There was a day when I had more than one vehicle, a hectic business, and a very difficult time keeping track of all the maintenance, vehicle inspections, and other little things it took to keep them all on the road.
The final straw was when I forgot to get my vehicle inspection done on time and had an encounter with an officer of the law. So what’s a programmer to do? Write a program to keep track of all that stuff, of course.
I originally wrote a database-driven, on-line web application called Home & Business Inventory in 2003 when a hurricane got me thinking about how vulnerable all my material possessions were to natural–and not-so-natural–disasters.
Originally, the Home & Business Inventory was a subscription-based web application, which allowed me to offer it free of advertisements and with a level of security that I couldn’t match had I allowed ads on the site. Since then, I am much less dependent on income from my subscription services, and I began a process of converting them all to donation-based sites that remain ad-free.
The new version is another database-driven on-line application called simply “Home Inventory.” It makes heavy use of AJAX to provide a better user experience with a more modern feel. What follows is the marketing copy from the original, subscription-only version with modifications to accommodate the changes in the current, donation version which explains what Home Inventory is all about.
If you’ve read some of our other blog entries, you already know that one of TrackItWeb’s clients is an ardent classic Mercury Cougar Enthusiast. You may have even visited his Classic Cougar Community Site or Forum after reading an earlier blog regarding them.
For years, he’d been talking about wanting to build a database-driven site that would generate window stickers similar to the ones that came with his favorite classic cars. This fall, he took the plunge and commissioned TrackItWeb to begin construction of the Dream Cougar Window Sticker Generator.
The Dream Cougar Window Sticker Generator is a database-driven site designed to allow the user to build his own window sticker for a classic Cougar that may or may not have existed, including the actual package and accessory prices, creating a PDF as an end product that is based on the original artwork of the Mercury Cougar window stickers of the time.
I had a lot of fun setting up a magazine-selector, one-off site for Automotive Traveler. After moving the issues of their on-line magazine to the BCT Publishing Viewer, they wanted a graphical method for users to be able to select between all issues of the magazine that took advantage of the striking layouts of their covers. They left me to my own devices to come up with a design and implementation, only requesting that it fit in with the color scheme of their main site at the time.
BCT Publishing commissioned the construction of a magazine-like user interface to display their online magazine and replace an expensive, commercial, Flash-based flipping page platform.
The design parameters required that the application:
run in any of the most popular browsers
display a landscape-oriented version of their magazine without the need for scrolling
render their professional magazine-style layouts, including fonts, faithfully
allow for easy, inexpensive conversion of PDFs to the format required for final viewing
allow for full-screen viewing, zoom, and dragging
offer a text-only, accessibility mode
be searchable and indexable by the popular search engines
The “Viewer” was born, and Automotive Traveler was BCT’s first title. Since then, BCT Publishing has made the Viewer available to anyone who would like to display content in a magazine-like format on the web. For more information, contact BCT Publishing.