1

MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE COMMUNICATIONS WORKING PARTY OF
LONGPARISH PARISH COUNCIL HELD AT GIDLEIGH COTTAGE LONGPARISH ON
THURSDAY 7 JANUARY 2013 AT 7.15PM

Present:

Christopher

Duxbury (Chair), Mary Jo Darrah, Natasha Rouse

Apologies:

Jonathan Frere; David Gould

13/01 Chairman

CD to take the Chair and produce the minutes. He explained that David Gould was unable to attend due to a heavy
cold but that he would produce some website notes for further discussion and review.

13/02 Minutes of the last meeting

The approved minutes of the 30 Sep 10 meeting were reviewed. Ongoing matters would be covered in the agenda.

Afternote: The approved minutes of the 24 Oct 11 meeting were also reviewed subsequent to the Working Party
meeting [although briefed to the Parish Council at the Dec 11 meeting, they had not been posted on the website].

There was one outstanding matter, which will now be actioned:

Digital Archiving: The Chairman will ascertain when the Hampshire Record Office will start accepting digital
archiving. In conjunction with the Clerk, he will check on the most recent PC minutes held by the Record Office and
the whereabouts of those not so lodged to date.

ACTION CD

13/03 Review Terms of Reference

The Working Party was content with the present Terms of Reference, but would review paragraph 3.3 [Village
Directory] at the next meeting – see below.

13/04 Review Publications Policy

The Working Party agreed that The Parish Council’s Publications policy did not need further review this year.

13/05 Village Correspondent

MJD agreed to speak to the Andover Advertiser re current terms for Village Correspondents and take soundings
through Hill & Valley to see if anyone in the village is prepared to come forward to take it on.

ACTION MJD

13/06 Village Directory

MJD agreed to take sounding as to the continuing value of the printed annual Directory, or whether we had
reached the point when the website details now met the need sufficiently.

ACTION MJD

In any event, it was agreed that the procedures for keeping names/appointments up to date need review. CD said
that he had managed to update much of the information during the preparation for the New Villagers Event.

13/07 Village Handbook

The Working Party agreed that that the Village Handbook would not need updating for sometime.

1

MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE COMMUNICATIONS WORKING PARTY OF
LONGPARISH PARISH COUNCIL HELD AT GIDLEIGH COTTAGE LONGPARISH ON
THURSDAY 7 JANUARY 2013 AT 7.15PM

Present:

Christopher

Duxbury (Chair), Mary Jo Darrah, Natasha Rouse

Apologies:

Jonathan Frere; David Gould

13/01 Chairman

CD to take the Chair and produce the minutes. He explained that David Gould was unable to attend due to a heavy
cold but that he would produce some website notes for further discussion and review.

13/02 Minutes of the last meeting

The approved minutes of the 30 Sep 10 meeting were reviewed. Ongoing matters would be covered in the agenda.

Afternote: The approved minutes of the 24 Oct 11 meeting were also reviewed subsequent to the Working Party
meeting [although briefed to the Parish Council at the Dec 11 meeting, they had not been posted on the website].

There was one outstanding matter, which will now be actioned:

Digital Archiving: The Chairman will ascertain when the Hampshire Record Office will start accepting digital
archiving. In conjunction with the Clerk, he will check on the most recent PC minutes held by the Record Office and
the whereabouts of those not so lodged to date.

ACTION CD

13/03 Review Terms of Reference

The Working Party was content with the present Terms of Reference, but would review paragraph 3.3 [Village
Directory] at the next meeting – see below.

13/04 Review Publications Policy

The Working Party agreed that The Parish Council’s Publications policy did not need further review this year.

13/05 Village Correspondent

MJD agreed to speak to the Andover Advertiser re current terms for Village Correspondents and take soundings
through Hill & Valley to see if anyone in the village is prepared to come forward to take it on.

ACTION MJD

13/06 Village Directory

MJD agreed to take sounding as to the continuing value of the printed annual Directory, or whether we had
reached the point when the website details now met the need sufficiently.

ACTION MJD

In any event, it was agreed that the procedures for keeping names/appointments up to date need review. CD said
that he had managed to update much of the information during the preparation for the New Villagers Event.

13/07 Village Handbook

The Working Party agreed that that the Village Handbook would not need updating for sometime.

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13/08 Budget Estimates 2013/14

The estimates circulated ahead of the meeting were agreed:

Item

Estimate

Input by

Hill and Valley [paid quarterly][No change]

375

NR

Website [2 years hosting charge -
£159.99 & 10 years registration of domain
Longparish. org.uk - £59.99

219.98

DG

Reception for new villagers [PC
contribution including new literature

200

CD

Directory for 2014 edition

200

MJD

Video interviews

100 [1]

CD

Total

1094.98

13/09 Website Matters

The Chairman said that Jeremy Barber had mentioned a problem associated with updating the website. DG was
aware of this.

The Working Party agreed that DG’s notes would be enclosed at Annex A and that NR would discuss/review them
with DG ahead of the next meeting in early April.

ACTION NR/DG

Afternote: DG’s Nov 11 notes are at Annex B and the Sep 10 notes at Annex C.

13/10 AOB

It was agreed that the next meeting would be held in early Apr 13.

CJD

Annexes:

A. Notes from David Gould – Jan 13

B. Notes from David Gould – Nov 11

C. Suggestion From David Gould – Sep 10

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ANNEX A

The Longparish Website

Notes from David Gould – January 2013

Excecutive Summary

+ Jeremy's problems updating the site might have been fixed
+ feedback (structure, content, graphics) still sought
+ new.longparish.org.uk moving glacially forward
+ David actually has a good feel for what he's doing, now
+ the proposal now includes a plan to archive the existing site

The Long, Wordy Version

1.

Jeremy's problems updating the site


Jeremy is being too generous: losing the control files and his
subsequent inability to update the site were all my fault. As he says,
there may be some delay before I can regenerate them. As bad luck would
have it, it's pretty much the only part of the site I don't have a
recent backup for.

Having said that, I have just found and restored a backup from some
while ago that might, nevertheless, do the job. Jeremy appears to have
fled the village for the rest of the week, so we'll have to test it on
his return.

2.

The new site


Doesn't time fly? Having re-read my notes of over a year ago
(11/11/11) that referenced ones over a year before that (30/09/10 – at Annex B), I
find I have little to add.

2a.

The handbook test site


The handbook site is still there, but I don't propose to do anything
more to it - it's not the right place to start. At some point I will
retire it.

2b.

new.longparish.org.uk



i.

underlying software


I have restarted the new.longparish.org.uk working site with the latest
version of the content management software - Joomla! 2.5 - because they
have now introduced the ability to update the software automatically.
That means we don't have to worry about large disruptions when rolling
over to a newer version which was a concern before.

ii.

site structure


The menu structure is gradually being put in place - I propose to get

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that done today (9 Jan 2013) and start to introduce content from the
existing site (or link to it) once the structure is in place.

Unlike the existing site, if we decide to change the site structure (and
we should - still waiting for some feedback, here) it is a relatively
straightforward job to shuffle everything around. Everything is up for
review.

iii.

archiving existing site - new proposal


In addition to the "What Next?" items of 11/11/11, I would propose that,
when we are happy that the new site can go live, the old site is moved
to archive.longparish.org.uk and only finally retired when we are happy
that we have captured everything from it.

Currently, archive.longparish.org.uk exists and redirects to the current
site. That way, all links from the new site will be to the archive and
will still magically work when we go live and move the current site to
archive.longparish.org.uk

iv.

look and feel


One area in which I have done almost no work whatsoever is the graphic
design. I picked up the standard template and replaced the picture with
one I threw together in a bit of a hurry. Any budding graphics designers
with input would be welcomed with open arms - this really isn't my area
of expertise.

3.

Other website work


Where there has been progress over the last year is that I have been
helping Longparish Playgroup replace their site. It used an out of date
version of the Joomla! software and we decided to start from scratch
with the latest version. That has given me the opportunity to get a much
better understanding of how it all hangs together.

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ANNEX B

The Longparish Website

Notes from David Gould – November 2011

A couple of paragraphs about where I am with the website.

The proposal (30 Sept 2010)

1. DG sets up a 'sandbox' at new.longparish.org.uk where potential
contributors can at least see something and play around with the
technology. Structure to be based on the Handbook.

2. NR to suggest navigation, structure and content

3. All contributors go and have a play around at the test site.

What's happened so far?

There is a test "subsite" at handbook.longparish.org.uk, which contains
the handbook as a single article (split into pages by the content
management system we are using, Joomla!). It isn't a thing of great
beauty and there are only a few pictures included.

The Communications Work Group members were registered there as users
with permission to do anything at all. The site is backed up and, in any
case, nothing done there can affect the integrity of the main site.

There is a development site at new.longparish.org.uk, which I am
currently building. This will turn into the new main site when the
Council is happy. So far, it is pretty empty. In the absence of any
feedback about content or structure, it is being modelled on the
existing site.

The new site currently (11/11/11) has some of the structure but no
actual content.

What next?


1. Register the Usual Suspects as users with permission to update the
site (probably not until I have settled the structure and added some
content).

2. Fill in the "Helpers" section with advice about how to go about
contributing to the site.

3. Continue to refine the structure and add content, linking to the
current site where appropriate or transferring content from the old site
and link to the new one from there.

4. Incorporate any feedback (that I would still like, please) about
content, structure, navigation or, indeed, anything.

If anyone on the Council or any other interested party would like a
login to be able to contribute to the site, just contact me and I will

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happily oblige.

Annex C

The Longparish Website

A Suggestion – September 2010

History

The Longparish website, www.longparish.org.uk, was created in 2001 for the Parish Council. It used Mary Jo’s
Handbook for the structure and content, and was initially created as an experiment and hosted under David’s then
business website, www.levelcast.co.uk. In 2001 it moved to its own hosting and became www.longparish.org.uk.
The site was relaunched with a completely different aesthetic sometime in 2001 or early 2002 (the backups from
then have unfortunately evaporated) and again a few years later. The second relaunch updated the navigation
without much changing the ‘look and feel’ of the site. It was done mostly for technical reasons.

Early Challenges

Back in 2001, there was no broadband and connections were typically very slow. It was therefore important to keep
file sizes down. For example, Parish Council minutes were copied into plain web pages rather than uploaded as
PDFs. This made them smaller, but involved considerable reformatting and general processing to achieve.
Other technical restrictions included the prevalence of PCs that could not display a large number of colours (256
was typical) so the site’s colour scheme had to take that into account.
The web was a much less sophisticated place back then, too. In particular, there was almost no support
infrastructure for web designers – you “simply” typed in the code for the page and put it on the web server. There
was no way of knowing whether someone else was also editing a file, so that made collaboration awkward. We
started using a (Windows) product called Dreamweaver which addressed some of these issues – it allowed several
people to update the website without interfering with each other’s work and provided rudimentary WYSIWYG (What
You See Is What You Get) editing of pages. The downside was that every potential contributor had to have a copy
of the software on their PC. The Parish Council funded a number of these, but the software had a habit of
becoming unusable if the PC had a newer Windows version installed. The upgrade costs of the Dreamweaver
software were rising quickly at each new version.

Current State

The site has grown to several thousand pages – David’s (probably incomplete) copy has over 14,000 (sic) pages.
This means that any site-wide change that affects every page will take months to complete, during which time the
site will be at best inconsistent, at worst, broken. One reason for this is that the speed of upload (sending things to
the web) is much, much slower than the speed of download.
The navigation structure has remained largely unchanged over the years and some parts of the web are not
available through the menus, but must be chased down by clicking in-page links.
There are a number of idiosyncratic file and directory structures in various places. This is attributable to a number
of things, not least the default behaviour of the Dreamweaver software.
There is much that is historically interesting that it would be a shame to lose. The Parish Plan is of course
available, but so is the consultation process and the data from it. There are some interesting parts of the website
that cannot be reached through the menus at all – the abortive Community Project is at
www.longparish.org.uk/cproject for example. While much of this fitted into the structure when it was first published,
some of it has become ‘orphaned’ or simply doesn’t seem to belong where it finds itself.
Tony’s job as Parish Council Clerk is made harder because he has to go through the process of manually
uploading files (typically the PC minutes). He is therefore dependent on David not changing passwords or moving
things around.

Current Opportunities

One great change in the web today is that there are very good infrastructure systems available to help you make
web sites if you aren’t a computer programmer or graphics designer. The playgroup website, currently hosted at
www.longparish.org.uk/playgroup, uses an Open Source (free) product called Joomla! that allows anyone with a
password to create and edit pages and change the menus and generally administer the site. All this is done
through their browser and page editing is (more or less) WYSIWYG. Joomla! supports 3

rd party add-ins that let you

easily add features to your site without writing them all from scratch yourself. For example, the playgroup are using
a ‘file manager’ that makes it easy to put documents on the site for download. It is also easy to backup the site and

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to restore it (possibly somewhere different, if we ever wanted to change our provider). There are add-ins to manage
events calendars and many, many more.
Another opportunity for us is that our web host provider (NamesCo) increased from 1GB to 10GB the amount of
space we have access to.
NamesCo also recently introduced the idea of ‘subdomains’ where the leading www is something different. For
example, the plan is to move the playgroup site to playgroup.longparish.org.uk.

The Way Forward

That something needs doing is not in doubt. The question is: what? Goals should be:
1

the navigation through the site should be improved and the aesthetics could be brought into the 21

st

century

2

we should make it easy for villagers to contribute to the site – for example, the Church might want control
over their own pages to a larger extent than now

3

it shouldn’t take another 5 years to roll out, or we’ll be right back here again

4

we should avoid unnecessary loss of all the existing stuff

A Suggestion

I would suggest we roll out a new site from scratch in two phases:
1

testing – develop the new site at new.longparish.org.uk with Joomla!

2

implementation – move the old site to old.longparish.org.uk and switch the new site to www

The advantages of this approach are that we are instantly ‘live’ with something and we can solicit comments by
linking to it from the current site. We don’t lose anything from the old site at all – we can simply link to it from the
new site. Items that need copying across (Parish Council minutes, for example) can be copied piecemeal over a
period.
Joomla! lets us have multiple contributors from the outset. It also has a large number of attractive templates so that
the site will at least not look like the dog’s dinner and we can develop our own site template at leisure. At least one
of the templates has been designed for accessibility (I’m not sure whether it has been formally ratified) so we can
meet our statutory obligations by allowing anyone using the site to use that instead of our preferred template.
To meet the goal of improved navigation, we have Natasha looking at the site with a pair of fresh eyes. If we get it
wrong in our first stab, at least Joomla! makes it easy to shuffle things around without having to reload the entire
site.

A Plan to Get Started

The Players

Webmaster and technical lead – David G, who will pick David H’s brains
Site navigation and contents – Natasha
Contributors – the Communications Committee members and probably also Jonathan Evans (for the monthly
Church events updates), Tony (uploading Parish Council minutes, etc), Jeremy (who does lots of updates at the
moment) and others if persuadable.

The Testing Phase

Here’s a stab at an outline plan for testing:

1. David sets up new.longparish.org.uk with Joomla! including modules for backing up, managing calendars,

etc. and finds an attractive default template. The structure is basically the Handbook sections (OK, we’ve
been here before, see below...)

David gives all contributors their passwords and makes sure there’s instructions on the web.
This version is essentially a ‘sandbox’ where everyone is getting the hang of the tools. If it all goes horribly wrong, it
doesn’t matter (that’s what backups are for)

2. In parallel.... Natasha is coming up with sensible navigation, stuff we want to have included, etc.

3. In parallel.... all contributors go in and have a go at updating some content in the sandbox.

I think it will take to the end of October to get the initial structure in place and probably the end of the year before
everyone has had a chance to get to grips with the tools.
At this point, we should have a better idea of what needs to be done and how we are all getting along with the
editing tools.
This is the point we agree the final structure and who is going to be responsible for what. Then we should have an
idea how long it will take to come out of testing.