As many tech professionals are wont to do, I'm creating / building / evolving a web presence, taking advantage of the medium to communicate ...
... my technical skill sets and experience
... my business / professional skill sets and experience
... and my abilities in combining / leveraging both to drive results
As the site grows and evolves, I'm taking ideas and methods, techniques and technologies from many areas, and attempting to combine it all into a consistent, quality, standards-driven, and open work.
I've tried to be as complete as possible in my comments below, especially when it comes to attributing ideas / methods to other people, other sites.
I've built the site using HTML 4.01 for markup and CSS for presentation. A reasonably up-to-date web browser is needed to make the most out of the site, but it should be quite usable in older browsers and alternative browsing devices.
By building for standards instead of specific browsers, I should be able to spend less time dealing with specific browser quirks. Standards also mean smaller, faster loading pages, code that is easier to maintain, centralized control of layout and design, better accessibility and many other good things.
After I caught a glimpse of the Zen Garden, I really fell for the Style Sheets approach. Also have committed to no frames, no tables.
It's actually a bit tuff to come up with a good looking site. I remember back in the day, so many creative firms were selling themselves as web development houses based on their creative design / artistic skills. Now you can download nicely design sites (free / open source), or use online tools for various elements. Just don't get caught "borrowing" without attribution (arrrgh!)
Ok, so I jump on a few cyber-bandwagons now and again ...
I've been at this for a reasonable amount of time, and I've gotten a few interesting traffic surges, so I'm happy with my efforts integrated a blog into this site, just as much for the technical challenge and understanding as the chance to use it to capture thoughts / concepts / etc. Blogger is my tool of choice, even though I am a bigger fan of the RSS format than Atom.
Integrating the blog into the site was tricky - not because of Blogger, necessarily, but I had to reverse engineer one of their sample templates and change around the CSS to match the rest of the site. It's not for the faint of heart, but the results are pretty reasonable - now, the pressure is on to maintain my posting habits.
After evaluating multiple tools, I've settled on WB Editor, especially after they have addressed the issue of correctly processing the Title for a Blogger blog.
I've implemented trackback and commenting using the HaloScan service - nicely covering the Blogger.com world with the trackback capability. That process takes some getting used to, but it actually works, and is a pretty important tool in getting the network of connections started.
A natural next step - developmnet of RSS feeds. I have two active ones, but only one generate much of interest - the one off my main blog.
I also found a nice method not to have to choose between Atom and RSS for my site feed - the FeedBurner service formats my feed for a large number of popular aggregators - definitely worth checking out if you're interested in syndicating your content.
There's a simple feature you can add to your web site, to help IE 7 and other modern browsers automaically find your feeds. Check out the details here
(aka Antipixel buttons)
I like the look of the XML and RSS buttons that have been popping up, and happened upon this post that purportedly started it all. Liked the look so much, found McKnight's site, and I've used them on this site as well.
Unfortunately, my nice collection of buttons attracts attention from folks who link directly to the button images on my server; I've set up anti-hotlinking measures per this post.
Well, the Google search tool was a limited success - quite easy to implement, but since this site doesn't get indexed very often, it's not an effective choice for searching my growing collection of content.
At work, we've used WebTrends - love it, can't afford it, but there is always the stunning combination of Analog (for log file analysis) and Report Magic (for nice graphic reporting. One thing I've noted is the lack of complete documentation - definitely a hacker's reverse engineering challenge, but it hasn't been that difficult, and you can't beat the price. (More on the fine points of Analog's control files here).
Yes, the term has been abused by the general public, but I am right in line with Raymond's definition; based on the simple definition that "hacker's build things, crackers break them". All of the functionality and features on this site, and any of my side projects, reflect this ethic (I love a good hack).
Popping up in summer 2005, we have Tag Clouds, those collections of words you see on Technorati, Flickr, etc. where there is a list of words, some are bigger than others, and they are all links to tags/keywords from pictures/posts on the site. Also known as a "Folksonomy". There's now a service (brilliantly named) that makes it easy to generate a tag cloud based on an RSS feed - so, I've added a link to my blog that is a tag cloud generated from my blog postings - just to see if I'm being redundant or eclectic enough.
I started out with MS Visual Studio .Net (that's what I used to use at my day job), but since the majority of the technology here is a LAMP-centric family of tools, I'd like to stay away from the MS stuff. I was using Crimson Editor (a very nice little tool), with a bunch of scripts and batch files; in mid-2005, I switched to the Eclipse environment, as I'm branching more aggressively into scripting and database connectivity and other projects. I still am a huge fan of Crimson; it's free, well supported, and it's the only editor I've ever found that could/would correctly color-code Progress/4GL.
There are any number of interesting scripts at work here - I just love tinkering with and learning about different languages, and am forever amazed at the web servers' ability to handle the variety.
I originally had some Perl on the site, ripped the few pieces out and have been doing a lot lately with PHP; ranging from the simple (random quote at the top of each page) to the complex (my custom transport / content manager) - check here for the latest chunks of source code.
I'll attempt to test on multiple browsers, and really any standards-compliant browser should be fine. No guarantees, but I'll be surprised (and fix it right away, please let me know) if it doesn't behave on the following:
Of course, I've also got IE 6.0 loaded up, and test the site under that as well; interesting how little CSS positioning details work slightly different. Ah, a labor of love ...
I'm hosting the site at 1and1.com - got in on their early adopter program - free web hosting for 3 years! Nice deal, glad I took it - still, they are a pretty good host, and cheap domain registration as well.