About Obliquity

Welcome to the home of obliquity.com, the personal domain of David Harper and L.M. Stockman.

Before we launched obliquity.com in 1998, we had both created large sets of personal web pages covering subjects as diverse as cats, astronomy, computing and genealogy. Judging by the access statistics, many of these pages became very popular with web-surfers around the globe. The original sets of web pages were hosted on computers at the places where we worked and studied, but subsequent events, particularly the decision by the British government to close the Royal Greenwich Observatory, made us realise the importance of providing a permanent home for our web work. That is why we registered our own domain, obliquity.com and created the corresponding website.

Following intense interest in the double Blue Moon of January and March 1999, the popularity of obliquity.com rose quickly, with the web site getting an average of 3200 distinct page hits per day, or over a million per year.

Our Web Design Philosophy in a Nutshell

All of our pages are hand-crafted, allowing us to produce a web site that is colourful and visually interesting whilst avoiding the unnecessary use of images, frames, JavaScript and pages that can only be viewed properly with one type of browser.

This isn't always easy. The traditional publisher has complete control over the final appearance of the printed page. The web publisher, on the other hand, has to learn to let go of this fine control and design something that will get the information across in a readable fashion no matter what computer and browser is used to view the pages. We have put considerable effort into learning about unusual browsers, such as those used by disabled or visually-impaired people, in an attempt to make all of our pages available to the widest possible audience.

We also believe that we have a duty to you, our visitors, to make it easy to find the information that you want. That is why we provide full and clear table of contents pages for each of our main subject headings and navigation links within each subject. In addition, every page contains "invisible" information about its content, to ensure that our pages are listed prominently and accurately by all of the major search engines.

Our seven rules for good web site design:

Our External Web Portfolio

Aside from building our personal web sites, we are both involved professionally in web site creation and design. We have put together a portfolio of the work that we have done. If you are interested in having us do the same for you, then please contact us.

But What Does "Obliquity" Mean?

The most difficult part of setting up our own domain and web site wasn't the creation of the web pages and CGI scripts. Most of those already existed. No, the hardest question was what to call the domain! We drew up a list of possible names, drawing on our interests and a copy of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. However, in 1998 the Internet was already getting to be a crowded place and we found that many of the candidates on our list had already been taken by other people and companies. In the end, we found one that we both liked. It's short, it's unusual, it's memorable, it's astronomical … and nobody else had claimed it!

If you would like to know what the word "obliquity" actually means, we have written a short explanation. It tells you about our logo too.

Copyright 1998–2021 by David Harper and L.M. Stockman — All Rights Reserved
Designed and maintained by Obliquity
Last modified on 29 August 2021