This week I finally launched MSOE.edu, by far the biggest project I’ve ever tackled. I started work on this full-time back in December of 2012, and stayed nearly full-time on the project for the last 8 months. The project reached the following major records for me:
- Most hours put into a single project
- Longest calendar duration of any single project
- Most technically-challenging single project
I’m not sure what the total hours put into this were, but guessing about 8 months (32 weeks) at 30 hours/week, the estimated 960 hours far eclipses the previous 4 month/280 hour effort put into TapMilwaukee. I know this pales in comparison to a lot of other development efforts, especially when considering the amount of work that often goes into programming for hardware like medical devices and aircraft, but for a web project, this is huge. A couple of technical highlights (and the items that really pushed my technical boundaries) include:
- The JiveConnect plugin for WordPress/Jive – This combination of WordPress and Jive plugins allows WordPress page publishing to publish to a new custom post type in Jive called Pages. This allows for adding static HTML content to a Jive site, which before was notoriously difficult to do. A lot of WordPress action hooks, custom database schemes, API calls, and new admin interfaces went into the build.
- A Custom SSO Process – Coded outside of Jive in a standalone LAMP stack, I wrote the PHP for a registration process that looks users up in multiple LDAP systems and links their accounts together for SSO.
- Custom Jive Theme – By far the most heavily modified, and one of the best looking, Jive themes I’ve ever worked on or seen bring this project to life. I added some details myself, like the cool parallax scrolling on the homepage.
- New Application Forms – We completely overhauled the MSOE registration process into neatly organized forms.
At times it was a breeze, most of the time it was extremely challenging, but in the end it is ultimately rewarding. I look forward to the next challenge but in the meantime… I need a break.
This is about a year old now, but I just dug it up and it’s pretty fun. Last year, I started diving deep into CSS3 and was beginning to learn LESS for work. I created a demo page of some fun animations to better learn both of the technologies. There’s no point to this page other than learning and enjoyment, so enjoy!
CSS3 animations powered by LESS »
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7Summits is not only a global player, but also an active member in the local community. I developed a new website for the Penfield Children’s Center, which is a non-profit organization whose sole purpose is to help infants and young children with and without disabilities to reach their full potential through education, therapy services and family programs. I also created the website for The Wisconsin Independent Life College, a non-profit college serving adults with Autism who desire continued learning.
These projects were both fun to work on given how important the designs were. It’s been great to get a small break from the admin-heavy corporate sites built for Jive, and work on some gorgeous and fulfilling projects.
Recently I’ve been tasked with creating tons of graphics, ads, and sites that need to read “Click here to…” just about everywhere. This really got me thinking on how inane that text really is, and how much I’d like to see it eradicated from the web. My reasons are… Read the rest of this entry »
It’s January again. Outside it’s cold and gray, I don’t have a dime left after the holidays, I’m 20 pounds heavier than I was last summer, and there’s not much to look forward to until spring. What does this mean for me? It means it’s time for the annual “Do nothing but exercise and learn from free tutorials” time of the year!!! Last year around this time I taught myself jQuery, experimented with CMS and blog platforms, began object oriented Java and PHP, and improved my knowledge of databases. Considering that I’m now working primarily as a designer rather than a developer, I think I’ll be concentrating on Flash and Photoshop. I recently starting learning how to actually use the Pen tool and other things like custom textures and I now realize I never knew more than a fourth of what one can do with Photoshop. Hopefully I can truly call myself a Photoshop expert by the time spring rolls around!
So, big news… I just started a new job. I resigned as a Web Developer from Hal Leonard the day before Thanksgiving and started my new job as a Web Designer for Journal Interactive, the online division of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, on Monday December 14th. It’s very odd switching from spending 95% of my time coding to spending 95% of my time designing and I’m not sure which one I truly like better yet. I can definitely say that I’m enjoying my new work environment, salary, commute, and hours though.
Over the weekend I launched a new site, a personal blog that showcases my somewhat dark and self-deprecating sense of humor. The blog, Just One Day Without Failing, uses WordPress and a theme I made myself. It’s mostly pointless but I hope to keep it entertaining so check it out.
I just completed all of my requirements for the Web Programming Certificate at MATC and I’ll be picking the certificate up on Monday. I’m ecstatic to be done with school after 5 years, over 160 credits of undergrad followed by a year of working full time and taking evening/online classes at MATC. There’s still plenty for me to learn but I think I’ll be learning from books on my own time from now on because I want to know what it’s like to actually have free time. Grad school isn’t completely out of the question, but I’d like to be clear of undergrad debt and have a really, really clear idea of what to study before I would get a Master’s degree. I think a Master’s is in order if I ever want to be a webmaster or web manager for a career, but just being a web developer is good enough for me right now.