After 10 years engineering websites as an employee of various businesses, I've finally got some time off.
I'm not talking about a vacation either, this is real time off, i.e unemployment®.
For the 1st time in a decade I find myself wondering what I should work on next. There's no impending deadline to beat. There's no tangled code base to refactor. My calendar is open, and there's nothing to do but look for a job.
Which brings me full circle and to the web site you're now viewing. Apparently, when you apply for employment and claim to have 10 years experience engineering websites, people want to see an online portfolio with some examples of your work... who knew? Unfortunately, in my case, it's not as easy as putting up some pretty pictures of all the sites I've worked on.
I wrote gobs of back-end Java code for MediaNews Group, back then I could lay claim to close to half of the code written in the content management system that more than 70 newspapers used for their websites every day. But how to view my work? It's all administrative stuff, behind the firewall in a corporate LAN, with security and passwords and all that lock and key business. In fact, it's problematic to show off any of the server-side code I've written, due to the fact that I don't keep copies of previous employers code, not to mention various non-disclosure agreements I've signed. Most of the projects I've worked on for previous companies like Booyah Networks amount to in-house tools or content management systems, which means for most people considering hiring me, it's unreachable, and therefore unviewable.
Those projects were done half a decade ago anyway, even if prospective employers could see that stuff, it's not my best. Recent projects completed for XStreet and Second Life are much better examples of my current skill set. Skills that include designing and engineering internationalized browser-based applications that function in multiple languages like Japanese, German, French and others. These are load once browser apps that communicate server side via AJAX, and behave like ordinary desktop applications. But again, they're tools that are only available for members of the website, or in one case, a content management system for in-house administrators and employees.
It's definitely time to get some of this browser magic online and visible to the general public. Actually, I'm thrilled to have the spare time to really work on JDAllen.net, it's been a long time coming. What better way to spend said time-off than to engineer your own website from the ground-up! It probably goes without saying, but I'll be designing and coding everything myself which should give a good feel for the breadth and depth of my abilities. More details will be posted soon, but so far I've decided on the following:
- Hardware: Order the parts and assemble my own 64-bit chassis.
- Hosting: I'll host it out of my home office on my local LAN.
- Operating System: Secure 64-bit Debian Linux.
- Web Server: Apache
- Database: MySQL
- Architecture: I'll roll my own MVC CMS with caching in PHP
- Technologies: HTML5 and Tableless Layouts using CSS2 & 3, with AJAX via Mootools for client-side interactions.