January 17, 2020

Work Done So Far (on refactoring historyofcuba.com)

As of tonight, I’ve refactored about 75 pages, including most or all the timetable pages that you can click on from the Home Page (historyofcuba.com/cuba.htm), most of the timetables and various others. (Remember, this is not a full-time job with a team of dedicated professionals and free Starbucks coffee… it’s a one-person-operation taking place after hours and on weekends.)
  The tables.css stylesheet was completely redone, and the tags for most of the pages were updated in less than a week. The effort has made a difference in how things work today.
All these pages are now ready for the Super Bowl/Academy Awards season. Whether you’re using a cell phone or pad or the big screen on the Starship Enterprise, you should be able to scroll the timetables, regardless of screen availability. 
[Disclaimer: there may still be a thing to do, or two, on some of the pages.]
Changes made include:
·        Reorganizing the Head section
o   Adding mobile tags
o   Rewriting page titles (when necessary)
o   Removing old META tags that are no longer useful
·        Changing tags to lower-case
·        Removing old/deprecated tags
·        Eliminating most ids – they just weren’t necessary
·        In some cases, copying the page content to a whole new page
·        Adding new fonts (not all pages have them yet)
·        Discarding old JavaScripts – Remember this?
o   ONMOUSEOVER="window.status = 'An alphabetized list'; return true;"
·        In some cases, removing StatCounter JavaScript code from 2002

·        Adjusting shadows and border colors
o   The older borders and shadows seemed heavy and exaggerated.
·        Adding flexbox to the Home Page Elements section
·        Adding HTML5 headers and footers – Sure, the site used divs styled as headers and footers, but they’re just not the same thing.

Because the initial site was built over a ten-year period with some pages still brandishing HTML 3.0 tags, it is difficult to determine how long it will take to complete all the pages waiting in line for an overhaul.
The timetables are among the earliest pages I ever made (they’ve grown over time, like children). Those were the days of DS9 and AOL and square TVs and Billary Clinton. It never occurred to me back then that in 2020 I’d be refactoring the same pages while worrying about the end of Democracy.
On a practical level, refactoring the timetables was easier than the menu pages or the article pages (of which there are still many left to do). That’s because the timetables were refactored once already, sometime around the first Obama Administration. At this time all HTML tables were removed, along with loads of font-tags and other remnants of a brief affair with Microsoft Front Page. These were replaced by teamwork from HTML/CSS.
Maybe it’s the new fonts that make it feel like a whole new web site. But there’s still much more to do… the thought of a “hero” background image occurred to me recently, and I’ll have to give this some thought.


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