2023-03-11 Web Upgrades to v5.1

Before finishing my tour of North America in 2022, I begin dreaming about my next expedition. It was the maritime provinces in Canada that I most wanted to explore next. I’d hoped to depart in mid-February, but the universe had different plans for me. Some of the delays were rather frustrating, but in retrospect the series of harsh winter storms causing grief from coast to coast were an obstacle in their own right. Now I find myself only a few days from launching my next expedition.

I set several goals for myself before leaving on my 2023 adventure. High on my list was to arrange for some improvements to my website. The delayed departure allowed me to see those improvements implemented before leaving. Many of the upgrades that have been established will not be overwhelming to folks visiting the site. The biggest improvement is to the homepage. When the team set up my website several years ago there were so many improvements provided by the new version (v5.0) of shadeTree Imaging, I didn’t have enough experience to recognize how weak the homepage of that version was. The only time new offerings appeared on the website’s home page were when I was creating blogs, usually about my traveling experiences. But blogs are only one of the four different presentations I can use to tell stories on the website. There are posts where I share blogs, pages where I share other types of stories, galleries where I share images, and albums where I share collections of images. While not traveling, I’ve been extensively revising the galleries and albums on my Birds I Have Known album, and the old home page brought no attention to the work going on in this area.

Most of my images have stories associated with them, which are contained in packages called galleries or albums. I do a lot of work on these sections, especially in the bird species galleries that I’ve written perhaps a year or two before. When I revised galleries to share new information I’ve learned, there was no easy way to show to web visitors the work that I had been doing there. So one of the things I wanted to rectify was to remodel the homepage to bring attention to these other areas of work that I use when spinning yarns for the web. Now, if I do edits to update content in these galleries and albums, the most recent of them will be placed on a link where viewers can readily view the new content.

Another feature I requested may not be quite as obvious, but it is one that I had been wishing for since the first version (v5.0). I call this feature the automated inventory system. Keeping track and calculating how many bird species were in my bird galleries took a lot of time and effort. And every time there was an update that effort would have to be repeated to bring things up to date. Today there are 528 bird species displayed in the Birds I Have Known album, and there is an inventory report for every album in the system including a grand total at the top level album. I no longer have to devote time and effort into calculating and displaying the new totals.

There are other new features now in place, including a better site search, and improved breadcrumb links at the top of pages, and I’ve already put in requests for features that came to mind after the scope of work on v5.1 had been agreed to. Stay tuned for v5.2.

I should be on the road when next I reach out and share my adventures again. I plan to tour Arizona extensively and let winter peter out before I continue north and east. I’m looking forward to life on the road again.