Way back in the Lower Cretaceous (for such it seems) I redesigned the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh’s website – it was one of the last tasks I undertook before retirement in 2002. It was pretty humungous, with around 250 web pages, most of which I commissioned and edited from the staff of the Garden, and 400 images, again mostly from the staff. It won awards, was well thought of, and lasted for several years, but in the way of these things, it has since been superseded.
I brought the skills I had acquired to the design of my own websites, including doing the StAnza one for 3 years. But it was pretty obvious to me, and I’m sure to others, that I hadn’t kept my technical skills up to date. CSS was the last thing I learned, and I decided quite quickly that I couldn’t be bothered to learn PHP and SQL, even if I could have afforded the software. I didn’t see my post-retirement career moving in that direction. I’ve stuck to Dreamweaver and HTML, with the odd bit of boilerplate script bolted on.
So the sites I design may have a sort of retro look, and they definitely lack the functionality of more modern ones, but at least they work. The Poetry Scotland site is one of those which are very long in the tooth, and it has also required a fair bit of effort to update, so I decided to simplify it and change its appearance. Working with my friend Sally Evans, who publishes the broadsheet magazine Poetry Scotland, we’ve come up with a way of working together (don’t call it a coalition or a power-sharing executive) which redistributes portfolios (just joking), and allows Sally’s own creativity more scope. So some parts of the new site are in my area, and others link to pages in Sally’s own website.
At the same time, Sally has been working on changes to the appearance of the magazine, and these will be reflected in the new issue due shortly. For my part, I’ve decided on a relaunch of the new site on 1st June, and I’ll tell those loyal readers on my ‘updates’ list when it goes live.
One feature which remains the same is the ‘Open Mouse’ page, where I post poems sent in (by email) by readers world-wide. I just post poems I like, in the hope that others will like them too.
So, after 1st June, check out the ‘new look’ Poetry Scotland website, and if you want to send me poems for the Mouse that would be just tickety-boo. There are of course more detailed guidelines on the site.