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Web Development: PHP/mySQL
08/15/2005 PHP/mySQL: Upgrades to Harry N. Abrams, Inc.

I'm gradually rolling new features into Harry N. Abrams, Inc.. While some of these improvements are subtle changes on the site's administrative side, or under-the-hood enhancements, there are a few that are showing up on the public side at the moment, most notably a promotional listing system, and shortly we'll roll out a newsletter/mailing list system that I've coded.

08/15/2005 PHP/mySQL: Ongoing work

Work continues on an update of IRG Plotters & Printers. When we launch this version, there will be a rather nice search function. Stay tuned.

06/23/2005 Flash/Actionscript: Ubercool logo animation

At the request of Tajima Creative Group, I did a little animated logo for Ubercool. It was a quick little job, but I had a fair amount of leeway, so I went with animating a wireframe outline with a delay from left to right, and then drawing in the fill from left to right. The paths were a little more complex than could be easily tweened, so with paths as a guide, I ended up animating the fill manually. The effect is actually rather neat.

06/02/2005 Flash/Actionscript: Dynamic XML-parsing Actionscript for Harry N. Abrams, Inc.

This was an interesting one--while it is in essence a slide show with cross-fades, the key requirement was that Abrams staff be able to make decisions on their own about which images should go in the animation. The answer was to create a .swf which would parse an XML file and load the images at runtime, so most of the interesting stuff is happening in the main Actionscript, and there's relatively little going on in timelines. As the project went on, there were some additional interersting requests--animated section headers, the ability to adjust timing and position for individual images, forward/back/section advance/section rewind buttons, and a soundtrack. It was a bit of an education (did you know that Flash reads in XML in reverse?) but I was indeed successful (and the Abrams people were happy).

04/09/2005 Development and Design: ItalianLosAngeles.org

The Italian Los Angeles site is now up, and it's getting good reviews from visitors. This was both a design project and a development project for me, and was a good one to work on. From a design point of view, it was nice to be able to work on something clean and minimalistic, but which also had some nice visuals. It was important to leave a lot of room for expansion as well, and not lock the organization in to a box that wouldn't grow.

On the programming side, there are plenty of interesting features, most notably a flexible, multi-level hierarchy for organizing content. Not only did I have to make that work on the front end of the site, but I also had to develop an understandable, easy to use interface for the site's content administrator. This was more work, but ultimately more up-front work saves time in the long term, for the people who actually use the system. In addition, I developed a shorthand tagging system for images and links, so that the client would not have to deal with HTML any more complex than style tags. Some other interesting features of this site: the dynamic calendar, the search engine (which returns results with the correct hierarchy in the links), and a form allowing visitors to submit resources to the site, as well as a backend system that requires all submissions to be approved by administrators.

03/11/2005 Flash/Actionscript: Promotional banners for Washington Mutual

I'm in the middle of two additional rounds of Flash banners for Washington Mutual, Inc., again working with the Tajima Creative Group team. This batch had a number of very interesting transitions that didn't last through the final client sign-off, something which seems to happen somewhat frequently with animations. The ones going up will still have some niceties with text flying in and other transitions, but a few fades and morphs I rather liked will have to wait for another project.

02/18/2005 PHP/mySQL, Javascript: L.O.S.E.R. website

This was a fairly quick one for the good folks of the Loose Organization of Surreal Ethereal Realists, just taking my CMS and applying a new design and Javascript functionality to it. The icons were designed by Frank Ferarro, which I then sliced up and used as rollovers. I also incorporated my nearly-HTML-free tagging functions, for easier maintenance by people who don't do coding for a living. While the site's content is very 1.0 at the moment, there are a lot of nice things under the hood that will likely come out in due time.

02/13/2005 PHP/mySQL, Javascript: Mikesell Design website

I've been working with designer Jenny Mikesell on a numbmer of projects since last summer, the latest of which is to revamp her site. I used some of my CMS code, but the client's specific requirements for this portfolio site meant that I did a fair amount of custom work, and fine tuning to ensure consistent behavior from page to page and from browser to browser. Like most of my recent sites, this one has a fully functional administrative area, so that she can maintain and organize her own content on her own timetable.

01/23/2005 Development and Design: Life In Balance website

In and among several other projects that are still in progress, I found some time to build this site for local trance music lumninaries Life In Balance. While the basic design is clean and minimal, there's a lot of programming complexity under the surface, though, to give them the power to maintain and organize their own content using the most recent generation of my CMS including such conveniences as adding links, images, and mp3s without their needing to know HTML. I've also added an interesting guest book script. Notable development activity: lots of GREP searching to get their content (particularly guestbook content) out of their former site's hardcoded pages, an Applescript that converts their Word-written content into Web-safe form, automatic archiving of newsletters, and the installation of a mailing list manager.

01/03/2005 PHP, Javascript, CSS: Miss Williamsburg

Mikesell Design asked me to come in and make changes to the HTML, CSS, and PHP templates of the Miss Williamsburg site to fix various inconsistencies across browsers, and also to institute design consistency on the commerce pages hosted at 1and1.com--no small feat that, since 1and1's commerce system is one of the most baroque I've seen, sequestering everything behind an obfuscating web-based interface. Ultimately I chased down the templates (some obscured by filenames and variables in German) and CMS fields I'd needed to, and enacted the changes. Equally obscure was a problem with one particular Windows XP machine, which doesn't want to display background colors...though equivalent XP machines do. Never a dull moment in cross-platform compatibility work.

12/08/2004 Flash/Actionscript: Dynamic presentation for Airwave

For the last several days, I've been working quite intensely with the Tajima Creative Group team on developing a large Flash presentation for Airwave. We were animating a number of screenshots with an eye toward readability, syncing motion and scene changes to an audio soundtrack, and since others were working on the .fla as well, we we had a lot of material to keep organized. An interesting project, and the client was quite happy with it as well.

11/03/2004 PHP/mySQL, Javascript: Washington Mutual internal promotion site, for Gifts By Design

Washington Mutual, Inc. has requested a number of upgrades to the promotional site during the last month, so I've been working on enhancements as the programming wing of Gifts By Design for this project. I think all of us were surprised at how many people participated in this--this project generated a lot of data very quickly, and I'm glad that I designed the site's structure to make use of running totals. Fresh recalculations of everything would have resulted in a brutal server load, given the amount of data and the sheer numbers of people using the site. Apparently within the bank, it's become quite popular. (URL not provided, as the site is for internal Washington Mutual use only.)

10/31/2004 Flash/Actionscript: Promotional banners for Washington Mutual

I've now done several more rounds of Flash banners for Washington Mutual, Inc., again working with the Tajima Creative Group team. I'm still working from Illustrator files and animating them by generating transitions, fades, tweening, and tweaking the Actionscript codebase I developed. Apparently many of these are up on Washington Mutual, Inc.'s site, so have a look around.

10/28/2004 PHP/mySQL: Harry N. Abrams, Inc.

In the months since launching the Harry N. Abrams, Inc. site, I've done a number of enhancements for them. I've set up the UK site to look at the same templates and database, but offer different content. I did create a system for running a contest online, which is ready to go, although they're still working on the exact terms and conditions. In addition to that, I've been taking care of a number of minor changes and enhancements, and the site's worked out quite well.

10/13/2004 Applescript: Harry N. Abrams, Inc.

Harry N. Abrams, Inc. has moved to a new way of tracking its data internally, and the Filemaker Pro database they're now using on their network outputs files that are rather different from Excel, which they had used. As these files are the source of the website's data, I've had to make sure that they play well with the Web--special characters are translated, invisible characters deleted or translated as necessary, etc. The best way to clean this up is to clean it before it leaves their environment, and the technology of choice there is good old Applescript. I coded up a droplet for this, so now all they have to do is drop the export file on it, and a few seconds later, the file is ready for upload. It was nice to work in Applescript again.

10/01/2004 PHP/mySQL, Javascript: Washington Mutual internal promotion site, for Gifts By Design

I've spent September working on a site internal to Washington Mutual, for an incentive contest they're doing through October and November. People inside the bank enter their transactions, and others in the bank can see how everyone's doing--groups, regions, and individuals. For this project, I did a lot of PHP/mySQL for site functionality, with a lot of Javascript and CSS work (showing/hiding menus and menu options) to ensure usability. For this one, I worked with the fine folks at Gifts By Design, who handled both the design and project management. We had a tight, inflexible deadline, and a number of changes and requests leading up to it, but we did launch on time, and the site's in serious use already. (URL not provided, as the site is for internal Washington Mutual use only.)

10/01/2004 PHP/mySQL, Javascript: Portfolio Manager, Tajima Creative

On top of my other project for October 1, I've also built a portfolio managing system for the fine folks at Tajima Creative Group. They handled the design and specified it, and I built it in the week from September 24 to October 1. Features include setting up different portfolios for different clients to view, an easy system for adding examples of work to those portfolios, and organizing them. Popup windows show the details of each piece. I built most of the functionality in PHP/mySQL, and incorporated various Javascript niceties to improve the user experience for administrators. This was a fun one. (No URL for this, as it's for internal use by Tajima Creative and their clients.)

08/17/2004 Flash/Actionscript: Promotional in-house video animations for Washington Mutual

I spent an intense week working on several large-scale animations for Washington Mutual, Inc., which aren't to go on their site at all--they're going on video monitors in the various bank branches. They're much larger files than what I've been doing for download, and they're at 30 frames per second. If you happen to be in a branch, take a look around for them.

07/15/2004 PHP/mySQL: Harry N. Abrams, Inc.

In what's turned out to be a two-launch day, I've also launched (smoothly, I might add) the new site of well-known art book publisher Harry N. Abrams, Inc.. The design was done by their in-house team (very nice work--check out the Flash they did on each of the imprint pages), and necessitated that many of their books get as many as seven images. Given that they have over two thousand books in print, that was a lot of work, and there was a gap of a few months between our first and second stages while they prepared their files. When we reconvened, there were some additional feature requests (connections between books and calendar events, special cases with some ISBNs, changes to the behavior of the searches, some alternate ways of maintaining content, and more). What we have is a pretty solid site with some powerful tools. We're all quite happy with this one--take a look.

07/15/2004 PHP, Javascript, CSS: Consulting for Mikesell Design

Several feature requests later, Mikesell Design and I have launched IRG, the site of Intelligence Resource Group, based in LA. I contributed some database design, hooking up of mySQL to PHP and Javascript, and several rounds of inter-script cross-browser debugging of pre-existing Javascript code. There were certainly some interesting things going on, and with the db hookups they've become more interesting (and easier to use for IRG). The result is once again some happy clients.

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