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January 31, 2017

I’ve Been Workin’ on the Website

Filed under: Main — admin @ 12:01 am

Every so often, I read up on various web page design and publishing technologies, then I turn to this website and review what I’ve done and try to make it better. It’s a not something I get paid for, but I try to excel in everything I do.

For example, I’ve converted all the pages on the Wambooli site to CSS formatting as opposed to tables. Tables are easy to create and they provide a quick and understandable presentation method, but they’re not the preferred way to design web pages.

Because computer book publishing is pretty much dead, a good title on CSS formatting isn’t available. All you have are web page documentation and tepid tutorials. So it took me a while to figure out CSS formatting and get the web pages in line.

I also try to customize a lot of what I do on the Wambooli site. For example, nine years ago I started this blog to keep my site fresh and the support pages updated. I wrote the code that presents the most recent blog posts related to my books on each book’s support page. That type of automation keeps the site active.

Behind the scenes, I’ve created web apps that help me update my current title list, manage the PorchCam, and other site features. The goal is to cut down on my workload so that I’m not editing and re-writing web pages all the time, but it also provides consistency throughout the site.

Recently I’ve been working on the title list database. Years ago, I built a database of my oeuvre, all the books I’ve written and material that’s been published. It’s a virtual version of all my titles that sit a shelf in my office, shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Every book and related material published since 1987.

The database lists everything I’ve published since 1987. Further, I scanned all the titles and saved the covers as thumbnail images. This information was once presented as a static web page here on Wambooli. Now I’ve updated it so that it’s an interactive feature. The new web page lets you view all the titles, titles for a specific year, or titles from a specific publisher. You can access the new page here.

I also created a page that lists what I call my unique titles. These are titles with multiple editions or derivatives. For example, every Android phone title is based on the original book Nexus One For Dummies. Each new title remains an individual book, but contractually each is based on the original title. These unique titles are presented on this page.

Both pages are web apps: They access a database of titles and pull out specific items based on user input. The information was already present, so all I had to do was code the pages, which I enjoyed because I like to program. Oddly enough, I find it relaxing.

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