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.
'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.
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.
'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.
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.