Thursday, April 22, 2010

Behold the computational power of my Text Editor.

Last week I finished a new website for the non-profit arts organization that I am running here in Berlin. I have finally managed to get around my own impatience and have learned a new language: XHTML/CSS. All of the code is hand written and is Strict XHTML with CSS style sheet, no Javascript or PHP used - even for the photo galleries. It is the first time that I have done any programming and digital design that I am not embarrassed of.

Take a look at the site, any tips or recommendations are welcome. We are still working on the content a bit.

The next programming bit that I will be tackling is integrating the PHP of the Wordpress event calender into the design of the main site.

w3schools has been incredibly helpful so far.

I am excited by the prospect of mentioning web development languages without having eyes glaze over and long blank stares, and since there has been some geeking out in that direction here of late . . .

Some of you might be interested in the project itself. As things develop further there could be an opportunity to show art with us in Berlin and/or do some sort of studio residency. After a period of about a year and a half of establishing ourselves we have been concentrating on professionalizing certain aspects of the project, hence my concentration on outside presentation of late. Major material improvements have been made recently to the main space, many artists are joining, we are taking over a second space around the corner for more studios, we will be receiving our first class of university students for a short workshop stint (from the U. of Northern Iowa), and we are starting to get grants from the city of Berlin for things like building an art network from the ground up in our neighborhood and administrating art festivals in the area.

So if any of you have some awesome art burning a hole in your storage space and you have time and funds to come out here, I am looking for quality work to exhibit.


Pete said...

Right on. The website looks nice and clean, and is well organized. The photo-selections also work really well.

Rolling-your-own mark-up and style sheet gets you a long way towards the website being easy to maintain. As time goes on, I think you'll want to rig it so that it is structured to respect the don't-repeat-yourself principle. That way, say if you want to add something to the navigation bar, you won't have to copy-paste the change to every-blinkin'-page. The easiest way to reference one file into another is using PHP include statements. Your content area is what differs page-to-page, so why repeat your header, footer and navigation? I'd also recommend having two includes per page. One to bring in your page structure and get you to the content div, and another to wrap everything up with closing tags and add the footer. Simple.

Ah, the "Kunstfiliale" page on the English side of the website is in German.

One way to expand the website would be to include a set of photos for each event and art show that happens in your space. That way you can telegraph the momentum your building to people interested in checking you out. Also, people who are a part of the community your building can check out an event that they missed. This might be better suited for the Wordpress side of the website.

Ubuntu's community manager has a book on community building.

Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be able to show at your space this year:
1. I need to be more frugal than I have been. I am saving up to buy a hovel that I can turn into a workshop and super-computer. Getting that sorted out is in my long term interest.
2. I think it will be a while (years not months) before I will produce anything worth showing. I really don't want to show up with work that is just embarrassing. I am certainly a much more effective person than I was, say, five years ago. So there is hope. The make-it-up/make-it-happen loop is my major happiness.

Pete said...

Oh yeah. Firebug is very useful.

Mr. Alex said...

Welcome to the FUTURE!!! :-) Good going man! I second what Pete said about Firebug.

Pete said...

Speaking of the future, HTML5+SVG is going to be great!

Don Jason said...

I have not got around to translating that page yet. It is on my to do list for this week.

Thanks for the comments and tips.

I will look into the PHP include statements. I have not even begun to try and wrap my head around PHP yet, but there is a programmer in the project that was explaining the concepts and relationships between various programming languages . . . what is layered on top of what and when are info sent between server and client . . . etc. Or at least I think so, there was a photo exhibition opening and a few beers involved.

I tried out a photo uploading infrastructure called Gallery2 but it was incredibly slow and a giant bulk of code that had to be uploaded and manipulated on the server. It would have fit well with the idea of a community oriented photo update site, essentially flicker but on your own web server so you still own your own images. My experience was that it was too much of a code Frankenstein monster though.

HTML5 seems like it is going to blow web development wide open. I wonder if the propieters of FLASH are trying to sabotage HTML5 with hardened teams of shadowrunners?

Chad-Roc said...

Mr. Johnson never gets into specifics, but is willing to pay a hefty price for HTML5 to "disappear" if you know what I'm sayin.

Site looks good Jason. Keep up the good work!

Pete said...

If you like pain, you can run your pages through the W3C validator.

You have 17 errors on your front page.

The border attribute of the img tag is deprecated and handled by CSS.

The validator requires alt attributes for all images for accessibility reasons.

It doesn't like the br tags in your navigation list.

It doesn't like your f1 & f2 tags.