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Home to Roost

Tempting them in

Food!

Not just birds?

Predators - a problem

Ponds and water

Visitors

My garden plan

Plants in my garden

Trees I planted

How I started

Downloads

Technical Details

Photo Gallery

The kiss of the sun for pardon
The song of the birds for mirth
One is nearer God‘s heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.
How this site is made
Nice?If you're reading this then you must interested in the technical aspects of this web-site, perhaps with a view to using some of the techniques I have used here?

If you don't fancy writing the necessary code for a web site, use a web generation tool. There are numerious to choose from, many freeware, some paid for like Microsoft's™ Frontpage which does a good job.

If not, choose another menu item coz you don't want to be here - this is geek land!
Technical summary
This site is written in HTML (as is every web page), using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), PHP programming language and a bit of JavaScript for good measure. Eventually I'll probably use a MySQL database for some of the database. Maybe.

If you are a seasoned web designer then you won't need me to tell you how to suck eggs (or perhaps I should say POST and GET your information) but for those looking at adapting some of the techniques I've used here, let me give you a potted history on how you might create site like this.

Firstly, you need to understand HTML (HyperText Markup Language) which is, believe it or not, pretty straightforward. If you've ever used WordPerfect™ with its "Reveal" feature then you already have the concept. For all others, I'd say buy that HTML for Dummies book and plough through it.

There are any number of free HTML editors out there (I started with AceHTML Free) which is more than enough for beginners. It really lets you code HTML and switch back and forth to view the results in an instant, which I found really let me experiment.

I would also say, ignore CSS or any other "add-on" to plain HTML until you understand HTML. There will come a time, however, when you need to understand CSS, and more importantly, why design should be divorced from content. To take a trivial example, let's say you have coded your wonder web with a 24 point header in green, using just HTML. Then you want to change it to 22 points and red. You will have to re-edit the heading HTML on each page to make the adjustment. Not a big deal if you have a 5 page web site, but it really sucks if you have to do it to 20 pages or more (apologies for the americanism there).

Using CSS you can say: print my heading here, using the style I previously described called "MainHeading" and low and behold it read the particular style and applies it to the heading. The CSS takes care of all formatting and positioning so you just code the content, just as I am doing here; you don't think I created each one of these little boxes by hand do you?

Finally, you need to understand PHP to get a dynamic site like this. You could emulate a lot of the dynamisism by using JavaScript but frankly, speaking from experience, PHP is better. The best thing about PHP is that it is free and most ISPs will host your site with PHP for no extra cost.

With PHP goes MySQL, a database programming tool that I have experimented with but have not used on a live site (yet). When I do, I'll let you know.
Essential equipment
You need a computer. Yes, really.

More importantly, you need a computer that others are not going to muck about with and alter so much that you cannot develop your web site. Although computers are pretty cheap these days, not many people will buy a dedicated machine for themselves, so I have another technique that I use.

I have placed the hard disk into a hard disk caddy; this is a sort of drawer that plugs in and out of the computer. I'll tell you what, I'll take a quick picture or two to show you...

Disk CaddySo here we have a disk caddy that you plug into a slot like the one your CD goes into. You can have your own, and the kids their own.

That way, whatever they do, they won't destroy your setup.

Did I mention that a digital camera is very useful? At the time of writing I've only had mine for about 2 weeks and it is already indispensible in creating this site. Well, I guess this site needs more pictures than most but even so, it's a fantastic piece of equipement for £100.