w w w . s m a d n e s s . c o m


'smadness is the home of my photographer counterpart, a site that attracts people from all corners of the earth, and while the traffic is not heavy, it is rather constant, with many repeat viewers and a good number of subscribers. As a photographer, I do a lot of business printing postcards to sell in the campus bookstore. Large prints of the highest quality are also sold, and business is thriving. The 'smadness project is a documentary of the history of the business and website, from the first edition in November 2000 to the current fifth edition. Support the arts! visit www.smadness.com. To see the history of smadness, read below or select the links from the right.

First Edition

'smadness in it's first appearance was actually not my photography site but another idea that has split off into it's own domain. Maybe when I redevelop it and arise from being embarrassed by it, I'll leak it onto Thirteenth Shore's projects list. But the first appearance of the photography 'smadness was around the beginning of my Junior year of college, in November 2000. It was more of a showcase of my html design than anything photographic. Most of my early hardcore programming was html design. Looking back, it wasn't a bad concept. I was into the faded borders and the simple scribble of script. I didn't have many photographs so displaying each category complete with full size photos was reasonable. Later, problems started creeping in, so this edition desolved quickly.

Second Edition

The second edition was a large improvement on the first in terms of aesthetics, so I believe. I decided to leave the faded eerieness behind and use a more concrete font (rather than handwriting) and more crisp images. The format of displaying the photographs remained the same, since I had more categories but the same amount of photos per category. As you can see, the last update was February 2001, which means both the first edition and the second edition didn't last long at all. Soon I had lots more photographs and a hankering to change things.

Third Edition

This was the first edition where I started playing heavily with JavaScript. Having more photographs meant having to think of a new way of displying them, such that people who used modems were not disgruntled by downloading my entire portfolio at once. Unfortunately, with this design I reintroduced my need for a 'kewl' interface, by maxing out the options on Photoshop that I could use. Hence, the faded ghost effects on the titles, that I think were worse than the design of the previous edition. Mainly the best part was the new interface of scrollview and viewpanel, where the user could scroll through all the photos and click on the one to view, which would bring up the photo in a seperate frame. Around here, I started having trouble with different browsers, because InternetExplorer was very tolerant with JavaScript and frames, but a lot of people were still using Netscape. So I had to cater to the Netscape crowd, which meant a lot of JavaScript debugging and a number of workarounds to make it work with Netscape, which was often horrendous in it's support of JavaScript and dynamic content. This was last updated in October 2001, at which point I had started work on the new and improved 'smadness, the edition that would last for a long time to come.

Fourth Edition

The fourth edition of smadness was coded entirely in JavaScript. From the start, this presented innumerable problems. People were still using Netscape a lot, which in itself had innumerable problems. Netscape's support of JavaScript was troublesome, and it's support of dynamic content was even worse. In the end, before I moved to the fifth edition, it didn't work at all with Netscape. InternetExplorer was my browser of choice, because it was dynamic, solid, and very flexible. The reason I needed to code this entirely in JavaScript (and I mean entirely... almost all content was written between SCRIPT tags) was because the server I was running 'smadness on had no support for anything better. I wanted dynamic content, and I had learned Perl just the summer before... so I was itching to create 'smadness in Perl, but I had no place to host it. So I settled for JavaScript dynamicism instead, which ended up losing me a number of awards that I had applied for. The main design ideas in this was an advanced version of the third edition, enhancing the scrollview and widening the viewing area, stretching the space to feel more relaxed. This was confused again by the JavaScript issues. Development for the fifth edition started almost right away.

Fifth Edition

'smadness became a gem in it's fifth edition. The advertising for it was 'New. Perlized. Crystalline.' And indeed, it was someting to behold. When everything finally worked in Perl, I quickly added my entire philosophy of dynamic content and complete customization. This edition still reflects a lot of my philosophy of programming. A settings file resides in the directory, which controls the entire site. The main content files are created with enough flexibility that to change the content for updates and stylistic changes, the only thing needed to be changed is that settings file. This meant a lot less trouble changing every file in the site, and a lot more conformity to itself (instead of having slight mistakes in style per page). This allows also for multiple custom Perl database files that include the photo database, the quote database, and a library of functions used widely throughout the site. Also, custom Perl scripts that reside on my local machine read in the photos that are in certain directories (which can include the iPhoto directory, even though I don't use that yet because Apple doesn't look at the needs of film photographers), and then create these database files to be uploaded. It is entirely automated such that all I have to do is scan in a new photo, run the script, and it asks for serial number / title / date and all the files are created for me. Saves me a lot of time. Also with this edition came the order form, a Perl feat in itself. The form is created from the contents of the URL (form GET method) and from there dynamically creates itself with smart features that include add/drop, price calculation, and others. This edition was around for quite a long time, until after I had graduated and found a *real* job. In early March, 2005, I moved this aside and transfered into it's place the new design for the sixth edition.

Current Edition

The current edition of 'smadness is mostly just a few minor revisions over the fifth edition. The Perlized structure is holding up so well that I've kept it for so long. I've redesigned the entire site to be simpler, hopefully, and more attuned to the photographs that I want to display. Thus the maximum dimensions for the displayed photos are 600 pixels, instead of the 400 that I had used for all times before. This 50% increase is amazing, in my eyes. It does require a larger screen to view, yes, but at the same time I feel that it is definitely worth it. The only problems I have had with this design are solely with CSS. I started using CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) to design the site, leaving the HTML to manage content only. The problems arose when I tried viewing it in Internet Explorer. Microsoft seems to have left CSS compatability out of IE for the Mac, so I stopped supporting IE completely. It wasn't worth the little time I had, really. It's sad that I'll be leaving a few folks behind, but I think I've turned a little more choosy (snobby?) in my audience. Hopefully soon I'll be able to make it more compliant, but right now I'm enjoying the California sun :)



The 'smadness Project is an ongoing project that will be continued indefinitely. To sign up for notifications of updates of www.smadness.com, please visit http://www.smadness.com/john_legal.pl.



'smadness:

First Edition
Second Edition
Third Edition
Fourth Edition
Fifth Edition

Current Edition










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