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AN INTRODUCTION TO THE SCCU WEBSITE
The SCCU AGM, in June 1998, agreed to budget for a website. It thought it was high time. However, as the July Bulletin recorded, "Nobody actually undertook to do anything about it. You need to catch your Webmaster."
No Webmaster emerged. But some fool or other was always going to end up with the job, and the obvious fool for the job was the Bulletin Editor, and the Bulletin Editor was me. I'd not have taken it on if I hadn't thought it would be fun, but I was a complete beginner.
So we got under way in December and this was, from the start, a very plain website. I began with the aim of making it at least tidy and functional, and what it lacked in sophistication it would try to make up for in content. I didn't know how to make it sophisticated. I don't think my aims have been changed by anything I've learned since. There are Pictures, now, in the Games Page, and I will not apologise for their absence elsewhere.
Large parts of the site are the SCCU Bulletin, only more expansive maybe, and you get it as it's typed instead of six weeks next Tuesday. A rapid results service was probably the biggest single reason we wanted a website. But the Bulletin was never just a results service, and another possibility we have now is the rapid exchange of views. "Letters to the Bulletin Editor" - here renamed Open Forum - has lost its inbuilt time-lag. It has not been static, but it has plenty of scope for expansion.
I would like to thank the people, some of them experts and some not, whose support and advice and encouragement helped me to get started and have kept me going since. I'm still learning, and will welcome feedback on matters technical or otherwise. I must also thank my numerous contributors. This Website depends on frequent and up-to-date input from organisers, match captains and others. I stress the "up-to-date" bit. I have been very lucky in my collaborators.
Postscript, April 1999
It may be time to clarify, if only in my own mind, what the scope of the Website is. "What interests me" is an easy answer, and maybe not so far from the truth, but it won't really do.
Naturally I aim to give detailed information about the Union itself, its deliberations in Council and Executive, and the rules and results of all competitions it runs. I will also publish whatever comes my way in the form of Congress or other results, or internal County news, from within the Union's patch. To a large extent I rely on individual organisers, by post or email or telephone, and on the magazines people are kind enough to send me. Where a Member County, or other organisation, has news on its own website I may be content with a cross-reference.
Outside the Union, the position's less clear. Where Union people are involved (in a National-Stage County match, say) of course that's my pigeon. But this is not a National site. I will not be publishing the results of the Blackpool Congress or the West of England EPSCA Eliminator. Still less International results.
However, there are National things that concern all of us. Some, like Chess as a Sport, can't be ignored. Others, for whatever reasons, don't always seem to be adequately covered in National publications electronic or otherwise. Even when they are, the SCCU's angle may deserve space. At any rate, I will cover some BCF things. Management Board and Council meetings, for example, and other things (like grading) which attract more than their share of enquiries. I will try to publish the BCF's rules where the BCF don't and they concern SCCU teams. I will also publish National Club and Times results for the country as a whole. No one else does, as far as I know, and there's plenty of SCCU teams have an interest in them.
It goes without saying that people in Barnsley are allowed to write to Open Forum.
About browsing, and ISPs
The site has two addresses in case one of them falls over. Servers fail. It is suggested that you note both addresses: http://www.sccu.ndo.co.uk and http://www.sccu.freeserve.co.uk [NB: the sccu freeserve site is no longer active].
It's not for me to tell you what browser to use, or how to use it. The site is so basic it probably works with steam 1992 browsers. But one point has given rise to correspondence. If you find the site's font size too small, the chances are your browser can enlarge it. The three browsers I know - including the two most popular ones - certainly can. Try this, if suffering from eyestrain. Be warned that Ginormous print will occasionally upset the formatting of match results.
If your ISP happens to be Freeserve, make sure you go to the SCCU's Freeserve site rather than its ndo one. I expect it's quicker, but there's another reason. Freeserve appears to be one of those ISPs that, for technical reasons, may not always give you the very latest version of a page, even after refreshing. I haven't found a way round this. In a general way it applies to any site you visit while connected to Freeserve. However, experiment suggests that sites they host themselves are immune to the problem.
I suppose it's less likely that ndo is your ISP. As it happens, ndo at the time of writing refreshes correctly from either of the SCCU sites (and, as far as I know, from any site at all). Other ISPs, can't say but I've met both sorts. I speak from my own observations, and I'll be happy to publish corrections from experts.
Major updates will be in What's New?. Minor updates, such as an odd new non-SCCU result in the National Club page, may not be mentioned there but can still attract a changed date on the front page. Inconsequential updates and corrections are passed over in silence.
(1) Names, and email contacts.
On this site, when you click on someone's name it is never an email contact. For email contacts, you click on the address itself.
(2) Where's it going?
Is this another download, or are we just going somewhere further up or down the page? This is an important distinction.
In the body of a page, I try to make it clear by the context whether you're going to a fresh page or not. I hope it will always be clear if the link is to another site.
In the page header, all links are internal to this site. There is always a "home page" link. Any other link on the same line will load a new page. There may also be links to locations within the page, but they will be on the next line. Where the header is repeated at the bottom of the page, or at intermediate points, this distinction is not preserved.
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