Mike’s 2005-2005 Project Archives

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

2005-10: Art of Factoring Blog
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I started a “hey, check my new theme” thread with a short post at the WordPress Support Forums regarding my Beast Blog Theme, and the next thing I know I’m being contacted from literally all over the world by people who really like the design and want to get it for themselves, have me release it as an offical WordPress Theme, or have me apply it to their blogs.

The latter is the case here when the nice folks over at Creative Capital Associates asked me to apply a similar Beast-Blog theme-based design to their WordPress web log. Needless to say I was keen on doing the project and got right to work, squeezing it in between projects. I got the job done quickly and the client is very pleased I can happily report.

In addtion to the theme design work, I also upgraded the application to XHTML 1.0 Strict, applied my own modified CSS, created the images, and worked on a couple of script features to make it all complete. Moreover, I added some accessibility features such as banner image-replacement and hidden focal navigation.

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2005-10: Green-Beast.com v4
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I love my last portfolio site, what with its wicked style changer, but this is so much better. I need it as the number of projects I’m doing nowadays has grown considerably. My work, it seems, is now in demand, or at least starting to be so. Sounds good to me. Anyway, I needed some new web digs to show off my stuff. Something easier to maintain and something infinitely more extensible and accessible. I came up with this.

I employed lots of goodness: Hidden navigation, site archival system, nice form focus features, and trying something completely new to me, I employed an open architecture and Spartan design, one which hopefully proves very effective. I got rave reviews during the build so hopefully you like it, too. It was created with passion, XHTML 1.0 Strict, and CSS for styles and positioning.

If you’re looking at this site while it’s in its version 5 iteration you will probably wonder what the differences are between v4 and v5. They won’t be obvious but they are many. The changes between v4 and v5 were profound, just not obvious to the uninitiated since the presentational elements didn’t change.

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2005-09: GBHXonline.com v4
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I finally made a hosting site I’m really happy with. It’s professional in my opinion and serves its content in an open and forthright manner. When my hosting partner, Scott Hege, and I began offering web hosting we had a portal with all the bells and whistles: Forums, a Ticket System, tons of tutorials, the works. In the replacement site I also incorporated all those features all over again. In the third version I held back a bit and focused more on the meat of the matter. The forums were dropped, they weren’t used so it made sense, but I did make a full-blown PHP ticket system, I created my own, from scratch, complete with security and user archives. It wasn’t used, though. I gave up and made this site, version number 4, no bells, no whistles.

This was my first “elastic” site. This means the elements on its pages decrease and increase in size relative to the text size. Check it out. Resize the text and watch what happens to the page. I am very happy with this site. As another first, I also implemented hidden navigation, namely the top-level and “Jump” links, which become visible when needed — on focus. The first four links encountered are hidden navigation. This site was built with XHTML 1.0 Strict and it uses CSS for styles and positioning (obviously).

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2005-09: GreenMethods Live Chat
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I once took a PHP real-time chat application called Chategory, and installed it on a web server as a for-fun attachment to my Beast-Blog web log. I called it Chat Beast As soon as I used it a couple of times I reserved a notion in the back of my mind: It’d be a really cool real-time “live” technical support tool with a few tweaks.

Months passed and I never lost the idea of transforming this application into something quite useful. I decided, finally, that the time had come. I had a couple of days with nothing pressing to do so I went at it and created GreenMethods Live — an extension of GreenMethods.com. It seems to work well. I added an “The Attendant is In” feature and modified the links and found and fixed a minor security bug.

GreenMethods Live is written to HTML 4.01 Strict and uses CSS for styles and positioning and is a real smooth operator.

Update: I removed this when I updated Green Methods v5 since I had used WordPress and had the interactivity that way.

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2005-09: Sceptre Custom Homes
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Sceptre Custom Homes contacted me saying they finally decided on establishing a web presence and that I was the man for the job. We consulted and came up with a fairly unique method of site navigation — something different from the ubiquitous “Home,” “About,” and “Projects” pages (hmm, that seems familiar). We decided to create a tour-like structure. The visitor, we decided, has more questions about the ins-and-outs of custom home building than anything else. So while we wanted to have available listings and other such content meant to generate sales, the majority of the site takes the visitor and prospective client on a tour of the process of custom home construction, from selecting the land, to handing over the keys. This is accomplished on the site using a sequential page-to-page format.

This site is still under construction — just waiting on the content — but it seems to have tested well already (for two years and counting). One home has been sold and the site hasn’t yet been advertised. This site is being built with love, plus a sprinkling of XHTML and CSS — the latter for styling and layout. It is a fairly accessible site which features a style-changer, but it’s used only to increase the contrast.

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2005-08: Adagio Spa & Salon
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When the owners of a high class European spa and salon for men and women approached me about having a new site built, I was all for it. Initially I was maintaining their old site, but with its tabular construction, it really wasn’t designed to be updated. It was basically a static-content website as a result. This was a nice project for me as it needed a really classy look and, outside of the colors, I had total creative freedom.

This site needed special attention to pull it off and make it work in the top modern browsers, but it was worth the effort. A lot of praise was given for this site by fellow web designers, people passionate about web accessibilities, the owners and their employees, and many of their customers have commented favorably. This all-PHP site was created with XHTML 1.0 Strict and it uses CSS for styles and positioning. This was the first website I made entirely with my now-defunct GreenBeast CMS.

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2005-07: GreenMethods.com v4
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In 1992 I started a company called The Green Spot Limited. It still lives today and is officially the parent of Green-Beast.com and GBHXonline.com, but its main thrust has always been in the field of biological pest control and integrated pest management or “IPM.” This is a very deep, research-based subject and a natural for the web. This site is on its third internet iteration. The first was a contracted job. It was designed with tables and frames. The second doesn’t count either as it was made from a pre-designed web portal.

GreenMethods.com is a massive site delivering some 150 pages. The build took one-and-a-half months. It features a ton of accessibility and usability features including a style changer, accessible smart tables, form focus, twice-styled print pages — for viewing and printing — an RSS news feed with styled XML output, a content updater script, logging and tracking, a secure distributors’ area, a PHP glossary linker and PHP Latin word scripts, even custom error pages. The works.

This is an extremely stable build and very solid in its performance and function. As far as being cross-browser compatible, I’ve yet to discover a browser it breaks apart on. This site is also a icon of accessibility and built to the XHTML 1.0 Strict specification and uses CSS for styles and positioning. There is JavaScript used on this predominately PHP site, but it is hidden to those who can’t use it and it controls non-essential functions only.

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