Technical Improvements - New Content
Owing to the size of this site and to my reluctance to release anything half-baked, major updates generally take a long time. Sometimes several years. Here are some projects that I am working on or that I would like to take on. Feel free to comment on my ideas and to bring forward suggestions!
Automated feed creation I currently add news to my RSS feed completely manually, meaning that I copy the text from my HTML update announcements and paste them into the RSS file. I often have to rephrase it too, because RSS doesn't allow inline links. Automating this whole procedure would save me a lot of work. With the update information entered into an online form, a PHP script could create the feed and an HTML fragment to be included via SSI in one step.
An Atom feed instead of RSS may even have visually the same format as the HTML news list. Yet, Atom (or rather its parsing) is extremely pedantic and collapses at the slightest impurity of the syntax. I tried it, and while RSS worked immediately, I gave up on Atom when it still didn't work after three hours of unsuccessful debugging.
It seems that what I have in mind has never been done
before, and this must have a reason. The feed creation script has a high
Status: first steps
Comment form and database Many recent websites have a "Comment on this page" link at the end of each page. But how can I add comments to static HTML pages that are deemed to remain as they are until I upload a new version? In fact, all commenting features that I have checked out work in conjunction with PHP pages and a database like MySQL. While I can run PHP and MySQL on my server, the available scripts all seem to be part of a larger content management system that is incompatible with static HTML.
What I need is a script that can run from any kind of page, with the name of the page as a parameter. Clicking on the SSI-included link "Comment on this page" would take the visitor to a new PHP page with a form and a list of previous comments, if available. Much like a guestbook, but with separate data for each page. The data could be stored in a MySQL database, in one flat file or in a variety of files, such as "constitution.txt" for the comments about the page "constitution.htm". Unfortunately PHP is incompatible with SSI, otherwise I could even think of a method to embed the comments into the page itself (in something like an inline frame).
While I have a clear idea how this script should work (as an intermediate step between a guestbook and a message board and the probably fastest method for visitors to make suggestions), I didn't find anything half-way suited so far that I could base my script on.
Display of "lean" site statistics and of a counter I have removed the Sitemeter counter, a web-based counter using a cookie to monitor visitor movements, which is not in compliance with the strict EAS privacy and security policy. Now it may be time to create an on-site counter. I would also like to post a live summary of the EAS web statistics instead of just a few figures that I need to update manually.
I have commercial statistics packages installed on my server. But there does not seem to be anything like a plug-in to incorporate their results into a publicly available web page, much less to create a counter for individual pages. I could install a less sophisticated analysis software on my server, but it would have to be a very reliable one, one that wouldn't count double hits to pages. Maybe it will turn out easy, but I am still searching.
Conversion of whole site to CSS This is more a dream than a real project. Maybe someone can help me write a script that would automatically convert the whole site to CSS. I think it's not possible. At least not without excessive manual correction, especially of the countless <font> or </font> fragments that are often inconsistent (I am still using Frontpage!) and that the script may not be able to eliminate in a way that the layout is not totally messed up afterwards.
Article series on warp propulsion
This project is not dead, although the last update was
in 2011. I need to do a lot of research before I take on new chapters, but I'm
planning to get at least Chapter 3 :Subspace
done soon. It depends on how much work I have to spend on more
urgent tasks, although I definitely would rather like to care about this
project, which is not only very big but also quite popular, as I can tell from
frequent requests to finally update it.
Status: Chapter 6 ready, more updates planned for 2013
Completion of TNG and DS9 reviews
This is the second section that visitors would like to see updated. Maybe I
should really watch some episodes again, as I haven't seen most TNG and DS9
episodes in years. So I may mix "business" with pleasure, but I must
get my hands on those DVD boxes first...
Status: DS9 finished, TNG in progress
Species/planet or device/weapon database The Starship Database is complete after the addition of TAS (and don't bother to ask, I will never add any ships from games or RPGs). So what can I categorize next? Basically it should be something that isn't already covered at Memory Alpha in great detail, because my small private website could never compete with that. Still, I could imagine that a database on planets and/or species in the same style as the ships could be a handy reference. Or rather one on the various devices, although caring about things that were often seen for just a second may become a bottomless pit. I could focus my interest on weapons though.
Study of the changes in TOS
Remastered Although Trekmovie.com
has already done a thorough job to compare TOS screen caps with their TOS-R
counterparts, it may be worth doing much the same in a condensed format. I would
also like to evaluate and comment on the changes in TOS-R. Which has precedence:
TOS because it was first, or rather TOS-R because it fixes or refines many
effects that were insufficiently considered or executed in TOS?
Treknology vs. real life This is an idea that I am thinking about for quite some time, and that is occasionally suggested by visitors as well. How about a thorough and scientifically correct comparison of Trek devices and their (emerging) counterparts in the real world? Science journalists very often cite Star Trek whenever a new development in the real world seems to mimic some function of a phaser or of the transporter. I could add a Trek perspective (without resorting to Technobabble).
The advantage of this project is that it can be gradually expanded and can grow as big as I like.
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|Last modified: 29.01.13|