Documentation for Darwin Web Maintainers

Last Update

This page was last updated by Alan Blackwell on 23 June 2009.

Plain web pages in general

Page format

Plain pages have four sections: Header, Left navigation, Main body, and Right column.


The header graphics, layout concept and colour scheme were commissioned from Catalyst Design Partners.

The jump menu and search box have not been updated for a long time.

The navigation structure

Is implemented using Server Side Includes (SSI). Each main section of the site is colour-coded, and has a different left navigation menu. These are defined in SSI files that require a knowledgeable person to make changes.

Main body text

Uses a few generic CSS styles for consistent appearance across the site.

Right column

Has special sidebar styles, and is colour-coded according to section of the site. The original graphic design included two colours for each section, and these can be alternated for visual interest.

The home page

Has two pieces of dynamically generated content: the events box, and the photo gallery selection.

Web server file structure

Is generally organised according to the department of the college that is responsible for that content. This may not be the same as the navigation structure, which is intended to be 'user-centred', and more readily changeable.

Online information book

This replaces a printed information book that was previously distributed to all new arrivals in college. The online version includes links to appropriate pages across the site, but acts as a table of contents to all those other pages. There is also a link to a page that includes all text content from those other pages into a single HTML page suitable for printing. At present, this uses no special print CSS, but could do in future.

Regular (at least annual) requests

Research fellows advertisements

Created by the Masters Secretary. These advertisements are potentially editable by nominated users through the one-page CMS technique.

Darwin lectures

During Lent term, the Darwin lectures are the main homepage item. In recent years we have used a feed from the system to advertise the next lecture coming up.

The site includes an extensive archive of all past lecture series, including links to the books published. This ought to be updated at least once a year.

May ball advertising

In the weeks before a May Ball, advertising for the ball is the main homepage item. Each ball committee likes to design its own website, often commissioned or hosted externally. We link to wherever we can. When contacted by the committee, we generally invite them to create a permanent archive of their ball on the main Darwin site, as they usually haven't thought about what will happen to their external site after the ball itself.

Updates to list of fellows

Fellows details are kept in a structured plain text file, with a script that converts this file into the page format. Photographs of fellows are in individual files, named in a consistent way for linking through that script. There is a future plan to keep all of this information in the alumni database, and to replace the current script with one that will read data exported from that database.

Automated scripts

The college calendar

The list of fellows

The lost sheep list

The dining menu

This seminar advertising system was developed by two Darwin fellows (David Mackay and Alan Blackwell). It is now operated and maintained by CARET. Information about Darwin lectures, and the lunchtime talk series, is all captured and distributed using Several pages on the Darwin site are rendered as 'feeds' from, and there is also a direct interface from to add events to the Darwin calendar.

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