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September 30, 2011

Getting It Together

I kinda let this site idle in a fugly construction mess last week. But things are better. That awful gap between the columns is gone. But the migration to putting posts in databases has been much slower than I had anticipated. Mainly because I'm trying to figure out what to do with my side widgets.

I realize as a portfoilio website, there needs to been a emphasis on professionalism. There also needs to be more than one page to make up a website. So for the month of october, I'll set the database part on the side and start working on the Events page.

The Events page will part web application and part widget. By that, when you come to the front page, there will be a smaller calendar with bolded numbers where there is a event on that day. The full version will likely list events either in one-month, one-week, or one-day format. I had developed such a project a few years ago and shortly before Google had released something similar for what is now the Google Calendar. The HTML5 syntax of today will certainly make the new version that I will conjure up look so much better than the one I though up back then.

In terms of widgets. there will be four kinds of widgets. Wide widgets, like this blog, will display things like columns I write. Narrow widgets like the ones on the right will appear whenever wide widgets are used. Full width widgets, like the events calendar, will take the entire width of the screen. And header/footer widgets will be applied in either the header or the footer. The section of the footer with the Amazon widget is a widget inside of widget for coding convienence.

I understand this blog queue is getting quite long, and I intend to correct that by pagenating posts and doing thing like created a widget that shows a short description of a blog post such that the user (you) will need to click on a link to read the rest. I also plan to make another widget that lists recent or related post titles in a bulleted list and integrate RSS syndication.

Again, my reasons for doing this myself rather than using something like Wordpress is to show off my skills as a programmer.

Outside of this website, I am gearing up to play around with some new features that JavaScript has that have piqued my interests by using a data set. And where better to borrow a test data set that from Major League Baseball or some other sports team or league.

Now the folks at the MLB did a great job on their websites integrating all sorts of data stored in an Oracle Database and presenting it in Java Server Pages (JSP). However, I want to make up something that is similar to their system, but more fluid than their ridge system which does not use JavaScript filters like I would like to try out. Originally, I wanted to use only the St. Louis Cardinals as an example set, but then I realized that some of the data coincides with players from other teams. Fortunately, MLB had all their player information for the 2011 regular season stored on a single table, so before the Yankees and the Tigers play each other tonight, I need to get my example set from their website. Another point to make is that the data they use is constantly updated. I'm not really going to do that. For right now, I'd rather make this example run a few INSERT and SELECT statements and worry about updating the data until after the season is over. Alternatively, I could do nothing with the data and just use it as something to play around with whenever someone wants to see my skills in SQL or if the one friend I have who is a big baseball fan wants to give this thing a spin.

I'd like my program to have a little bit more of a computer-terminal feel to it. It's so boring just to point and click all the time.

There's a chatroom on the EFNet IRC network called #hardball where baseball geeks like to converge. One of the features of the chat room is that it has a bot that you can use to call up the score of your favorite baseball team, to information about players, to even when a player's contract is set to expire. The problem with this bot is that it does not take advantage of one of IRC's most hallowed features: colors! However, the folks in that chat room don't like to use colors, which is a shame because using color one of the many advantages of using a UNIX or Linux terminal.

Most IRC scripts that run bot programs are written in either MIRC Script which is used by MIRC or PERL which is used by IRSSI. So, now I have reason to brush up on my PERL again.

Well, that seems to be all the ideas I have to gab about this week. LET'S GO CARDINALS!


Under Construction