Tag Archive | Blog

DannyBrown.net – Restyled and Rewritten

Danny Brown.net Logo

As some of you may have noticed over the past few weeks dannybrown.net has been updated — not only has the style changed, but so has  much of the content. Previously my old domain, dantonybrown.com, showcased a portfolio, contact information and linked to this blog, but did so over a number of pages. Then when I bought dannybrown.net I got rid of the old site and simply redirected the domain to this blog. This new website showcases everything you need to know about me at a glance in one, simple to navigate page.

Planning

When I was in the planning stage of the project I decided very early on that I wanted the site to work just as well on mobile devices as it would on desktops. This is partly because an ever increasing number of people use their smartphone as their primary web browser and partly because I envisage many of the sites users to visit it after I give them one of my business cards, presumably whilst on the move or sat in a conference on their mobile device.

Whilst planning I also contacted my friend Harry Galuszka to get some professional graphic design done for my logo and some of the images I use. I’d like to thank him for his help 🙂

DannyBrown.net Tablet View

DannyBrown.net Tablet View

Development

The website is written in HTML 5 with CSS 3 providing the responsive styles and JavaScript providing some of the interactivity. Whilst developing the website I tried to keep everything really simple, and human readable, without producing really bloated code. I feel I achieved this aim because the entire website is only 120 lines of HTML, 270 lines of CSS and a few libraries.

I used Notepad++ as the source editor for this project, due to its fantastic syntax highlighting, and a Custom-built Linux Virtual Machine on Windows Azure as the host, which I FTP’d my files to, to test them in action.

DannyBrown.net Desktop View

DannyBrown.net Desktop View

Testing

As part of a campaign to get developers writing code that is well optimized for internet explorer Microsoft have started giving away 3 month subscriptions to a fantastic service called BrowserStack. BrowserStack allow you to test your code in Virtual Machines hosted online, allowing you access to devices and operating systems you might not normally have access to. Below is a screenshot of me testing my website on an iPhone 5, a device to which I would normally have no access:

DannyBrown.net iPhone Emulator

DannyBrown.net in an iPhone Emulator

Using this service I was able to test my website against, and make changes to fix layout issues in the following Browsers:

  • Internet Explorer 6/7/8/9/10/11
  • Firefox 3.5 onwards
  • Safari on Mac
  • Safari on iOS
  • Opera Mini
  • Opera Mobile
  • The Android Browser
  • Chrome for Android
  • Google Chrome

On the following OS’s

  • GNU/Linux
  • Windows XP/Vista/ 7 / 8 / 8.1
  • Mac OSX
  • Android (tablets and mobile versions)
  • iOS (iPads and iPhones)

Therefore ensuring I had tested my website on a wide variety of hardware. Its a shame to see that Windows Phone and Windows RT is not currently supported, but this was not too much of an issue as I own devices which run those operating systems myself.

The Future

The website is now installed on a shared Website instance on Windows Azure, in future I will be restyling this blog to fit in more with my website, however I think I will keep it hosted in WordPress.com as I like the fact that they automate backups and installation of new features and bug fixes to the WordPress platform, saving me a few jobs.

On the site itself I think I will be adding more information about my projects, and my education — e.g. module grades and links to download or view software made as part of coursework — soon.

Thanks for reading,

Danny

Year 1 In Numbers

Today I had my final exam, which was for my Software Engineering module, specifically on project management. It went really well and I’m expecting and hoping for a really good grade. 🙂

That being done means I’ve now finished my first year in Computer Science at The University of Hull. It’s been a great year, I’ve learnt loads, made some great friends and had some good laughs! I’d go so far as to say its been my best year ever! 🙂

I thought it might be cool to reel off some important numbers to do with the year, so here it goes:

  • 104 Blog posts
  • 8203 Blog Views
  • 153MB of Lecture Notes, Programming code and associated assets
  • That’s 1,140 Files
  • 2 Windows Phone Applications submitted to the Windows Phone Marketplace
  • 308 Downloads of Sweepy Cleaner
  • 201 Downloads of Evil Squash
  • That’s 509 downloads in total
  • 3 Windows Phones – 1 I bought and 2 from Microsoft 🙂
  • 1 Year of fun!

Thanks for reading the blog this year and please do continue to check back. I shall blog over the summer as I work on and complete projects and shall continue throughout next year and into the future.

Thanks to everyone at the University of Hull — Lecturers, fellow students and friends alike for making it such a great year.

Danny

Reasons to be Appy – All Booked

Today I booked up my train ticket and hotel reservation for my first ever Tech conference, Reasons To Be Appy — which by the way is a name that I cannot decide if its brilliant…or not?

It started when Phil Cross, Academic Audience Manager at Microsoft, posted in the Microsoft UK Students Developer group asking if anyone wanted some free tickets, in return he asked

For you to blog about the event, post stuff on your facebook page, the UK Student page, we will link to your blog and for you use relevant #tags to tweet about it. Maybe a target of a couple of tweets per session? Basically so the organisers and MS can see you being active!

This seemed like a good deal and I emailed Phil asking if I could go, and he replied saying I could!

In particular I’m looking forward to a talk by Remy Sharp — who’s work helped me get into web development, especially through his role as curator on HTML5Doctor.com.

Also of interest to me are talks by Christian Heilmann, who works at Mozilla and Andrew Spooner who works at Microsoft, most recently on “applications for Windows 8 and Windows Phone and explorations into Natural User Interfaces.” — all of which sounds interesting.

You can see a full list of sessions at the events website.

I shall keep this blog updated, possibly including a live blogging of some sessions, and as mentioned in the brief I will also be tweeting and posting on the Microsoft UK Students Facebook page.

Danny

DanTonyBrown.com

So, I’ve gone ahead about bought my own custom domain for all my content and hopefully, in the future, a pretty impressive portfolio.

The site itself is hosted on Freeside, the University of Hull’s Free and Open Source Software Student Run Organisation, which is great because it’s free as in beer and free as in speach. This means there’s no cost to myself financially and I can physically access the server that hosts my webpages if need be, as the servers are in the Robert Blackburn building at The University of Hull.

As you can see from the above screenshot my user interface is heavily inspired by Microsoft’s Metro Design language, as made famous by the Windows Phone 7, Xbox and “Windows Codename 8” platforms.

So far I have pages for showing off my work – both applications and websites – as well as “about” and “blog” pages which are more about me as a person and potential employee.

As you will see if you head over to DanTonyBrown.com not all the functionality is there (particularly the Blog – which will be moved from here to there) and not everything is 100% done yet, but I’m working on it.

So, I’d appreciate any feedback anyone has.

Thanks,
Danny.