Credits

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Helpers

The purpose of this Credits page is to gratefully acknowledge the help I've had in putting this web site together. The helpers make a very difficult task much more manageable.

The Tools

For an HTML editor I use PageSpinner, a shareware package written by Jerry Aman of Optima Systems.

For text preparation and manipulation, removing line endings, preparing tables, and the like I use TextWrangler, TextEdit and AppleWorks, all of which came bundled with my computer. I also often enter text directly into PageSpinner. Since PageSpinner has no built-in spell-checker, typing errors manage to find their way into the text.

For graphics I used Color It! by MicroFrontier, Inc., the Draw and Paint tools of AppleWorks, GIFConverter, a shareware package by Kevin A. Mitchell, and GIFBuilder, a shareware package by Yves Piguet. Packages come and go. I now use GraphicsConverter X for most of my current graphics work.

Safari is now my primary browser and Firefox, Opera, and Internet Explorer are used to check that my web site is viewable by various users.

For continuing research I now mostly use Google. Most of the useful links that I've found are on the Links Page, but I'm sure I've neglected to list some of them from time to time.

For the genealogy database I use Reunion, a Macintosh application from Leister Productions, Inc. After entering the information into Reunion, I extract only the basic information to display on the Family Trees page.

In The Very Beginning

I decided to put up a Home Page during the spring of 1997 after trying to find out what I could learn about my grandparents. I had had a vague childhood memory of having seen their picture, but nothing more. As I acquired family background information I realized I had to share it with all the relatives, and what better way to do this than via the burgeoning internet?

Putting up a Home Page was no small task so I started by reviewing a few of the pages on the Web to see what was being done, in order to get an idea of where the technology was at the time, and then to see what designs felt comfortable. The technology was moving very rapidly on several levels. It continues to do so today. JAVA looked like a good bet for the programmer and plain HTML looked feasible for the content specialist. I chose to go the plain HTML route because I wanted to devote my time to content rather than to programming, knowing that by doing so I was limiting the functionality, but I reasoned that I could always add Java applets later. The transition from computer techie to content specialist was almost painless. The content world is much more forgiving than the techie world.

In the meantime, I've learned a little JavaScript and have been incorporating it into some sections.

Eventually I decided to abandon the use of frames, primarily to gain access to the full screen. When I went with frames I was aware of the impact on search engines but unconcerned by that factor since my web site is intended for a limited audience. So the need for more screen geography won out over the optimal positioning of links.

On The Shoulders of Giants (see Note 1)

Help has come from many sources, some of which are the following:
  • To learn HTML I used HTML In Plain English by Sandra E. Eddy, MIS Press as well as some online sources.
  • To edit the pages I chose PageSpinner the Macintosh shareware package by Jerry Aman of Optima Systems. It is easy to use, has many built-in samples, and runs without any problems.
  • The HTML source was uploaded to the web server with Fetch, an easy to use Macintosh FTP program from Dartmouth. It is now available directly from Fetch Softworks.
  • Technical support to resolve initial Macintosh to UNIX problems was graciously offered by Chuck Ho and the Infinex Help Desk. Infinex was the ISP I went with after happily leaving AOL when they were experiencing their initial growing pains and were intolerant or unaware of those users who wanted freer access to the internet. For the last few years I have been using FastWebServer to host this page and my local telephone company as my ISP and communications provider.
  • For help in researching my family's history in Hartford I made use of the services of Thomas F. and Virginia N. Howard, Professional Genealogists, who work under the name SEARCH: Skeletons and Heirs. Their email address is: thomas.f.howard@snet.net
  • Old family photographs were provided by some of my cousins and they continue to send me others. I'll incorporate them from time to time as I get them organized.
  • The bulk of the Dieli genealogy content came from the research that my wife Alice and I did in the city of Caltagirone in Sicily during a glorious five month visit. Much of the remaining content comes from family friends, colleagues, and professional librarians and archivists, as well as from distant relatives whose interest increases as the data continues to accumulate.
  • For JavaScript I started with Danny Goodman's JavaScript Handbook and then went to David Flanagan's JavaScript: The Definitive Guide. They are both excellent books but I found neither one of them very helpful for my purposes since I was not interested in becoming a JavaScript expert. My needs were very modest so for me, the most helpful source was the MacNexus web site where I found users who were doing the kinds of things that I wanted to do. That's where I learned how to swap images by means of a JavaScript function.
  • The fancy type for various pages was created with Aldus Type Twister. It's a great package but unfortunately, it was never updated after it was acquired by Adobe. If you hear about a new release, please let me know.
  • On March 25, 1999 I joined the HTML Writers Guild and learned a lot from the various materials they had online and by "browsing" the mail lists.
  • On August 22, 1999 I learned enough JavaScript from Web Teacher to be able to click on an image map and open a window displaying the information that I wanted. To create an image map you must supply specific x and y coordinates. HyperCard was used to automate that process as much as possible.
  • On August 27, 1999 I downloaded GIFBuilder by Yves Piguet (piguet@ia.epfl.ch). It's a well documented program that lets you assemble GIF animations. It's easier to use than I at first anticipated. Of course there's no substitute for artistic ability, but despite that, you can still put together usable animations. I find animations tiresome and generally annoying so I ended up strictly limiting their use.

Why Frames? (no longer, see the last bullet.)

Although I realized that there may be some users of back level browsers who could not use frames, I had initially decided to use them in order to give my users more flexible control of the content. This objective was achieved by:
  • Keeping a scrollable Linking table of contents on the left side of the screen
  • Embedding hypertext like links within the scrollable content of the main part of the screen
  • Giving the user more than one way to go from place to place.
  • As of March of '99 I added a noframes sniffer and added noframes navigation on the bottom of every main page. This gave the noframes user navigational support to all the content.
  • Change, change, and more change. As of January 2nd of 2K I trashed the frames approach in favor of being able to display each page on a bigger screen, placing navigation aids at the bottom of each page.

And The Beat Goes On

This web site is a work in progress. Some of the content is yet to be added and some will be continually changing. The first page has been modified many times and the current design was the work of Sicilian Web Designer, Antonio Garrisi of Palermo.

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One of the nice things about having a web site on the internet is that it leads to contacts with other people who share my interests. If you're one of those people, please send me your comments.
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Note 1: "Pygmies placed on the shoulders of giants see more than the giants themselves," an apothegm (aphorism) derived from the writings of the 12th century scholastic Bernard of Chartres who said, "In comparison with the ancients we stand like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants" (a stained glass window at the Cathedral of Chartres depicts Matthew sitting astride the shoulders of Isaiah) (The People's Chronology is licensed from Henry Holt and Company, Inc. Copyright 1995, 1996 by James Trager. All rights reserved. This text was copied from the Microsoft Bookshelf CD-ROM). People more frequently quote Sir Isaac Newton's (1642-1727) version of this concept. He said, "If I have been able to see farther than others, it was because I stood on the shoulders of giants."


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This page is maintained by Art Dieli.
Last updated: Oct 11, 2017