My Websites


Support for Joomla version 3 ceased in August this year, and I'd been working on ensuring the three Joomla sites I maintain were upgraded to version 4 in advance of that. What I realised in doing that was the enormous amount of cruft I'd accumulated over the years, especially with the North Bucks Road Club website. One of the issues is always that of finding a sympathetic template, particularly where user access on mobile devices is concerned.

The Northwood Wheelers

This is a website I originally put together to present the life and times of a cycling club, the Northwood Wheelers, in the 1950s, largely based on my father's old cycling diaries. Over its evolution through several CMS variations, it has become a bit more than just the cycling diaries, and I've had a number of communications from former members of the club (sadly dwindling in numbers as time passes). My father passed away earlier this year, and I've added a fair amount of material from his cycling memorabilia.

I realised the website had issues last winter when I received an email from a former member's son - very helpful in identifying the issue. At that time, I upgraded various software components and the site was up and running quite quickly. However, I was on holiday in France when I started to reassess the site, which was really quite disorganised, at least in the back end of the site. I ended up rebuilding the site from the ground up.

This isn't a website that will have a lot of activity - after all the Northwood Wheelers folded in the 1960s. I therefore decided on a newspaper-like front page with most of the real content accessed by a single simple menu. The template is a free one supplied by Template Toaster, who also offer a Windows app for designing templates, which is quite nice to use.

Team Grumpy

Team Grumpy is a lighthearted approach to 2-up team time trialling, masquerading as a cycle team, with a particular focus on the Duo Normand.

This uses the same basic template as does the Northwood Wheelers website. There's not too much to add to this as the content here is limited to some tech reviews, event reviews (notably reports on the various outings at the Duo Normand) and one or two other bits and pieces.

North Bucks Road Club

Over the years I've been managing my current bike club's website, it had accumulated a fair bit of cruft and disorganised structure. The website began as a basic html website, in around 2007 I transferred the content to Joomla, most probably version 1. It has stayed with Joomla all the way to the current stable version. I've played with a number of templates over the years - often changing the template to reflect the needs of the readers, most notably trying to make the website more usable with phones and other mobile devices.

My efforts to keep an accessible website usable through a responsive template have met with some lack of satisfaction from the users, so one recent project was to try and sort out the content both from the perspective of the front end usability to clearing up the back end on the site.

After a few false starts with templates, I ended up going with a nice clean one from JoomlArt - JA Purity IV. My own preference is not to have too much whizz-bang stuff on the front page, particularly where you want users with screen size limitations to get to the content easily.

I initially tried to keep the number of extensions to a minimum, but did end up installing a forum extension which also allows commenting on articles in a reasonably easily tuned manner. Much of this will not be of much use if I can't attract users to register!

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Tuesday, 05 March 2024

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