Prototype astronomer

The first prototype of www.astronomer.me.uk is now up and running. I've written the whole thing in PHP with a view to the whole site being fully XHTML 1.1 compliant and look and feel fully under CSS control. I've also written the underlying code so that it can easily be used for any other site I look after (I aim to recreate my personal site with this engine once I'm happy that it's working well).

It's been quite a pain to get working and most of the problems (not all of which have been ironed out) have been with getting it to work with Internet Explorer.

One nice side-effect of working on this is that it's forced me to re-work the way I write up my observing logs as XML. I've now started to build up a set of "mini-markup" tags for the notes of a session so that I can generate output for my existing logs pages and new pages.

One example of this "mini-markup" approach is the way I refer to previous observations in an observation I'm writing up. Previously I'd simply write the link like:

<a href="http://www.davep.org/astronomy/logs/?show=20050909#2005-09-09T23:30Z">yesterday</a>

which is both tediously long and also very site-specific. Now all I have to do is write:

<obsref log="20050909" obs="2005-09-09T23:30Z">yesterday</obsref>

which is both easier to write and also isn't specific to any site. I've also added elements for marking up inline images and for linking mentions of Messier objects to www.messier45.com

It's also worth noting that the colour scheme isn't the one I'll finally use — colour is the last thing I want to pay attention to.

File Under: Vanity Domain, PHP, XHTML, XML, CSS, Astronomy Website.

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