Now that most of the physical work has been done for the cameras project and new desk, what have the tech team at Whitkirk been up to in the last week?

Less power!

We did some more maths on our tech desk’s total estimated power load and refined our numbers downwards. This meant we could swap some of the fuses for something even more conservative, bringing the already small risk of someone overloading the circuit in a dangerous way even lower.

“Il meglio è nemico del bene”

As Voltaire said(1), “perfect is the enemy of good”. The tech team always aim towards perfection, but we take a pragmatic view that most of the time “good enough” really is, and we can make improvements later.

Several years ago, when the Church website was redesigned into its current form, we made one of these “good enough” decisions about the look of our website header images. In doing so, we inadvertently left a bug lying around which would only manifest itself in a specific set of circumstances. Not a totally-breaking-things bug, but one which meant the website didn’t always look quite right. More specifically, if you uploaded an image that was narrower than a 9:2 ratio for the page header then it would be tiled incorrectly and look rubbish.

This week, we finally got around to fixing it. In the process, we also stretched the header a full 25% taller – the eagle-eyed amongst you might notice something feels subtly different – which gives us a bit more room for artistic direction on our pages (see an example on this Landmark article). We also optimised how the images are resized, which in a tiny handful of cases makes the web pages faster.

We planted some trees

Well, not personally. To help cover the carbon footprint of manufacturing and installing the new camera equipment we used Ecologi to offset 1 tonne of carbon emissions (0.75 tonnes by building wind generation capacity in Taiwan, 0.25 tonnes by protecting forests in Northern Zimbabwe), and to plant 50 trees in a reforesting project in Mozambique.

Access: everyone

We’ve begun an accessibility audit of our website, particularly around the new things we had to build in a hurry during the pandemic. Since the site was last redesigned there have been some significant leaps forward in making the web more accessible, so we’re seeing where we can make improvements.

Accessibility isn’t just about making sure the things we do are usable by disabled people. Improvements we make can help everyone – if you’ve got a few minutes to spare then you can read about the “curb cut effect“.

As we make these changes we’ll let you know, either in their own blog post or in these weeknotes.

A bit of server maintenance

We updated the version of a few things on the server which runs our website, making it more secure.

As part of this, we also hunted down and squashed a years-old bug in some old code, improving the reliability of some backend administration functions and marginally speeding things up.

Revamping how the website does services

We ripped out and rewrote a chunk of how the website deals with the concept of “a service”.

More process updates

We’ve updated our service checklist to take into account our new way to representing services on the website and to cover even more checkpoints. Our checklist now includes no fewer than 18 distinct stages, ranging from setting up a service entry on the website correctly through to making sure things are properly cleaned down after services.

References

References
1 sort of, there was a bit of a translation error