New portfolio for Jimp

As an games programmer I dont often work on websites, however I recently had to pleasure to work on my friend Jimps’ new portfolio ArtJimp.com. It was a nice change to work in something different to Actionscript which I currently spend 99% of my time using. We decided to use WordPress as the content management system, but the site layout and user experience where different to that of the default installation. Thankfully, WordPress is an excellent open source project and several features such as the ability to change the default page displayed. These features, and others such as the plugin system made the updates necessary quite simple to implement and also administrate from a web interface.

Initial Design

The initial design of the blog

 

I took the design that Jimp had done in Photoshop, then after printing out the design used a pencil and ruler to draw a wireframe for the future build. This planning I find really helps to create a much better project, and that by trying to save time by jumping straight into development will prove costly. From my experience time spent ironing out the details of the project on paper proves much easier than doing so with code and artwork.

Th initial design was more offset than the finished project which was due to alignment issues. Unfortunately it was quite difficult to make some of the images align properly when using percentages for X and Y values within the CSS. Development time on this project was limited and as a result the decision was made to adjust the design slightly. The time saved allowed me to put more effort into other areas which improved the project overall and ultimately was a good decision.

The finished title

The finished title

 

Jimp wanted to use a Javascript portfolio to display his artwork so it would work on portable iOS devices. AdvancedSlider was sourced from CodeCanyon and then converted into a nice plugin so that WordPress was able to integrate with it. XML files defining the location of all the content within the portfolio such as the titles, images and link urls and loaded into the Javascript dynamically using php. This makes creating new pages with new portfolio pages very easy indeed.

The importance of Twitter for professionals in the creative industry has rapidly increased, and creating a following on the service can reap many rewards. Jimp wanted his Twitter activity visible at all times on the site and to encourage users to follow him. Various plugins were used, but in the end HL Twitter was used as the plugin of choice. When working with the Twitter API, it is important to ensure good coding practice and application design. If your application makes too many calls to their API per hour your project will become blacklisted and the service will become unavailable to that user for a short period of time. To get around this problem and to reduce the load on their servers HL Twitter caches the responses from the API for retrieval later. Very useful and time saving! Being able to use this feature within a few minutes of installing a new WordPress installation highlights how good it is.

Individual Project Page

Individual Project Page

 

The main drawback of the website I feel is the sliders used within the main content. It was a decision made because making the page size dynamic required more time that I was able to donate to the project at the current time. In the short future I hope to address this issue to make the page extend, but for now the website is live. Once again, the URL is www.artjimp.com

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