A Fully-Featured CMS and website built with nothing but vague customer directions and ingenuity.
I built this using the following technologies:
The admin interface is very basic, with CRUD of records for Studio Gear, Clients, and Slider Images.
Though I wasn't actively looking for Web Development work, I recieved an offer from a friend of a friend (who was a graphic design student) to build a website for a local business called The Center. So as a team of two, we created a site for them to organize their new business.
Working from graphic mock-ups and a list of client needs, I decided the site should be based on Wordpress. Not finding any readily available templates that would accomplish the goal, I heavily modified Wordpress' own Twenty Thirteen theme. I ended up using the built-in tag system to allow a grid of posts to appear in place of the standard blogpost format.
I ended up having to hack my way around the default Wordpress code, and grew to realize that I didn't like how bloated it was. These kinds of projects always take longer than I expect them to. But in the end, it was done on time and the Client was very happy with the result.
I used this to create an application for a client, the Professional Aviation Specialists of Illinois, Chapter 3. The app gives them a searchable, indexed reference for documentation on the union constitution and contract with the Federal Aviation Administration. It also feeds live updates from the their blog.
As my first real forray into mobile development, I enjoyed and learned alot from the project. I used plenty of Python scripting, which I grew to love, to parse the raw text from documents and format it into markup. This required the liberal use of Regular Expressions.
Back in 2012, I participated in an amazing event in Chicago organized by The Nerdery called the Overnight Website Challenge. The event has a single goal: providing free web development services to non-profit organizations. It's really a brilliant scheme for skilled professionals to give back to people in their own way. It's also a great way to test yourself, put your skills on the line, and see what you and a team of people can accomplish in a single day.
I found a team that looked like they might need what I could bring to the table. I was fresh out of Chippewa Valley Tech with an IT Programmer/Analyst degree, and up to the challenge. After researching some of the potential non-profit clients, I realized that most of them were looking for a Wordpress-based site. I did a lot of brushing up at that time, and learned the basics of how it worked. Explaining the structure assisting with the site architecture through that my basic knowledge of wordpress was probably the largest contribution I made.
The non-profit company we were assigned was called the North Lawndale Employment Network. They still use the base website that we designed and developed for them.
I fought valiantly against sleep and PHP, but I learned a valuable lessons about time mangement and development in general. All in all, it was a positive experience that motivated me to be a better developer.
This website has a minimalist design, and a minimalist homemade CMS on the back end to post content. I could have used wordpress or something similar to handle authentication, formatting, storing, and posting of content. But wordpress is garbage. Have you ever looked at their code? My new favorite saying:
"If you have to serve up terrible code, it might as well be your own."-frigginglorious, 2015
It's not much, but I like how it came together, and I feel like I finally figured out the key to responsive design, thanks to Bootstrap. The back end is just MySQL and PHP. The TinyMCE plugin to format content is great as well.
I am really looking forward to further developing the CMS and site itself: potentially build in twitter and other social media updates. Also, it needs to work in some magic with the IRC Chat/Site Console. These fun things will come.