Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

NERD ALERT – TOOTING MY OWN HORN

lego batman and me - nerd alert
Nerd alert: this post is about nothing but my progress working on our website. I’m not afraid to admit that I’m a huge nerd or to talk about my nerd-loves openly. This one’s about web development.

One might say I have only two real passions: computer programming and hanging out with Lindsay. These two passions used to really conflict with each other because apparently–according to Lindsay–I’m not that fun to hang out with while I’m programming. Fortunately, Lindsay and I had the bright idea to create a website together and suddenly my only two passions were combined into one super passion! Linds wrote a great About Us page that describes why we made the site, but I just want to explain the how–a little bit about all the awesome programming I’ve done. I’m specifically most proud of the Home, Travel, and Things We Like pages.

Home:

Where did it come from? We knew we wanted to create a Vuezz inspired home page because we like the look of that. We needed 9 subjects–for the Vuezz-iness of it–which is part of the reason that we have some weird links such as “Pets” when we in fact have no Pets. We like animals though so we’ll make it work eventually.

Why is it cool? Is it even cool at all? It is cool, even if you can’t tell at first glance. First of all, it’s nice and simple (aka, doesn’t look like this). But even coooler is the fact that every time you visit it a new random set of 9 pictures will be used as the menu items. Click the link again a few times and you’ll see–I’ll wait. Lindsay and I can switch out these pictures fairly easily and they will automatically be added to the pool of possible home pages–now that is cool.

Travels:

Where did it come from? This is a marriage of two open-source Javascript libraries: arborjs and nyroModal. I was originally thinking our Travels page would just be some sort of embedded Google Map with fake little push pins or something, but then I ran into arborjs and had a stroke of inspiration.

Why is it cool? I have put the most work into this page of our site and it therefore is the coolest. I have several reasons to back this up.

1. First and foremost is how easy I have made it to use. By using my genius code, anyone could set up and maintain a similar Travels page by just organizing their folders in the way they want the bubbles to be connected. (So, for example, Now/2013/Texas will create three items that connect without having to write any code at all). Then, inside the last folder, you just put the pictures that you want to show with that place and you have an elegant and simple way to display your various photo albums. (If anyone is interested in this, let me know and I’ll hook you up). This is a really important feature for us because Lindsay doesn’t have the same passion for programming that I do.

2. Our travels can be organized chronologically instead of geographically. I already know where Cancun is, I just want to be able to remember when I was there 10 years from now.

3. You can link directly to a specific photo. This might not seem like a big deal, but that little feature represents a lot of clever code.

The only bad part about this page is that arborjs doesn’t work on Internet Explorer. That’s sad and I’m hoping to fix that eventually, but for now it’s fine because neither Lindsay nor I use Internet Explorer.

Things We Like:

Where did it come from? Lindsay showed me a website that looked sort of like Pinterest and said, “I want it to look like this.” And I said, “This looks crazy complicated” and sort of wrote it off as undoable with the time I would be able to spend on this. But then I found the open-source project Isotope and realized it was perfect for what Lindsay wanted, and now we have a simple “Things We Like” page that didn’t take too long to create.

Why is it cool? The coolest thing about this page is the fact that every item we add to the “Things We Like” page is saved in a database. That’s cool because 10 years from now we’ll be able ask questions like, “I wonder what type of music Lindsay was into in 2014,” or “What Youtube videos did we think were funny right after college?” and actually have the answer (assuming Youtube is still around).

(The rest of the site is just a WordPress blog. It’s cool too but I didn’t put too much work into it so it must not be worth discussing.)

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