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Tavern Change Log Volume 1

Date: 7.3.’00.

Yes! HyperText Playground has finally been finished! I was limited to ASP/VBScript version due to the 2-bytes Chinese problem. Now I've made the Perl and JavaScript version, successfully deal with 2-bytes Chinese by Perl! ^_*'

And, HyperText Playground was limited to MSIE and Chinese in the past. Now I've made it available for English, and available for Netscape, too!

Date: 7.1.’00.

Ah ha… I’ve finally finished the new Tavern Diary. After this reformation, I should write Tavern Diary more often. :p

The new Tavern Diary has fullfilled my plan -- as my personal guestbook. This is better. It’s easier to note Tavern Diary. I don’t have to fight with HTML codes anymore.

As a result, in the 6th reversion of Tavern, I have finally decided the main structure of Tavern website: Simplify web pages, while conserve the advantage to maintain website with database.

The basic concepts of CGI are: Save contents in database, while compose and show pages with CGI programs. This can ease the work of website maintainance. The webmaster doesn’t have to rewrite lots of pages for one update. I can use one program to save the contents, while use another program to show the contents.

But in fact, most of the contents in Tavern IMACAT’s are static, which don’t need CGI/ASP to produce each time. Tavern IMACAT’s was fully CGI/ASP’s before, which decrease speed and increase unnecessary system burden.

Now Tavern are composed parts with CGI programs, parts with static HTML pages proDuced by CGI programs. I choose CGI instead of ASP because the portability to bring website onto any web server. (MS IIS, Domino, Apache… etc.) Building static HTML pages with CGI programs is technically harder, but it’s a more effecient method.

Another advantage to use parts with CGIs and parts with HTMLs is the ability to control the executive range of the website, which can increase the site security.

Other minor changes includes:

Modulized CGI to ease the CGI maintainance.

The usage of JavaScript and Dynamic HTMLs to decrease server burden and strengthen the site maintainance ability.

The WOV mailing daemon is done. It will not be a hell to send newsletters anymore.

Also I’ve done a pretty categorizing engine for relative links, which can define categorizing system, go into several levels of subdirectories, and produce the necessary subfolders and HTML pages. And the relative links’ database of Tavern is seperated with WOV’s Women Interconnect database now. Besides, in the past I was unable to give a good title and description for the relative links. I’ve got a better title now. Although I’m not satisfied yet, it shall be more clear then ever.

Date: 2.14.’00.

The only reason of this 5th reversion is that SCCID server has problems: It cannot execute Perl/CGI well, and I cannot log in. After 2 months of failed aggociation with SCCID crews, and unability to find another free UNIX CGI-enabled server, I had to move Tavern and WOV to an NT server currently administrated by myself. After all Perl/CGI is developed on UNIX, which has lots of problems under NT/Win32, I'd have to reversion Tavern from CGI into ASP.

At the same time I was forced to think more seriously about the issue of website building and homepage writing: What is a page? What is a well-structured doculment? What is a well-structured program? What is a highly-portable database? Many of them had never come to me before. For example: What kind of database should be used for links' data? Should I use UNIX internal database? Or Access database which is the most common database in Windows environments? Or the hottest SQL? Which has the highest portability, that can still be available if someday Tavern has to move to UNIX server again?

All of them had never come to me before. Thus, while SCCID UNIX server got wrong, I almost could do nothing but stared on those distored data which can only be understood by UNIX.

Now I use CSV - Comma Seperated Values data sheets. This is plain text data format, with each record one line, data seperated by commas. Plain text can ensure the ability to be read in all kinds of environments. Although with plain text programs have to become much more complex and longer, but I'll never be helpless staring on distored data, like what had happened just now. Furthormore, .CSV files can be processed with Excel. So I can use Excel to make more complex executions, like sorting, searching, debugging, etc.

Besides, I decided to mark the relative informations (like date, title, subject, description, etc.) on the <HEAD> portion of each page, letting programs to read them. Then I won't have to employ one more database, which can save shorter file list. Furthormore, keep informations with their pages will ease the works taken while I maintain them.

Talking about shorten the file lists, now I categoried the files, putting different sort of files in different folders. Now it's clearer for me to maintain.

And, I planned to write a program to automatically transform all the contents of Tavern together into pure HTML. Mandy is right. Depend too much on CGI/ASP is dangerous. If someday this server is down, or for some reason it cannot run CGI/ASP anymore, I'll have to reversion day after day again.

Besides of what listed above, the most important part is that Tavern has finally become a website, not just homepages. Now Tavern is build on a WHOLE virtual NT server. That's the most exciting thing of all. ^_*'

Date: 8.8.’99.

Actually, the previous (3rd) revision of Tavern was not finished. Only the Tavern Lobby, Travellers' Guestbook and Me!! are done. I was then exhausted, and Tavern is desolated for a lone time.

This is the 4th revision, for Tavern is moved. GeoCities is less and less friendly after aquired by Yahoo!. Not only the site name, but also the account, free e-mail address, e-mail privilege, mail server, ftp server and the ugly Yahoo! GeoCities Watermark were changed to be merging into Yahoo! member database. imacat became imacat.geo, for there's already another imacat in Yahoo!'s members, and this account is duplicated. That's bullshit! I was the imacat there in GeoCities. I would never ever want to be imacat1999 or so. The previous experience between SCCID and WOV was a success. So I ask the permission from SCCID and move Tavern completely here.

The most important point of the 4th revision is the employment of Perl/CGI. SCCID enables Perl/CGI. So I employ what I've learned from the producing of WOV. With Perl/CGI, I can make different HTML with different versions of IE / Netscape, solving the problem that IE and Netscape employs different typesettings. That is the most rediculous part of old Tavern, and the reason the last revision broke off: I support Best View With AnyBrowser, but I can't even have the same effect with Netscape and IE.

Not only the typesetting problem is solved. I've made a new Travellers' Guestbook which is more like a guestbook, which I don't have to work up on it like a donkey. The maintenance is easier. The linkings become a small search engine. The Last Update is calculated automatically. It's all for CGI.

Date: 11.9.’98.

This should be the 3rd reversion of Tavern. The first release of Tavern is done by March, which has only plain text without any graphics. At that time I still held the tradition of plain text of DOS, without any tools and experiences handling graphics. In addition I had seen too many homepages which uses lots of pretty graphics, which at last turns into nightmares when transferring their contents on the internet. Then I became repellent to graphical presentations, preferring a web page which lacks representations but is full of contents.

The 2nd version were made at the end of March. The key point is the use of graphic tools. I started to practice computer graphing, trying simple functions and bitmap drawings, and made one graphic and another. Because of my background as a student of math dep., I tried several 3D graphics with complex calculating. The greatest result is a black-green background, which looks like the green bamboo in the deep night. I took it as the background of the Tavern Lobby. If you are an old friend of Tavern, maybe you are familiar with it. It does not exist now. I took it away because it conflicted with the atmosphere I wanted for Tavern. It is too cold, too isolated. I wanted travellers to feel Tavern warm. It took a long time for me to make this decision.

Finally I chose this as the background. The inspiration is from the texture of cloth pieces, which can be seen often on the desks of some old-fashion restaurants. The manufacture was much simpler, and the warm colors produce warm feelings. I had fixed it once, deepered its color to make clearer text. At the same time I had made backgrounds for other pages, the huge black cat logo on the cover, the little black cat for options, the linking animation icon, etc.. From then on Tavern has lots of different graphics, here and there, and a huge black cat started to stand at the entrance of Tavern, which had scared lots of guests. ^_*'

I had tried but failed to make another revision at April. The main idea then was to turn the Tavern completely into an image map: Make the cover into a picture of the Tavern Lobby, which allows travellers to click herself where she wishes to enter. But finally I gaved up because the calculation of the lobby space is too complex.

The key to this 3rd revision, as I had said hundreds of times in other pages, is to employ HTML 4.0 & CSS1. The point is to separate the contents from the representations. That structuralized the ontent of a page, and extends the designing limits of the representation. To use style sheets solves the structural disorders which had bothered me for such a long time, at the same time making the looks of Tavern more charming then ever without having to employ more graphics.

Date: 5.4.’98.

In fact, most topics about this homepage are already told in many places: I put in Travellers' Guestbook the reason why I made it a tavern, and in my private bedroom the feelings when I wrote this homepage. What is below are things not told in other places.

I do not put many graphic effects, but instead I put a lot of texts. Actually It's against the fashion: Nobody wants to read texts now. People love cool graphic effects. But who cares? I'm nothing but a text worker, and may be a text worker for the lifetime. That's me. I'm very noisy. I speak a lot, write a lot. It's up to you.

Another reason I do not put graphics is: Graphics are troublesome. I'm too lazy to download graphic libraris from FTP sites. Besides, graphic libraries have copyright problem. To choose one from thousands in graphic libraries is another thing causes my headache. Its troublesome to build my own graphic library, too. I have no scanner, nor good graphic software. I'm no talent of art as of text.

But these are not the main problem. The most important problem is: Graphics are too slow! I live in Taiwan, but GeoCities is in AMERICA!! The transfer time of merely one graphic is equal to about one thousand of words! What will I choose?

But I've still put some graphics. You can see that all the background graphics of all pages are made solely by me. I'm very proud of it. So I still build a small graphic library of my own. It would be too poor if even the background are monochrome. With background graphics and plain text typeset, I think I can make a beautiful result, too.

Another thing is: I insist to make it dual-language. After all these pages resides in GeoCities. I could not make something GeoCities cannot recognize. That is the basic feedback. And I can identify the ideal of GeoCities in some practice. I can practice my English here, too. It would be great if I can get foreign friends from this.

Therefore, while I'm writing most of the texts, I unconsciously consider about English grammar. I'm not writing standard Chinese grammar, but they are still easily read. Hence, I can translate them into english easily.

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