Mike’s 2004-2005 Project Archives

On this page you will find a collection of my personal and professional creative projects — one and all a labor of love.

2005-06: GreenBeast CMS Site
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View image of GreenBeast CMS Site

This project came about from a single, simple need. I wanted a content management system or CMS to manage my growing stable of sites, and to offer my web design clients a simple-to-use tool for updating and editing their sites’ content. The most difficult but most rewarding way to do this was to make it myself. I did. I produced “GreenBeast CMS v.1.0” (image not available). It was great, but it needed so much more.

I began work on version 1.1 right away but soon found myself in over my head — I’m new to using the PHP server-side scripting language. An associate, Jonathan Fenocchi, joined me and together we produced the 1.1 version of the CMS. I really love this new version. It’s so smart. It’s a decent tool for non-technical clients if the site and systems are thoughtfully set up. And for those in the know, well, I think it’s a hand-coders dream tool. It serves me very well.

In preparation for the release of the newest CMS version, I built an “official” website and home base for the product. It is coded to XHTML 1.0 Strict and uses CSS for styling and positioning. It draws many of its styles from the CMS’s style sheet, and simply has a supplemental sheet for positioning of the page’s elements. The site was built entirely with the CMS.

Update: The GreenBeast CMS project has been officially terminated in favor of adopting WordPress as a content management system.

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2005-04: GBHXonline.com v3 Site
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View image of GBHXonline.com v3 Site

Embracing web accessibilities and standards the way I was, it was critical I update GBHXonline.com v.2 before anyone discovered it in such an awful state. This is what I came up with. It’s a 1000% improvement over the last version.

One of the goals of this site’s construction was to make it screen-reader friendly and emphasis was placed on this. A lot of the desire came about from the building of Green-Beast.com v.3 and the testing that was performed after its completion. There’s even an article about it. I succeeded well on this site in that regard.

This site is built to the XHTML Strict 1.0 specification and, of course, uses CSS for styles and positioning. The looks of the site left a lot to be desired as noted by several people. It just lacked that certain “web hosting site look.” It was a fun project and a lot of knowledge was gained.

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2005-03: Beast-Blog v0 Theme
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View image of Beast-Blog v0 Theme

The Beast-Blog is not a full build on my part, it is, in fact, a blogging application produced by WordPress. The Beast-Blog uses a database to contain and archive its content, a very full-featured application. My role was a small one, but I feel it is worth noting.

Out of the box, the WordPress application is coded to XHTML 1.0 Transitional. One of my first tasks was to change the Document Type Declaration, or DTD, to XHTML 1.0 Strict. I then modified the blog’s style, adding a number of features using CSS.

I’m pretty happy with the blog’s looks and the way it functions. I added a number of enhanced PHP scripting features, and they just seem to make the software run better than ever.

Looking back, this is, like, sooo yesterday. It is version zero.

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2005-02: Green-Beast.com v3
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View image of Green-Beast.com v3

Finally I was getting the hang of it. I was beginning to produce a more accessible and standards-compliant website. And this site cuts it. I see the places in which it lacks — like its use of breaks where lists should be used — but it’s not bad. It does reach Priority 2 accessibilities levels as defined by the W3C’s Web Accessibilty Guidelines (no it does’t, I was wrong, it was crap). In fact, this site earned me a membership in the Guild of Accessible Web Designers or “GAWDS” as its called (well, it was good enough for that).

This site’s biggest feature, though, is its style-changer and extensive use of PHP. It was my first big go at it and I didn’t hold back. Using this server-side scripting language I was able to offer some fourteen style sheets. I got wild and crazy, man. Even now I look back at that site and really love some of the styles. It’s a heavily-coded XHTML 1.0 Strict website. Yet it’s very stable as it does well on many browsers depsite its complex CSS.

Looking back, this site was horrible. I have learned a lot since I made it. I was allowed into GAWDS, I was later told, because the effort to do it right was so obvious. In other words they saw my potential. I’d like to say they were right. The images is a composite of the various styles I had offered. I honestly feel that feature was amazing.

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2004-12: C&K Printing
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View image of C&K Printing

C&K Printing is a local printing company. They have been around for decades and needed to revamp their ‘90s web site. I tried to keep the same look, logo, colors, etc., by which they’ve come to be known, yet with a more up-to-date look and construction. Mission accomplished.

This is the first site I made using CSS for styling and layout. It’s not bad. It is written to the XHTML 1.0 Transitional — another first — level as that was all I had the courage for at the time. It could be better.

This is also the first site on which I incorporated PHP server-side scripting. A good thing. On the flip side, though, I used a lot of JavaScript. If a visitor has JavaScript disabled, the site will function as expected, but the hover effects would be lost as well as “Top” links.

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2004-11: Green-Beast.com v2
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View image of Green-Beast.com v2

As I grew and developed in the web design world I began to hear and learn more and more about such things as web accessibility and web standards. This site was my first go at some level of compliance.

It’s not right. It fails on several points, but it is clearly an honest attempt. A real effort to get it right. This site marks the beginning of a fundamental change. Also be sure to check our the Gangsta’ Version (smaller image inset in larger one).

This site was built to the XHTML 1.0 Strict — my first attempt — and it uses CSS for styles and positioning. It was fairly popular when first launched, but that may have had to do with the default style’s image.

There is no entry for version one. Not worth the effort.

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2004-11: GBHXonline.com v2
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View image of GBHXonline.com v2

GBHXonline.com is a web hosting company I started in the spring of 2004 with a good friend, Scott Hege. The site version prior to this one was a made with a pre-designed web portal system and it is not worth sharig here.

Long before I knew better I created this graphics-heavy site to show off the implementation of all the bells and whistles I could fathom. It’s a rollover paradise for sure (whihc was kinda cool). The result, unfortunately, due to some of it, is a largely inaccessible website.

This site is written to the XHTML 1.0 Transitional specification. It is valid. I used CSS for styles, but positioning and layout is done with tables. This is not a method of construction I use now. This site uses way too much JavaScript, dishing out nearly all (98%) of the content with inaccessible arrays.

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2004-10: Western States Biocontrols
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View image of Western States Biocontrols

Western States Biocontrols [was] a distributor of biological pest control agents used in horticulture. Good bugs eating bad bugs. Western States was looking for a one-page site just to show what they do and how to get in touch with them. The goal was met.

This is my first commercial project. The client is quite pleased with the site as it meets their needs at the moment. I, on the other hand, know it’s lacking. Thus, as soon as the client is ready to add a page to their site, I will bring the entire website up to standards — on me.

This site is written to the HTML 4.01 Transitional specification. It is valid. I used CSS for styles, but positioning and layout is done with tables. This is not a method of construction I use now.

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