About one of my works

Current music: Kraftwerk - Pocket Calculator

I want to tell about one of the websites I was working on lately. That was a project with a long history. The first time I was involved in autumn of 2012. I added some functionality which was absent since the developer who started the site had left. Also I had to rewrite some parts of the code because of the thing I prefer to call “unscrupulous programming”. What does that mean exactly? It’s pretty easy to explain. My precursor did intentionally write code that wasn’t supposed to work just as client wanted. Instead his programming created problems during usage that were not noticeable by brief look.  There were also mischievous tricks preventing compability with other software solutions. That way he hoped client will be forced to seek his services again and again.

Then couple of times I changed some features so website could meet the changing customer’s beliefs on how it should work, look and sound. Diplomatically speaking, not all of those decisions would have found acceptance by most professional designers and web-developers. However if the client is paying then he is right and I don’t argue with that. There were some additional difficulties mainly because of  the requirement to keep adding and editing of the content simple. Low-skilled computer user should be able to update information on the site.

After all metamorphosis the final result is quite unusual combination of very different technologies which all work together nonetheless. Site is based on the WordPress CMS using few deep buried features. It uses Flash, JavaScript of course,  but the most interesting thing is how pieces of archaic technology connect with modern progressive tools there.

During the work on bringing customer’s vision into reality the biggest difficulty was background music. It was supposed to play smoothly without interruptions while visitor is browsing pages. At first, I tried to make it by placing player in background popup. Not a very delicate decision I must confess. It wasn’t very effective one as well. Browsers are surprisingly effective in blocking popups nowadays. Furthermore the ways of controlling a window from its parent window by JavaScript aren’t cross-browser. It also was too late to rebuilt the whole site to AJAX which allows certain areas of the page to change while others (the one containing player for example) stay still. So, what did I finally choose?

I used frames. Yes, there is no mistake. I really mean those creepy old things that were last time described in HTML 4.01 in previous millennium. Frames took their place among other recognizable features of Web 1.0 era and already became obsolete when I was at school. If you ask search engine about it most likely there will be caution on the first page in the list saying you should restrain from using frames. Surprisingly frames happened to be useful in my situation.

JS works way better on controlling player in near frame than in near window. The problem with frameset structural integrity (normally you can only see correct frameset if you came from the main page of the website) was solved by JS-script which checks environment of the page, and PHP code which generates missing frame on the fly if one was missed. Another classical frames’ problem with displaying correct URL in browser’s address bar was nullified by using of History API, part of HTML5 standart. It’s relatively fresh technology. Some internet browsers just started to support it in last year but History API has already found utilization. You can see it working in russian social network VK for example.

All in all I believe I created rather elegant solution though site looks nothing like a golden medal or trophy you put on the most noticeable place in a room. I learned something new, I got more experience in web-programming. However my personal feelings don’t change the fact it’s just usual official website for small business, highly influenced by customer’s taste, decent at best.

P. S. I must apologize on behalf of all web-developers for sites with such annoying and totally wrong usage of sound. As wage-earners we have to make things we would never do by our own intention (at least I hope so)…

Читать Немного о работе по-русски.

Немного о работе

Current music: Lacrimosa - Verloren

Последнее время я работал над одним сайтом, о котором хочу немного рассказать. Проект этот оказался долгостроем. Первый раз я с ним соприкоснулся ещё осенью. Тогда пришлось добавлять некоторую нереализованную функциональность, оставшуюся недоделанной с момента ухода программиста, начинавшего работу. Кроме того пришлось переписать некоторые участки существовавшего на тот момент кода из-за того, что я предпочитаю называть недобросовестным программированием. Как это понимать? Очень просто. Мой предшественник местами умышленно писал код не так, чтобы он работал, как того хотел заказчик. Он намерено оставлял незаметные на первый взгляд шероховатости, которые бы заставляли снова и снова обращаться к его услугам и препятствовали бы совместимости с фичами от других разработчиков “из коробки”.

Потом я возвращался к сайту ещё пару раз, когда у заказчика менялся взгляд на то, каким должно быть его сетевое представительство и что именно он хочет на нём видеть (и слышать). Говоря дипломатично, далеко не все эти идеи одобрили бы опытные дизайнеры и девелоперы, но так уж складывается ситуация на рынке, что платящий деньги клиент прав. Местами ситуация осложнялась требованием сохранить простоту редактирования и добавления контента на сайт. Предполагалось, что обслуживать его будут люди не имеющие каких-либо существенных айти навыков.

В итоге многочисленных преобразований получилась очень необычная субстанция, симбиоз различных технологий. Сайт базируется на WordPress, ставшем одним из стандартов де-факто открытых движков, довольно глубоко задействуя его возможности. Есть там и Flash, и JavaScript, но самое забавное, что там причудливо сочетаются и заведомо устаревшие элементы, и довольно свежие, прогрессивные вещи, поддержка которых появилась только в последних версиях браузеров.

Самой большой головной болью стала фоновая музыка, по задумке клиента непрерывно играющая, пока посетитель перемещается по сайту. Сначала попытался реализовать её в виде всплывающего параллельного окна с плеером (вроде того, какое можно увидеть на ли.ру в постах с прикрепленными mp3). Но современные браузеры научились уже очень хорошо бороться с попапами, к тому же возможности управления дочерним окном средствами JS оказались совсем не кроссбраузерными и во многом зависели от персональных настроек пользователя. Переделывать весь сайт под AJAX было уже откровенно поздновато. Выход?

Только фреймы. Да-да, именно те самые страшные штуки, которые последний раз были описаны в спецификации HTML 4.01 в прошлом тысячелетии. Они были отличительной чертой Web 1.0 и успели выйти из моды в то время, как я ещё учился в школе. Если наобум спросить поисковик, скорее всего найдёте несколько рекомендаций обойтись без их использования. И всё же они оказались полезны.

Находящийся в невидимом фрейме простейший плеер из соседнего фрейма управляется куда лучше, чем из соседнего окна. Проблему целостности фреймовой структуры (обычно корректно сайты с фреймами выглядели только при заходе с главной страницы) помогло решить довольно изящное сочетание маленького JS-скрипта, проверящего окружение, и PHP кода, генерирующего недостающую часть на лету по результатам этой проверки. Ещё одну стандартную для фреймов проблему – корректное отображение URL в адресной строке браузера помогла решить свежая, считающаяся новым словом в вебе и таящая в себе полностью ещё не раскрытый потенциал технология HTML5 History API. Последняя, например, сейчас активно используется на сайте социальной сети вконтакте, хотя полноценная поддержка четырьмя основными браузерами появилась только около полугода тому назад.

В итоге чисто утилитарный, представительский сайт локальной фирмы заставил довольно неплохо пошевелить мозгами для создания с нуля собственного решения. Меня этот факт несколько приободряет в плане опыта и чсв, хотя к своему портфолио такую работу не пришьёшь.

З.Ы. прошу прощения у тех, кому может попасться сайт с такой настойчиво навязываемой музыкой. мопед не мой… ну, вы же понимаете, правда?

Read About one of my works in English.

My console games

Current music: Stillife - Raining December

I came back to console games not so long ago (in autumn of 2011 to be exact) after reasonable long period with PC only. My last hardware (I mean aside from emulation) console was well-remembered Sega MegaDrive II that become true classic in the world of gaming. However I didn’t turn it on since long gone and now powdered by the dust of history 90s.

Back then MegaDrive wasn’t my main and only gaming platform. Just like nowadays I don’t consider PS3 or PS Vita to be the superior devices for gaming. So there are not so many games in my possession (I would prefer to have at least twice as much) but some of them are pretty good exclusive releases.

My console games library
My console games library

One mighty tomato

Current music: Vanessa Mae - Contradanza

This tomato is from the summer cottage of our family acquaintance. Its weight is nearly one kilogram or something like 1.7 pound. Now that’s really one mighty tomato. USB flash drive near is for the comparison.

The scales itself is too quite unusual thing. It’s a very old thing that was produced in 50s I guess in USSR. Many had those because that was the only model on the market at the time. Very few have it now in possession. Even fewer people use it. I myself found it in the depths of larder where it waited for years without use. This scales are not as exact as modern electronic ones but still give quite trustful information.

tomatokilogram of pure tomato

Back side of the moon

Current music: Apocalyptica - Faraway

What do you think when you hear word pornography? And what about porn models?  It’s ok if you see them as sexual objects – their job is done well then. They show you glossy image filled with sex and sex only. Nothing more is needed to release unsatisfied sexual energy. There is no point in effort to add something more to that image. It just doesn’t pay off. Therefore, it was quite interesting to find a website which can give you something besides the good xxx content. Comments, notes and even memoirs are not written single-handedly (you know what I mean, right?) by some pornographer for your amusement but by model herself. I’ve seen many different things on the Internet during long years but seeing that I was somehow surprised and touched at the same time.

Woman, who supposed to play depersonalized lust-extracting tool, tells about her childhood, parents, college years. She describes things that could turn life another way (better or worse – who knows). You also get some light on who and what stays behind the scene. To say more, all this facts draw the big picture as you see everything in developing for more than ten years history of website. Her boyfriend and partner gradually becomes girlfriend during that time. Here and there pithy notes let you know how the shootings were made and if they left pleasant memories or pure disgust. I was nearly shocked by the paragraphs about model (or “web whore” as she calls herself) trying to get pregnant. It was on the same page with another set of pretty exciting photos. Such an unprecedented candor is not always a turn on for the erection or wild fantasies. Though it is very unique and have the unusual, fetish-like attraction. Maybe that’s the reason why she didn’t become popular for the wider masses despite respectable long career slowly moving to the so-called milf cathegory (she doesn’t like the term). Once this beauty wrote near the hot-looking posing pics that she had been wearing “last pair of socks her father wore”. Could you enthusiastically indulge in masturbation after reading that? However, the website captured my attention for three long nights. It turned out to be kind of interpretation of the Scheherazade’s myth with the sweet temptress and fairy-tales about wild american west of present day.

Those nights I witnessed the changes in appearance, sets and costumes as well as in tastes, spirits and the life itself. WWW also evolved from humble pictures the size of post stamp to first minute-short muddy videos which you may download. It’s comic and heartworming to remember how webmasters always wanted to be assured that user was able to open downloaded file. Everywhere you could see links to banal Windows Media Player or QuickTime Player (as if somebody who came to the site didn’t have either of them). Picture resolution and quantity grew with time passing by just like duration and quality of the videos. It became a rule of etiquette to pack photo sets in archives. Flash players and video-chat for the most devoted admirers firmly established in the pages. Plain, smooth and completely noninteractive HTML3 turned to blog. During the surf I found many links to other porn industry personalities. Some of them keep going the way they once chose. Websites of others are defunct long ago and Google forgot their incendiary aliases forever. Tasty Trixie lives that life at its fullest. The newest update came few days ago for those who understand as always because ones love blonds while others inevitable prefer brunettes.

That’s how I watched porn online once )

P.S.  I’m sorry for those who searched by tags for something hotter than text above ) You may click on this photo to get more.

Tasty Trixie

Making business trustfully

Current music: SnakeSkin - Recall II

Would you trust the ultimate password from complete root-level access to all of your business actually to the person you never met before and who doesn’t consist in any kind of official relationship with your company? Well, this may sound funny but today I got it on my new job. I can only guess what was the reason: my prepossessing application, critical need in new staff (my precursor suddenly left the job because of the some reason unknown to me) or my employer’s absence of the negative experience. Anyway I’m ok with it. There will be some time to see how everything works on the server before I actually start to work monday.

My personal experience shows things are always worse than you thought they were. However,  so far I’m glad to get this new job because work conditions seem to be better that on my last one. Beside that, the work itself demands higher skill. So I will see how it goes…

Shoes for the shoemaker

Current music: Marilyn Manson - Posthuman

As long as my life is deeply connected to the computers and the IT industry, I regularly get requests of help with various digital devices from different people. Though I am not an IT god, I always try to make my best. Regretfully, sometimes I  need an advice or assistance from well-qualified person myself and… It suddenly becomes problematic, I may look through the half of Internet for the help but find nothing. Surely, my questions won’t be the easy ones like “how do I install this application?” or “how can I set controls for this emulator?” I always google for the solution first, read all manuals and faqs could be found before asking. As a result, all people who would like to help are incapable to do it while those who can are somewhere out of here.

I wonder if medics or hairdressers for example experience such difficulties?

New Year…

Current music: Макс Ильин - Новогодняя песенка

One more year becomes part of the endless time flow losing somewhere in the past.

All vintages and works of art will add one year of exposure tomorrow. All calendars will become useless and there will be even more people whose date of birth that drastically differs from yours. So, I can not just ignore this moment. I wish a happy new year to everybody who is celebrating now and silently support those who doesn’t count this day as a holyday. Anyway I hope the coming year will be at least a bit better that previous one for both of you.

new year 2012

/p

Жизнь насекомых?

Current music: Nirvana - Something in the way

На оконной сетке с внешней стороны равномерный слой копошащихся насекомых, алчущих попасть внутрь. Они жадно смотрят внутрь, где ярко горит лампа дневного света. Повисают на перекрещивающихся волокнах и в бессильных потугах безуспешно пытаются проникнуть внутрь.

… также как я смотрю на мир через монитор, не имея возможности перейти на ту сторону, сломать барьеры и убить расстояния …

Некоторым совсем уж мелким мушкам везёт, и они пролезают в комнату. На всех парах спешат к благодатному свету. Но их простые мечты о солнце посреди ночи оказываются разбиты в столкновении с реальностью, ставящей на пути к желанному источнику благодати стекло. Крохотные существа, не способные уже на этой стадии принять отказ, исступлённо бьются о прозрачную твердь. Повреждения и потеря сил не ощущаются: близость губительной иллюзии гипнотизирует.

На следующий день прямо под лампой я нахожу папку для бумаг, усеянную маленькими трупами, которые стряхиваю в мусор.