Theo Todman's Web Page - Notes Pages
Status: Web-Tools (Summary of Progress to Date)
(Text as at 18/12/2010 19:58:05)
(For earlier versions of this Note, see the table at the end)
This report summarises progress to date on my “Web Tools” project. I produce a monthly report1, but I intend to update this one annually, on change of “Academic Year”. This one is as at end September 2009.
- MS Access database built and substantially populated for the following objects, lists of which (catalogued by author or title) are available on the web:-
- Website-generation routines built in MS Access VBA. Basically, web-page templates are held in the database, and are used to format documents, also held in the database, and create all the interlinking between them. See this picture for the front screen (hopefully, if you click on the image it’ll expand so you can read the text on the controls!).
- The publishing of the website to the commercially-hosted domain is via AceFTP. In practice, I use a local copy of the web-site when at home (though the performance of the web-based copy is excellent with 2mb broadband), and republish the site to the Web once a week. Updated pages are automatically copied to a Transfer directory as they are regenerated. This directory is then moved to the public website (hence is self-deleting). That means AceFTP is perfectly adequate for maintaining the website.
- Some attention has been paid to usability on mobile hand-held devices, with alternative “cut down” lists for easy hand-held access.
- I have developed some rudimentary document formatting capabilities.
- Automated hyperlinks.
- Bulleted lists.
- Blank lines.
- Embedded HTML tags have to be used for other functions like emboldening and underlining.
- There is document versioning in place:
- to protect against accidental overwriting of the various objects, and
- for performance reasons (so that only changed web-pages are regenerated).
- So that the development of thought can be followed through.
- My pride and joy is the two-way hyper-linking within the Notes arena, and between the Notes and the Books / Papers / Abstracts database, which was the original motivation for the whole project. The ID of the linked document is keyed into the text and the website generator maintains the superscripts, document sectioning and the forward and backward hyperlinks.
- Directly printable Notes are automatically generated using recursive procedure calls (with a parameter to fix the depth of scan), with subtle tweaks to ensure that footnotes are only printed once and that they are printed in a sensible order (rather than when first referred to: there are references forward and backward in the document). Also, only the major Note (rather than all its footnotes) is printed if an “out of patch” reference occurs (ie. a reference to a Note in a different Note Group). Other features for printable Notes are:
- For Notes with the "link to the printed version" embedded in the Note itself, I archive the webpage for the printable version, together with the linkage to it, when the Note itself is archived (ie. as the result of amendment). Thus "printable versions" should always display the appropriate versions of all links, even when triggered from archived versions ("Previous Published Version") of the Notes.
- Printed Notes have appended to them a list of (and links to the Summaries of) all Papers and Books either Referenced by the Sub-Topic associated with the Note's title, or directly cited. Also included are all similar references in all footnotes within the depth of scan (while ensuring no duplication).
- There are "mix and match" options of printing all footnote references (including the "forwarding items") and printing the reading list.
- For Printable Notes where further footnotes are to be suppressed (either because outside the depth of scan, or because the referenced Note is "out of patch", or where referencing/forwarding of repeat footnotes is suppressed), the sub/superscripting which would otherwise encourage the reader to look for a nonexistent Footnote is suppressed.
- A page explains what's going on with printable Notes!
- A Blog and an Animadversions pages are produced, using the Notes technology, together with corresponding Jump Tables. Colour conventions have been adopted to distinguish my thoughts from those of correspondents.
- “Private” Notes that aren’t ready to be published (or are never intended for publication) are only visible on my local site, with a polite notice appearing on the public site.
- A “Temp” status allows the format / content of Notes to be iterated without burdening the archive or the public; the previously-published Note remains published until the Temp status of the Note is removed.
- A master "all by category" Jump Table shows the numbers of notes by category, and hyperlinks to the categorised Jump Tables.
- Jump Tables show the number of Notes by category that have changed in the last 1, 2 or 4 weeks, together with links to the next level jump-tables that provide a convenient route to the changed Notes.
- I have added a password-protected area to the website (initially for MPhil/PhD Supervision material). This involved some careful programming to ensure the intra-website hyperlinks in and out of this area still worked.
- Lists created of web-sites relevant to Personal Identity research and of the location and associated content-range of electronic journals.
- January 2009 upgrade:-
- Enabled hyperlinking from Books to the Papers / chapters that constitute them.
- Added a facility whereby the printing of a particular footnote can be suppressed, though the on-line hyperlinking is maintained.
- Provided an automated link from Books / Papers to the Notes referencing them (this was in addition to the links already in existence in the opposite direction).
- Added a reading-list (of works cited) at the end of the on-line Note, in addition to the list already existing in the printable version.
- Fixed the problem of the overpopulation of the Notes directory. The maximum number of files per directory (a parameter set on the server) was increased to 5,000 some while back, but a 1,000 limit is best for performance reasons, and the count in the Notes database is now over 3,000. I did this by segregating the Notes into sub-directories – one per 100 Notes-IDs (though all versions of these Notes are included, and the corresponding printable versions appear in a further sub-directory). For the historical pages, I wrote some code to read all the .htm files and replace the HREF strings.
- February 2009 upgrade:-
- Re-worked and improved my Research Papers page in the light of what I'm currently doing.
- Created automatic links from Paper Summaries to Book Summaries - to allow quick navigation from (notes on) a Paper to (those on) the other Papers in the same Book.
- Improved the Books / Papers to Notes links to include the right Version and Section (and historical Title) of the Note. Also linked to all archived versions of a Note. This was difficult!
- Improved option for Notes (re-)generation, so now have (a) Temp-only, (b) Changed-only (c) Changed & all impacted by Change (d) All.
- April 2009 upgrade:-
- Completed building a site-map of my website; both an alphabetic list, and a hierarchy by topic.
- Added high/medium/low Abstract Quality icons for Papers and Books. Defaulted the markers based on Abstract length.
- Where Papers or Books appear in categorised lists, the lists now take account of all three instances of each of the three categories (Subject, Topic and Sub-topic).
- Added a table of Notes history at the end of each Note (ie. not just the immediately previous version).
- De-duplicated the link-pages from Papers / Books to the Notes that reference them. If multiple versions of a Note reference the same Book (or Paper), only the latest version appears on the list.
Items Abandoned or Indefinitely Postponed; currently only one:
- Investigate FTP directly from MS Access. As the web-pages are generated from a database, I can easily determine which of the pages need re-publishing. The difficulty with this project would (I imagine) be writing the FTP software to manage line-failure recovery efficiently.
Reason: Creation of the Transfer directory effectively solves the problem.
Table of the Previous 4 Versions of this Note:
Summary of Note Links from this Page
To access information, click on one of the links in the table above.
Summary of Note Links to this Page
To access information, click on one of the links in the table above.
Text Colour Conventions
- Black: Printable Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2017
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2017