This site was initially produced through a cooperation between the Sutton Poyntz Web Group and Web Choice UK Ltd, who were contracted to produce a framework for the site in which Sutton Poyntz villagers could then generate the site material. We were able to contract Web Choice UK Ltd thanks to a generous grant of Lottery Heritage funds, bid for by the South Dorset Ridgeway Heritage Project of the Dorset AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). Our grateful thanks are given to the South Dorset Ridgeway Heritage Project for their sponsorship, and to Web Choice UK Ltd for their expertise.

The site is based on Joomla. Joomla is an environment for developing and publishing websites, and allows a number of people to be writing different  parts of the site at the same time as other parts of the site are 'live' - available to be read by the public. Technically, Joomla is a CMS (Content Management System); what this means is that it stores the content of the site in a way that allows different people (users, authors, site administrators) to be using the content in different way, all at the same time. The site contents are not stored in the format that visitors to the site see; Joomla stores a template (or templates), and separately stores page content, and puts the two together when a visitor asks to see a page.

Joomla is available for use freely through a GNU General Public Licence (GPL). Joomla consists of a core, which provides the main functionality, plus large numbers of 'plug-ins' which can be added to provide more specific functionality. These plug-ins are produced by users of Joomla to satisfy their own needs, and then made available, mostly under the same GPL Licence, to other Joomla users. Of particular importance for this site is the Google Maps plug-in, produced by Mike Reumer from Holland; this allows a Joomla site to include maps generated by Google Maps. The search facility is a native Joomla function. The calendar used is another Joomla plug-in called JEvents, produced by someone who just signs himself Gareth. Thanks to the people responsible for these add-ons, which we recommend whol-heartedly.

Joomla consists of a 'back-end' and a 'front-end'. The front-end is what all visitors to the site see; to most people, the site 'is' the front-end. The back-end is where authorised users can log in to manage and edit the site content. Because Joomla and its add-ons comprise, to some extent, a WYPFIWYG ('What You Pay For Is What You Get') system, the Sutton Poyntz Web Group has written a set of GUIDANCE NOTES to help authors to understand how to write and edit content for the Sutton Poyntz website.

In the first version of the site, based on Joomla version 1.5, some 'personalisation' of certain Joomla modules was done in order to get the 'look and feel' that we wanted for the website. Gradually, we have been able to do away with almost all of this, and all the code is now "as issued" except for one change in the calendar display code.

Malware attack

We suffered a malware attack in August 2012 - click for more information.

Joomla upgrade - your all new village website

After several months' work, we upgraded this site in March 2013 from Joomla version 1.5 to Joomla 2.5. Joomla 1.5 was no longer supported, and may have been the cause of vulerability leading to the malware attack (see above). The upgrade proved to be extremely difficult, as the Jooma environment had changed significantly, and there were very limited tools available to automate the upgrade.

Our fervent hope is that users will not notice any differences as a result of the upgrade. If you do find anything in the site that is not working properly, please contact us and let us know.

We have introduced two enhancements while the upgrade was being implemented:

  • Firstly, we have used the Joomla facility to use more friendly page names; so, for example, you can now go to page, rather than the rather less memorable;
  • Secondly we have modified the main menu so that the site can be used by iPad or smartphone users.


Joomla 3

Joomla 2.5 stopped being supported in late 2014. We have now upgraded (April 2015) to Joomla 3.4. As a result, the Google Maps are now working again. Apart from this, there are no significant changes to the front end of the site (what most people see), but the back-end, used by site developers and maintainers, has changed significantly.


Internet Explorer 9

Microsoft are in the process of rolling out an upgrade, from Internet Explorer 8 to Internet Explorer 9. I love the look of the new version, but have found that a number of pages on a number of websites simply do not seem to work. On this site, for example, the photograph albums on the map pages don't work. They work fine with other browsers.

As a temporary fix, I have set the site up so that it displays using the Internet Explorer 8 compatibility mode provided by Microsoft. The site should now work correctly under Internet Explorer 9 - if not, please let us know using the Contact Us link.

Latest news (17 June 2011) Today, I found that Internet Explorer was no longer displaying our maps. Looking at Google Maps Help, we are not alone. The maps had previously been working, but Microsoft have evidently changed something again!!! The fix was to change from IE7 compatibility mode to IE8 compatibility mode, but it's really annoying that Internet Explorer is so unstable. Other browsers, such as FirefoxChrome or Safari, all work perfectly. They are all available for you to download and use free. I really recommend you download one of them (they all work well), and abandon Microsoft Internet Explorer.

I will continue to look for a more permanent solution.