All the applications are server-side PERL CGI scripts, dynamically generating high quality html pages when a web page is requested. They have been developed and enhanced over two decades and the resulting websites have been the subject of client and peer review as well as formal usability evaluation.
The overall objective has been to create an environment which allows staff with a minimum of technical knowledge to maintain a professional quality website and to configure and deploy the other applications. Website maintenance responsibility can if desired be shared between a number of staff, for example website content can be independently managed by a number of people whilst being certain that overall 'look and feel' remains consistent. These capabilities are targeted at making it easy to keep a website fully up-to-date.
Every website using these applications uses exactly the same CGI scripts (no variations whatsoever), thus upgrading is a simple matter of replacing the old scripts with the newer ones. Content, including menus, is entirely controlled by text files in a simple format. Website style is managed partly by the applications as determined by the text files, together with css style sheets. Since web pages are created dynamically, when any of the text files changes, content (and if relevant menus and layout) of the website is immediately changed.
All applications and text files are in UTF-8 format, which is becoming the standard Internet character encoding.
Main website drivers
From the same single set of content, menu and configuration text files, these three drivers deliver the appropriate website pages. This is a major maintenance advantage.
- main.pl Normal website driver. Functionality includes a full diary, an interactive repertoire and most recently an image gallery. Printing of web pages is particularly well handled. The site map, views of multiple or all pages and administrative page are generated automatically. Thus, the site map and the multiple page views are always consistent with the menu and no maintenance is needed.
- text.pl Driver for disability users conforming to EU guidelines
Supporting applications (most are password protected)
- [application_unavailable_to_unauthorised_browsers] Used for online updating of all files controlling website content and layout. Includes diary, database and gallery image uploads
- q.pl Flexible questionnaire driver. Questionnaires are set up with a single text file plus a few configuration settings
- qa.pl Questionnaire analysis application, including user-defined reports and a tabular interface for additional external spreadsheet analysis
- logan.pl Log file analysis, generally run offline (very resource intensive because of the large amounts of data in log files)
Database applications (password protected)
- email.pl Generation of selected email lists from an online members/contacts database. Selection is defined by role, which can include eg voice (SATB), contact database category or committee role. Selection by date (membership date or date to contact database) will be available shortly.
- list2email.pl Generation of email lists from a name list, including the option to generate emails of persons not on the list
- inf.pl Enquiry system to search an online members/contacts database
A suite of applications developed for a client for multi-language conference invoices for delegates and a multi-language online conference parallel session booking system that delegates themselves use.
The applications are written generically like the others, but might need some adjustments for other clients.