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Why use www.inf.ed.ac.uk
Not every one is convinced about the way we use CVS and HTML validation to manage web pages on www.inf.ed.ac.uk. It is not perfect, but here are the main reasons for it being the way it is.
We have a requirement (Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001) to make our web pages as accessible to students as possible: this includes those with disabilities. The CVS and validation mechanism that we use, helps to ensure that the HTML is compliant with current standards. It helps be ensuring that it is browser-independent and readable by screen readers. Yes, it is possible to write compliant HTML that is completely unreadable, but validation is at least a first step in the right direction.
The main www.inf.ed.ac.uk server is a high priority service, and as such uses redundant hardware to cover hardware failures. Should the server fail, its reinstatement will always be a high priority.
If all the servers in the School were to fail, then one of the first we'd get going again would be www.inf.ed.ac.uk. Other web services, like homepages.inf and the legacy web servers such as www.dcs.ed.ac.uk would be lower down the list.
With all the teaching documentation in one place, it is easier to manage the data.
When it comes to the RAE, we have to provide a copy of all the on-line documentation that is/was available to the students. If all this is in a single place, it's easier for us to locate and archive. If teaching documents are in people's legacy/personal web pages, we may miss them when archiving the web documents.
Also, if there are multiple staff members maintaing a course, it's easier to collaborate via CVS than co-ordinating all edits via a single person. Or if teaching duties change, then course materials don't have to move from homepages.inf/~lecturer1/ to homepages.inf/~lecturer2/.
We can also project a common look and feel to those pages that use the standard web page template.