Barn Owl
Blackbird
Blackcap
Black-headed Gull
Black Redstart
Blue Tit
Brambling
Bullfinch
Buzzard
Carrion Crow
Chaffinch
Chiffchaff
Coal Tit
Collared Dove
Common Gull
Coot
Crested Tit
Crossbill
Cuckoo
Dunnock
Feral Pigeon
Fieldfare
Garden Warbler
Goldcrest
Goldfinch
Goshawk
Great Black-backed Gull
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Great Tit
Greenfinch
Green Woodpecker
Grey Heron
Grey Partridge
Grey Wagtail
Hawfinch
Herring Gull
Hoopoe
House Martin
House Sparrow
Jackdaw
Jay
Kestrel
Kingfisher
Lapwing
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
Lesser Whitethroat
Linnet
Little Owl
Long-eared Owl
Long-tailed Tit
Magpie
Mallard
Marsh Tit
Meadow Pipit
Mistle Thrush
Moorhen
Nightingale
Nuthatch
Peregrine
Pheasant
Pied Flycatcher
Pied Wagtail
Quail
Raven
Red Kite
Red-legged Partridge
Redpoll
Redstart
Redwing
Reed Bunting
Ring-necked Parakeet
Robin
Rook
Sand Martin
Serin
Short-eared Owl
Siskin
Skylark
Song Thrush
Sparrowhawk
Spotted Flycatcher
Starling
Stock Dove
Stonechat
Swallow
Swift
Tawny Owl
Treecreeper
Tree Sparrow
Turtle Dove
Waxwing
Whinchat
Whitethroat
Willow Tit
Willow Warbler
Wood Pigeon
Wren
Yellow Wagtail
Yellowhammer

British Garden Birds Logo Home page. Bird identification guide. Site map. Discussion board. Articles on birds and birdwatching. Having problems? Search this website. Photograph album. Guestbook for your comments. News about the birds in my garden. Contact us. Test your identification skills. About this website. Field trip reports. Links to other websites. Awards won by this website. British Garden Birds Navigation Map

A trip down memory lane...

Back in 1998 I decided it was time to learn more about the web publishing, but needed a topic... How about the birds in my garden, after all, I had earlier that year started the BTO Garden Birdwatch survey? The rest, as they say, is history, and the following is a potted history of the site's development.

I started learning about web or HTML publishing using Corel WordPerfect, producing pages in the word processor and publishing it in HTML format. The pages were never published on the internet - that was another hurdle - as I was rather unhappy with the appearance.

The very first. Never published, until now.

I bought a book called "Teach Yourself HTML Publishing on the World Wide Web" by Mac Bride. This book is, I believe, now out of print but is one of the best "teach yourself" books I've ever read. As a control engineer, most of my working life is spent programming computer systems to control machinery, so I was happier when I could start building pages by typing the HTML code and so have complete control over layout, appearance, etc.

The next step was to figure out how to get the pages on to the internet - quite easy as it happens, upload to the web space provided by your internet service provider using an FTP client - all gobbledegook at the time! The web site had brief biographies of 44 species, and BirdGuides very kindly granted permission to use pictures from the videos on their CD-ROM. The site was launched!

Version 1 - 14 February 1999 on virgin.net

Dynamic content was the "in thing" and so I experimented with JavaScript; for example, the menu items changed appearance as you hovered over them. I also experimented with framesets, which continue to be used today for the LHS bird index. A guest book was added and also biographies for a couple more bird species. The web site used valid HTML 4 and the pages appeared correctly in most browsers.

Version 2 - 16 January 2000 on virgin.net

The frameset became a more dominant feature after receiving favourable comments from the site's visitors, which totalled about 30 per week. I continued to experiment with various other techniques, such as style sheets, and different layouts, including key identification details for the species. The site was registered with Internet Content Rating Association so that parental controls would allow children to visit the site; a similar service rejected my registration because of certain birds' names! Information about feeding was added to the species' pages.

Version 3 - 26 May 2000 on virgin.net

I discovered animated GIF files and so a few of these appeared hear and there - for example, the Robin & Blue Tit logo made way for a waving Union Jack. The top menu items included graphics that were animated using JavaScript. The most significant change was the addition of sound clips, having obtained permission from Sittelle, and the number of species increased to 48.

The remains of this web site are still visible, see http://freespace.virgin.net/david.gains/.

Version 3.1 - 28 August 2000 on virgin.net

Increasing problems with virgin.net resulted in a move to BTInternet and a significant, inexplicable change in the appearance of the web site, though the Robin & Blue Tit returned. The web site used valid HTML 4.01 and most of the JavaScript disappeared so that pages appeared and worked correctly in most browsers. There were now 63 bird species, an identification quiz was added and breeding information was added for all species.

The biggest, long lasting change was the purchase of the domain name www.garden-birds.co.uk, which was used in conjunction with a web forwarding service that redirected people to the BTInternet web space, "www.btinternet.com/~david.gains".

The web site received a Golden Web Award from the International Association of Web Masters & Designers.

Version 3.2 - 25 December 2000 on BTInternet

The next revision was major and took several months; as the site grew in size it was taking more time to maintain and so it was overhauled to make better use of templates and style sheets. The frameset was simplified so that instead of there being 3 frames (top, left and right) there were just two (left and right). The logo and banner changed, again, and the JavaScript hover menu items were replaced with simple text.

The bird species pages were changed to present key information at a glance at the top of the page and with improved navigation in the page and between species. Distribution maps were added for the first time. There were now 77 species covered.

To increase the number of visitors, details were submitted to as many free search engines, such as Yahoo, AltaVista, Lycos, etc., as possible.

Version 4 - 4 August 2001 on BTInternet

Still not happy with the appearance, so I tried a scheme based on green, which was quite easy to implement through using style sheets.

Version 4.1 - 3 January 2002 on BTInternet

Evidently, I was happy with green and I remember receiving an e-mail from someone praising the colour scheme, but also one from someone else complaining that it used all their green ink! I also spent a lot of time designing a new logo and navigation bar that provided links using a client-side image map.

There were now 94 species - I'd asked visitors to let me know of species they wanted adding. This was also the time that both the Discussion Board and Photo Album appeared.

Version 5 - 31 March 2002 on BTInternet

By now, I was reasonably happy with the appearance but chose to use a very pale green JPEG tile to improve contrast between words and background to make the text more readable. The number of bird species hit the magic 100 mark!

The web site was awarded a BTDesign Award for the high educational quality of both design and content, and was Website of the Month in BBC Gardeners' World magazine (April 2004).

Version 6 - 16 August 2003 on Webfusion

The latest incarnation has improved accessibility around the site, by providing shortcut keys, and to information by reducing the number of pop-up windows. Standard link colours have been restored. The web site now uses valid XHTML 1.0 and extensive use of cascading style sheets (CSS).

Also, a survey in 2005 solicited the opinions of visitors about the site appearance and content and any changes that they would welcome. Over the following months, these opinions were incorporated into the web site:

Of course, perhaps the biggest change was the move from a shared hosting service to a virtual private server because of the site's popularity and increased bandwidth requirements.

Version 7 - 7 March 2006 on Pipex (VPS)


 


Last revision: 21 Feb 2015
Copyright © David Gains 1999-2017.
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