Construction Notes for GilbertMunger.orgNote: this page is still being written.
The Gilbert Muger Catalog Raisonne web site went on-line in September of 1999. It was and still is hosted by the Tweed Museum of Art at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. The Tweed owns the largest collection of Munger pictures. Gilbert Munger's brother Roger was of one of the founders of Duluth and there has always been interest in his artist brother there.
At its inception the site contained 170 pictures. Now it contains over 300. In addition, the amount of reference material has grown considerably, now including an archive of period articles and books about Gilbert Munger totalling more that 50,000 words.
A primary consideration in the site's organization at the tools, code, and files level was ease of maintenance. I decided to use a database primaily to ease the burden of keeping the site up-to-date. My ideas was that just by adding the data associated with a new painting to the database, the necessary site updates could all be generated at the push of a button. This proved naive. In addition, I seriously underestimated the amout of work involved in entering the period research materials, which mostly end up being done by me typing them in from faded copies of old newspaper articles.
Development Tools Used
|Windows 10 w/ big display||Develpment environment|
|Microsoft OneDrive||Cloud storage for the web site under development|
|FreeFileSync||Application for mirroring the OneDive folders to a local backup file system|
|WinSCP||Application for synchronizing the development site to the production web server.|
|Photoshop||Application for image preparation|
|FilemakerPlus||Database to record the data for the individual works of art. Used to automatically generate the web page for each work, the guide pages of thumbnail images for each section, and the two indexes. Many of these will change when a new work is added to the catalog.|
|EditPad Pro||Text editor for hand coding all the other html pages in the site.|
Writing HTML files from FilemakerPlus
I generate many of the HTML files in the site from the database by writing record fields to files with FilemakerPlus. The method is to write FileMaker scripts that construct text strings in record fields or global fields using the "InsertText" or "InsertCalculatedResult" opertions, then write the fields to a file using the "ExportFieldContents" operation.
FilemakerPlus versions earlier than 16, like I use, can only export to files this way using UTF-16 character encoding and using the carriage return character (CR) for end-of-line (EOL). The Munger web site uses UTF-8 encoding and (CR LF) for EOL. I needed a fast way to convert these files everytime they are recreated.
With EditPad Pro (as well as many other text editors) one can record a macro that does both convesions. I record the following commands in the macro:
- Convert / Text Encoding -- Check the boxes for "Encode with another character set" and "UTF-8".
- Convert / To Windows (CR LF)
To bulk convert files, open them all at once in EditPad Pro. Then use Marcos / Organize Macros to repeat the macro as many times as there are files. All will be converted, saved and closed.
A URL Surprise
I started developing this web site 20 years ago. It wasn't until early 2019 that I learned URLs on **NIX web servers are case sensitive. Unfortunately, I used a lot of upper case in the folder and file names for this site. That means that when a user types a Munger Site URL into the address bar of a browser, they have to get the case of each letter in the URL correct, or the page will appear to be missing. I suppose that I could fix this with a week of work. There are a lot of Address Tags to fix, plus various scripts that generate web pages in FileMaker. That course also has the disadvantage that all the search results in search engine databases will stop working. It will take a while for the search engines to find the site elements under the new names.
It surprises me that there were not more prominent warning about this issue in 1999, or even today. Fortunately, the web site is structured in a way that users almost never need to type in URLs. The developer and the Web Master, however, do need to be careful.
More to follow ...
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