Wow I’m stupid.

I offered to do-over this guy’s website for free.
It was sort of a challenge because he had millions of google ads-almost all his content was ads.
I made him a standard html page with external css file.He wanted the no tables thing,all css instead.
I don’t care what people say about tables.They are useful.But they are annoying.With css you can at least have more flexibility.
We hear all the time from css snobs that tables are so 2004, but the real problem with them is they make your layout so rigid.

Ok, so Before is what his site really looks like right now. I stopped at the after even though I wanted to find a way to make the body narrower.But hey I’m working for free and he probably won’t use it and all because I told him he had way too many ads on his page…ha 🙂

*note* I made another page. The 1st was too wide.
I had to move my example files to another directory on my projects site.
Marios ended up more fully explaining to me what he wanted which was an exact replica of his site done with CSS and nixing the tables…It was a SEO project.
His page can be seen here.The design is his.I just did the coding.I did do the menu,at least he let me redesign that!
These examples that Marios rejected can be seen here



Because this job had to be done very very fast I “borrowed” heavily to make those pages…

Nerdy stuff

In the past few months I have had a crash course in Ajax and then had to branch out to PHP because my dad(whose website I built and maintain) wanted a blog,too.
Ajax and JQuery made it possible to put some really neat image effects on the site with LightBox and I even attempted ThickBox but apparently I’m too thick for ThickBox(haha).And since I wasn’t sure of what all it could do I researched on maybe getting it to work as a blog.But it was only good for calling HTML pages into a div or frame.And HTML pages are static.And we all want a blog to be interactive,archived and RSS-able.This meant I just had to knuckle down and get with PHP.I could’ve gone with asp but on my dad’s host asp is a mystery.They say they support it yet they seem not to as all the asp test scripts I’ve tried out just show plain text or a blank page.
The one thing that was preventing me from trying a PHP powered blog was the hand in hand way it functions with MYsql. Again the preventative was the site’s host: they want more money a month for it and we already pay enough, I think. It’s all to do with what you think your business needs in a website anyway. And if you make a lot of money it would be totally worth it to pay more for your site. But my dad’s business is really small.
His books(that’s his business) sell, and are searched for in Google but it isn’t like they sell every day.So we need to keep the overhead low. I’ve begun trying to research how to get his site to make money… in other ways but right now we don’t want any ads on his pages.
Because his business is books Google no doubt would read “books” and have ads for Amazon or even (gasp) Barnes and Noble…and given the history between my dad and those 2 businesses this would be a major conflict and a major contradicition.
I forged ahead in looking for a simple no mysql php blog and found one: simplePHPblog, just like my search’s key words. Pretty cool.
It all began very promisingly, the install went like a dream.But again the host caused problems.I had to mess with the code a lot to get it to work on the site.I mean mess.
It works to date although I get nervous and test it often.The most twitchy bit is the contact me page.I think the way they have configured it to need cookies to run makes it twitchy because sometimes people disable them or your own computer’s virus protection does something strange with them.But 7 out of 10 times the contact page works…and that’s pretty alright for now.
Of course the ideal is 10 out of 10 times 100 percent functionality and we all know how something broken on a site makes people go away…but on the other hand being interactive is really important.So it’s ok for now that the contact page is wonky.Because the comments bit for a blog and the RSS-abilty are way more important. And I have a contactme in PHP that works 100 percent that I can always put back on the site. Right now contacting my dad is super easy .His phone number and email and a few forms are all there to choose from.
I just wish he’d blog a lot more! I keep telling him to write a little every day and that the blog can be light hearted and even sometimes a little trivial.
He’s a fantastic cook for instance and I’d love it if he would post some of his recipes.
I’d love it if he didn’t treat every entry like like it had to be an example of Strunk and White.But there you go: you can build it but they may not blog it.

Don’t say it can’t be done

My last big client had no idea how stuff worked.Fine It isn’t his job to know.But he knew what he wanted.I went and looked at some page examples he sent me and that made me expand my abilities almost 200%.

I listened to what he described and I made it happen without at all pushing my own tastes or outright saying it couldn’t be done.

He is a jewelry designer and a really good one,too, so it makes sense he had a strong design sensibility.

This job was my biggest design challenge and one that forced me to “make it happen” the cms is by doop

It’s Been Awhile…

I pretty much stopped the blogging tear I was on because I began this “job” redesigning a website from top to bottom for a person who posted an ad on Craigslist… I thought it was going to be just another page redesign romp, but oh no, they wanted to keep their CMS.
They had the temerity and the tenacity to want to be able to edit their own content..gasp gasp. Luckily I wasn’t totally ignorant of the concept of a CMS because I’d been rooting about for ages for such a thing for myself.Because me likey.
Anyway-don’t you love it when the client  asks  for stuff and has no idea what they are asking for? I do. I mean ,they haven’t got the slightest glimmer of a clue of how web development/webdesign works. But they’ve been lusting for a site like such and such and so and so and they send you links to these awesome sites and ask you to make one like that.I was all like “ok I can”(right) until he said but I want to be able to edit the content and change pictures,too.
I think I almost fell over. I knew enough about CMS’s to know that they all are like totally married to MYSQL and I’ve not yet had a first date with MYsql, myself.That’s ok I have the poor man’s version of a database the old text file flat file method.Not that I quite know how all that fopen fclose fread stuff works but I know a little.A little knowledge is not so dangerous in this case.Also I am aware of safety. I know that’s why everyone uses MYsql to store data because it takes an automatic login to get in,ehem. But there’ve been flatfiles since the dawn so there are also folks making safe flatfile CMS.They have logins that get encrypted.And hopefully the host the site is on will have safety measures of it’s own. Ok, so I found a thing called doop.It’s small and friendly and brand new, having been only released this year(it’s only February,too).
The upside to all this newness is that they are really into developing it,and it’s getting upgraded all the time.The downside is that it’s so new that hardly anyone uses it so the forum is skimpily populated and there isn’t much support.Personally I’d be lost without it because it’s exactly what my client wanted. He had a mysql connected CMS but it was making certain parts of his content unwritable(read only)

so certain things couldn’t be edited.I was writing to the guy’s webmaster and he was really accomodating.He even set up a brand new wordpress because I was going to use that as a new CMS.But it turned out to be way too much power after all.We don’t need all those bells and whistles! doop works off of just one file.It does everything after installation.It lets you make as many pages as you want.And you can automatically create links to these pages with a tag like <?menu null()?>. It was a bit of a bitch to figure out how all of this worked because all the while designing and plotting the layout I had to keep in mind that it had to be edited by mr client later on.So I couldn’t go too crazy.
I ended up with the new site
his old site
Which is nicer? His old site has a cool collapsible vertical menu
with subpages. Doop hasn’t gotten around to subpages yet.Although, there was a girl in their forum offering to send people her modified version of doop with subpages built-in but when I wrote to her and asked for it she never wrote back.And she hasn’t come back to the forum since.
oh well.