GENUKI Maintainers' Pages
These mandatory technical standards for GENUKI have been devised in order that the GENUKI service, which is distributed across a number of service providers, can collectively demonstrate a common look and feel. This is a major benefit to readers and users browsing for the information they require. It reduces the task of those hosting pages that are being edited by others, and enables us to produce software more easily to automate such features as indexing and statistics, and makes it easier to move pages between hosts when the need arises. Putting this another way, GENUKI's pages are not the place to indulge your individualistic preferences concerning web page look and feel.
The mandatory technical standards we have adopted are not overly restrictive but nevertheless effective in achieving the objectives above.
HTML standards, and current practice, are evolving continually, but the real world always lags behind these developments, and many of our readers and users do not use the latest browsers. Nor do all our users use the same browser.
We have therefore decided to strike a balance between using the latest features with powerful presentation capabilities, and using only those features that the oldest browsers can handle.
Maintainers must avoid the following HTML features:
- Proprietary. Exploiting features provided only by a particular supplier's browser causes problems for GENUKI users without that browser. E.g., pages coded only for Microsoft Internet Explorer might not function correctly when presented using Firefox. Take care when exploiting a feature that calls for a browser add-on (e.g., Flash) because this might also be proprietary.
- Frames. The use of frames destroys our ability to deliver a consistent look and feel across the distributed GENUKI service. Different browsers react differently to the presentation of frames.
- Moving images. Using a moving image is unlikely to enhance the delivery of information to GENUKI users, consumes a large amount of bandwidth, and a number of the older browsers can fail when presented with such material.
- Fonts, colors. Wherever possible, the choice of fonts and colors should be left to the readers and users of GENUKI, some of whom might be visually challenged and need to select fonts and colors suitable for their personal use. All documents contain styling of some sort and it's not appropriate to exclude all use of fonts and colors. However, such use needs to be necessary and appropriate for the purpose. Note that modern browsers, such as Firefox, allow users to over-ride the font sizes set in web pages, and to render pages without using their style sheets. See the section on accessibility for links to a more detailed explanation.
Most of the information presented by the GENUKI service is in the form of text, either in html or ascii form. Graphics are acceptable, provided they are worth the space and bandwidth they consume in passing their information to the reader.
So, take care in choosing to present "very large" graphics. If you judge that such presentation is justifiable then you must warn users before they initiate download by indicating its size in kbytes, and providing a small thumbnail version of the graphic in the form of a button.
Maintainers must not introduce new topic terms unilaterally, and should take care to position information at the most appropriate locality level, and in the right locality context.
The physical structure of the GENUKI service requires separate pages for each locality, introducing such pages for towns and parishes only as needed. Separate pages must also be used for information on a given topic when this information is more than, say, a paragraph in length.
All pages on a given server relating to a particular country, county, or town/parish must be held in a directory with the same name as that country, county, or town/parish. The opening page for each country, county, or town/parish should normally be in a file called "index.html", although this name depends on the webserver software running the machine holding the pages. On Unix systems the default page loaded when the reader specifies just a directory name is "index.html".
Each town/parish page must be the default file ("index.html" on most servers) in its own directory which should be a sub-directory of the county directory. The directory name should be the town/parish name in full (omitting spaces and with the first character of each word capitalized), e.g., "genuki.org.uk/big/eng/SOM/NetherStowey/index.html" (a URL should omit "index.html").
Every country, county and town/parish page must be headed by a standard set of buttons to enable readers and users to move quickly between the levels in the logical hierarchy and return them to the upper levels if they have entered one of our pages through a "back door" such as from a link found by a search engine. See the skeleton county page, or the skeleton parish page for more detail.
Country and county pages must include an alphabetized list of links to their counties and towns/parishes for which information is available. See the skeleton county page for more detail.
This list of links must be followed by paragraphs, in alphabetical order, on specific topics. The prescribed list of subject headings is defined.
In addition to the GENUKI trademark and copyright protection statement, all GENUKI pages must be terminated with the author's name, date of last update, a link to the W3C site to allow HTML verification, and a method of contacting the author in order to report problems and correct errors. The resulting email will be directed automatically to the email address nominated by the maintainer for this purpose in the county database table. Note that this doesn't have to be the email address of the maintainer, simply one that allows problem reports for the county to be received and a response generated. See the skeleton parish page for more detail.
- Many county sections of GENUKI are stored on the domain genuki.org.uk, with the directory name genuki.org.uk/country/county/. Sections of GENUKI not stored on genuki.org.uk, must be stored in a directory or sub-domain called "genuki" (lower case) to give a genuki root. Each county or other section must have a directory within that structure. Non-GENUKI data must not be stored in this GENUKI structure.
- Only upper case Chapman codes may be used for directory names for counties, even if you are hosting only one county. Doing so makes it more flexible and of course the URL for indexing/logging is much more useful.
- Local URLs must be specified relative to the page in which they appear using only directory names, "./" and "../". For example, using "../" within a parish page to specify the enclosing county page, or using "./" within a parish page to specify a subordinate topic page. References to higher level directories should, preferably, be expressed by making iterative use of "../". If such iteration proves excessively clumsy in practice, an acceptable alternative is to refer to the root directory by means of "/". For example, using "/images/" to refer to the images directory in the root. These methods remove the need for significant editing if pages are moved between servers.
- Avoid exploiting local directories that are not subordinate to the genuki root as this results in URLs without genuki as the first component of the name and will make automatic indexing and logging more difficult.
- Avoid using the "~" naming convention. If necessary, ask your httpd administrator to put a symbolic link of genuki from the data directory to your personal genuki directory.
- When quoting a directory name as a URL, even a local one, include the final "/" in the URL. E.g. use "LAN/" rather than just "LAN". This makes it more efficient because it reduces the number of browser calls to the server.
- Protect all relevant pages, and certainly the home page of any county pages, or other major section of GENUKI with a domain or sub-domain or directory name including the string "genuki", by at least a trademark and copyright statement. See the paragraphs on the skeleton parish page on the subject of page termination, for more detail.
- On every country and county page, there should be a pointer to the domain genuki.org.uk. This pointer should be in the form of the GENUKI logo with a link to the GENUKI home page.
Any GENUKI maintainer may propose a change to these GENUKI standards at any time.
The process by which the GENUKI standards are amended is also one of the GENUKI standards.