Posts Tagged ‘Music’

Complete.

Finally, I have now completed my prototype website. Each page has substantial content and can be navigated with ease, considering my poor time management and problems that have played effect. Testing has been taking place and has been successful so far. Fortunately the majority of my tables have been broken up into smaller content, allowing users to view content almost immediately. I have previewed my pages in Internet Explorer, giving me the opportunity to see any technical problems and mistakes, such as broken links, uneven tables, etc. All have been fixed accordingly. Unfortunately I have had problems with uploading my site live through a free host. However, all pages can be viewed and navigated on a disc provided with my report.

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More problems…

I’ll start with the good news first. That being, my site is almost fully complete with content available on every page, navigation is working fine and rollovers, links, etc all in place. I have been completing my log book accordingly, following a list of tasks assigned to be completed on a weekly basis. My current and final task now refers to the completion of RSS feeds.

My original intention was to have a page dedicated to RSS feeds, in which readers gain content quickly and with ease from other similar music web pages. However, I have been having problems when inputting codes into Dreamweaver. I had researched how to create RSS feeds and was planning on inputting the code of a similar working concept, then making my own, necessary in avoiding plagiarism. However, I was having serious coding problems which I genuinely didn’t know how to fix.

Having left his task to last has been yet another downfall on behalf of my poor time management skills. I simply ran out of time, having spent a considerable amount of time on editing table widths and sizes instead (due to problems occurring in this area). This weakness is something I will need to focus on when completing any future design in web and new media.

Progress reporting…

Where shall I start. I am heavily into the production stages of my website, having created each page through the use of tables in Dreamweaver. Content is being added gradually, predominantly picture images designed in Adobe Photoshop Elements.

I have altered the original mock-up into a more simplistic and clear layout, now having the following pages on my site:

–    News
–    Reviews
–    Releases
–    Features
–    Links
–    RSS

I reduced the number of pages due to poor time management skills on my own behalf. Content is being added to every page, in the forms of images and text. I am trying to keep a fairly even ratio of text / images, necessary in following my proposal adequately.

However, the main issue I am having refers to the PHP elements I am wishing to incorporate. Having researched PHP throughout previous weeks in the course, I felt comfortable with incorporating an area of the hyper text to my site, intending to have code in the middle of my content, keeping the overall per-page overhead down. I had researched that Mac OS X comes with an Apache server as standard, placing files easily in /Library/WebServer/Documents when accessing them on my server. I also learnt that Mac OS X does come with PHP, however the installation lacks a significant quantity of extensions and so it’s necessary to download the complete XAMPP package I had researched previously.

As intended, I downloaded the XAMPP package from here:

http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=61776. Choose “XAMPP Mac OS X”

However, when trying to install and run the program, I was receiving technical errors that caused my system to crash consistently. The only problem I could think of was that there may be an issue with having parallels running on my Mac simultaneously. Considering all my design is completed through Dreamweaver on parallels, I had no other option but to disregard my PHP ideas, due to the errors frequently occurring when trying to install the XAMPP package. This is obviously a big disadvantage in terms of what I have proposed for my website. If my time had been managed accordingly, this risk assessment could have perhaps been overcome. However, I shall continue with completion of my website to the best of my abilities.

Ideas for development.

An idea worthy of development in reference to my websites usability could be that of a search function, allowing readers to quickly locate news on an article that may well have been uploaded. Search functions are common tools found on most, nearly all music news websites, such as:

http://www.xlr8r.com
http://www.lambgoat.com
http://www.chemical-records.co.uk

I feel by incorporating this function into my site, helps follow industry conventions and professionalism, benefiting users whom may be wishing to search quickly due to lack of time, places to be, etc…

To achieve this idea, I will need to research how a search function is first of created, looking and understanding Dreamweaver to the best of my ability. Through secondary research on the internet, plus tutorials in Dreamweaver, I should hopefully have this idea successfully in-place prior to the deadline of the production.

Testing Plan

My testing plan shall provide information for my targeted demographics regarding the intentions of my finished prototype. My website is targeted towards people whom share an active interest and/or involvement in urban music culture and fashion.

 

These people will be the representative users of my website, carrying out testing on a number of aspects that ensure my prototype meets professional and industry standard. The plan shall encourage interaction with the intended functions and purpose of the site, providing users with further knowledge on the latest music news and releases in electronic dance music.

 

The most ideal way of testing beta includes an observation of the representative and their interaction with my prototype.

 

From here, I can gain results on:

 

– Learnability

– Efficiency

– Memorability

– Errors; faults + performance problems that may occur during observation

– Satisfaction

– Utility; meeting full requirements and intentions

 

In-order to successfully complete the above, I will need to make arrangements with the representative involved in testing my protype. This can be arranged via e-mail, with a direct URL of my website forwarded. Observation may then occur providing a suitable location has been made.

Why choose PHP?

There are some compelling reasons to work with PHP. For many projects, you will find that the production process is significantly faster than you might expect if you are used to working with other scripting languages. PHP is used in-order to see results quickly without sacrificing stability. As an open-source product, PHP is well supported by a committed user community and can be run on all the major operating systems and with most servers.

AS PHP allows you to separate HMTL code from scripted elements, you will notice a significant decrease in development time on most projects – an area that drew my attention when researching PHP and its performance. I run on an Apple Macbook at home and was unsure of whether it was possible to run PHP on Leopard. However, I since discovered that it is designed to run on many operating systems and to cooperate with many servers and databases. (It runs on the Windows operating system, Linux and Macintosh OS X). Support is also provided for a range of web servers such as Apache, Microsoft Internet Information Server, Website Pro and more. This is an area I shall discuss further in my developed proposal, as I can draw upon how I can test a project with personal web server and install it on my Macbook accordingly.

Where am I now?

During todays class, I presented my recent findings on PHP, discussing what it’s all about and why it may be useful for my website. I discussed what attracted me to its purpose and the possibilities of embedment into HTML, thus providing the initial framework for my website. After my discussion, I was given recommended feedback by the group, one idea being to perhaps try and develop the RSS feeds I intend to use around PHP scripting. This is something I shall definitely consider when beginning the next stages of production.

Previous skills of mine consit of basic HTML, CSS, tables and some minor flash work. Considering these skills, I intend to further my knowledge on new areas such as PHP, in-order to benefit any future design I carry out. My plans now, are to practise PHP after a coherent understanding of how and why it will benefit my website. I shall do this at home through the use of draft templates designed through Dreamweaver, Adobe Photoshop and Fireworks. By testing the PHP in conjunction with the RSS feeds I wish to incorporate, I gain an advantage as to any problems that may occur during later production stages.

I have also been recommended a book by my tutor, useful in explaining everything I need to know on PHP. I am to begin my drafts throughout the run-up to next class, after conducting further background research on websites such as:

http://www.php.net

http://www.softwareprojects.org/php-what-is-01.htm

http://www.utexas.edu/learn/php/index.shtml

An Introduction to…

PHP!

PHP, (originally standing for Personal Home Page Tools), stands for PHP: Hypertext Pre-processor.

It is a computer scripting language, originally designed for producing web pages. Having evolved to include a command line interface capability, it can be used in standalone graphic applications (a type of user interface). Created by Rasmus Lerdof in 1995, it was released under the PHP License, where the Free Software Foundation considered it as a free and acceptable piece of software. The Free Software Foundation is a non-profit corporation, supporting the free software movement in prompting the universal freedom to distribute and modify computer software without restriction.

PHP is a widely used general purpose scripting language, especially suited for web development and can also be embedded into HTML, (the predominant language I have constructed my previous WebPages with in the past).

It generally runs on a server, using a PHP input code with an output consisting of viable web pages that may be viewable worldwide. It can be deployed on most web servers and on almost every operating system and platform, free of charge.

Being fairly new to the concept of PHP, I was interested in understanding how it may well be beneficial for use with the design of my website on music news and culture. As I have a fairly precise knowledge on the use of HTML, I wondered if it may be possible to embed PHP into a regular HTML document.

After some reading around on the Internet, I discovered a very helpful source that explains how to do so:

http://www.onlamp.com/pub/a/php/2001/05/03/php_foundations.html

Considering my website will be constructed through the use of HTML and the incorporation of RSS feeds, it may well be ideal in using PHP to help enhance the final outcome and design of my site.

Below is an example of PHP embedment in HTML:

An introductory example

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"
"http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd">
<html>
<head>
<title>Example</title>
</head>
<body>

<?php
echo "Hi, I'm a PHP script!";
?>

</body>
</html>

(Taken from: http://php.net/manual/en/introduction.php)

I discovered how PHP is mainly focused on server-side scripting, enabling the possibility to collect form data, generate dynamic page content, or send and receive cookies. But PHP can do much more.

There are three main areas where PHP scripts are used.

  • Server-side scripting. This is the most traditional and main target field for PHP. The PHP parser (CGI or server module), a web server and a web browser allow this to work.
  • Command line scripting. It is possible to make a PHP script to run it without any server or browser. You only need the PHP parser to use it this way.
  • Writing desktop applications, (although not recommended as I am not too familiar with PHP as yet.

Hope this brief introduction to PHP has been informative! I shall complete further research at home, thus ensuring I gain a more coherent understanding on PHP, deciding whether it will be useful in using in conjuction with HTML and the design of my website.