I hate it when I’m working on a website and I know exactly what I want or what I’m trying to achieve and I can’t for the life of me figure out the code to make it look right.
It’s so frustrating.
Every time I finish a project, I’m so happy with it (hopefully) that I do nothing but look at it for days and love it. After that I fall into the stage I’m in now where I’m bored and want to tinker on a website, but lately, I’ve wanted to work on a website with purpose - one that people actually look at.
So I was feeling rather ambitious and creative today. I was fooling around with photoshop and started making some cool stuff. I decided I was getting bored of my theme on Tumblr and wanted to make a new one, so here it is.
This took me just about the entire day and night to do - as nerdy as it is that I literally sat hunched over my laptop for hours staring at small lines of code and hitting refresh on Safari close to 1000 times.
The new design is completely new and contains over 400 lines of code. I’ve really learned a lot over the years and the way I look at design as well as the way that I design things for myself has changed dramatically. This new design is the first in a series of redesigns I’ll be doing to show off my new coding and design skills.
The website takes advantage of a lot of new jQuery scripts, effects and a new kind of CSS that makes customization a lot easier. Hope you like it, I really worked hard on it.
I hate it when a domain I want to buy is taken to begin with, but what really bothers me is when the domain is either a parked page, not being used or worst of all…is ugly.
So, I started working on another freelance website design project. This time I was legit “hired”. I’m helping out and redesigning and developing the PART website. It’s going to be pretty cool and I think everyone’s going to like it. The people that I’ve asked to give me ideas for have given me some great features they want to see in it so it should be good.
So, I’m a web designer and developer now. Well, I always kind of have been but recently, I started my own small design company that I’m going to be doing a range of projects with. They’re all in different stages and I’m starting to actually get customers.
For those of you that know what The PART is, I’m working on a new website and registration system for them. If you’ve graduated from ESM, you’ll probably be getting an email semi-soon about how to get your name and information added to the database.
My development company is called “JohnTheDeveloper”. I created my personal website, where I’ll get new customers, attract business, keep people in the know and stuff like that. The website is at http://johnthedeveloper.com. I’m pretty happy with the way that it’s coming out. A lot of my earlier projects were just trial and error and they didn’t last long, but I took all that knowledge and applied it. I’m really happy with the way everything looks so far though.
Once I was done with my personal website (well, done enough to allow people to see it) and I had established my brand name, my logo and stuff like that I started working on my first “internal” project. This one wasn’t being done because someone hired me, this one was an idea that I’ve wanted to do for a little while.
Introducing App Store Spotlight. This website is a forum-based community where people can discuss applications for the Apple iPhone and iPod touch. I created this because I realized with the new iTunes App Store and thousands of applications, people wanted a place to go to discuss them. I have a news section where editors can post news stories (much like it’s done on Macrumors, etc.), a reviews section where reviewers can post reviews and opinions about applications and a discussion/support section where users can discuss topics like software, hardware, mobileme, modifications, etc.
App Store Spotlight is pretty exciting because it has a lot of potential. Check it out at http://appstorespotlight.com. If you want to register, the user registration section is open - and you’ll need to register if you want to post or comment on anything. Through a great partnership with my hosting company, they’re going to be sending out an email to their “tens of thousands of customers” (they can’t legally tell me how many customers they have, but told me that “tens of thousands” was the most info they could give me). I’m pretty excited about it (besides the fact that the revenue from ads and affiliates could pretty much pay for college in a few years).
So, check out App Store Spotlight and definitely register, post in the discussions, etc. If you notice anything strange, tell me. I’ve been testing it for about a week, but I might have missed something!
Today I had some free time, a lot of free time actually, and I decided to do some work on my blog. I usually get bored with things on the web quicker than most and if it is a project that I made or that I’m working on, I will usually spend a lot of time tinkering and changing small things.
I did a couple of those small changes but I also started working on some bigger ones. I figured that besides my Facebook profile, this was the only real place on the internet about me and I wanted to make it into more of a website than just a blog.
Some of the features I added:
- UPDATE: New Buttons I just added another new feature! Buttons! Aren’t they exciting. Now I’m just getting obsessive but I’m having fun tinkering.
- New Look. I changed some of the look of the links and content. I modified some of the colors to be more appealing and the biggest visual change is the new header. I’m not sure if it will stay exactly as it is now, but it’s getting closer to what I wanted. One of the features of the new header if you can no longer click it to get back to the main page of the blog if you’re reading a post. This has to do with the CSS and the way the image is loaded on the page but I ended up finding an alternative to that.
- New Navigation Bar. I created a little navigation bar that I put some links in. I might add some more in the future, but for now it serves it purpose of providing a way to get home from anywhere on the blog and a way to contact me or see my Facebook profile. The last thing it does is takes you directly to the next new feature, Search.
- Search. This was a big one! It took me about three hours, on and off, to get this feature the way I wanted it. What it does, is it can find any article or post based on what you search for. Instead of taking you to a google search page or something done, it is written with AJAX and CSS so that you can just click the post you want and even see a little preview. I’m pretty happy with how it came out and as I add more posts, this will become more and more useful.
- Facebook Status Updates. This one was kind of a cool idea I had. Originally I had put in a system where I would be able to have my Twitter status updates show on my blog but I realized, even with the new iPhone App for Twitter, I really didn’t like it. (Sorry, Eric!). Anyway, I decided to incorporate my Facebook status updates into my blog. I’m almost done with this. I was testing it before but I didn’t put it up yet because I’m still trying to get it to look right. Should be pretty cool when it’s all done.
- iPhone Optimized. This sounds a lot fancier than it really is. The design I have is a fixed-width design so it works pretty well in the iPhone already but I tweaked some of the settings, the viewport, and some of the fonts so that it will look even better in the iPhone. I contacted Tumblr about the possibility of an iPhone App and I got a pretty nice response, guess if you have an iPhone you’ll have to wait and see.
- Comments. I added this a little while back, and it looks like a lot of people have started to catch on to the trend. I’m not a huge fan of the Disqus service, but short of making my own comment feature, it’s all I got. Anyway, I tried to change a couple of settings to make this a little nicer looking, which I think it is. Anyway, comment away!
Also, it looks like people actually DO read my blog! Which is pretty exciting. One of the features that I had added a little while back was a web stat program that shows me how many visitors I have, what they look at, etc.
Looks like 51 different people viewed pages on my site 92 different times and so far over 431 pages have been looked at. I’m not bragging, but that’s pretty cool!
So that’s about it for now. I had a lot of fun learning and tinkering today, and I realized web design is 20% creativity and 80% trial and error. Oh well.
It’s really exciting to me that Tumblr is catching on with people I actually know. At first, it was just me. I don’t even remember how I found it but I was on a website development site and I saw a link for it. It’s the only blog I’ve actually kept up with longer than a week. I think it’s just simple and easy to use but it’s still powerful and I can still use my web skills to make it my own.
Hopefully, it keeps growing and they keep adding new features.
I’m doing some major work on my website. I’m trying to get it ready for the “real world”. Now that I’m out of high school, I need to start worrying about contacts and jobs. I’m going to break it down into sections, one for each of my main interests or areas of service: Theatre, Web Design + Development, DJ Entertainment, Technology, etc. We’ll see what happens. Right now all you’ll see is a banner on the website.
I’m also getting some more web development work for a few different companies and projects so I’ll try to turn my website into a portfolio too.
My website can be found at: www.jburke.info
(Right now, it’s just a splash page. I closed down the older site.)