It took me a long while to get something up here, but finally I revised some very old stuff and came up with a little thing to represent me on the web. As per the usual, I try and spend most of my time working on client's sites rather than my own, so this is basic but functional, something I happen to like in web design anyway.
In the future I hope to bring over a project or two to highlight what it is that I do, and the manner in which I do it. It's rather hard to show off what one does as a web programmer, given that all the fancy stuff is hidden and all the pretty stuff is the work of a designer. But I'll see what I can do.
I recently attained my private pilot's licence with the Victoria Flying Club. A good place to learn to fly. I've also had a long-time commitment to learning martial arts of various forms, having taken some judo, karate (Shito-Ryu), Kempo Kung Fu and now Iaido. I've been studying martial arts since the late 80's on and off until 1998, when I started training full-time and attained my black belt in kung fu after about 4 ½ years. Training three to five times a week (including instructing for a year) really tends to keep you busy. But now I'm only studying Iaido twice a week, which is lots of fun and I'm enjoying it immensely. I've so far earned Nidan (second) grade.
I figure you can also tell a bunch about someone by what they're reading and watching. So here's a comic that I just love. One that's funny enough to really make you guffaw a couple times a week at least, which, when you really think about it, is a lot for most comics. But this one's great: Get Fuzzy by Darby Conley. I'm also loving watching Corner Gas on TV, which I don't watch a lot of in general. But I do like watching NCIS and I've been loving Wonderfalls. Now that I have a PVR setup it's handy to be able to record the little TV that I do watch for when I miss it, which is often. Lastly, as a shameless plug for a coffee shop in Sidney is the Red Brick Café on Beacon Ave. They make the best mocha I've ever had. They even one-upped themselves by using chocolate wipped cream on top instead of just normal stuff. Sweet? Sure, but that's the way I like it!
The 'What' is what I do, which is web programming. I really enjoy making a web application that truly fits what the client is looking for and works in a way that makes the most sense. My philosophy of coding is that the application should be invisible - the user should never notice the 'how' of what they are doing, the application should just make the 'what' of what they are doing easy and efficient. It should anticipate what the user might need to do next and offer that choice, or return them to the page that allows them to carrying on working in the most sensible way. All without getting in their way... A tricky balance, to be sure, and one that perhaps is never acheived but always sought and strived for, every project improving on the last. I've often thought that if the user notices what they are doing, then I haven't done my job. Of course that means that the application developer gets no credit and the guys and gals who make the site look pretty get all the attention... But then, I can't draw, so I hold the graphical designers of the world in very high esteem.
But I digress. I like web programming and trying to make every project better than the last. Hence the name of my domain: Digital Carpentry. Building things digitally. (I'm sure I'd waste a lot of wood and lose many digits if let near a lathe.) Most of the work I do involves tying a front-end application to a back end database, usually MySQL, but whatever is available on the server. On the even more hidden side, the code itself, I try very hard to make logical, sensible code that is understandable, well commented and easily maintainable. Having worked for a long time in one place I tend to see a lot of other people's code that needs fixing or updating (is there such a thing as a forsenic programmer...?), so I've put twice the emphasis on code that makes sense 6 months down the road. Heck, even I'm not going to remember what I was thinking 6 months down the road, so well commented, sensible code with a consistent style just makes sense. I also tend to code, so far at least, in open-source technologies with web standards as my guide. Why? Mostly it's been the flavour of where I've been working and the enormous support that's available on-line and free. Or through one of the most excellent O'Reilly booksthe best books money can buy in the programming world. As for coding my web pages in web-compliant standards, that's because I believe that anyone should be able to look at what I produce and not be constrained by certain requirements. Any reasonably modern browser should work fine to view a site, not just the latest version of Internet Explorer. Now, if I'm producing work for a defined set of people, such as a intranet, where every computer runs a single, mandatory software set, then I'll happily take advantage of the full feature set of that particular browser. But if it's for the web in general, I hate having someone else dictate to me what I can view their site with. After all, why else do we call them standards?
Enough philosophy. For a sampling of my work, please check out my site list page. Of course, most of what I did is hidden in the administrative side. And like I said, I didn't draw the pretty pictures.
The beautiful west coast of Canada, on Vancouver Island. Since I bought myself a digital camera in the fall of 2001, I've taken almost 3000 pictures so far, and my favourites have always been panoramas, so here's a small sampling. Click for a (very large) full-sized versions.