These days you can look not only at the code for any website but also a three-dimensional representation of it. This can be pretty useful if you’re trying to work out why something has gone wrong or if you’ve realised very late in the day that you still haven’t posted anything on your blog yet. Let’s take a look at how it works, with the website which Brighton & Hove Chess Club set up after I left the club. Being unable to continue with the all singing all dancing bells and whistles 162 page beast I made for them, they opted for an off the shelf number instead. Unfortunately, from that day to this, the new website hasn’t been able to show the most crucial pages properly. The original desire for a website was to allow the club’s competition members to see how they were doing by showing them game charts. The most famous tournament in the club is the Plummer Knight, named after the beautiful silver trophy awarded to the winner each year. Here’s the tournament page from the club for the Plummer Knight:
As you can see, the right-hand side of the chart disappears! This means that everyone has to add up the number of games played and the totals by hand. I’m told that the club’s president, Ms Sue Chadwick, has declared that there’s nothing wrong with the website. Yet the same problem crops up on another page too – this time, the page which shows the fixtures for the club’s teams in the Mid-Sussex Chess League:
This page is all over the shop. Not only does the table disappear on the right but also the text at the top of the page disappears underneath the picture on the right-hand side. Looking at this page in 3D reveals its construction problems in a way which someone without much knowledge of website design can understand. Here’s the page in 3D:
A simple angle rotation and we have:
A quick perusal like this, reveals that the site is a ghastly combination of both CSS and tables mashed together in a manner unseen in web design since the very end of the twentieth century. The table containing the league fixtures is obviously wider than the container it sits in. There’s nothing wrong with using tables to present data, like the league fixtures. The problem has arisen because a table has been used to hold the layout of the page, leaving no room for compromise with anything thereafter. Presumably, this sort of off the shelf number leaves no room for proper tweaking, with the result that more than a year after these design problems emerged, they have not yet been fixed. This page probably needs to be completely rewritten or, which may be the preferred option of the club, the tournament needs to have less entrants.