Hello and welcome to our newly updated web site! We’ve been putting in some long hours in the new site, but the work should pay off over time. Though the site has an updated, cleaner look to the aesthetic, the main reasons we chose to upgrade the site go much deeper.
Our original site was created using static HTML, or hyper-text markup language, which is one of several methods of coding a website. A person can think of a static site as a sort of picture, in a way. We create the site and upload it to the server. When you look at the site your computer’s browser simply goes to the server and displays the site exactly as we designed it. The benefits to this method are that we had more control over how the site looked, the demands on the server were low, and HTML works well when people with older computers or software access the site.
But times and technology often change more quickly than we realize.
When we first created the site in 2011 only thirty-five percent of American adults owned a smartphone. In just a few short years, however, that number increased dramatically to around eighty percent today — and the way people access the Internet changed as well. People used to sit at a desktop computer to surf the web, often taking a bit of time to research a subject. But today it’s quite common for a person who needs information to simply pull out their phone, Google a phrase, and look at only the first one or two sites that pop up in the results.
Sadly, HTML doesn’t work well for that sort of thing. If you see an HTML site on your iPhone or Droid, what you see is a very tiny version of the website, forcing you to zoom in and scroll around. As smartphone and tablet use grew exponentially, industry standards for web design shifted. Some designers opted to stay with HTML, creating one website that looked good on a computer, another website that looked good on a tablet, and a third website that worked well on smartphones — a tactic which works, but obviously triples the work involved in maintaining a website. Other designers started looking at “dynamic” website design rather than static HTML to solve this problem.
Dynamic web sites work much differently than HTML sites. Rather than a designer creating the site pixel-perfect much the way a person might design a brochure or poster, with dynamic sites a designer creates a set of rules or directions for the design, then inputs the data (the actual words and pictures on the site) separately. When a person accesses a dynamic website their browser receives these rules, creates the website on the fly using those rules, then adds the data. I know, this sounds like it’s getting technical… But the result is that a dynamic site will look good whether you look at it on a cell phone or on a big huge wide-screen computer monitor. This was a big factor in our decision to upgrade the MWPHGLIA site.
Another big factor was how difficult the old site was to update and maintain. It was very technical and demanded expensive and confusing software to run. The new site is much, much easier to access and doesn’t need any special software, which means we can keep the site updated easier and more timely than before.
The third factor in our decision to update the site was security. As technology developed over the past five years some aspects of HTML have become more vulnerable to hackers. This wouldn’t have affected the Lodge in any way, but it would have caused us problems with the people who run the server hosting our site and would have been a headache in general. The code behind the new dynamic site is constantly being updated by professionals in order to avoid this sort of thing.
So that’s the story behind the new website. If you have any problems or issues with the site, please feel free to contact Worshipful Grand Webmaster, Bro. Ike Rayford.
—Thank you, and have a good day!