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Preparation of Virtual Galleries


From: David Hyde
r2 hy
Date: Sun, 26 Dec 2004

Hi Natasha;

I think that there may be many people interested, in development of virtual galleries. Particularly from an non-professionals perspective, and starting out with no web development experience.

As you requested, and attached for clarity of reading are some general notes of mine on the above topic.

These are my thoughts:

1) Firstly, and most importantly, to rough out on ‘paper’/‘minds paper’ how one would like the gallery to look. As far as I was concerned, when I started, your gallery previously hosted at TalkCity was sufficient. Also you were generous enough to allow me (without stealing) to follow your general design scheme and coloring – plus you also helped with/created initial pages.

2) Choose whether you wish to code using a text editor or a commercial package such as Dreamweaver.

I chose to ‘hand code’:

(a) because I did not like the complex coding produced by such packages as ‘Front Page”. I like easily understandable code to be able to changed on the site from anywhere in the world.

(b) In 100 years time the code is more likely to be understood than that produced by sophisticated packages. One can read without difficulty 18th Century texts.

Having decided that, I went through the 29 lessons of the ‘Maricopa’ Tutorial prepared by Alan Levine and available on line.

3) If one comes across something that it is not clear how to write in HTML/JavaScript a quick search using Google normally quickly finds a freely available solution.

4) As one is dealing with galleries then skill is needed in manipulating images. Sometimes pictures are sent to me with distorted perspectives and parts of the picture whited out by flash. Thus composite images must be made. I chose to use Adobe Photoshop and went through a few chapters of their “Classroom in a book” manual. Today good video tutorials on DVD/CD are available which are distributed with magazines.

5) To prepare a page for Frank’s gallery where some image manipulation is required, takes about three hours – even though I use a basic template. This includes getting it working on site. I have to prepare auxiliary navigation images as I use frames.

To illustrate the general project method - during the last three weeks I have prepared an electronic book. The result can be seen at: "GENTLEMAN JOHNNY BURGOYNE"
(Posted Xmas Day).

I started with the basic idea of putting ‘Frank’ Hudleston’s book “Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne” on line. I had never read this book written by my maternal grandfather and thought that this would be a good way of getting familiar with it. (rather crazy is it not?)

Thus the basic design idea was for a web page with links to the chapters, which would be available in PDF form. I had to quickly find out how to make pdf files with Adobe Acrobat. The answer is to write everything in Microsoft Word and then click a button to convert it to a pdf file. The important concept is that Adobe Acrobat merely takes files and codes them in postscript form for presentation to a printer. (In my initial ignorance I thought it was a package much like Microsoft Word!) The level of security I used was to make the pdf files printable but not changeable. A major advantage of using pdf form, is that when a viewer accesses a file on the web site I use only a few pages are downloaded at a time. Thus it can be quickly scanned by the viewer to decide whether they are interested in investigating further and they do not have to initially download the whole file. Next came the conversion to ‘Word’ of the 360 page book. I started with my wife’s OCR package available with her scanner but quickly found it was useless for a job like this. Some of the characters were difficult to read. Finally I bought Vers. 11 of TextBridge and liked it because it could recognise the characters and words found in quotations from European languages like French, Italian, Latin and German. 

The other major problem was associated with the change in preparing it for A4 from the smaller book page size. Thus all the page numbers were different and the Index had to be re-done. As I prepared each chapter I used the word finder in Word to update the page numbers in the Index. Many of the pages had footnotes and had to be reordered. Illustrations I prepared using Photoshop and then inserting the jpg images into Word.

The final result is that I know it takes about three weeks to prepare in electronic form a 1920’s book of approximately 380 pages. My Grandfather indicates that he took a year to write it. On a personal level the advantage gained (he died before I was born) – is that I feel that I have met him, and have found that he appears to have a similar general outlook to mine and essentially the same sense of humour. Where we differ is that he was educated in the Classics whereas I was trained as an Electrical Engineer.

I hope that high school students, and others, may find the electronic reference useful when writing about the American War of Independence.

(Back to So you Want to Build a Virtual Gallery)

David Hyde
Creator of the Frank Hyde Virtual Gallery

David is a professional engineer
, and lives in Australia. He is a nephew of the artist Frank Hyde. I first met him when he sent me a note about Sargent at Capri in November of 2000. He’s one of my first children (in a manner of speaking). Since that time he has built a number of websites relating not only to his relative Frank Hyde but also to others in his family which you can find links to here.



John Sinegr Sargent Virtual Gallery
By:  Natasha Wallace
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Created 1/12/2005