Technical Note

The viHistory website uses PHP 5 code and a PostgreSQL database to dynamically create web pages (HTML). PHP is a server scripting language that creates web pages on demand. PostgreSQL is a very powerful open-source database system. We've tried to make our site accessible to all web browsers while taking advantage of newer technologies, such as XHTML, XML, JavaScript, and CSS-2.

Original Web Site

The pages on this site were originally created using Arachnophilia, FrontPage, XML Spy and, most important of all, Notepad. They were hosted on a Windows server, and so used Microsoft's Active Server Pages (ASP) technology; the ASP code was developed by Alex Dunae.

Web Site Rebuild, 2005-2006

The web site was rebuilt in the fall of 2005 by David Badke, and was created using a variety of tools, many of them open source. All PHP code was developed using the TruStudio PHP development environment (based on the open source Eclipse platform). All of the PHP was hand coded by David Badke. Adobe Photoshop CS2 was used to create and manipulate some of the images on the site. All of the HTML code was upgraded to be valid under the XHTML 1.1 standard. Cascading Style Sheets (CSS Level 2) were used to format the HTML for display. The search engines use the Structured Query Language (SQL) to query the PostgreSQL database. The site now runs on the open source Apache web server platform.

Web Site Extension, 2011-2012

The website had two additional datasets added (check census 1891 and census 1911), and minor modifications made to the PHP, SQL and postgres databases created in 2005. The work was done by Jamie Nay and Stewart Arneil.

This site is hosted on a web server at the University of Victoria on Vancouver Island, Canada.


The data available on the viHistory website has been drawn from a variety of sources, including SPSS, Paradox [for DOS], and Microsoft Access. The information on this site is stored in a PostgreSQL database and XML formats. Currently, well over 100,000 individual records can be accessed from this site.

Browser Compatibility

We've tried to make our site accessible to all modern web browsers while taking advantage of newer technologies, such as XHTML, XML, JavaScript, and CSS-2. The site is fully XHTML 1.1 and CSS Level 2 compliant. It has been tested with Firefox, Mozilla, Opera and Internet Explorer on Windows, and Firefox and Safari on the Macintosh. Only the more recent versions of these browsers were tested. There are some differences in the display of the pages with the different browsers; Firefox, being standards compliant, is recommended. Some pages link to Portable Document Format (PDF) files, which you will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader to view.

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