Autumn Term — 07/08

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Home Page — 22 October 2007
Brief: “Design and publish a simple homepage consisting of static HTML pages. The site must include a registration form with JavaScript validation, brief personal history, embedded objects, login page and links to individual pages for the other assignments in this module. The site should be clear and consistent, easy to navigate and should also utilize a common visual design style using CSS stylesheets.”

A nice gentle start to the course, basic HTML, simple graphics and some straightforward embedding of objects. The real challenge for me here was the JavaScript. Having only some rusty PHP knowledge from a 12 week evening course (almost a year previously) the dot notation in JavaScript really through me. Validating for the email address proved quite a challenge at the time.

Feedback Evaluation System — 23 November 2007
Brief: “Develop a dynamic web application using PHP and MySQL. The application should take the form of a feedback system/questionnaire for the module you are currently studying. There are two types of users: students who will provide feedback and lecturers who will review the same. Access to the system should be via a username and password login.”

It was certainly nice to meet up with my old friends PHP and MySQL after such a long time. Rather than allow lecturers to view individual feedback from students the system provides aggregate data. I also created an admin area where you can generate two types of user accounts.

The student user accounts were a “one-use” type account i.e. complete the survey then the account expires, the lecturer logins were multi-use. It was interesting to create an application for three different types of users with different access rights i.e. students, lecturers and administrators.

The color scheme follows the LondonMet logo, the larger-than-life buttons and simple design are to encourage completion of the survey. I recently abandoned two surveys myself, namely a student survey from LondonMet and a developer survey from Apple. Both these surveys (that I actually wanted to complete) where just too long, too detailed…

I wonder if either survey managed to record the answers I did give and the point at which I stopped answering?

Forum — 14 December 2007
Brief: “Create a simple XML-based message forum using XML, XSL, DTD, PHP and MySQL. Ensure that the XML is well-formed by running it through an XML validator.”

XML certainly challenged me in terms of its strictness, even quite late in the assignment I was getting pages that would not validate as I had incorporated HTML that contained unclosed tags. This level of strictness combined with the syntax of XSL and DTD became particularly daunting on a number of occasions.

The site is no longer supported, above is a screen shot of the site validating the xml (taken from my documentation).

Auction Site — 29 January 2008
Brief: “Develop a simple auction site utilizing HTML, JavaScript and PHP. It can be developed on different levels of sophistication, depending on the personal preference of the student.

The database for storing auction information will be built using MySQL. It should contain tables for storing the description of auction items, personal information about the bidders and operational information about the past, ongoing and closed bids.

The auction site should allow searching the auction database, bidding for auctioned items, watching selected items during the bidding process and reporting the bidding history. The application must utilize the AJAX technology through asynchronous bidding for selected items, alerting about the end of an auction and asynchronous updating of the current highest bids for watched items.”

So this is still the first semester… assignment 4 is to create an auction site (from the ground up!) utilizing AJAX technology… HELP!

Really thought this one would break me, not so… developed a well featured application that allowed users to submit their auction items, “watch” and “unwatch” other items, bid, add to favorites and login. Made friends with the Unix timestamp.

My proudest moment was writing a function that expressed the auction time remaining in weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds. Can you believe it, it had never really occurred to me that time is not measured using a metric system!

No dice with the AJAX unfortunately – I just couldn’t get it to work:O(


Having recently finished my 5th module out of 6 for my MSc, I thought it was probably time to put all the links to web-based projects in one place. They are listed below in chronological order (oldest first) with a summary of the requirements and a few thoughts/comments of my own.

The websites/applications are all hosted on the LondonMet web server. As a result some have lost their database functionality, however in most cases you can still get a good idea of how they worked previously.

Web Design & Usability – Autumn 07/08 [link]
Mobile & Evolving Services – Spring 2008 [link]
Broadband Applications – Spring 2008 [link]
Digital Solutions Issues – Spring 2009 [written assignment]
Business Solutions – Autumn 09/10 [link]
Research & Development – Autumn 10/11 [written assignment]
MSc Final Project – Spring/Summer 2011 [link]


Autumn Term — 09/10

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My First iPhone App…

… well almost. My most recent college module Business Solutions required a business proposal for a fictitious snowboard manufacturing company, plus an application. After making a big fuss that I be allowed to develop something for the iPhone I was somewhat committed. Luckily enough for me, the requirement was for a working prototype which I managed to pull together.


Love this tool!

This browser-based drawing application allows you to quickly mock-up applications with a hand-drawn feel. Simply drag the controls from the tool bar and snap them together on screen. It’s brilliant. It’s not just for the iPhone, but the iPhone elements are very nice and fully editable. Try it for free here http://www.balsamiq.com/products/mockups#

I recently used it for an application proposal as part of a college project:


I can’t believe it! After over two years since being turned down for the program YouTube emailed me and asked me to apply!…

…or so I thought:O(

It turns out that I haven’t actually been invited to join the program, rather I’ve been invited to submit one of my videos, namely one that was just approaching 100,000 views.

Well sure, no problem, I submitted, clicked through all the copywrite declarations, and now my video actually earns some money. Not much though! So don’t quit your day job.

I’m pleased though, it’s motivated me to upload some clips that have been gathering a lot of video dust. Here is my latest offering, sea nettle jellyfish taken last year at Monterey Bay Aquarium.


A very big thank you to Dotan Saguy for creating this extremely useful iPhone/iPod touch template for MS PowerPoint. There are several templates available in Photoshop, Illustrator and Fireworks etc. but not much for the humble MS PPT user.

This is a great addition and comes complete with an extensive User Interface Library packed with fully editable text boxes and vector shapes.

You can download the files from http://mockapp.com/download/ it is also available for Keynote for the Mac. Here’s a peak…