Greetings one and all, today we’ll be taking a look at another bit of concepting/messing around from the start of 2015. This follows on from the settling snowfall effect (“Mimas”) I’ve covered previously. This project was started directly after Mimas, but never reached the same level of completion. Following the years theme of moons of Saturn, this project was called Iapetus.
In early 2015 I was given a brief to create a mobile sales app for my employers travelling salespeople to use when they visit customers. Despite the relative simplicity my 4 day deadline was still insane, although I did make it with something functional, ugly and full of bugs. What I present below is a complete rewrite of that code over the course of a few weeks, still a few feature gaps and such but all the important stuff is there.
I’m the IT Manager for Jadecliff Ltd, a UK-based wholesaler of Christmas trees with plantations across Europe as well as at home. When I joined their IT systems were outdated or non-existant, but there’s been a steady encroachment since I joined and one of the first parts was building a modern website to represent the company.
After the madness of Christmas 2014 (trust me, this industry is madness) we settle in to the quiet period… Lots of general concepting and out-of-the-box thinking, and other manager buzzwords. I generally get a bit of free time here to play with some things on my own – usually working on website designs.
One of the projects I toyed with this year was an element for a future design rather than the design its self. I tend to name everything according to some system when I’m sprouting concepts like this, and for this year I settled on moons of Saturn (essential trivia: in the past I’ve used Shakespearean characters and bars in Sydney), so this project is known to me as Mimas.
When I interviewed for my current job I had hacked together a prototype based on a brief sent to me, in the header was a simple snowfall effect, with the snow settling on the bottom of the frame. I decided to revisit that idea, but go upscale, and borrow some code from my work wrapping text in php with imagettftext etc.
Today’s post covers the website I built for Marldon Christmas Trees, my workplace, for the 2014 festive season. The basic website is built on WordPress, with a slew of custom plugin code to handle two booking forms and a customized letter from Santa designer which we’ve seen before. So, let’s dive in.
Quick web project today…
My employer in 2013 also ran a scaffolding company, and one of my first tasks (probably as a test) was to redesign and implement a new site atop WordPress. Having never used WordPress for anything other than this blog before it was a little daunting, and parts of it are hacked together rather than done properly, but it does work.
Above the fold features the nav, a service guarantee, various accreditations and a short slideshow of sample jobs, and from there we break in to three columns to enumerate the types of work the company will undertake.
It’s still live so have a look yourself. Not the most interesting site in any sense, but a pretty sharp design I think.
Long time no blog!
I’ve been so busy at work recently I haven’t had any time to work on other stuff, and for the record, I’ve now got plans to rewrite my sort-of-game engine under Haxe 3 and OpenFL, so whenever I get around to that expect some new articles!
But today I have a little php nugget I had to put together recently that I think someone will find useful!
In the past I’ve dabbled with generating images dynamically in php – usually basic stuff, website statistics etc. But recently I had to do something a little more advanced in generating preview images of letters that people would be paying for. This involved placing a large amount of text within a series of template images – including ones with oddly shaped spaces where the text would have to go, which presents the problem of getting it to fit in the gap. I guess you could brute force it – manually position each line – but that’s frankly ludicrous and not future-friendly at all.
So, let’s make a solution. (more…)
Long time no blog, so here’s a quick catch up: I got a job at a small start up doing many varied and interesting things. The first project I was given built on my experiences with game development, and somewhat outstandingly I got to start writing a new game in Haxe NME! I can’t go in to details about the title right now, but it’s 99% complete and looking good.
One desired aspect of the game was an online leaderboard of some sort, so we can assign rewards to weekly/monthly winners. I’d never even looked at NMEs web function before, vaguely deciding I’d worry about highscores in Tower Defence “at some point”. To my relief it’s super simple to use, and with a few php files on a server I’ve got a nice simple highscore system running… Someone’s bound to find this useful since I couldn’t find any complete samples online, so here we go… (more…)
Before the current Nerdshack, and before the previous Nerdshack, there was the original Nerdshack – the same site really, blog, portfolio and random drivel, but in a more designed shell. I recently found this single screenshot of the old design and figured I’d publish it for posterity. I still like it – those boxy headline backgrounds were based on the window frames from the Watercolour theme in Windows Whistler (XP) builds 2410-2419, and the boxy layout of the sidebar complimented it nicely. In the final iteration, the lower boxes on the sidebar contained links to recent blog posts, and clicking any link in to the blog triggered a smooth transition to the identically laid out but much darker design of the blog. I’m currently investigating building a similar theme for the current site – the grey is nice but it is a bit depressing after a while!
Just a quick one: In re-creating my blog I had to go through one of my least favourite ordeals, choosing a theme. Given time I’d create my own (but, also given time, I’d probably just write my own bare bones CMS) but that’s not an option, so I usually look for simple, clean themes that I can perhaps customize a little bit and be done with. This theme is called Greyville, by the way, it’s rather pretty I think.
I actually set this blog up locally using Xampp first so I could import a few posts, do those theme mods and make sure everything worked before it went live. I was using the Greyville theme for a while, and had gotten used to it, when I realized it didn’t support a proper menu bar. So I decided I’d add one, how hard could it be?
Fairly simple it turns out, if you have the WordPress API imprinted on your mind. I spent most of my time looking up functions and then trying to chase their dependencies around the internet to find out why they weren’t working right. But I got there eventually, and I thought posting this information could help someone else who just wants to add a menu bar, or wonders why none of his custom php works…