Technical Proficiencies

Every website needs a platform, browser-facing code, a design, and content. The platform may be TypePad, Movable Type, Ning, WordPress, Joomla, GeekLog, or some other open source or proprietary system. The browser-facing code may be PHP, Cold Fusion, ASP, JSP, HTML, CSS-P, AJAX, Javascript ... or a combination of two or more of these. The design could be based on an existing template, or something entirely fresh; you'll want to trust your site design to someone proficient with Photoshop and Illustrator, and a variety of multimedia applications. And the content -- well, it's most important: Content is king, the reason customers or constituents frequent your website.

As a versatile website developer, I've designed and maintained numerous websites for over 16 years. While many have been redesigned in the years since I turned them over to the client, below are some sites with which I am currently involved. This should give you a sense of my coding and design capabilities

  • Boundless. As editor of Focus on the Family's Boundless Webzine for five years, I was responsible for securing and editing all content and developing and managing the layout/coding for the site using Adobe ColdFusion and some Javascript on top of a proprietary content management system. I also configured and coded the associated team blog, The Boundless Line.
  • Allow me to pause here, so I can give specific examples of my coding work. It may be not flashy, but all of it serves the constituent. Let's start by clicking over to the Boundless webzine, Boundless.org

    (I should note that the last article I worked on as editor was published on Sept. 1, 2010. My successor is responsible for articles and artwork published after that date, as well as any broken links. I've included samples of my article artwork here.)

    I've coded everything on that page -- from the search box, to the way the featured article renders, to the e-newsletter subscription widget, to the list of recent articles, to the two ads at the top of the left column. It's all coded in Cold Fusion. The homepage pulls together a variety of objects from the platform's database, each of which I've worked on.

    See that "Boundless Blog" block right below the featured article, the component that includes blog titles, URLs, author's name, and description? I've pulled all that through RSS, and formatted it using another component.

    Now, look at today's featured article. Click on the author's name -- I wrote the code that provides that list of articles and nicely formats it.

    Now, go back to the Boundless homepage, and look down to the list of recent articles. Click on the "Related Articles" link under one of the article titles. I made sure to associate each article with a particular category, and used that data to enable the user to see related articles.

    Click on an article title. Once you're at an article page, click on the "printer friendly" button above the title. I programmed that functionality, as well as the functionality behind the other buttons on the article page. Click on the Twitter icon at the bottom of the article page; I coded that to pre-fill the tweet. Pretty cool.

    If you look at my code, you'll see that some of it is not very elegant. I inherited the code for our webzine in 2005, and have been adjusting it extensively rather than starting from scratch. If I were to start from scratch, I'd scrap the nested tables and do it all in CSS-P. That'll cut bandwidth, increase Seach Engine Optimization (SEO), and allow the webpage to load faster.

    If you access the site with an iPhone or iPod Touch, you'll get a mobile-friendly test version of the webzine and the blog. I coded all of that in my spare time; it's not perfect, but was one of my "projects." You can see it on your browser by going to http://www.boundless.org/m/

    Click over to our blog, BoundlessLine.org. I'm responsible for all the code in this blog. Let's take a look at the functionality apparent in individual blog posts. Click to this blog post.

    The blockquote treatment is done in CSS. Scroll down to comment #10 (you can click on that link; I've coded the site to take you right to that particular comment). I've coded the blog so that our authors' comments are different from others' comments -- that's done with some sweet CSS, associating a particular chunk of CSS with a particular commenter's name. Now go back to the top, and click on my name. Then click on the "on one page" link in the last sentence of my bio. I coded that page as well. Scroll down and look at the component at the bottom of the left column. I'm pulling the five most recent Boundless articles via RSS and formatting it using some component I came up with.

    Finally, I coded the pages to promote Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is done primarily through the title tags and URL, but also through some clever behind-the-scenes coding. Go to the Boundless.org homepage and "view source." See the meta "description" tag? It begins with a generic description of the site, but then includes a list of recent articles. That "description" is automatically updated each time Boundless.org features a new article, and Google (and other search engines) regularly adds those new tags to its databases. I included that set of metatags a bit lower in the code as well.

    Is this effective? Check out where Boundless shows up when you Google the following terms:

    Boundless makes good use of titles, URLs, a good deal of content, and clever behind-the-scenes coding to effectively boost SEO.

  • Ted Slater's Website. That'd be this site. It's fairly static, so I created it entirely with HTML, CSS, graphics, text, and JavaScript.

  • My blog. I installed and configured the latest version of WordPress on my server over the course of a few hours, and have been adding content daily. I've tweaked the generic theme fairly substantially, adding embedded fonts and a variety of widgets. If you visit the site on a mobile device, you'll have the option to view it in a mobile-friendly format.

  • Ungrind. I designed this online magazine for my wife, who is its executive editor. The backend is TypePad, a popular blogging platform, which allows the editors/authors to easily maintain the site. I configured the sweet "editor's note" using positional CSS. I also configured/designed the webzine's blog, Fresh Brew. I've recently included Google ads in the left column of the blog, and am promoting the webzine through Google AdWords.

  • Start Your Family and Women Praying Boldly. I created these two sister sites for friends Steve and Candice Watters; it's built on top of TypePad technology, which allows them to easily and regularly update the site.

  • Mitch Temple Online. Mitch's site is built on the Ning.com platform, which provides a straightforward way to offer your own social network. We link to his book via his account with Amazon (so he receives a portion of the sales) as well as to his Facebook profile. Behind the scenes, we've embedded Google Analytics code so that he can track site statistics.

  • Eli Bremer. Eli's site is fairly traditional, built not on any platform but created with simple HTML, Javascript, and GIFs/JPGs. I admit that it's "busy"; it started simple and clean, but we kept adding an addition here, an addition there. The embedded blog is a cool feature. Eli competed in the 2008 Olympics, and went on to win bronze in the World Cup Finals in Portugal.

  • Soul Check TV. This was another site consisting of simple HTML, Javascript, and GIFs/JPGs, built for a sister-in-law, to host Christian band interview she and her sisters produce. After the ninth episode, I decided to use a javascript dropdown menu for navigation, rather than a series of GIFs. She's recently moved it over to the WordPress platform, so what you're seeing here is an archived version of the site.

  • The Blythe Daniel Agency. A very clean and straightforward marketing/editorial agency website. Blythe is very gracious, and easy to work with.

  • MTI Custom Landscapes. I designed and currently maintain this website. They put in our yard. Good people. Nice work. Fair price.

  • Delta3D. I was brought in by a military contractor to lead the site redevelopment for this project. Yeah, that's kind of cool. I selected GeekLog as the platform for the site primarily because of its being open source, but also because it met all the client's requirements and enabled a good deal of customization. This is what the site looked like when I began the project.

Some other sites I had developed, but which I no longer maintain, include the following:

  • Duncan Bremer For Congress
  • Orchard Grove Music
  • Sovereign Grace Church
  • Fluency Voice Technology
  • Christian Broadcasting Network
  • National Fatherhood Initiative
  • OOP.COM -- Object Oriented Programming
  • Flying Hospital
  • Electric Mirror
  • Orchard Grove Condominium Community
  • New Attitude/New Attitude Band
  • Episcopalians United/Anglican Voice
  • Concerned Clergy and Laity of the Episcopal Church
  • Campaign website -- U.S. Representative Mark Goins
  • Duluth Medical Web Server
  • Regent University School of Education
  • Regent University School of Divinity
  • South American Missionary Society
  • ... and numerous others