Some Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society website updates…..and a look back at 20 years online.

Not accurate depiction of new web host (screenshot of the TTCS website in 1999)

Over the past few weeks, the TTCS has transitioned to a new web host. One of the key benefits and goals was to implement https:// ( Read from Google why https:// is important) instead of http:// throughout the site.

A challenge to implement https:// throughout was a large number of passive mixed content affecting (350+ links) according to https://www.missingpadlock.com/, due to content (images, documents) still being served from ttcs.wordpress.com when we were using wordpress.com as a blog off the static ttcsweb.org website from around 2007 to 2010/11. Also (over 600 crawl errors were detected due to broken links from web content spanning 20+ years online with links from ttcsweb.org.

So over the past three  weeks, a lot of post re-editing was done to ensure that the online website history of the TTCS from 1995 to now is now fully within our  WordPress CMS. In going through this excercise, I thought I’ll share some history of how the TTCS was “on the web” since 1997.

History of TTCS online

1997-1999

We used http://www.opus.co.tt/ttcs/ thanks to Opus Networx. We started with a two versions of the site, a framed and non framed version.

1999

Around 1999, we eliminated the framed version in favour of the non framed version.

Internet Archive link of opus.co.tt/ttcs from April 2009

1999 – ttcsweb.org used

At the end of 1999, we decided on getting ttcsweb.org which was donated by Opus Networx. The first design went like this :

Internet Archive link of ttcsweb.org circa Sept 2000

end of 2000 – redesign of ttcsweb.org

Using more colour schemes! This was still using tables for layout

Internet Archive link of ttcsweb.org circa 2000

2002 – redesign of ttcsweb.org

The redesign of the main page went live on April 6th, 2002 used CSS instead of HTML tables or Javascript for layout.

2003

In October 2003, the site was redesigned again

Internet Archive Link of ttcsweb.org in 2003

This core design which validated as HTML v4.01 strict stayed with ttcsweb.org until 2011. We started paying for web hosting around 2005 and still do to this day

All of these previous versions were static HTML files, meaning no content management system like WordPress or Drupal was used. Just creating and editing HTML files directly and using FTP to upload to the web server.

Notepad was the key editor used to edit the html files up to 1998-1999 under Windows 3.x, but in the Win98SE days from 1998 to 2002, a editor called xEdit was used with provided syntax highlighting and the ability to edit multiple files via a tabbed notebook UI. Under Windows XP, Programmer’s Notepad was used and around 2010 or so, used Notepad++.

Around 2004, a program called a HTML preprecessor called PPWIZARD was used to generate the html files from text files around 2004 which aided in reusing code snippets throughout the site.

We experimented with blogger in 2004 in preparation for a 2004 tech meeting, but didn’t continue using it.

In 2006, a wiki at Pbwiki was created to allow for members to collaborate on content and in 2007 a “blog” at wordpress.com (ttcs.wordpress.com) was added at to allow for easier posting and subscribing to updates.

Which helped somewhat but then this created challenges of having content scattered over multiple platforms and that TTCS content was not under one domain name. The website had been designed without concepts of mobile or responsive web design so a redesign again was needed.

Hence the moves to move content to WordPress from 2011 first under cs.tt and now ttcs.tt. This was indeed a laborious process, especially for the static files which required manual creation of category posts and pages to be created and copy and paste. And copy and paste. And copy and paste. And editing. And editing. 🙂

As part of the migration to the new host for ttcs.tt, we’ve removed the ttcs.wordpress.com, pbwiki content and the static files from ttcsweb.org so that all of the content will be findable under ttcs.tt. http://ttcsweb.org/ and http://cs.tt redirects to ttcs.tt.

Having said that, we are using the default theme. Anyone wishing to help come up with a improved theme, please contact the TTCS at [email protected] .

(Update : 27 Sept 2016 – expanded discussion of text editors used to code the website and expanded on what PPWIZARD did. )