I recently was asked to upgrade a vBulletin site for lady Painball players to a new theme and redesign their logo. vBulletin was and is a pain – so arcane to work with. But designing the logo was kind of fun. I used a camo/military theme for the “Paintball” text and then a nice flowing script font in hot pink for the “Chick” text. With a pink paintball splat, of course.
I launched a new site for a client this week and it’s back in the racing genre. The site is for New Zealand rallye/drift driver Leon Styles: leonstylesracing.com. It’s built on WordPress with a nice car-centric theme. One of the keys to this deployment are using a variety of plugins to pull together content from various social media sites.
Over the summer I did some work for a couple of realtors. One site was built with WordPress, the other two with a lightweight CMS called SlyBlueCanvas. SkyBlueCanvas is pretty well done and you can put together a nice sized site with no database requirement. Very handy for clients who want that sort of thing, or who are still on older and/or cheaper hosting.
Each site was augmented with various jQuery effects and add-ons to bring motion and styling to the sites. jQuery is pretty tough to beat for providing quick and easy integration of very whizzy functionality.
The sites are:
This was an 80% rewrite of the old code-base. Some thought was given to going to a full-fledge PHP framework stack, but instead we opted to keep things light and simple. The Smarty template engine was used to handle the “V” side of an MVC application. This also benefited the application by providing a nice view-caching mechanism to increase performance.
Adodb’s ActiveRecord implimentation was used for the “M” part of the design. This put everything on a nice, solid database model which would also allow for migrating to some other platform should the need arise.
WordPress 2.5 2.6 was released this week and it was so nice that I decided it was worth converting my old Joomla installation over to WordPress for the main Silicon Chisel site. Another incentive is that my personal blog is also in WordPress – as well as a few other sites I manage, so it just generally eases the maintenance load.
The first cut over went pretty well, aided by the “MAMBO2WORDPRESS IMPORT WIZARD“ script by Rodney Blevins which – with some modifications for table names and the like – at least allowed me to get the primary content into WordPress.
It will likely take another week or so to get everything settled in, and finalize the plugins – but then I should be able to get back to writing about technology. Some topics I plan to cover soon include:
- Reviews of the Mac web design packages RapidWeaver and Sandvox.
- A look at the “big three” content management systems – well, at least as far as I see it, anyway – Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress.
- Some of the new Web 2.0 sites I’ve been beta testing.
Many years ago I was a heavy Mac user, as well as a Mac developer. Then I was more or less forced to adopt the Windows PC – partly for economic reason, partly because I entered the PC game industry.
Recently, though, I acquired a MacBook Pro and am loving it. Not just for the fun of using a Mac again, but also for the fact that it makes a great development machine for web applications. So the site will be adding reviews and articles about the Mac, and using the Mac for software devlopment.
A new version of the successful psychotherapist directory - Find-a-Therapist.com – was launched this week. It features a complete rewrite from the ground up for speed, ecommerce support, and deployability across multiple platforms. A sister site for psychotherapy information - Find-a-Therapist.info – was launched as well.