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Technical

This page lists the history of the website, as well as some information regarding trademarks, copyrights of images etc. If you have any comments or constructive criticisms regarding the contents of these pages, please contact the Web Master. Thank you.

Important Information

This Web Site is © Copyright 2018 Bill Parker

All trademarks used on this site are acknowledged.

Please ensure that you are familiar with the Booking Terms & Conditions in this site.

Whilst every effort has been made to be factually correct within this site, we cannot guarantee that mistakes have not been made. Nowhere on this site are any commitments made for your holiday or for Gîte availability, nor will commitment be made via e-mail. Commitment for reservations can only be made in writing after a receipt of a deposit.

All images for this site have been donated by friends, or developed in house, or claimed to be freely available on the internet. Please do not use any text or images from these web pages without written permission.

Please feel free to comment on this site, positive or negative, and let us know anything that you believe to be incorrect or which needs adding.  Contact the site Web Master, or the Gîte owners.

 

What's New
Date Changes
29/06/2009 I have removed my rather clunky Browser Detection code and replaced it with Pushup. Much neater, cleaner and faster. But I am still puzzled as to why there are so many people still using Internet Exporer version 6. The few "real" people I have met around here using it are completely computer-illiterate and have no understanding of the concept of a browser or it's version number. But surely they can't represent the majority of IE6 users can they? So I still try and cater for them there obsolete browsers as best as I can, but now a nag box will pop-up on each page. Hopefully, if enough web-sites do this, the hint will at last be taken.
25/02/2009 I haven't been very conscientious about maintaining this page. In fact, an awful lot goes on pretty much all the time. In recent months I have installed True Font Family (soon to be called Webfontz) to take care of all headings on the fly. I have now started using DomTT and Shadowbox to provide all the clever functionality of pop-up photographs and info-boxes that previously, my rather clunky home-grown code tried to handle.
2/10/2006 For some perverse reason, I decided the site's CSS needed tidying up - I also changed the basic page template to one that is more compatible across browsers (which of course, means it's a lot more complicated). The basic look'n'feel of the pages is maintained, but behind the scemes, a helluva lot has been going on. I did try to go for a fully XHTML layout, but the floating menu only works with the loosest possible description, so that knocked that on the head.
27/6/2006 Uploading the weather graphs to our webserver has become something of a nightmare. So, being the hero like what I am, I have written a perl script to do it all for me - complete with full logging and reporting. That's one niggly little task sorted, at last! Thanks to the Ixion motorcycle mailing list for the idea and help (no, really, it's not just motorcycles, it's anything - it's more like a virtual pub)
27/6/2006 Affordable broadband has arrived and we have a wireless router installed - so we are offering Internet access to those that cannot do without their "fix" of online connectivity. We're a stone building, so there'll be lotsa blind spots, but we'll get people online somehow.
5/2/2006 After a long and sometimes painful exercise involving clambering all over the property with a tape measure as well as climbing up a huge learning curve with some CAD software, I've manages to get some floor plans together, to give prospective clients a clearer idea of the size and layout of the gîtes. They are dislpayed in the relevant parts of the website - go find!
5/11/2005 After an inordinate amount of effort, I've managed to munge the data from our weather station into graphical form. I've still got the swimming pool graphs to do, but thy're relatively easy. In the end, I used Perl, one of my favourite languages to extract the data I need from the (archaic) Weather Station database and create the graphs and PHP to display them on the web site.
27/09/2005 Lots of tidying up, errors and omissions corrected and more information included (floorplans of the gîtes, more airline details and information for Bordeaux airport. Groundwork laid for a lot of rationalisation that hopefully will help make the pages faster to load.
25/02/2005 Following a long period of frenetic refurbishment, renovation and repair, we've taken lots more photographs that now reflect the rather fine condition of the premises and they're now up and on the website.
25/02/2004 Mozilla Firefox is rapidly becoming the browser of choice. I've changed the code to ensure Firefox users are now fully catered for. I still use tables rather than pure CSS - I LIKE tables! You will let me know if you experience any problems with our pages, won't you? Right, now for the weather graphs... watch this space.
06/08/2003 Firefox users were having horrendous problems navigating these pages. It was a combination of CSS, Firefox and Pop-up all combining to make an unholy mess. The workaround does not make for perfect code but at least Netscape users can make some sense of the site. Many thanks to Nancy for contacting me about this.
31/05/2003 A first pass at using CSS has improved the size and the layout of the code considerably. There is still room for improvement, especially in the use of tables used for positioning purposes, but as an initial step, it's a good 'un.
05/02/2003 Some weather info. added. Title styling changed slightly.
08/01/2003 Site Map completed.

 

To Do List
Get a mail-back brochure system running. Harder than it sounds as I have to stop black hats abusing the system.
Consider an on-line booking system? Anyone want to offer any feedback regarding if they would use such a beast?

 

This is a list of links to sites and software I have found useful in putting together this set of pages. If you spot any broken links or omissions, I'd appreciate it if you'd let me know. Thanks.

 

Vim Vim is a Windows version of vi, the hoary old UNIX editor. Since I was brought up on UNIX, I actually enjoy using this editor. You, however, would probably be better off with something like UltraEdit. And I really don't need to know that you think EMACS is the best thing since sliced bread!
Perl Like vi, perl, my favourite programming language, evolved on UNIX systems but is readily available on many Operating Systems now. Although I do use perl a lot (albeit badly) in my work, it also has a use here helping me batch edit and maintain the web pages. Activestate produce, maintain and generally do an all-round superb job of providing the Windoze and Linux variants.
Adobe Photoshop Eye-wateringly expensive and I'll be spending the rest of my life trying to become competent using even a fraction of all the features. All images on this site were hacked about by Photoshop at one stage or another and I claim I find Photoshop to be as useful to me as Micro$oft Office. Paint Shop Pro is the obvious alternative, but I've never really got on with the interface (thats rich, if you've ever seen the Photoshop one!)
Dreamweaver I'm now using Dreamweaver, as it seems to be becoming the editor of choice for many web coders. But it is seriously pricey and I use only a fraction of it's capabilities, so there is an element of overkill in my using it. It used to be Macromedia, but now Adobe own it.
Pop Up Pop Up Menu creator is easy to use, produces professional results and has a small code footprint in my HTML. I certainly prefer it to your average mouseover menu system.
Xara Xara 3D has been used to create all the paragraph and section headings used on these pages. I'm sure the movie mogul Sam Goldwyn once said of Clark Gable - "We're over-paying him, but he's worth it" - and thats the way I feel about this product. It does an excellent job, I don't know anything that comes close to the functionality of Xara3D but somehow it costs just a bit too much. Probably the worst thing I can say about this product is that their Customer Support is dire - I've never had a support call answered yet.
AltDesk AltDesk provides me with multiple virtual screens. I use the plain skin, approximately 50% transparency and I can open up as many windows/programs as I like without getting too confused.
Metty Metty is a simple little tool for producing metatags for the pages. It's free and it works - is more of a recommendation needed?
kd kd is another small, simple application. It produces thumbnails of images. Again, it works extremely well and it's free, so I'm very happy with it.
Microangelo I occasionally need to extract icons for use as images on the pages (irrespective of copyright issues - I DO only use them to refer to their respective software programs, after all) - so for me, Microangelo is the only way to do it, but again, I'm not sure I use it enough to actually buy it.
HyperSnap DX As with icons, it's sometimes useful to grab hold of screen shots. I am therefore also evaluating HyperSnap-DX to judge if I use it enough to justify buying it.

 

Change History
Ver Date Changes
5.1 5/11/2005 The PHP code that generates these pages was getting a bit chunky and so I've set up a cron job to recreate these pages on a daily basis. That would normally be total overkill, but to does allow me to ensure the weather graphs are updated regulalry, which is a Good Thing. There is still some room for "cleaning" the code but a) if it works, don't fix it and b) I need to think about rationalising the CSS I use next.
5.0 29/10/2003 http://www.maisonfamille.com is now the default web site, with all other sites pointing to this one. http://www.gites.org.uk still exists but at the time of writing is down thanks to a first-class cock-up somewhere around the Nominet end of things (they detagged the name after not receiving our renewal form and are really dragging their heels on getting it up and running again.) When it comes up, I'll simply redirect it to point at http://www.maisonfamille.com. I've taken the opportunity to move the site to a new host with lashings of more disk space, a better (in my opinion) mail system and (admittedly, at a price) a lot more reliability.
4.0 26/05/2003 CSS styles introduced. This has the following benefits :-
  • Pages are more easily maintainable.
  • By following standards, the pages should display in a consistent manner across browsers.
  • The pages are smaller in size, thus reducing bandwidth.
  • The code within the pages is now much cleaner and easier to follow.
  • I can add the skill to my CV!
3.4 20/05/2003 The following domain namespaces now exist All the "maison famille" namespaces point to http://www.maisonfamille.com for the time being, while I decide what to do with them.
3.3 03/01/2003 Route planning pages and links added. Some prepatory work done on Site Map and Photo Gallery. Watch this space!
3.2 08/12/2002 Most of the hits to the page have been from people using lo-res browsers. So I've re-hashed the pages to work at 800x600. I've also reduced the garishness of the paragraph titles somewhat.
3.1 22/11/2002 Well, we're pretty much a live site now. The brochure and booking forms are now PDFs in deference to those not convinced of the Microsoft way of life. Some pages remain to be written but we're 90% there with the important pages up and running.
3.0 14/11/2002 We've now produced the first release of our new look web site, which we hope you'll find even easier to navigate around. Mind you, it did take a bit longer than one day to produce!
2.3 1/11/2002 We've taken over both the property and the website from the previous owners, Jennie & Colin Jones. Their son has been responsible for the website up 'til now. We have therefore made a hasty hack of the current pages to display the 2003 season and to update all references to point to us. We WILL update the pages properly just as soon as we can. Watch this space!

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