Travels with S/Y Thetis

Thetis only

Site History

I am a retired experimental electrical engineer with a strong computer background. As a result I love to experiment with new technologies. So in building this website my aim was not only to share my sailboat cruising but also to play with the code. Originally the intention was to share the website with my family and a few close friends, but over time more fellow cruisers got interested and the readership expanded.

This Website was built entirely with HTML (HyperText Markup Language) without the use of any web WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) building programs (like Dreamweaver). The only programs used are text editors such as TextEdit and BBEdit, both on Macintosh computers.

I have avoided web building programs because in general they generate complicated code that is hard to maintain and in general are several years behind the current standards (ISO/IEC 15445 and W3C)

At its first version, back in 1996, the markup codes available were HTML and CSS1 (Cascading Style Sheets). A lot of the styling was done in HTML and CSS was used very little. Because I used many photographs I had to use tables for the layout. There were very few navigational links and all the text was white on gray background. This evolved to black text on white, framed by a gray background. Navigation was provided only in index pages (a main one for the site and one for each year). This approach is still used today. Because of functional and styling limitations I had to use Java and several scripts such as JavaScript, Perl, PHP, and Python.

In early 2000 I started using strict XMTML (Extensible HyperText Markup Language) because it enforced better code. With the advent of CSS, the need for scripts and tables was greatly reduced. At that time I also started using dedicated style files rather then incorporating styles within the HTML files.

In 2008 while translating my brother's Faneromeni website from Greek to English, I was appalled by the complexity of its coding. The site was coded by a professional developer who used an automatic web building program along with a complicated database. It was, however, visually very attractive. Contrasting this to the simplicity of my handcrafted Thetis site, which relies on the Finder folder structure, inspired me to recreate the Faneromeni website, including its visual look, entirely on HTML/CSS/Finder. While my brother did not replace his website code with mine because he needed the support of his local professional, I went ahead and re-coded my Thetis website to improve its looks. Nevertheless, although I did remove all the styling and most scripts from the HTML and styled it almost exclusively with CSS3, I still had to use hand-made images (using Photoshop) to implement rounded corners and color gradients.

In early 2014, HTML5 and CSS3 have matured, and I once again modified the code, to its present 4th incarnation using the most up-to-date features. The only use of JavaScript is when the user clicks on a magnifying icon within a map and JavaScript launches a separate window such as a map. This 4th incarnation used the flexible layout specified in window percentages rather then in the traditional way with pixels. This allows the website to adapt to different screen sizes not only of computers but of smart telephones and pads. The website has been tested with both iPhones and iPads. Also I made a CSS file that re-formats a given page to be better suited for printing and added appropriate class references in all individual pages.

In December of 2014, while updating the site for the 2014 cruising, I checked the HTML5 validity of all the pages of this website as well as the the CSS validity of all the stylesheets. All reported errors have been addressed and rectified with one exception: the visitors counter code (obtained form my web host) is an CGI/image and the HTML5 validator finds it in error.

Selected Bibliography

The reference books used for versions 3 & 4 of the Thetis website are:

  1. Rasmus Lerdorf, Kevin Tatroe, & Peter MacIntyre, (2006) Programming PHP, O'Reilly Media, ISBN 978-0596006815
  2. Craig Grannel, (2007) The Essential Guide to CSS and HTML Web Design, friendsofED, ISBN 978-1590599075
  3. Christopher Murphy & Nicklas Persson, (2008) HTML and CSS Web Standards Solutions: A Web Standardistas' Approach, friendsofED, ISBN 978-1430216063
  4. Andy Budd with Cameron Moll & Simon Collison, (2009) CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standards Solutions, friendsofED, ISBN 978-1430223979
  5. David Sawyer McFarland, (2009) CSS: The Missing Manual, O'Reilly Media, ISBN 978-0596802448
  6. Bruce Lawson & Remy Sharp, (2010) Introducing HTML5, New Riders Press, ISBN 9780321687296
  7. J. D. Gauchat, (2012) HTML5 for Masterminds, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, ISBN 978-1481138505
  8. Matthew David, (2012) The HTML5 JavaScript Model, Focal Press, ISBN 978-0240813790
  9. Tom Christiansen, Brian D Foy, Larry Wall, & Jon Orwant, (2012) Programming Perl: Unmatched power for text processing and scripting, O'Reilly Media, ISBN 978-0596004927
  10. Peter Gasston, (2013) The Modern Web: Multi-Device Web Development with HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript, No Starch Press, ISBN 978-1593274870
  11. Brian P. Hogan, (2013) HTML5 and CSS3: Level Up with Today's Web Technologies, Pragmatic Bookshelf, ISBN 978-1937785598