A new web-site emerges from the chrysalis

Well, we've only gone and done it.  A shiny new website, with rich new content - and LOADS of new pics.  Thanks to hosters and developers Northgate Systems for all their help; it would be a far worse site without their input.

Developing the site has really made us think; this is our fourth site in 11 years, which makes you wonder just how long-lived such things are.  The thing that has really struck us, though, is how things have moved on since we first started dabbling in such matters.  We did our first (long before Dowfold House) in "naked" HTML - and it was crude in the extreme.  Then we discovered Microsoft FrontPage, which remains the best HTML editor we've ever used - by miles. Rupert developed a raft of sites for different employers, friends and the like, and they looked good, looked different, and did the job.  Sadly, Microsoft stopped supporting and developing it in 2003 which meant that it fell behind on the task of delivering content that worked on a mobile 'phone as well as on a large-screen PC, and even on (whisper it) Apple products.

The real point is that, back in the day, one could actually, as an amateur, develop a functional site that looked good and was fit for the purpose.  As far as we can see, however, that is simply no longer the case.  In recent years, we've put together sites using, among others: a freebie which came from our web hosting company; the much vaunted joomla! CMS (2 sites); and the website builder from Serif (2 sites). All were much worse than FrontPage to work with, and all progressively delivered ever less attractive - and less fit for purpose - websites, albeit ones that embraced the latest standards and website philosophies.

The truth is that, when you couldn't do that much with a website (when the Web was young...) it was within the scope of an enthusiastic amateur.  The things you can do now, however, are simply amazing and it's all become far too complex for a part-timer.  We talked to several possible developers, and the story was the same: it's all become so many-faceted that they cannot allow themselves to be bound by a "standard" web product, however capable it seems. This means they are developing their own - using HTML, Javascript, PHP, CSS and a whole plethora of IT alphabet soup.

The results are (we hope you agree) excellent - it's just become such hard work.