Introduction

The title/ name of this website was supposed to be a clever play on words about “mu” or nothingness. If you live near the equator; at noon, there are no shadows cast from buildings etc. It is brightly light all over.

The funny _|_ symbol was the imaginary pole that one of Greek philosophers used to discover the earth was a sphere. In the north of Greece, there is a shadow clearly cast at noon. In the southern states, its much smaller. From those two datum, he induced the Earth was a sphere. I think its a shame we don't have much budget for blue-sky research these days.

The website site held an assemblage of technology, and made good use of CSS and Javascript. The goal was technology to improve user experience, rather than write a small script to demonstrate blah technique, which is what tends to happen in schools. “mu” for the technology, “mu” for all my efforts, it just looks good. At the time, the site had features I hadn't seen else where.

Artistic Concept.

As this was work purely for me, I had full control over the look at feel. I wanted to provide public access to a wide range of resources, partially as a employment measure and partially as a technical practice on assembling and publishing work. I was attempting to express two entirely unconnected aspects of myself. I have long sort employment in networked information systems, as a creative, building or managing some of the infrastructure. Unless there is a global tragedy, I cannot see this being anything other than a growth zone for the rest of my existence. Towards this end I have two degrees in Computer Science and Internet Systems. Secondly I have been drawing or painting my entire life; literally I could render three dimensional shapes before I could speak proper sentences. I started using IT as a post-process on my manual skills as a teenager.
I wanted a site that would demonstrate a range of things about me in a light hearted non-corporate fashion. I was playing with Javascript and the improving CSS support, as little widgets. These got added to the website as further attractions. To express the two different sides of the content, I had a right-brain/left-brain metaphor. All of the analytical quantitative work sided with left brain, and the subjective art and poetry the right side. I didn't expect employment from the right side content, but it was good practice for the presentation tools.

I wanted use cases of:

  • Someone trying to discover if I was worth employing (after having been sent a CV or similar);
  • Someone researching website widgets using the site as a reference;
  • Someone serendipitous browsing the internet would idle some time reading the some of the articles. I uploaded some of my bookmarks as further reading;

Goals

  • A site to hold various bits of software I had written, and to provide contextual resources like documentation.
  • A showcase for digitised artwork and gallery technology.
  • Gain “craft skills” in using detailed and complete HTML, rather than having a tool to build it for you (see last goal).
  • To practice branding and skinning websites.
  • To generate a graphical site without using HTML tables, other than for tabular data.
  • To discover the costs of making a website fully compliant to the Bobby / w3c standards

Technology Focus

It was not necessary to create fully dynamic pages, as the site sold nothing, and referenced no databases. As such nearly all the files where static on the server side;
I simplified the URL namespace with the use of .htaccess as I have done in many other projects;
Full use of HTML headers for meta data (including pages relationship to each other). I annotated all the links in the site, which was a big commitment in editing;
I created a Javascript style-sheet selector, so users could choose their own branding. This managed bandwidth, as after the first page, the CSS was cached locally;
I used CSS to create a static menu layout without tables and Javascript to animate it;
I wrote a popup box system similar to the early suckerfish for important messages;
As there where multiple libraries tied to the page load event, I created a onload queue. This would have been an invisible system upgrade if Javascript 1.5 was stable. Instead it needed to be called directly via explicit function calls.
I built an error trap written in Javascript to cleanly report errors. I doubt users ever saw this as only the stable code was released.

I will attempt a package for the Javascript libraries I wrote. They need re-factoring on the advent of AJAX, but covered similar territory.

Outcomes

  • The current (2011) internet has more tools, and I know more resources. It is cheaper and easier to use an existing service.
  • I learned a good deal about dynamic CSS and Javascript coding.
  • I converted some of the rhetoric I had heard about HTML tables and spacer GIFs into practical reality.

Bobby no longer seems to be a functioning web-service, but validated your website for you. Tidy is a command-line tool which performs similar functionality. Alternatively try w3c validator.


Design notes for Noonshadow

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Design notes for Noonshadow

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