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Matt's LiveJournal

Random ramblings of a programmer, photographer, journalist and runner

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laptop, geek, MacBook, bursting, breakout

Webbed Feet and Unique Sentences

Today, in between sporadic bouts of work, I have mostly been working on my first proper website. Ish.

Despite being a geek, and having been using t'web since I first saw NCSA Mosaic drag its way onto my Sun workstation's screen at some point in 1993, I've never put together a web page any more complicated than a simple, static vanity page, and I've always used publishing tools to do even that.

Mostly, I think, because the bloke wot sits opposite me is a web developer in his other life (he runs a dating website) I've recently been inspired to get learning about web stuff.

So, if I've been a bit quiet of late, it's because I've been playing with HTML and XHTML and CSS and PHP and MySQL and even a bit of (purists look away!) Ajax. I'm still using the odd shiny publishing tool, but I'm choosing carefully so I can have pages which I can write completely from scratch in the mix, and I'm making sure I understand what the tools are outputting for me.

Anyway. Some of you know of my odd habit of collecting unique sentences1. In order to give me something not impossible but vaguely challenging for a beginner, I'm implementing my long-talked-about plan to create a Unique Sentence website, where people can record unique sentences. Depending on how insane/inspired I'm feeling, I may add some user management, maybe a rating facility, discussion forum, etc. Hell, there may even be t-shirts.

So. Plan is to get some kind of vaguely stable alpha-test version out by mid-May. I want to take it kinda slowly, as it's meant just to be a bit of vaguely educational fun. But watch this spaceTM...

1The most recent one in my notebook being "Holy Val Doonican on a stick, Batman!", as said by Mike at work on seeing Keith's new jumper...

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What software are you using for your development ooi? I am planning to do a bit more web stuff soon and don't plan to transfer my not-as-legit-as-the-ebay-ad-suggested dreamweaver onto the Mac so I'm looking for a tool to facilitate more whizzy design than I manage with raw html and emacs. As well as something to setup users & forums without too much pain (as mentioned elsewhere).

I've downloaded a few things to try (PageSpinner, StyleMaster) but would love recommendations.

I've been using RapidWeaver on the grounds that it's fairly simple, cheap and outputs pretty decent-looking style-based output. Basically a simple & cheap way to get me kicked off; it's certainly good for thirty quid, or whatever it was... As for forums and stuff, I was glad when you asked that question elsewhere, because it looks like I might end up using phpbb to facilitate commenting on sentences, etc...

Incidentally, there's apparently a free copy of the latest RapidWeaver to be had in this month's MacUser, so that might be worth looking out for, even if it might just come in useful for the noddier stuff you want to do...

Sounds like loads of fun... been meaning to do something similar, a random quote generator on the front page of the site I haven't got around to yet. I just need to clone myself, so one of me can go to work and get the salary dealt with while the other ones does fun stuff, like getting back to making sites and making jewellery...

Last thing I wanted to make into a t-shirt:
"Why are we running?"
"Because they're chasing us!"
Sam Tyler and Gene Hunt, Life on Mars


I have a random sentence page, but I've only got a few test sentences there at the moment, so it ain't brilliant... I also need to clone myself, so one of me can work on the guitar practice and one of me can do karate while the others of me are sitting the the garden working on the site and also replying to LJ comments :)

Incidentally, It may be sporadic, and it may be gone tomorrow, but the site is just a little bit on the intarwebs right now...

Hmm. The link gives me 'Error: Nonexistent or non-numeric sentence ID', but the rest of the site works fine!

I'm experimenting with Exponent, an open-source CMS, which looks great and seems very usable, apart from the fact it freezes any time I try to do something in Firefox. On MSIE, it kind of works but takes ages to load (from the server in the attic).

Ho hum. Try another one...

Hmm. The link works for me still... I guess either you gave it a go when something was broken, or it's got some problems with IE or Firefox (being on a Mac, I'm doing most of my mucking around in Safari; I'll worry about browser compatibility when I've got the basics working!) Heh. But thank you for registering, and for the eels :)

Hey I hope your web page doesn't go the way that mine did :).
It got pulled by the Ministry of Defense !
I'll tell you the story over some whiskey one day :)



Heh. I think it unlikely that anyone will be wanting to pull any of my sites from the net for reasons of national security :)

Neither did I !
Anyway, whiskey and some enchanted evening :)

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