Sunday, 3rd March 2013
Hi, this is a notice to let you know that the website has undergone quite a change. You can tell already right?
Well, to save you the trouble of asking 'what has changed', allow me to give you a little run-down on what I've been doing over the past three months.
First of all, much of the code that goes behind this whole site has been re-written to optimise and standardize it. It's all written in PHP, a language that basically asks the server to deliver to you a webpage that looks like the one you're reading now. It's a bit complicated so I won't dwell on it. Just be assured that as far as I can tell, it seems to work well.
So, that's the 'under-the-hood' stuff, so how about you, the user? What do you get out of the new site?
You see that banner image at the top? You'll get a new one of those every day of the month, so come back again tomorrow and see if I'm wrong.
The menu bar
The menu bar has been redesigned with the inclusion of graphics to give an easier depiction of the type of contect you expect to see if you click on an item.
See those little sections on the right hand side of the screen? Titled 'Recent Trips', 'Recently added Photos' etc... I call those widgets as I can't really think of anything else more appropriate, so for now, they're widgets.
To use these, simply hover your mouse over the widget and it should turn a garish green, and a small down arrow will appear. This implies that if you click it, something will happen. I'm quite sure that if you do click it, the widget should expand to reveal the contents. Go ahead and give it a try. Now if you like, I'm not going anywhere soon.
Very little has changed on the blog area other than the addition of a 'like' and 'dislike' button which you're probably familiar with on many other websites. Go ahead and give it a try (at least click the 'like' button if you want to see if it works)
(not this one as it's just an image to show you what I'm talking about, go to the bottom of the blog entry and click it if you feel like you can't contain yourself and must try it out)
Birds & Mammals
As before, you can view our sightings and photos by lists or thumbnails. If you're already viewing a list and prefer to see the thumbnails of images corresponding to the selection you have made, just click on these links;
One thing I wanted to add for a long time was a 'breadcrumb' feature that allows you to see how deep into the lists of places or species you have ventured. So I did it, and here you go;
Each crumb is its own link, so if you're viewing either the birds or mammals of Fraser's Hill, but want to back up to Pahang, or Malaysia, just click on the breadcrumb for fast access to that data. The number of species indicated is a measure of the number seen in that place. As in this example, Fraser's Hill, birds sighted, 124 species. But if you back up to Pahang, you'll see the bird count increase to consider all of the species we've seen in all of the places we've visited in the state of Pahang. And so on...
I've added more data about locations too which should hopefully help you out should you wish to explore one of these places yourself.
So, each location now consists of the following data:
GPS Longitude, GPS Latitude, Elevation (m a.s.l.), Habitat type.
Also included is a link that allows you to export the list currently being displayed to Excel, and a link that allows you to open up the location directly in Google Maps.
Is that helpful or what?
If you're looking at the data in 'thumbnail' view, this means a collection of small images relating to the selection you've made, either by location or by taxonomic order, we will now show you if the image has been recently added (within the past two months);
The lists have been overhauled a bit too. When you're viewing our data in list form, you will be presented with sub-sections for taxonomic grouping, starting with the order of species, followed by the family of which the species belongs.
Here you can see the common name, scientific name, IUCN Status, regular image available, gallery image available, and whether Jasmine (pink) or myself (blue) has seen the species.
That's really about it. And after taking such a short time to summarize it, I sit here scratching my head thinking, how did that take 3 months to revamp!?
Well, for me it was worth it, the site is now easier to manage, the code is more refined, and I feel there's a few features in there that make it better than before. There's a more consistent look and feel to it and it's now CCS3 compliant, so all I can ask is that you make sure you're using a CSS3 compliant browser to view it (Safari, Firefox, Chrome and IE10).