Yesterday among work on a couple of projects, I've finalized a small project for a Bat Group, sub-contacting it from an UK-based company.
My assignments on this job were:
- to setup a full featured Podcasting Facility;
- to setup a Photo Gallery;
- to develop a professional way to manage groups of side links to other Web sites;
- to do a couple of changes around such as: a custom banner, a top site navigation, some editorial changes on the sides and a footer navigation.
Nevertheless I've personally established the Movable Type v4.0 demo Web site, I've preferred to continue coding Web sites based on Movable Type v3.35 just because, you know, it's always best to not switch to a new platform until it passes the test of time :)
This doesn't mean that I didn't work with Movable Type v4.0 Web sites at all, but comparing to an average of 15 to 20 Movable Type v3.35 projects a month working on Movable Type v4.0 projects was insignificant.
I must say that I found the new system versatile, but also a bit limited in certain aspects, especially plugins, but not only.
Full Featured Podcasting
Setting up the podcasting was something quite nice. As on any project I work, I always try to keep things simple for the customer, but reach the best technical result.
This being said I've programmed a system whereby whenever the customer adds a video or an audio file the system automatically plugs a video or an audio player.
For the video player, I've proposed a nice player which among from a series of nice features, allows also full screen preview.
As for the audio player, we've chosen a simple solution which to basically play.mp3 audio files
In addition, obviously, the RSS Feeds are containing the podcasting files enclosures for people to be able to view the podcasts in various tools such as iTunes.
Further more I thought that adding automatically a download text and link for people to download the file being played would be even better. Said and done.
Isn't it so convenient to start podcasting when you don't have to bother about players or technical stuff? You just use the file upload Movable Type tool and upload the file to the server and tadam, the player and a download text link are automatically provided.
Well, when it came to setting up the Photo Gallery I've tried to see if there is any plugin available for this version of Movable Type. As you can imagine the answer was negative. Bryne Reese, the Product Manager of Movable Type kindly replied saying that he will consider updating one of this plugins to work with Movable Type v4.x, but that wasn't very helpful as I needed a quick turn over.
I've smiled to myself and I said why not coding up my own photo gallery, especially because I've already coded a few custom photo galleries for a couple of clients during the last couple of years. (see also the portfolio for the insight.it projects such as the autoinsight.it Web site project).
Yup, I've coded it and it serves the very specifications of the job. The customer needed just a Web page where they could upload and list thumbnails of images which once clicked display the full size version. For displaying the full size image I've added a nice Lightbox effect, using version Lightbox v1.0 since it's smaller than version 2.0 and we didn't need something complex for this job.
Custom Blogroll Solution
The last, but not least, more important job was setting up an easy facility for managing side group of links which on the blogoshpere are known as blogrolls. I'm very experienced at doing this since I've coded my own custom solution wayback in 2003, when Movable Type was on it's early stages.
I've coded it in the best way I could have imagined and this is what the client said about it:
Dammed clever way of doing it. Thanks, it makes life a lot easier.