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Web Design


arborweb cube

Arborweb is the Ann Arbor Observer's on-line edition. I've been responsible for ongoing maintenance since 1996. The site was originally designed by a team of 14 designers who set up databases of information about Ann Arbor. One database lists concerts, plays, lectures, and other events in Ann Arbor. Another database has information about the City of Ann Arbor, including local schools, laws, and recreation areas. It's very comprehensive.

I maintain the tools that the Observer's editors use to add new information to arborweb's databases, and other tools that add new information from the databases to the web pages. I've made the site more compatible with different browsers. I wrote programs that automatically make daily updates to the site. Each month I post the month's event calendar events, nightspots events, classified ads, and event reviews, converting them from the printed edition to an online edition. I've written some Javascript code for the site and done a lot of Perl CGI programming for it. I installed their Classified Ads software and customized it for arborweb. Twice I have moved the system to a new server, migrating their DBM databases and Informix databases into mSQL, and then later from mSQL to MySQL and porting all programs that accessed those databases from other languages to Perl. I wrote code that tracks impressions and clicks on ads on the site, and other code that the editors use to manage which ads are shown in which locations on the site.

The Ark For The Ark's website, I wrote programs that people at the Ark use to update the text throughout the site, including the contents of the web pages and also the event calendar. I also wrote a program that the public used to use to sign up to be on The Ark's e-mail announcement list or update their contact information. And I wrote the program that the folks at the Ark used to to send out the Ark's weekly e-mail newsletter. The programming is written in Perl, using a MySQL database.

I wrote the programming for the content management system that the editors at Freedom's Answer used to use to update the text on their website. Editors for each of the 50 states used a simple web page to update their own state's pages. Sections of the page changed automatically according to updates scheduled in advance. The first photo on the front page and its caption were selected randomly from a pool of photos; if you reloaded the front page a few times you would see several different photos. The programming was written in Perl and PHP. Data was stored in a MySQL database.

I wrote the previous edition of the web pages for the Ann Arbor Chapter of the Association for Women in Computing. The local AWC chapter stopped meeting for several years. In addition to writing their original web pages (now largely replaced), I also volunteered to get the group itself going again, and for a while I even was the president of the local chapter! If you're interested in joining, please do — we would be happy to have you on-board!

My sister used to run a non-profit organization called Everybody Wins Metro Boston. I designed a previous edition of the website and wrote a program that the site administrator could use to easily update the What's New page. The programming was written in Perl. Data was stored in a text file. Like most of my customers, they now update their own web pages. This site has been completely changed since I worked on it and is no longer my design.

Stuyvesant High School, Class of 1983! I designed the Stuyvesant Class of 1983 website and wrote the easy-to-use programs that classmates use to log in, enter a biography and photos, and view other people's information. I also installed the Backtalk conferencing system for classmates to discuss the reunion and other topics, and redesigned Backtalk's interface to fit the site. The programming is written in Perl, using an MySQL database.

Xcalibre
I wrote the database system that used to be used at xcalibre.com, a high-traffic site that kept a huge archive of downloadable add-ons for the mIRC chat program. Users could search through a database of add-ons, click on one, and download it. Program authors could automatically add new add-on programs to the collection. The site tracked the most frequently downloaded programs each day. Users could enter reviews of the programs for other users to read.

An Interactive Story
Here's an interactive story I wrote. You read a page of the story, then select one of two links to decide what happens next. Eventually, you reach the end of what has been written so far. Then you can write your own addition to the story. It is a Perl program that I distribute as freeware.


I wrote the programming for the content management system that the people at Wildlife Expeditions used to use to update the text and photos on their website. The owners would use a web page to change: the list of expedition leaders and their photographs, the frequently asked questions, and the list of expeditions. The programming was written in Perl. Information was stored in text files.

I wrote the programming for an old edition of Biolink USA-Ireland. Users could register, send secure membership payments via PayPal, and search through the list of other users. I wrote the program that the site used to communicate with PayPal so that PayPal could notify the site of the status of each user's payment. The programming was written in Perl. Data was stored in an MySQL database.

bread-bakers.com I designed the front page of bread-bakers.com. It has a peanut butter and jelly color scheme. I also set up the information on the site to be searchable with the Atomz search engine.

I did a previous edition of the programming for tophosts.com, which is no longer in use. The site has a database of website hosts. A visitor to the site could search for a host that offered particular features, or read or enter reviews and ratings of the hosts on the site. The programming was written in Perl, using an mSQL database.

I wrote programs for a previous edition of the website for Common Cents New York that children at school could use to create their own simple web pages, and to search for other students with shared interests. I also wrote programs that the schools used to send pictures of student artwork to a server to create a shared collage of artwork. These programs were written to be able to be reused on other sites. The programming was written in Perl, using an MySQL database.

I wrote programs for the University of Berkeley Extension that students could use to search the course catalog and register online for classes.

I wrote the database access routines for The Singles Connection, a really cool site that is, alas, no longer on-line. The programs were written in php. This language is something like the C programming language, but with a lot of extra built-in functions. It's cool because you can embed php code in the middle of ordinary HTML code to do things that you ordinarily couldn't do on a web page. The database itself was an mSQL database.

EE Link EE-Link is a database of links to Environmental Education websites. I wrote their database system. Users suggest links to add to the database. Administrators review each suggested link and press one of two buttons to either add the link to EE-Link's on-line collection of links or to reject the suggestion and automatically send an e-mail message to the person who suggested it. Administrators select appropriate categories for the links and can press a button to rebuild hundreds of HTML web pages. There is also a searchable database of job postings and a page of newly added highlights. The system is written in Perl and PostgreSQL. PostgreSQL is a free database system, maintained by a group similar to the Linux community. The cool people at EE-Link also use the software I wrote to maintain the GRACE Factory Farming Project and EE-Link Endangered Species. And Early Bronco HQ Over the years since 1998, when I first started working on the EE-Link site, I have written lots of other programs for them, including: a program to send out their newsletter to over 6,000 people, and track which links in the newsletter are the most popular; programs that people could use to review proposals for conference presentations; and programming that receives notifications of PayPal payments and updates a database to reflect the payer's new membership status.

Through Q LTD I've written some CGI programs and Javascript that are run on the SIGGRAPH 1999, SIGGRAPH 2000, SIGGRAPH 2001, SIGGRAPH 2002, SIGGRAPH 2003, and SIGGRAPH 2004, sites. SIGGRAPH is a well-respected computer graphics organization. I wrote the Perl CGI programs that process forms on the site when you ask to be added to a mailing list or sign up to attend their annual conference. I wrote some of the Javascript that runs on the front page of the SIGGRAPH 2000 website.

I did the programming for a former version of the Canton Public Library's website. I wrote three systems that ran there. One was the library's Internet Branch, a system that the librarians used to schedule information to appear on their web page. The second system was one that librarians used to update web pages of links that users might be interested in, divided into categories. The third system was the PULSE project, which elementary school teachers used to post information for their classes, to encourage a closer partnership between the Canton schools and their library. The systems were written in Perl, with a MySQL database.

I did the database programming for the Digital Bibliophile Community. This site had a very large MySQL database of used books from various different used book stores. Users could search through the book listings to find a particular collectible used book, or they could place a "want" listing to tell the system to watch for when a particular book becomes available. Book dealers could upload files of book listings in any of several formats. The programs were written in Perl, using a MySQL database. I optimized the database for this site, to get it to work well with the large amounts of data that the site uses.

mapI did the programming for the Hunts' Guide to Michigan's Upper Peninsula website. It has a MySQL database that stores the contents of Don and Mary Hunts' guidebook to the U.P., and writes it out as web pages. The Hunts designed the graphics for the website, and I wrote the system that they use to make updates to it.

I wrote the programming for the Ann Arbor Learning Community website. The school updates the contents of the web pages, using a content management system that I wrote. Teachers each have their own page that they can update, and an administrator can update any page on the site. The site is hosted on HVCN - the Huron Valley Community Network. The programming is written in Perl. Data is stored in a MySQL database.

I wrote the programming for a content management system for a former version of the website of the Ypsilanti Library. The system had programming that I wrote for an events calendar, a room scheduler, book reviews with little images, and images that were scheduled to be displayed in particular parts of the site. The library could add questions to the "How Do I...?" section of the page, they could add contact people to the form that people used for contacting the library, they could change the contents of any part of the pages, and they could schedule content to be displayed on particular dates and then be removed automatically. I wrote the programming in Perl, with a MySQL database.

Friends of the Ann Arbor District LibraryI wrote the programming, took the photographs, and designed the website for the Friends of the Ann Arbor District Library website. The site uses a content management system, which I wrote. Several people at the Friends use the content management system to make updates to the website. I wrote it with Perl programming and a MySQL database.

Things To Do In ChelseaI wrote the programming for the event calendar and the business directory on the Things To Do In Chelsea website. The programming is written in Perl, using a MySQL database.

I wrote the ordering system for Abe's Deli. Customers can place catering orders online, to have catered food delivered to a conference or other business event. The programming is written in Perl, using a MySQL database.

Huron Valley Community NetworkI'm a volunteer on the all-volunteer staff of HVCN - the Huron Valley Community Network. HVCN provides free website hosting and e-mail lists for hundreds of non-profit organizations in the Washtenaw County area. The organizations range in size from tiny homeowners associations and school parent organizations, to much larger organizations, which in the past have included the Ark, the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, and the Ypsilanti Library, though all of these larger sites have now moved to other servers. My duties at HVCN involve answering questions for users, resetting lost passwords, setting up new accounts and websites, installing new software and other system administration, and general all-purpose troubleshooting. I wrote a program that automatically notifies HVCN's members when their membership needs renewing.


And, of course, I designed the pages you are looking at now.


Web Design / Valerie Mates / E-mail me

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