Aims of GBBG
History of GBBG

About This Galtee Bee Breeding Group Website

  Galtee Bee Breeding Group logo, Originated by Jacob Kahn

The history behind the Galtee Bee Breeding Group Website

Jacob Kahn at the microscope... Photo, Micheál Mac Giolla Coda

The original website was generated sometime during 1999 by Jacob Kahn (right) who also maintained it from it's inception until mid September 2003, when I (Dave Cushman, below left) took over. I have been a GBBG member for several years, but I have been unable to contribute much directly, as I live in the UK and only normally visit Ireland for the annual Gormanston Summer School.

Dave Cushman... Photo, Peter Hawkins

I run a fairly extensive beekeeping website of my own and I also help out a few beekeepers with their webwork, so it makes sense that I am the website compiler at the moment.

I am not old, but my health has been poor for many years and I am unable to do the physical side of beekeeping any longer, so my involvement in 'beekeeping on the web' is a way that I can stay in touch with bees and beekeepers.

During the time that Jacob was compiling the original GBBG website, there was rapid development of web standards and methods, but I have retained as much of his original style as possible, because I believe that continuity is important. I hope that when I pass the baton to somebody else, that some of my format will be retained for future work.


All pages follow a similar format, the top left hand corner always contains a 'HOME', 'INDEX' and 'BACK' button. These buttons are the key to finding your way around, hover you mouse over any of them and a 'pop up' dialogue box will tell you exactly what the button will do for you. The index button leads you to a page that has an alphabetic list of all pages and files that are on this website.

Some pages will also have small context sensitive menus below the button group.

There are other navigation buttons in a strap at the page bottom, the leftmost button is a duplicate 'HOME' button then two small graphic buttons give 'BACK' and 'page Top' functions, while the fourth one will take you to the 'Administration' page, with details of GBBG office holders and how to contact them.

How this website is put together

The material for the pages comes from various sources, including The group's own newsletter 'The Four Seasons' Ceithre Ráithe na Bliana as well as An Beachaire 'The Irish Beekeeper' and the BIBBA magazine 'Bee Improvement'... All of which are closely tied to the members of GBBG, but whatever the source, the material is mostly written by Galtee Bee Breeding Group members. My aim is to provide a mixture of historic GBBG documents for reference, along with reportage of group activities. Some technical content is also included, but this is based on the group's focus on Bee breeding and in particular Bee Improvement, rather than 'run of the mill' beekeeping, which is well covered by other websites.

Where items have been transcribed from newsletter articles, it is sometimes possible to use additional material and photographs that have come from other group members that may have been present at an event, but were not the writer of the newsletter article concerned. From time to time I receive batches of photographs from group members and some of these can be matched up with previous events and thus an existing page can be made more informative.

Future development of this website

No website is ever fully 'finished', there are always ongoing events to record and additions to be made to existing pages. Where such future pages have been identified, but are incomplete, their entries on the "A" to "Z" index will show as black text and should be considered a pointer to the future rather than a lack of progress. Such black text entries also serve to remind those that surf this website of items they might forward to the website compiler if they have them available.

Technical standards that are used within this website

Although I have been the proprietor of a large beekeeping equipment manufacturing business, much of my background is in electronics, radio and computing. I have grown up in an age that has seen computers change from huge, rather ineffective, monsters to the diminutive yet powerful commonplace articles that we have today. During this time the methods of using computers have changed dramatically... I have been 'playing' with computers since 1961 and in those far away days there was no concept of 'commercial' software. If you needed software, you either wrote it from scratch yourself or modified something that somebody else had already written and made freely available. It is against that background that I take a personal stance of using hand written code in all of my webwork, I do so for the simplicity and lack of redundancy that this produces, but also the time that it has taken me to learn the details of such coding is far less than that which I would have had to invest in learning how to use web page generating software. I also get the benefit of an extremely rapid execution of code that makes my pages run up to forty times quicker than many so called 'state of the art' websites.

In order to keep track and provide an audit trail for sorting out errors, a complete record of page updates and corrections is placed in the lower portion of each page alongside the navigation buttons that are positioned for the convenience of someone that has just completed reading the page.

The website as it stands at the time of writing this page... Has no 'bangs' or 'whistles', no flash or Java, no annoying little animated features, just honest straightforward coding. It is coded to XHTML 1.0, using CSS elements that have been developed for use on my own beekeeping website. All coding is checked for accuracy and validity, using W3C validating engines that are readily available on the net. The only feature that can be described as 'gimmicky' is the use of some coding that will allow certain phrases that are written in Gaelic to show in Celtic fonts, if any of these are already installed on your computer. If you do not have such fonts, then the words will appear in a green text and serif style... There are some Gaelic and Celtic fonts available on the downloads page.

At the extreme bottom of the pages you will find a group of symbols that are similar to those that are repeated at right, these indicate the standards of compilation for any given page... The small one at extreme right is a reminder of the favicon that your browser will use if you add the page to your 'favourites'. The crossed JS symbol indicates that I have removed some navigational elements that relied on JavaScript, such methods now being frowned upon by W3C. The graphic with the red tick mark indicates the standard to which the page is encoded and that it actually meets that standard. This page has actually been validated by W3C, to the full 'strict' standard Javascript Navigational elements removed as per W3C Link Checker version 4.1 (c) 1999-2004 Requirements GBBG favicon

The group of graphics at right give a little more information and some of them link to information on the web that will allow others to understand the standards themselves more readily as well as giving more insight into my adherence to such tight standards. Wherever possible I adopt the 'strict' version of a standard rather than any 'transitional' or 'loose' variations that might exist. The green flashes that occur behind any text or image when the mouse is 'hovered' indicate that such a link is 'hot' and that it is available in a similar way that the navigation buttons change colour and will lead to another document.
This Site Aims to have Valid HTML 4.01 as a minimum standard. Use the link to validate your own HTML code CSS Code fully in accordance with W3 Standards, Use the link to validate your own Cascading Style Sheets
Suits ANY Browser, with appologies to W3C for pinching their style Totally Handwritten Code, None Has been Generated by any Software, with appologies to W3C for pinching their style
This Site Aims to have Valid XHTML 1.0 for all pages that are added. Use the link to validate your own HTML code (not all pages comply yet!) Javascript Navigational elements removed as per W3C Link Checker version 4.1 (c) 1999-2004 Requirements

The rendition of text and the colour chosen are deliberately high contrast, to aid those with less than perfect eyesight. The contrast may be most noticeable on screen resolutions of 800 x 600 or smaller. The pages have been laid out to suit multiple screen resolutions and window sizes, all have been tested at 800 x 600 and 1024 x 768 and most layouts will also accommodate higher resolutions with very little degradation.

Finally, I hope that you gain useful information and some enjoyment from reading these pages, I have enjoyed putting them together and have only torn my hair out on a few frustrating occasions, mainly when anomalies occur in operating systems and browsers.

Dave Cushman


Originated... 01, 02 March 2005, Code Modification... 07 March 2005, Code tweak... 17 March 2005, Revised... 10 May 2005,
This page has actually been validated by W3C, to the full 'strict' standard Javascript Navigational elements removed as per W3C Link Checker version 4.1 (c) 1999-2004 Requirements GBBG favicon