However, the individual page images all take the form shown between the " " below.
"page 11.jpg"
This will be the image of the 11th page, counting from the front of the manual, and takes no account of any page number which may, or may not, be printed on the page. In doing so, this respects blank and unnumbered pages.
This may sound an odd approach, but, in fact, means that the treatment of all pages of all manuals is identical, massively simplifying web page creation and subsequent management.
".jpg" is simply the standard file extension for photographs.
File Names
Although not an issue for the surfer, there is an issue here for whoever takes over when I'm gone!
What I'm talking about are the names for files, of all sorts, within the site. I've always tried to make those names fairly descriptive, which is good, but, by definition, particularly where dates are concerned, these names are inevitably based on my knowledge at the time of naming.
When new information sheds light on a subject, it may indicate a different date, and, of course, I've updated the website text accordingly, including all relevant links, captions and ToolTips...
...however, I've left the original file names unchanged.
This makes the updating process much easier, but does leave a legacy which requires caution.
I have now started to edit relevant file names in DREAMWEAVER CS4, and respond 'yes' to the prompt "Do you want to update links".  Sadly DREAMWEAVER CS4 doesn't give you a list of the changes it makes, so that means you either need a good memory, or upload 'everything', just in case!
 
Below here are links to related info : -
 
Click on any of the links below for related information.
 
   
 
 
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