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Bonkers Blog February 2015

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8 February - This Website

If you looked at this page just before the evening of Sunday 8th February 2015 it would be the last time you’d see Bexley-is-Bonkers in its old form.

When the site was launched in September 2009 it comprised just a few ‘news’ pages. There was no blog; that came a month or so later and had very few entries, so few in fact that it was one year per page.

When a yearly page became too big it was broken up (old pages too) into the monthly chunks with which you will be familiar.

I became aware a couple of years ago that people were visiting B-i-B with Mobile phones and from 1st July 2013 pages were written with a ‘half width’ mode, more suitable for Mobile use, in mind. Earlier pages have been progressively modified over the last month or two so that they better cater for Mobile mode and all pages have undergone changes that allow a more consistent layout in Mobile mode. Unless you regularly look at old pages where some still have images which do not allow text to wrap around them you are unlikely to have noticed.

The next set of changes is very noticeable.

So far this year nearly 64% of visitors to B-i-B have been from traditional desktop or laptop computers, nearly 19% from mobile phones and 18% from tablets. What proportion of that 36% are using the mobile provider’s network is unknown but I know of people who read Bonkers on their way home from work on the train. Loading a whole month’s worth of blogs is a lot of data if the intention is to read only the latest blog, and obviously it’s wasteful. Even worse are the link backs to old blogs; another month’s worth of data for one snippet of information. So blogs are going daily; well smaller than daily, they are going ’individual’. This should dramatically reduce the data throughput.

Traditionalists should not feel left out. The menu will continue to provide a complete month of blogs but the Index pages and links back to old blogs will only fetch the single blog required.

On a technical note, the Index page won’t actually exist as a discrete file, the server will construct it from blog titles saving me the effort of writing it or making more typing errors. Also the new blog pages use HTML5 which means that only recent web browsers will render them correctly. Support for the twelve year old Internet Explorer 6 has gone.

Because this is a very considerable revision it will only apply from January 2015 and I cannot see any way of going back further without either taking B-i-B off air for a very long time or perhaps more practically, leaving earlier pages non-functional while the changes are made. Even then I suspect it might take six months if I spent an hour a day on it.

One facility will disappear, the Info button on the banner, not because it doesn’t work under the new system but because I rather belatedly discovered that it loads the data for all 85 banners even though it displays only one. Very nearly a quarter of a megabyte - not exactly Mobile friendly. At the moment I have no idea how the banner Info can be restored in a more efficient manner. The 'Clear banner clutter' option (which is under the Info button) will go too but that shouldn’t be too difficult to reprovide another way. A quarter of a megabyte per page load for an infrequently used facility is not sensible.

For the time being the red Info button will remain on Blog banners but will do nothing. It will continue to function on other pages.

There will be other minor cosmetic changes and probably some things I haven’t thought of yet. What I can foresee is that links from external sites to January and February blogs will fail as will RSS feed links but new RSS links should carry on as before. Hopefully the disadvantages will be outweighed by the reduced load times.

All changes are confined to Blog pages. The remainder of the site will be unchanged and will retain the banner Info facility.


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