Development History

Initial objective.

Overview of stage reached

Development versions


Initial objective

The basic idea has remained unchanged, a system that allows you to identify and access most of the useful facilities on the world wide web, with the ability to find more when needed. We assume users have modern screens with higher resolution but still slow telephone connections. We can therefore get a lot of useful information on a screen but have to keep load times as short as possible. It is envisaged that once fully working a large number of volunteer editors with interest in specific areas will expand and qualify entries and keep it up to date.

What has changed since we set out to do this is that the internet has got far larger and we have expanded the project to include the concept of friendly systems that can share information allowing others to show our portal information within their website and for us to show their data as well. 


Overview of stage reached

As at version 6, the basic system is working well and loads quickly, but creating the mammoth amount of data has taken far longer than expected. We also however have many times the number of classifications and entries than we anticipated. On the system front some refinement and useful facilities are still being added.

The reasons it has taken so much longer to fully develop than we had expected is that it has become a much larger project both due to expanding the project as we see it but also as the internet has rapidly grown.

On the data front we started by collecting, entering, classifying and sorting very many sites. This was done in two systems Best-of-the-Best.co.uk (BOTB) and UK-list.com, both are useful sites in their own right. UKlist was added into Best of the Best and a second data collection round has identified many more sites, and classifications. Best of the Best is functional, with many sections being updated to include the extra data each week. 

At this point, we have button pages for every topic covered in BOTB, with a link to the relevant BOTB page, we are not going to put all the links here onto the buttons pages. Editing is now under way, the button data is being selectively added to start-page button screens, and other specialist screens. Additional data such as list of local newspapers, and companies on the UK stockmarket have been constructed from other sources. In the data capture stage of BOTB, sites for the local sections has been captured and is currently being classified. New indexes of places has recently been added to the main site. Factors outside our control have also slowed down a great deal of the work.

Luckily we never set a time deadline and have no outside funding source to keep happy. Our objective has been to produce the best site possible, even if this takes a little longer. We feel that once we get to a point where we can involve more volunteer editors far greater progress will be made, we are just about reaching that point now.

We are now running live on two servers, so you should never find you cannot get to us. Use either start-page.co.uk or start-page.org/uk This will take you to two separate identical versions on two different servers. You can also now choose both the server, and the version format, normal, compact etc for your systems home page - press friendly systems button for information.


Development versions

Version 1

Prototype version, used to test out concepts and explain potential for the system. First fully working version that was run on the web.

Version 2

New Styling, colour arrangement and recoded completely.

Movement to FrontPage web. 

Page design changed to incorporate different geographic sections.

Version 3

Changed to advanced frame system so as to allow change over of indexes and default pages. 

Topic section buttons on bottom bar, and new sub menus for these.

Feature and discussion capability.

Version 4

Best of the Best combined into system. Others are also to become sub webs of Start-Page. 

Some re-layout and new sections. 

Search Index and Direct search capability added.

Moved to faster server with more capabilities.

Version 5

Compact screen layout options
New button on main screen and several options under friendly systems to allow a choice of screen layouts. The new compact design contains nearly all the buttons on the full version but in a smaller top frame.
Friendly systems capability
Designed to allow other systems to run as a part of start-page, with very little additional work for the friendly site. Also display options added to allow composite SP and friendly sites. Our objective of becoming an ISP at some point dropped so as not to conflict with friendly sites. Start-page also to be available in an own branded version for ISP etc.
SET 
Used to set users choice of where to start or where to return to if the home button on the system is pressed.
PS  
Personal system. It will be used to allow a user list of sites to be maintained and accessed. A bookmarking section is also planned, allowing more choices of common places within start-page, and friendly systems.
Arrows.
This will allow pages in the main part of the system to be backed up and then paged forward again all without loading. This will also be useful when using SET and the bookmark part of PS so as to get the required pair of pages (contents and main data) together as required.
Redeveloped development and editors section. 
News index and search being implemented shortly.
Place index added
Profession index added.
More index sections.
Two servers and web address. 

start-page.co.uk and start-page.org/uk so you can get to two identical versions on two servers so you should never find us down or busy.

Version 5.1

Set, PS and arrows proved unstable in many servers/computers, and too far ahead of out time, most users did not understand them. So we have removed them.

Version 6

Jan 2005

This major revision was necessary so as to involve many more clubs and other friendly sites, and well as general improvements. Updated throughout. More friendly system links. New sections.  Improved type readability. 

 

Channels and organizations added, to expand the use of other systems data, from within Start-page.

 

An extra 4th row of buttons added to compact version and some material removed to allow more buttons to be added to header of standard version to match. 

 

Further developed sections and added an extra format option mainly for special interest groups, clubs etc, as used with the developers version, others will follow shortly for some special interests. New 100 Plus sites, has been linked from special button.

 

 Response forms moved to a separate site, to overcome incompatibility created by server updates colliding with FrontPage extensions used for forms.