Mike’s 2006-2006 Project Archives

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

2006-06: SeaBeast Theme
Launch: SeaBeast Theme Live Site »

Visit SeaBeast Theme

I finally made my second WordPress theme, my first being the Beast Blog Theme. This is a far cry from the first. The first is a popular theme, and it is of high quality, but this three-column liquid theme is just so much better. It is accessible, easy-to-configure, and quite powerful adding a number of goodies in addition to the normal WordPress functionality: A contact page and form, stats recording, theme modification options, an instant dynamic site map, and lots more. Put it this way: this theme far exceeds the typical design-only theme like most, including my first one.

This one is for a wider variety of people. Seasoned developers to complete blogging novices. The reason for the seasoned developer is that this theme has covered all the bases so they don’t have to. They can get on with their day and focus on stellar content. To the novice, not having to edit any mark-up or script files really reduces the level of FUD.

This theme is written by default to the XHTML 1.0 Strict level (though in the theme’s configuration it can be scaled back to a Transitional DTD). Obviously it uses CSS for styles and positioning. Moreover, great strides were made to ensure it’ll be accessible to the largest number of people and search engine spiders. Feedback so far has been all positive. I for one am quite pleased with the efforts of my labor — over 200 hours of worth.

Need a WordPress theme? This theme is available as a free download (link on site). I have, however, stopped offering restyles of this theme in favor of my new and improved Beast-Blog v.2.0.

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2006-06: St. Pete Beach Center Site
View: St. Pete Beach Center Site Image »

View image of St. Pete Beach Center Site

It’s actually called the “St. Pete Beach Community Center” and it’s coming soon, very soon. This job came to me by way of a professional referral (thank you). The mission was to produce and launch a basic website by the 14th. Today’s the 12th and the site has been delivered. Made it with time to spare. The reason for the deadline is the Community Center is going to be announced in a local mailing and they wanted to refer readers to the site to learn more. This new community center has big plans and this’ll be great for the folks down there. The site had to be ready for them.

I used to live in South Miami and also in Tampa so knowledge of all things Florida is something I possess. Thus I tried to capture the whole feel in the site, from the colors used — which go well with the new center — to the imagery and overall feel. I think I succeeded well and the client is very pleased. They should be happy, they got a great deal and a bevy of features for their money. It’s all level 3 accessible, it’s XHTML 1.0 Strict, and it uses CSS for styles and positioning. Moreover, the site has many features, from a bookmark script, to a email protection device, a contact form, even a style changer with four style sheets: default, high visibility, portable devices, and print. I even made error pages and a robots.txt file. Put it this way, no stone was left unturned. The members of the community should enjoy using it for years to come.

Scratch that! They closed the site after the community center opened. It exists only as a memory. It was meant to keep community members up-to-date during the contruction of the center only.

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2006-05: Executive Coaching Blog
View: Executive Coaching Blog Image »

View image of Executive Coaching Blog

The name is actually “Leadership Executive Coaching.” I didn’t want the heading to break to be truthful. It’s why I shortened it. It’s not a web site, it’s a WordPress web log theme. The client wanted something like my popular Beast Blog Theme in its coloration and general open feel, but with three columns and a more business-like look. “Eco-Green-Architect” were words given to me so I knew we were talkin’ something nice, but serious. First, as usual, I began with upgrading the DTD to XHTML 1.0 Strict. I then started with a fresh canvas (almost named it “Canvas” in fact). A new CSS. Several of them actually: for handhelds and print, plus a user CSS for all those inevitable add-ons.

The result was a theme I’m calling “SeaBeast.” Do expect to hear more about it as I am thinking about making another official release and setting it up in its own directory. I am deeply in love with it. I think it is the best WordPress theme I’ve done to-date. It has a contact form all built in, and it is expected you will keep or recreate the “About” page. I made a powerful configuration file with this theme. With it you can add and remove borders, change the font-face and size, adjust the colors of many elements — but done in a way to help the owner do it safely by preserving a “theme” (font-color, highlight-color, etc.) — adjust the positioning and visibility of some of the modules I made for it, and the owner can change the background colors as well. Quickly and safely. Maybe I should have called it “Chameleon.”

The client is very, very pleased and this is a good thing for sure. I’m pleased as well and that, too, is a good thing. Like I wrote, do expect to hear more about this theme, check back for updates, and I’ll no doubt mention it in my Beast-Blog when I take it to the next stage. I’m super-excited about it. Its full details cannot possibly be mentioned here, but it has a lot going for it. Oh, and did I mention? It’s highly accessible.

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2006-04: Bark & Fitz, Ottowa Blog
View: Bark & Fitz, Ottowa Blog Image »

View image of Bark & Fitz, Ottowa Blog

This was an emergency project. My client was having a site built for their client and unfortunately the developer they hired fell short on the project’s completion with a mere two days until the launch. There was all sorts of cool scripting in place but the project’s XHTML and CSS was an utter mess. I ended up having to start from scratch with only two days to get it done. I rose to the challenge.

The site was using the WordPress to power the back-end, but this project was quite unique and quite a challenge. The biggest difference from this and a normal WordPress installation was that this “blog” was slated to be not a blog, per se, but rather a full web site, with a single category blog built in. The end result: I’m extremely pleased with the way this came out. And more importantly, so is the client (clients).

I went to great lengths to ensure this project was going to be a hallmark of accessibility. I succeeded.

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2006-03: Recipe Tavern Masthead
View: Recipe Tavern Masthead Image »

View image of Recipe Tavern Masthead

This job was presented as a simple need: “Give my project life.” I love graphics projects and after a simple question and answer session to flesh out the project’s needs and wants and to gather and connect with the necessary vibe for which the site lives and breathes, I was able to do the job knowing I had the right feel tucked away in the imaginative side of my brain.

I got right to the project and was able to deliver the finished imagery within hours of being given the green light. And, based on the initial reaction from the client, the time spent talking about it was time well spent. The client was very pleased, and this feeling was echoed by others who saw and commented on the project.

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2006-03: Mike's Experiments
Launch: Mike's Experiments Live Site »

Visit Mike's Experiments

For a long time I have owned the domain name Mike Cherim.com, but until now, it forwarded to this site only. I decided, though, that I wanted a place to carry out some experiments in CSS, PHP, etc., so I set up this domain properly. I didn’t build a site for it, though. Rather, I used a web template.

The template, an XHTML 1.0 Strict affair, is that which comes included with v.1.3 of the GreenBeast CMS (no longfer available) for free. Since I was the one who made the default-style template, I decided to put it to use. As per the template’s instructions, I configured it, uploaded images, and customized the CSS, not touching the mark-up itself at all (even though it could use a tweak or two). The latter I did purposely to show what can be done with the base package.

I’m pretty happy with the look, but I may modify the background at some point, going with leaves instead of stripes. I’ll wait for feedback. Do check out this domain for updates to my experiments. In fact you may want to subscribe to the RSS feed for Mike’s Experiments.

Update: MikeCherim.com will be/is changed to something else. The link above now leads to the new home of my experiments at this domain. There is no more web template, just the actual experiment pages and a like-styled index.

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2006-03: High Fidelity Audio Template
View: High Fidelity Audio Template Image »

View image of High Fidelity Audio Template

Right here from the start I will announce that this isn’t a site I constructed. Being that it’s an HTML site and not my typical PHP site is probably indicative of this fact, should it be noticed. The site itself was constructed by good friend and colleague Mike Pepper of SeoWebsitePromotion.com — a master developer, accessibility, and SEO expert. Mike asked me to “bring the site to life” and work up a masthead and general thematic. Naturally I was honored to take this job, knowing there was obviously trust in me and my skills. I got right on it, inspired by wood and stainless steel.

I made a working theme for two representative pages which contained the elements I needed for the project. Most of the work was imagery- and colors-related, and very few CSS layout modifications were needed, though I did add form focus to the site and provided the JS which makes it work on IE. The two template pages, the first is linked above, and here is the second page.

This was a two-round process. Mike’s client, a fellow named Paul, loved the original masthead, but felt the blues man element needed to be broadened to appeal to a wider base. He asked me to instead replace the blues man with three well-known figures: Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and Marilyn Monroe (as shown in the new banner image). The original background was a warmer wood color, but I was asked to reduce its intensity fearing it could be too woody on larger monitors.

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2006-03: GrayBit.com v1
View: GrayBit.com v1 Image »

View image of GrayBit.com v1

GrayBit isn’t really a website — even though it does have three pages — but it is rather a web-based tool or utility. The purpose of GrayBit is to transform full-color web pages into grayscale renditions, thus allowing one greater insights to the page’s true contrast. It’s an accessibility tool. A user to submits the URL of a web page and is then directed to the site, but in grayscale mode. From there they can navigate anywhere and remain in this mode.

The scripting itself — based on my original idea — was written by my friend and colleague Jonathan Fenocchi. The rest of it is my own work, complete with extensive tracking and worldwide stat functions, really deep stuff. The idea is to allowing future licensing so complete, stand-alone extensibility was a must. The whole thing, minus advertising, is set-up completely after providing data for six simple variables, email address, installation path, etc.

The site is a first for me in two areas: First of all this is my first fluid-width site (most of my work is fixed or elastic). Second thing: this site is a “pure PHP” site, meaning everything on every page is output by the server. Each page starts with this token, <?php, and ends with this ?>, and there are no breaks in between. All content and markup is either “scripted,” “echoed,” or “included.”

Updates: Proudly I must say this application has been a big success. It was mention on Zeldman.com and it part of the WAT (Web Accessibility Toolbar) for Opera browser.

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2006-02: Jewesses With Attitude Theme
View: Jewesses With Attitude Theme Image »

View image of Jewesses With Attitude Theme

I was contracted to make yet another accessible template, this time for a weblog or “Blog.” Unlike most blog templates I’ve made — primarily for WordPress — this one is generic, meaning it wasn’t made for a specific application. Thus I was able to create all the classes and IDs, even those for dynamic PHP-generated content. Hopefully, what with my knowledge of weblogs, I was successful in creating and identifying everything it’ll need to make it all work.

In terms of design, I was given a single, simple mandate: Make it “fun!” It’s understandable. These women run a serious organization, but it’s not the only thing they’re about. They decided a fun-themed weblog would be just what they’d need to send the “we’re not boring, come join us” message — especially to younger people.

This design, like most I make, is built to an XHTML 1.0 Strict document type and uses CSS for styles and positioning. And in the area of accessibility, I pulled no punches whatsoever. The result: This template, if not altered, has an extremely high level of accessibility of which I am quite pleased.

Update: A new variation to this theme was added, this one sporting a more subdued look. Check it out.

Need a template? This template is available restyled to suit your needs and tastes. To learn more, please Contact me.

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