Author: Ron Graham
Ron Graham’s Report
— for Jul-Aug-Sep (3rd Quarter) 2017
This page reports my work on simplybible.com for the information of those who take a special interest in that work.
Website 2017 Upgrade Completed
The 2017 upgrade to simplybible.com is now finished. In the quarter I upgraded the last 300 or so pages. Of course I will continue to edit and improve pages as an ongoing task, including where I may have missed something during the upgrade. After all, I dealt with many hundreds of pages, so here and there something may have been overlooked.
After the upgrade, as a complement to it, I thoroughly revised the main style sheet that dictates the appearance and placement of items on a page.
Keeping up with the Gadgets
One important change was the specifications for font size (the sizes of the text). These were altered so that all text can resize appropriately when users zoom in and out to enlarge the text or make it smaller. It also allows text to adjust to various sized screens from large right down to little smart phones. Many devices and browsers now impose their own control of text size, and a website needs to accommodate them.
To better fit in with this, I changed all font size specifications to ems. In my days as a printing apprentice, an em was an em, a definite measure. But in webpages, ems change size relatively. This makes them rather tricky. Some trial and error was required, but it all appears to be working well.
While working on the style sheet I also tweaked the appearance of the top portion of the page to look nice and pleasantly arranged on all screen sizes. A page may look lovely on a big desktop computer. But you can't just shrink it to fit on a tiny smart phone. It will look a jumbled mess and be unreadable. So the style sheet specifies rearrangement and resizing for various screen sizes so the page opens nicely on any device. Of course it already did that, but not always quite correctly, and several small adjustments were needed.
New Security for the Website
In the past, websites have been of two kinds. Most websites exchanged data with people’s computers openly without any way of keeping it private from hackers. Only banks, large online shops, and some social media sites used secure websites where data and information was encrypted.
Lately, however, internet users have come to expect security to be provided on all websites they use. When you use a secure website, you may notice a locked padlock icon at the left of the address bar and the beginning of the address will be "https://" instead of "http://". The extra s stands for secure. Such a site has been issued with a certificate and furnished with an encryption protocol called "Secure Socket Layer" (SSL). Lovely jargon, but it simply means all information that passes between the website and a user is so thoroughly encrypted that it would take a super computer a million years to crack the code.
To keep up with this modern standard, simplybible.com has purchased an SSL certificate and had the protocol installed. Now a small badge in the page banner tells users that they are secure, and protected, and can browse simplybible.com in strict privacy.
There is some mystery about how Google regards old links in its index until it has re-indexed the whole site to reflect the new security. We may temporarily have some drop in the page views, but I doubt it will be very serious.
New on simplybible.com
In the quarter, I added 15 more pages to the website. Here are the pages added...
- Three Bible lessons entitled The Helmet of Salvation, Why the Warnings, Three Marvelous Mountains.
- Five more new lessons for the "Disciples of Christ" series: The Disciple’s Forgiveness, The Disciple’s Repentance, The Disciple’s Fellowship, The Disciple’s Judgment, The Disciple’s Justice.
- Four new lessons for the "What Must I Do?" series: Are You Actually a Christian? Are You Actively a Christian? Are You a Christian in Attitude? Are You a Christian in Ambition?
- In addition to the 12 lessons above, I added Crossword puzzle number 18, a list of Bible verses on Life, and a new directory page for Deepend.
There are now 1372 study pages on the website (not counting all the indexes).
Website PDF Project Completed
As mentioned in previous reports, I have been working on a project to provide a downloadable pdf file for each lesson on the site. These pdf duplicates allow users to keep lessons on their devices and share them.
The term "pdf" means "Portable Document Format". As the name suggests, it presents a document that almost any computer, tablet, or smart phone can store, display, email, and share. A pdf document contains all the text, styling, and images within itself without any supplementary files required.
I have software on my computer that lets me directly edit text on a pdf file so that any small changes or corrections are easily made without producing a new pdf.
There were around 1300 pdf files to make, and the last 300 or so were completed this quarter. As an indication of how users are receiving this facility, during the quarter users accessed pdf documents 9,636 times and there were 2,951 downloads.
The figures for page views over the quarter (total of pages opened by visitors) did not break any records but maintained high statistics: July 139,857; August 142,309; September 135,506 (Source Awstats).
That is an average for page views of around 140,000 a month or a daily average above 4,400.
For the twelve months to the end of September, the number of page views exceeded 1.6 million: 1,662,805 (Source Awstats).
It is interesting that the most popular pages include the search results page generated by the site’s internal search engine called SiFi. I wrote this program myself (in years past) and it is good to see it being used so much lately. I update its databases regularly. It creates an index page according to what words a user enters. This page looks like any other index on the website, but is made uniquely on the fly by the automated clerk.
Pageviews per Nation
As an indication of the site's outreach, here's a list of the countries in August in which more than 1000 pages were viewed. (There are of course many other countries where less than 1000 pages were viewed.)
United States..56,071 Australia.......7,785 India...........7,513 Nigeria.........7,194 Philippines.....6,700 Great Britain...4,757 Canada..........4,004 France..........3,322 South Africa....3,218 Russian Fed'n...2,339 Ghana...........2,089 Brazil..........2,044 Malaysia........1,497 Germany.........1,361 Kenya...........1,343 China...........1,289 Pakistan........1,257 Singapore.......1,044 (Source: Awstats)
Thank you for keeping on helping me in the Lord’s work, and for your prayers, and your interest and confidence in my work on the website that reaches and teaches thousands of people. By sharing with me in this work, you make it possible for you and me to "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation"
Love and best wishes in Jesus.