The Skirret

The Skirret is an implement which acts on a centre pin,
whence a line is drawn to mark out
the ground plan of the intended structure.

The Skirret website is a repository for articles, essays, papers, and documents of Masonic interest.

It has its origins in websites created in 2000 for two Masonic lodges in Yokohama, Japan:

These sites grew rapidly. To the public areas were added articles of historical interest, photographs and links. The private areas grew with the addition of member directories, lodge minutes, and photo albums of lodge events.

By 2004 the two sites consisted of over 2,000 files each and maintenance of the hand-coded pages was becoming a major problem. A switch from HTML 4.01 to XHTML 1.1 and CSS required several weeks of work. Use of a content management system was considered, but lack of PHP and MySQL support on the web host precluded adoption.

In 2004, a test site was created for the three Scottish Masonic bodies in Kobe, Japan:

In 2006 the skirret.com domain was registered to provide a permanent home for the Kobe websites, backup and expansion space for the Yokohama sites, and an archive for a rapidly growing collection of Masonic papers and other materials. In 2012 the webmaster resigned from the two Yokohama lodges and their websites are no longer mirrored on the Skirret. Links to the current sites have, however, been preserved.

As the Skirret domain's new home (DreamHost) provided full PHP, MySQL and other support, consideration was again given to content management systems that would facilitate maintenance of the websites and archives. Test installations were made of Mambo, XOOPS, Joomla, Drupal, TextPattern, MODx and ExpressionEngine. The last was chosen for its flexibility. After two years of smooth operation, however, ExpressionEngine's search module stopped working and the MySQL database began to show signs of data corruption. A decision was made to abandon content management systems, revert to static HTML pages, and slowly shift to the HTML5 standard.

Numerous unsuccessful experiments were made with website search scripts (PHP and JS). The Skirret website is currently powered by the commercial Swiftype engine.

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