A Trio of Websites

It’s been a busy couple of months at Cold Arid Code, with efforts over the last couple of months being concentrated on building two websites for a non-profit wildlife organisation based in West London, followed by the migration of a third non-profit organisation website to a new hosting provider.

I am not a professional web developer but I have a background in programming from my previous day job and some history with developing an early basic website, hand-coded in html, and subsequently rebuilt and improved with the help of an old copy of DreamWeaver.  More recently I developed my own site in WordPress and a second site for my local canoeing and kayaking club.

As a result I was happy to volunteer my services to help WildChiswick with their requirement for a site to run their planned photography competition. On the face of it this was a simple enough requirement, a couple of pages to introduce the competition and lay out the rules, and a photo competition plugin to handle the heavy lifting of handling photo submissions and providing a judging framework. I was way too optimistic! The basic introductory pages were easy enough but there was no suitable photo competition plugin, at least within the allocated budget, and finding form builders that would handle both image uploads and automatic posting to the website front-end also proved difficult. 

A solution was eventually found, without the need for a  photo competition plugin and the site (snapwildchiswick.com) was successfully soft launched and then remained largely inactive for a couple of months, pending the start of the competition.  During the last three weeks as the mid-June competition start date approached, newly requested amendments and an intermittent submission error (eventually tracked down to a caching issue) kept me busier than planned.

Following the initial soft release of the photo competition website, I started work on rebuilding the main WildChiswick website (wildchiswick.com) using an offline tool which allowed me to make good use of a couple of eight hour flights (as a passenger). The idea behind the new development was to make it easier to add new content and to make it generally more dynamic than the existing site. To fulfil this brief, I built the site using a blog based approach, allowing for quick updates of the latest WildChiswick activities, whilst also adding a number of static pages to provide more detail on the bigger ongoing projects.

In addition, photo sliders, a randomised picture gallery and a page displaying the latest social media posts were employed to help provide some variety for repeat visitors.  

Work on the two WildChiswick sites was completed just in time to enable me to turn my attention to upcoming expiry of the Chiswick Pier Canoe Club’s (chiswickcanoeclub.co.uk) current hosting plan, at the end of June.

Unfortunately the club had outgrown the space offered on their existing hosting package and were also struggling with space on the included email accounts. Buying a package with more space on the current host was an expensive option, so the club decided to go with my recommendation to migrate to a new host, on a four year deal which offered an overall better package (for the club’s needs) and included significantly more space for a slightly lower annual cost.  The migration was relatively straight forward with almost no site downtime, although post migration there were a few minor issues to resolve, resulting from changes to the email configurations for the club officials.

I am now hoping to make a start on my idea for a new iPhone app, which will be my first using SwiftUI rather than Swift with UIKit.  It’s going to be another interesting few months!