In the beginning…

Just over a year ago I was speaking to Fr Graham Ricketts, our Priest at Our Lady of Lourdes, Rottingdean and we discussed the possibility of a parish website. Fr Graham was very enthusiastic and gave me some very good ideas as to what the site should say and how it might benefit the parish community. He also showed me a number of other web sites that had given him inspiration.
One of these was the site of Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen, a superb award winning website built and maintained by Fr Tim Finigan, the Priest at Blackfen.

The Sincerest form of flattery…

Fr Graham was very impressed by the Blackfen site (as was I) so I took this on board when designing the layout and presentation. Fr Tim’s design was pretty much perfect. He had also done an awful lot of the legwork designing the site using CSS Style Sheets to format the pages and make them as accessible as possible ( a rather esoteric art that I’m only just understanding myself!).
With this in mind, considering imitation the sincerest form of flattery and with a fair bit of cheek :o) I adapted the layout and style sheets to produce the basic Our Lady of Lourdes Site.

In the publishing business…

By trade I’m an application developer working for one of the major international banks. My role is to build applications for the financial sector, providing a web interface for the user to manage their work. Whilst I have no problem maintaining our parish website, I realised that publishing more dynamic content, such as social events, weekly newsletters etc. would mean me hacking HTML web pages until the small hours each night. So I came up with an alternative…

Our website News and Events and Calendar pages are not just plain HTML. They are Web Application pages that connect to a database and retrieve the relevant information when required. I have also developed a secure admin application that allows members of the parish community to add and maintain Calendar and Social events and the weekly newsletter. They type the information into a simple interface and apply basic formatting (bold, underline etc.). When this information is saved to the database and marked as ‘Published’ it can appear on the website. The Web Application pages take the information from the database and, interpreting any applied formatting, render the page as accessible HTML.

Onwards and upwards…

Even with the day to day publishing taken care of, I’m still heavily involved in developing this site (and it’s sister sitesĀ http://www.ourladyoflourdesandstpatricks.co.uk/stmarthas andĀ http://www.ourladyoflourdesschool.co.uk). I’ll continue to research and add any additional pages I can that may benefit our Parish community or Catholics in general and welcome any suggestions that anyone may have. Just click on the ‘Contact the Webmaster’ link at the bottom of this page.