Our website was originally built and hosted for many years by Mike Stannet and Noise Factory. Malcolm Douglas was webmaster and editor-in-chief here between 2001-2009. The site is now maintained and moderated by Mark Nielsen (email: mark AT seedlingmedia [dot] co [dot] uk), who can be contacted for all enquiries.
This version of our website was published on Friday 23rd October, 2009. Mark built it using the Drupal open-source content management system. This free system enables us to host our own very powerful community website with free support and upgrades from the Drupal community.
Drupal is itself a very accessible system for visitors and contributors. Our website should be easy for anybody to browse and contribute to, whether you are a seasoned technophile, or very new to websites and the internet, or a visually impaired visitor using assistive technology.
If you do experience any problems using the website, please do let us know about them. We would like to have the opportunity to improve your experience here, in any way we can. In the first instance, please send a message to the webmaster explaining the problem. He’ll get right back to you with some immediate advice and then look into ways the problem might be properly solved.
Malcolm worked very hard to ensure the original SRFAN website looked just the same in any web browser, even the oldest. Mark has had to revise this approach somewhat, in the interests of manageability. Fully supporting browsers older than Internet Explorer 6 or Netscape 7 can only be done by writing complex HTML code with multiple-redundancy built in. With this approach, the formatting is embedded in the articles so completely that it makes them very difficult to change as the internet changes.
After the Browser Wars of the late 1990s, the body responsible for web standards, the W3C, backed up by grass-roots organisations representing designers and internet workers, became more assertive and managed to persuade the major browser makers (Microsoft and Netscape at the time) to ensure their browsers worked in a predictable, reliable and standard way. It took a while, but as the browsers gradually began to follow the standards, website developers were able to spend much less time worrying about which browser to support and more time producing good websites.
When Malcolm took on the SRFAN website, we were just past the peak of the Browser Wars, and many of us were using old browsers like Netscape 4 and Internet Explorer 4 that worked in strange and wonderful ways. Malcolm had little choice but to support these visitors, who often could not choose the browser they used. Today, thankfully, nearly everybody is using a reasonably standards-compliant web browser, hence we’ve been able to adopt a more scalable and future-resistant approach to the new website. Even so, the content that Malcolm produced is going to take a long time to convert—but I’m sure we’d all agree that it is a worthy cause to ensure his material is available in perpetuity.
So, the bottom line is that today’s, standards-based approach may mean our new website looks a little different if your browser is older than eight or nine years. In a very old browser, you may get almost no formatting or layout at all. But you will always be able to access the content of the website, and your browser will be protected from anything that might cause it to crash. And, when all is said and done, those are the most important things.