NavWeaps is the website of Tony DiGiulian. NavWeaps is perhaps best known as an information source for the guns that once armed the warships of an earlier age; the information is gleaned from a variety of publications. I imagine enthusiasts and gamers with an interest in tactical minutiae have found NavWeaps particularly convenient as a source of raw numbers. (Gun range? Armour penetration? One can do far worse than starting with NavWeaps.) I, understanding little about such things, find NavWeaps' articles on general topics of history and technology much more edifying.
NavWeaps was a website that had long since outstripped what could be easily maintained by way of static web pages. The site was founded when the Web was young, and had determinedly grown over a decade and a half using - shockingly - the techniques of that earlier time. Th resulting disparate appearance between pages and the diffcult navigation were likely the result of an evolving site that did not have the means or labour to manually backport improvements to older pages; I painfully discovered long ago that the size of website that I could tolerably manage using static web pages alone was around five pages.
In early 2015 I was slowly developing a simple web page template program. (Its first public used was for the redesign of the TTC subway transfer section in October 2015.) Around that time I had found myself back at NavWeaps and seriously considered bending the nascent program toward that site; sometimes the best way to help oneself as a web visitor is to help a webmaster as a web developer. Alas, the project was quickly abandoned due to other matters. Only a grossly incomplete prototype, including a new site logo (which was unrelated to the one that emerged in early 2016), had been done.
Fast forward a year later to March 2016, and I was ready to give it another go using a further evolution of the template program. A new main page and an example article were quickly assemble; these pages formed the basis of my proposal later that month, which was received favourably by Mr. DiGiulian. Within a few weeks the new design had reached sufficient maturity to begin converting the site; the upgraded pages began appearing publicly in early April 2016.
The upgrade was completed in February 2018.
The images demonstrates the much of what the web page template offered (common header and footer, page table of contents auto-generated from section headers, breadcrumb links, etc..) Improving navigation was my main concern; the breadcrumb links were particularly necessary as NavWeaps made little use of default directory index pages, and so returning to section indices by editing the address bar rarely worked.
A few simple additions to .htaccess enabled the automatic redirection from an existing page to a new page; this only occurred when the new page was in the same directory and had the same filename as the existing page, and only if the new page existed. This greatly simplified the phasing in of the upgraded pages, while allowing the existing directory structure to be maintained.