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A Sense Of History
 

 I told Emma very clear: "This shinning armour isn't my size". But she insisted...Anecdotes, Technical Details And Some Other Interesting Stuff For The Nosy Ones


How The Site Was Born

Part I: The original Site In Spanish

Los Vengadores is 100% electronic in origin, which responds clearly to the new form of human communication the Internet has generated: shortly before its launch, none of us knew each other personally. We met by chance on the Web thanks to a shared passion, and from then on, we found the required affinities (the minimal ones at least) to embark together upon such a task. All the (crucial) creation work, exchange of views, revision and completion of this site, was done entirely by email.

Like any project involving a group of people with their own ideas, naturally we had our little differences. But in general everyone got along nicely. Apart from some previous writings, the site building took only three months. Not bad for a site with more than 100 pages, carried out during our infrequent free time, in which all the material—from the first text line to the last graphic is absolutely original.

The initial idea for Los Vengadores arose from lengthy discussions between Carlos and The Avengers Forever's webmaster David K. Smith. Carlos was infuriated by the lack of even a single Spanish language website dedicated to the series and—not having the time necessary to host an original site by himself—suggested an abridged Spanish translation of David's site, "The Avengers Forever," that would contain mainly general information. David grew very excited by this, and gave his seal of approval to the project, offering also to host Los Vengadores on his own webspace. So keeping that idea in mind, we began working on the basic design of each page, which, on account of being an extension of another site, tried to keep certain elements in common, both in terms of its presentation and navigation. As time went by, and thanks to the other people joining the project, the original idea changed completely, this time turning towards the creation of a site having its own contents. However, that sort of "graphic connection" which its design was initially conceived with, was left the same, giving rise to that slight "Avengers Forever look" that is currently seen in Los Vengadores.

If the creation of a website via email takes a lot of effort, to do that as an editorial team increases the effort to the power of ten, because to reach a consensus on each decision is a must. And of course, these exchanges of opinion and discussions of directions to be taken, demanded plenty of time. Like the good (yet imperfect) democratic folks that we are, and in search of a team action that was the most co-operative possible, we decided to face the challenge as follows:

  • We defined some work areas in which, despite the exchange of opinions, the final decision was taken by only one person.
  • In order to assign the different tasks, we tried to establish, little by little, who was the most suitable of us in each area.
  • We centralized the page building so as to ensure a more standardized general design.
  • We created a literary style for general texts and presentation only, leaving each author to express themselves freely in their own work.
  • We welcomed every contribution each author wanted to make, as long as they signed each one of their writings.

Thus, we began working around a general objective, but individually. Later, thanks to the vast email exchange where we would discuss many other topics, we found there were certain affinities between us, that also allowed us to create co-authored writings (and to have a good time while doing so).

Finally, David K. Smith kindly assigned us a place in his new URL: TheAvengers.TV, the home of a growing family of Avengers sites. We're very proud to be a tiny part of that home.

Part II: Los Vengadores English Version

As a matter of fact, the simultaneous launching of a bilingual Spanish-English website, came to mind as soon as we began planning this Avengers project. However such time consuming task had to be postponed for awhile, due to a number of reasons. That's why only the site in Spanish was put online on 2 June 2001.

Anyway, some of us had been working on the English version for a couple of months, and would keep doing so ever since. We always thought about an abridged English version of the original site in Spanish. But at the same time, we felt that in the original there was a great deal of information, personal views, opinions or appraisals that we wanted to share with English-speakers too. So the abridged proposal slowly became a not-too-abridged one, sort of mirror site of the original.

Even though some few sections in the Table of Contents were shortened, changed a bit or removed, in general, the English content is the same as the Spanish's, a quasi-perfect mirror that will allow visitors to surf the whole site in both languages. Our motto, as well as TheAvengers.TV's, has always been to pull the wonderful international Avengers community together. We'd be happy to learn this bilingual website is making a small contribution to the overall project.

And of course, we'd like to thank the invaluable help from The Avengers Forever's David K. Smith, for hosting us again in TheAvengers.TV, and Alan and Alys Hayes of Avengers on the Radio, who really made possible this English version release. David, Alan and Alys, we owe a debt of gratitude to you all!

Lastly we'd like to emphasize, that Los Vengadores has no sponsor at all, nor links to profit-making sites. If there is a work made with sheer LOVE, then it is ours.....

How To Browse The Site

Browsing the site is quite simple and intuitive. Here's a brief summary of the procedure you should follow.

From the Table of Contents, click on the desired chess piece to enter each section. Likewise, each section has three main features: an intro, a brief review of the content of that section in particular, with links to its different articles or pages, and an option to return to the Table of Contents by clicking on the bowler hat.

In every article, you'll find a top bar with yellow arrows. The arrows on the right and the left, will take you to the next or the previous page respectively, whereas the upward arrow takes you to the introduction of that section. "Hanging" from the top bar, there is a bowler hat marked Search. By clicking on it you'll be directed to a page where you can look for all the information you want, not only in Los Vengadores, but also in TheAvengers.TV and the web. At the bottom of each page, you'll find a gun on the lower right. Sliding the mouse over, an explanatory legend will appear, and clicking the gun you'll be taken to the next page, or to the beginning of the section.

All the pages of the site have, in addition, a bottom bar with three options: return to Top; return to the Table Of Contents, and Comments (with a link to our email—we look forward to your message!). You'll find on each page also, the option to return to the Welcome Page by clicking on the Los Vengadores logo.

Some Technical Details

Although some of us had a vast experience in other areas of graphic design, when this site was envisaged no one was savvy enough in web design. Our discussion, therefore, wasn't limited only to talk about concepts and contents, but also included recommendations, advice and suggestions related to the software used in the creation of Los Vengadores. A few of us were more experienced in image creation, others in HTML code, others could barely operate a computer. We applied what we knew and investigated what we didn't know. The generous and permanent flow of information between us, coupled with a certain knowledge and perfectionist zeal, allowed us to arrive at a result we're proud of. Indeed, we haven't turned into experts in web design yet, but... almost.

For those who are interested, a list of the software we used is detailed below:

Image Creation: Paint Shop 7 Pro mainly and Photoshop 6.0 occasionally. For the final image compression, we simply used the optimizer included in the save option of Paint Shop Pro 7, which has an excellent "size-quality" ratio, much better than other programs designed specifically for that purpose.

Web Page Design: At first Front Page 2000; later (luckily!) Dreamweaver 4. After several months of struggling with the Microsoft standard (especially with its text and table formatting), we decided to get ourselves into Dreamweaver, encouraged by the advice of several professional friends who ended up tired of listening to our grumbles and grunts. Dreamweaver appeared to be more versatile, complete, intuitive and compliant than FP2000, generating a cleaner HTML code with less "residual stuff." In other words, this is a program that does what one wants, and not what it wants!

Code: Wordpad. Our simple, humble and trusty friend come the time of adding in the code-does all those things which the most sophisticated software refuses to.

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