My approach to documenting my records was at first quite straightforward adopting the same principle as with the document sets I had to produce whilst working.
As my handwriting is totally illegible not only to others but also to myself I would, as I did at work, need to use some computer-based method.
Producing an Excel spreadsheet would be an option, but I always found them unwieldy and difficult to edit the larger they became.
Also, I wanted to include images as well as reports of my daily catches.
Although no programmer I do have some limited knowledge of HTML being sufficient to at least produce the displays I was looking for.
Once I had managed to create a template using HTML for my image page with a suitable style sheet it was just be a matter of changing the images and dialogue for each moth.
My reports displayed the catch having a link to the image page for each individual moth.
I am a great believer in keeping things as simple as possible with displays and dialogue being free from the type of clutter seen today on many websites.
As the Mothography was only ever intended for my own personal use there was not much need for anything else really.
The trouble was that as it grew in both size and functionality it became progressively more and more difficult for me to manage using a text editor.
I was finding myself spending more time on recording the moths than was practical and continually calling on my youngest son who has a degree in computer programming to try and sort out the rather large hole I was digging for myself.
I would watch in envy at him effortlessly ploughing through some very poorly written HTML smiling and showing me where I was going wrong whilst correcting my mistakes.
These periods of family bonding did however give me the opportunity of asking for several enhancements I would have included myself if I only has the ability.
One of these enhancements was a gallery facility where you could cycle from one moth to the next in order, seamlessly without changes in size of display.
‘No problem dad all, you need to do is make all the existing images one size and I will knock up a bit of code to display them for you’
This constituted a large piece of work for me as changing the size of images is not quite that straightforward if you would think if you want to retain their quality and not to squash or stretch the image in any way.
It took me some considerable time and effort to achieve his request but with a true bulldog spirit I eventually got there which was as much a surprise to him as it was for me.
Then came those immortal words, ‘You know something Dad it would be easier for both of us if I just created you a database’.
It was at this point that the rather large hole was filled with some rather slick coding as my son keeps telling me.
And to this day it is continually improved as he uses my site to learn and try out different coding techniques with his mate.
The reason behind making the site available on line now is so that we can use it when away from home and maybe be of some use to others for moth identifications.
I am hoping that a future post will be published by my son going into the detail of how the site is constructed as I no longer have a clue.