West Boulevard Veterinary Clinic

Posted on Feb 4, 2009 in Blog, Freelance | 1 comment

This was a little site I wrote last year for my girlfriend’s Veterinary clinic which today, finally, finally went live. We’re a terrible bunch of procrastinators at heart. I’d almost totally forgotten about the site!

It’s uses a simple CSS-based layout with a jQuery-driven accordion menu nav. WordPress is used as the CMS.

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Black Sheep Web Software

Posted on Oct 22, 2007 in Flash Image Scroller, Form Tools, Freelance, generatedata.com, Open Translate | 3 comments

The first draft of my company site is finished, so check it out! It’s all Ajax-driven right now, without any non-JS fallback, but in time I’ll add the static HTML option.

Right now the site is nothing much more than a catalog of my main scripts, but in time I’ll expand it to include my other scripts – as well as a location for future releases. I’ve been working on a invoice generation script which I will be releasing there in the next couple of months.

Next, I’ll be re-branding my other scripts under the company name.

Visit the Black Sheep Web Software website.

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Vancouver Pro Musica

Posted on Aug 14, 2007 in Freelance | 0 comments

This was a small job I did for Vancouver Pro Musica, a local non-profit group, at the behest of a friend who sits on the board. I was familiar with Vancouver Pro Musica for over a decade due to their yearly Sonic Boom festival, held in Vancouver, BC. I had attended several of their concerts during my music degree at UVic and was quite pleased to be given the opportunity to update their site.

Vancouver Pro Musica was originally formed in 1984 as a group of local composers with a chamber ensemble-in-residence. After two years as a performing ensemble, the organization took a new direction and became mainly a presenter of contemporary BC music. By 1987, the first “Festival of Composers”, now known as Sonic Boom, was initiated. Over the years, this annual festival has become not only the centrepiece of Pro Musica season, but also a fundamental catalyst for the development of emerging and experimental composers in British Columbia.

Due to the wide ranging requirements for the site, I picked Drupal as the content management system (CMS) as the main engine. Drupal is a highly extensible platform written in PHP and MySQL with hundreds of modules available to let you do just about anything. There are many advantages to using Drupal over other solutions, but most importantly, it always leaves the door open for future expansion.

These were the features that were realized for the website:

  • Full content management through a simple UI
  • Options to upload PDF, MP3, images and more
  • WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor to let the client add HTML code without actually knowing any HTML
  • Image Gallery
  • Streaming media (MP3)
  • Mailing lists (internal and public)
  • Contact Us page
  • RSS Syndication of articles
  • Archiving option to hide and catalogue old articles
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Open Translate update

Posted on Jun 2, 2007 in Freelance, Open Translate | 0 comments

A short update on the status of the Open Translate project.

Now that the Data Generator site is wrapped up, I’ve been easing my way back into Open Translate. I’d forgotten how cool it was! :-) Right now I’m working on the translator UI. The admin and project manager sections are mostly completed, but no doubt other stuff with crop up.

I pestered a couple of my co-workers for advice on some database aspects and to troubleshoot some business decisions and they were both bloody helpful. A rather nagging design aspect of the database kept slapping me in the face whenever I looked at it. It was a sod to code around and no matter how I sliced it, I didn’t find it intuitive. It’s now greatly improved. One of them, Andrew Jakubowski, will be assisting on version 2 of the software. Version 1 – which isn’t far off now – will really be just a proof of concept; I’ll only be using for translating Form Tools and Open Translate itself.

But, first comes a slew of freelance work: the Salvation Army project is plugging along (but I’ve made definite progress), there’s a site for an Art Gallery that’ll be starting soon and apparently I may be doing the Vancouver Pro Musica website. Should be interesting.

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Misc. News

Posted on Feb 12, 2007 in Blog, Form Tools, Freelance, Open Translate | 0 comments

Just a few things to report, in no particular order:

  • I spent today at the Vancouver PHP Conference. I saw a couple of good speeches: first, Rasmus Lerdorf – the inventor of PHP – presented the keynote speech. It covered rather a lot of ground, but he showed some rather interesting techniques in benchmarking and locating speed bottlenecks in PHP scripts. There was also a dry, but informative lecture by Andrei Zmievski on unicode support in PHP 6. Interesting, but I found myself wondering more about the current limitations in PHP 5.
  • I finally got round to installing WordPress on the Form Tools site to manage the news, so now I’ll be posting all Form Tools-related news there instead of here.
  • The translation project continues… I’m now able to manage projects, project managers, data and translator accounts. Next comes the ability for translators to view and actually translate the data. Should be a doddle (heavy sarcasm).
  • I’ve started work on a couple of new contract jobs for Salvation Army and BP (Beyond Petroleum). The Sally Ann gig in particular is pretty big. I’m shooting to getting it done by the end of the month.
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Probono Maps Site

Posted on Dec 7, 2006 in Freelance | 0 comments

This was probably the coolest contract job I’ve had in a while. It’s a Google Maps-driven resource site for residents of BC, Canada, funded by the Law Society of BC and the Law Foundation of British Columbia. Users can search for probono organizations within their area / city, for legal aid, advice, assistance, self-help information and other resources.

Here’s a nice screenshot of the index page. Once the search is called, the pretty BC image is replaced with the Google Maps version. Click the image to visit the website.

Now I can finally work on the other gig for 1-800-GOT-JUNK, due this Monday… ack!

Happy birthday, Jenn. Should’ve called you…!

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Form Tools 1.4.2 Update

Posted on Nov 12, 2006 in Blog, Form Tools, Freelance | 0 comments

I’ve had to put Form Tools on the back-burner this last month, due to an onslaught of freelance work – on top of which another gig for BP – Beyond Petroleum – has just been added…! Once Boston Pizza and the Probono Maps of BC jobs are done I should be able to return to Form Tools “full time” and finally work on language packs. Also, I’ve devised a delightfully simple way to provide the option of tabbed-editing of form submissions. I’m toying with the idea of working on that prior to the language packs… hmmm. But for the moment, I have enough time to do a small update to the software with v1.4.2.

1.4.2 will be the unsexiest release yet. I’m going to focus on fixing up the majority (if not all) of the issues spotted to date, and new features will only come as an afterthought. I’ve been dutifully documenting all issues as they’ve come up and now there are quite a list. None have been show-stoppers, and nothing that genuinely interfered with getting the program to work as is should. Still, there are a lot of minor UI annoyances – the devil is in the details. This new version should really tidy it up.

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Form Emailer 1.1

Posted on Oct 22, 2006 in Freelance | 16 comments

At the behest of a client, I just updated my old Form Emailer script. I wrote the script donkey’s years ago, prior to developing Form Tools. In essence it offers a subset of Form Tools’ functionality: the ability to email the contents of a web form to a person or persons. Nothing special: just a standard PHP form emailer in the tradition of sendmail, etc.

Version 1.1 offers the rather significant improvement of being ability to define your own email templates. You create a text file containing the contents of your email, and then pass along its location in your form. When the form is submitted it will send the contents of that file. The really handy thing is that it allows you to define placeholders like %myfield%. When the form is submitted, those placeholders are converted to the corresponding form field value.

I also added an option to send a receipt email to the person submitting the form. This is powered by the same email template functionality.

Hope it helps!

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Upcoming freelance work

Posted on Jul 27, 2006 in Freelance |

Now I’ve polished off version 1.3.0 Beta of Form Tools, I’m freed up to work on some freelance gigs. Here’s some of the highlights:

  • Boston Pizza. Actually, this one doesn’t start until October or November, but it’s great to have it lined up. I’ll be developing them an online registration system, much like I’ve done in the past for the Hartford Financial Group and British Petroleum (BP).
  • ProBono Law of BC. This is now reaching its final stages. I just have to add a fourth layer of access for lawyers / legal professionals to be able to view appropriate opportunities and request being assigned to them. Pretty simple – and the code is all ready for it. Nice to wrap this one up!
  • Salvation Army. This one is particularly interesting. The first part of the work is very much like the work I did for the PBLBC – a backend CMS. The second part is awful fun: they need a Google Maps-driven application to allow people to view local resources within their neighbourhood.
  • BC Athletics. Last year I wrote them a ColdFusion application to manage registrants for their Haney-to-Harrison relay race and a couple of other events. This year, it’s back! Mainly it’s just making minor improvements to the system. That plus integrating it with a new credit-card processing company by the name of PSIGATE (I believe…).
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