&   SEARCH
David A. Cushman logo
Coding Standards
used on Dave Cushman's Bee Website

Prior to 2000

I had a vague idea that I would at some time produce a beekeeping website. This was particularly important in respect of the loss (due to bankruptcy) of a great amount of records and data from my research. The research was conducted over a 15 year period between 1980 and 1995 and amounted to around 12,000 hours of work. This work duplicated the experiments conducted by many of the 'all time greats' of beekeeping as well as testing out many ideas that I generated myself. Mainly these new ideas were developments of existing features to make either the beekeeper's life easier or maybe increase the productivity of the bees or in some cases simplifying and rendering the equipment less expensive to make.

Between 1984 and 1995 all computing was done on a pair of Amstrad PCW type computers that were networked together, each with many bolt on upgrades and modifications. Since bankruptcy and the subsequent confiscation of this equipment, none of this data was able to be saved in any form other than a few photocopied sheets (mainly catalogue pages and leaflets).

After discharge from bankruptcy and the onset of considerable heart trouble that rendered me incapable of physical work... I purchased a Psion 5PDA partly because I could not afford a desktop PC and partly due to my existing knowledge of the Psion 3a pocket computer and was thus familiar with the OPL programming language. I was a little peeved to find that the Psion 5 was really intended to be used as an adjunct to a PC, but nevertheless I used it to produce various documents that would eventually find their way onto the web.

During 1999 I had some heart surgery that had been delayed by government financial constraints and an emphasis on waiting list reduction rather than clinical need. The delays meant that by the time I underwent the surgery only some of the required work could actually be completed and this has left me with a considerable lack of physical strength and stamina. However by this time the price of PCs had dropped considerably and it made sense to utilise my enforced resting periods by using a computer to produce a few web pages about some of the aspects of beekeeping that I had done research on.

During Spring 2000

I taught myself about what coding standards I would adopt for a website and bought a book on HTML. I decided originally that my website would not be constrained or limited by any commercially produced software and this has been the case... It is all handwritten HTML, with a little JavaScript and some CSS thrown in. I do use some 'Freeware' bits and pieces to make life easier, but these are mainly tag checkers and code verifiers and do not actually generate any code.

On April 1st 2000 (all fools day) I started writing some code. My first attempts were crude, but I like to explore different possibilities and so my experimental first fifty or so pages were a very strange mixture of styles. I make no apologies for the unruly nature of some of these early pages... I was exploring the perception of them from the point of view of someone with less than perfect eyesight and as mistakes were uncovered the pages concerned were re-vamped into styles that were acceptable.


Many more pages were added, more experimental layouts and much more refinement of style occurred.


By May of year 2002 the standards had evolved into the basic pattern that you see today, but with two distinctly different approaches in different sections. Some parts used totally textual navigation, but the links were 'dressed up' to look like buttons, other portions had graphical navigation buttons of a static nature. Extra sections for darts and pétanque were added and the model aircraft and shooting sections were completely re-vamped to conform to similar style along with the ham radio and electronics sections. This major overhaul set the style for the future with plenty of room for refinement and left many old pages to be brought up to a similar standard. At this point I decided to keep track of updates, corrections and so on that occurred to the content of a page.

2003 issue 1

Favicons were brought in during February 2003, in order that similar pages may be grouped and identified. A small .gif was added at the bottom of each page in order to keep track of the progress of modifications in style and layout to old pages, this consists of the legend G8MZY in the colour of the year, as far as the resistor colour code is concerned, along with an issue number again coloured in conformance with resistor codes.

2003 issue 2

Word wrapping in the footer region of the page that shows the updates and modifications to the page, was the main issue addressed at this time.

2003 issue 3

A new directory structure was introduced in order to reduce the numbers of files in some of the larger directories, which were large and slow to search through from an administrative point of view.

2003 issue 4

I had long been confused by the way some browsers handled table layout and this issue reflects forced CELLPADDING and CELLSPACING attributes in order to overcome this.

2003 issue 5

This issue refined the forced CELLPADDING and CELLSPACING attributes and addressed a longstanding problem of centering of the logo within it's red frame. The spacing of button elements in the left hand end of the footer was reduced, giving a neater appearance and more space for the updates.

New Domain and new directory structure

This was (and still is) a huge undertaking, with about 2,000 pages already involved on the site and about 5,000 more in progress. It became necessary for several reasons... The site was spread over five chunks of webspace, with many hyperlinks and this made transplanting the website to another place impossible. As I have made arrangements for the continuation of the availability of the site after my death it had to be self contained. The transplanting job allows for the New Domain to be better structured from a directory point of view and the transplanting of each file gave an opportunity to bring the files up to the latest standards. As the site was originally cobbled together from several free allocations of webspace, many search engines ignored it's content. I do not expect to complete this transfer before 2009 and even that target is slipping

Online sales facility

Before my disablement I had intended to use the web to sell bee products and a small amount of specialised bee breeding equipment. That goal is now un-achievable, but I have a few items of secondhand beekeeping kit to sell and I have been involved in organising production batches of special beekeeping items.
So during February and March 2004 I worked up a system based on PayPal payment that will gradually become a fully fledged shopping system. The button that will link to this facility from any pages where the content is relevant is shown at right.

This is not a commercial venture or profit-making business, but is intended to enable me to sell my remaining beekeeping equipment as my health declines along with various domestic items.

2004 issue 1

May 2004 was about time to introduce highlighted navigation buttons that also have a very minor animated quality giving an indication of movement. In addition I have unified the graphic buttons with the text links and the buttons that were based on text rather than graphics. I had resisted this upgrade until I had developed enough skill to do the job in a fashion that was economic in system resources as well as being slick and not 'gimmicky'.

Any text, acronym or abbreviation that has a feint light green highlight, has additional information available as a 'tool tip' if you hover your mouse over the highlighted text.

2004 issue 2

With all things there may be unseen snags and late in June 2004 I noticed some sluggish operation of the dynamic buttons under some circumstances. As I like to consider that my website is slick in operation (even if it is untidy in places) I resolved to sort this out quickly. On this occasion luck was on my side and I was quickly able to redevelop a system that I had been contemplating for another purpose. In the process of this redevelopment I was able to increase the 3D effect of the buttons while retaining the original style.

Having made these changes I had to revamp my Cascading Style Sheets in order to satisfy the stringent HTML 4.01 Standard. As I had no way of knowing which of my pages actually complied with the standard, W3C. standards (Link) I decided to add yet another feature to each page that had actually been through the full validation process on the W3 website I have devised a .gif that is shown in the group at bottom right of the page that will only be placed in position after the file has been checked and a code compliance note issued.

      Website Standards        
This Site Aims to have Valid HTML 4.01! Use the link to validate your own HTML code (not all pages comply yet!) CSS Code fully in accordance with W3 Standards, Use the link to validate your own Cascading Style Sheets Suits ANY Browser, with appologies to W3C for pinching their style Totally Handwritten Code, None Has been Generated by any Software, with appologies to W3C for pinching their style

The .gif that indicates code compliance has been designed as a shorthand version that embodies the essence of the W3 'official' .gifs that appear as the top two in the group at the left. The other two are my own similar items that indicate my adherence (or at least pursuance of) the campaign for all code to be properly visible on any browser (not the case with many proprietary software applications that claim to produce HTML code). The second of these two shows my passion for superior quality HTML coding that can only ever be achieved by doing the job yourself, by hand.

This hand coding approach gives complete flexibility over all aspects of page rendition and at the same time takes less time to achieve and the code is more compact and slick. Another feature that I have been promoting for some time is that it takes less time to learn how to code manually than it does to learn how to use a software application.

2004 issue 3... 12 September 2004

Bug fixed in hover halo on 'coding standards' button and size of button increased for greater readability. Automatic logo width for different screen resolutions or layouts. Incorporation of 'code fragments routine' rejected owing to non-standard rendition in IE 5.5 (MS security bug fix problem).

2004 issue 4 and issue 5... 17 September 2004

Two new standards introduced... For a long time it has bugged me that I have been unable to achieve exactly what I wanted to display, because of the non compliance of the common browsers with the later HTML and CSS standards. This makes it impossible to write effective minimal length code without including browser specific tags. As I am not prepared to put, redundant, browser specific coding into my documents I have decided to adopt a 'three pronged' approach. From now on my code will fall into three possible groupings that will be nominated by their issue number, conversly the issue number will indicate the standard to which the page has been validated. In addition to the above reasons, the adoption of XHTML, both brings my coding more up to date as well as allowing me the use of XML within the same coding structure.

HTML 4.01 Transitional (or Strict)

Coding Standard 2004 Issue 3, HTML 4.01 Transitional or Strict

XHTML 1.0 Transitional

Coding Standard 2004 Issue 4, HTML 4.01 Transitional or Strict

XHTML 1.0 Strict

Coding Standard 2004 Issue 5, HTML 4.01 Transitional or Strict

These coding standards will be used according to the way a particular page is intended to look and will be identified by the related issue number. The intention is that the coding will be to the highest standard possible, bearing in mind browser rendition of the code concerned. The validation .gif at the page bottom will reflect the HTML or XHTML standard that the page has been validated to.