Thomas Gardner Society, Inc
technology and practice

See Notes at TGSoc Discussion (updated 02/29/24).


Improvement to website using our own construction  (TGS, Inc. discussion)                               return to: Home, Demo
Trade-off: Get or buy off the shelf versus roll you own (driven by content handling and expectations)
Side-effect: Learn computing from ground up experimentally (or computing exploratively)
Motivation: Computing for every man as our right, plus demonstration of this with relevant content. 
Examples/Technical (DevLog): Continuation of devlog (Main site). 
Custom built SeaMonkey/Composer/ & WordPad - HTML/Javascript/CSS; MS Paint (original) - images, graphics  

09/16/2023 -- We're on the AI track, now, motivated by the release last year of ChatGPT by OpenAI. Our intent is to relook at the history from a non-academic side and talk of real work within the commercial world. As we do that, we will look at pros and cons, as well as weigh in on options to improve. ML/DL, alone, is not AI.

10/11/2021 -- Lots of research, and notes, to organize. Plus, we'll discuss the future, demo some things, and make decisions about future work. Using smartphones for testing will a new trick for us. For now, look at the image scroll which is mere HTML/CSS with respect to the handling of the images and JS/text for the data.

12/15/2020 -- We have several blogs and will get one established with respect to technical modes and methods. In the meantime, we'll post here (or GitHub).

09/15/2020 -- We're to the mode of reviewing based upon the experiences of the past few months, some of which has been heavily into the user mode in various types of situations. See TGSoc Discussion.

07/09/2019 -- We are broadening our technical view to allow the more recent frameworks to have a play in our minimal approach to configuration management. At the same time, we'll be adjusting content to meet the new capability. The 'Techie stuff' post will be the main source portal while we work until we establish a more permanent one. Next up, expect some management scheme to appear that can be used to manage work related to the Thomas Gardner Society, Inc. mission, including technical (they go hand in hand), with as an enabler.

06/02/2019 -- I'll put this at the top, after a little reorg. But, here is a link to our What's New at two sites (main site and context blog). Sometimes, these are in sync; other times, not. Too, we have a technology blog that is moving to be under our own server.

06/01/2019 -- In the past couple months, we finished off the js use, for now. The menu is handled by js. There is now a scrolling text window. It refreshes (using an annals look at Thomas Gardner) with each page load (will have scroll). Then, we have the image index that is approaching 200 entries that map either to blog entries or to Gardner Beacon issues. This allowed a review of publications to date. Too, it helped set up for future activities, such as supporting the 400th anniversaries that are upcoming. Mayflower started this year and will be going big in 2020. Cape Ann is expected to be in 2023. In continuing to build on our minimal approach, we are bringing in eCommerce (eBiz) functions. Right now, I am looking at CubeCart which is interesting. As well, the technical blog will be moved from Wordpress to be under our website (based upon Linux). Briefly, it is nice to see that the Open approaches support the file framework. Essentially, the admin effort is editing source code using an advanced editor rather than poking buttons, only. Will have more on this, as have worked in WikiTree for a while and really like that the 'wiki' approach is similar. With CubeCart, I can monkey with the source to make specific changes, albeit I have to be careful.

03/27/2019 -- The exercise has been to remove tables and to have mobile friendliness across browsers, though only checking the major ones, to date (Chrome, Mosaic). I had no problem floating images to get them side by side, but the general 'div' proved problematic, for several reasons. So, went looking. Saw various approaches describe and chose to go with flexbox. Nice, but not easy to control. So, on looking more to see what I was missing with use of 'flex', I ran across CSS Tables. Ah. That does it. Remember, the goal is to be as minimal as possible while having access to lots of information. As soon as I feel comfortable with that, we'll start to get away from presentation solely and work into a more interactive mode (minimally). One way to do that is to have the user branch over to another site. We'll see.

03/20/2019 -- When I started to use Sea Monkey's Composer in 2012, it cut out nice HTML. From time to time, I grunge'd about the excess white space in the HTML stream but lived with it. Now, with the site, I have been trying to have a minimal basis upon which we'll build features. But, I've noticed that somewhere along the line, all sorts of pieces related to format have crept into the HTML stream. Messy, to say the least. So, if you saw a half-done link, it is because I have switched to manually building the HTML. And, it was late. I never noticed when I pushed up the change. Let's say that it sat there for 16 hours, now corrected. The changes were done with a simple text editor. I am looking for an editor that puts out clean HTML. As well, there is a link to a text scroll page that will display from the timeline published in The Gardner Annals, Volume I, Number 1. Too, I am removing tables. So, it's also a CSS and JS exercise. The capabilities that we will introduce relate to going from information presentation to interaction needed for group work as well as e-commerce. Decisions are pending through the whole of the change effort. 

01/27/2019 -- Using 'hidden div' to pass parms from HTML to js. There have been several different approaches created over the years in the industry. Will review these at some point and look at pros and cons. In the mean time, this approach will be used to re-format the main site. At the same time, the CSS can be cleaned up a bit, as both sites follow a similar structure.

01/25/2019 -- Put in the first js handling of the menu bar at the top level. It shows something that needs to be discussed. In fact, we need to deconstruct the whole of the current approach in order to make a better future for all of the people (as in, all, not just the few).

01/21/2019 -- Image index handling now using the element approach. Hence, no 'document.write' on this site (that I know of - this one is where we check out new approaches for ourselves). The main site will be updated. Next up, handling the menu bar via JavaScript. Last night, watched a little of the video from Nov. 2018's meeting. Interesting developments.

01/20/2019 -- See Configuration discussion. The footer at this site has been changed to use 'innerHTML' instead of 'document.write' as Chrome kept complaining about deprecation which it is not given our focus on book-like. However, since we have started to add other services, we have to go dynamic, in part. We'll upgrade the image handler and the menus. Then, we'll launch into more spectacular stuff.

01/04/2019 -- Decided to bite the bullet and redo the image list with javascript. A recent ACM Communications article talked some of the issues of SQL versus noSQL that was interesting to read. As, I have done both. Frankly, I have bounced off some heavily SQL-oriented approaches of late (in this context of configuration versus content). In the list, I was using HTML to format, albeit I had also used CSS for a lot of the other requirements. So, each entry required copying and modifying. Using the noSQL mindset, the first thing was to  reduce the list to a pair where the blog entry was the keyword (temporal, partly) with the image as value. I had thought that I would automate the conversion. Turned out, with a good text editor, I cut the list to size (same number of entries, reduced amount of text per entry) in a matter of minutes; of course, trying a few variations. Then, the writing the HTML code was one-line within a loop since I could have a few strings, some with special characters embedded, concatenated. Moving the format control to CSS cut that part, too. So, look at the Main page. Now, it'll be easier to add entries which will be many. That, of course, brings us back to content versus configuration (coding is here). 

12/26/2018 -- Supporting mobile (2014/5 timeframe) is an example of a technology push. In this case, Google spread the word that they would not refer their search-engine users to sites that were not mobile friendly. That gave us a change to relook at alternatives including starting over. We decided to go with HTML/CSS due to its ability to minimize code. Basically, you are dealing the parametrics. We will be adding code, as we had with javascripting.

11/25/2018 -- Got a chance to view this site ( on a mobile device. Looked good. That is, 'mobile' of a the smaller variety as I have been accessing the site daily via my laptop browser.

10/20/2018 -- So, we had the 2010 start, then the 2012 rehost, then the 2014 upgrade, then the 2016 adjust (notice how everyone is trying to support the mobile devices?), and now the 2018 advance. That is, now we will consider frameworks for ERP, accounting, and what have you. During the time, we looked at various other approaches, such as those provided by WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and more. Also, we did try a blackboard which, incidentally, is used by millions daily. Our approach? Simplistic and trustworthy evolution of capability. Let the mad world run amok as it may. 

09/22/2018 -- On main page, scrolling was not working right. Some of the images were missing. Too, added more images to catch up. For each image, there is a link to the main site where the related material can be found. 

  Note: related to our continuing balance of content and configuration that really depicts a floor albeit it is fuzzy boundaries.