Categories
Blogging Web Design

DannyBrown.net updated

The website on both Desktop and Mobile platforms

Recently I’ve updated my website, dannybrown.net, to remove out-of-date information and make it easier for users to get to content they need.

Rather than having a list of projects I’ve completed and an over-the-top introduction the site now consists of a short introduction and a few rectangular tiles for commonly accessed information from the site — namely this blog, my CV, my LinkedIn profile and a contact email address. Any information that was previously on my website is in those resources.

In addition to the changes made on the client side I have also enabled IPv6, SSL and a Content Delivery Network via the free service provided by CloudFlare. IPv6 support will allow people who don’t have an IPv4 address to connect to my site without issues — which is important seen as we’ve technically ran out of IPv4 addresses. SSL will encrypt traffic between the user and my CloudFlare system and the Content Delivery Network will mean that my content is stored closer to the physical location of many international users resulting in faster download speeds.

On my server side I have also updated my configuration to allow for the use of dannybrown.net/cv and dannybrown.net/blog so you don’t have to remember dannybrown.net/cv.pdf and dannycomptuerscientist.wordpress.com respectively.

In the future I’m hoping to run this blog using the Ghost Blogging Platform hosted in the same Microsoft Azure instance as my static html website. This will allow me to have the same HTML/CSS theme on both and use all of the lovely features provided by Ghost. Currently I don’t think ghost is quite ready for my usage, due to the large amount of posts I have which have image galleries (which ghost doesn’t support) and the lack of two-factor authentication for logging in. However, these issues are currently being worked on and I hope to make the switch soon.

Danny

Categories
Web Design

DannyBrown.net – Restyled and Rewritten

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

Categories
Modern Experience Development

Hull CS Blogs for Windows 8 Version 2.0 Released

Since I changed my domain from DanTonyBrown.com to DannyBrown.net my Hull Computer Science Blogs application has experienced a few difficulties. This is because it looks for a list of Contributors (blog writers) from the old domain, which I totally forgot about before I let it expire.

Having noticed the problems I set out fixing it right away. Whilst doing this I also added a few extra features.

I completely rewrote the user interface, making it more touch friendly, scale-able across all screen sizes and including a snapped view for every page. Below is a gallery detailing all the changes, in each instance the old UI is shown above and the new improved UI is below:

I also added in ATOM support so you can now enjoy the blog feeds of people who use the standard which competes with RSS, such as those who use Google’s Blogger Platform to post. This includes Dr. David Parker amongst others.

You can download the application here or just go to the Windows 8 Store to complete the upgrade now.

I hope you enjoy the app, and as always I love any feedback you may have!

Danny

Categories
Life

DanTonyBrown.com is dead, long live DannyBrown.net

As a bit of an early Christmas present in early December my parents bought me the domain DannyBrown.net.

I was really pleased with this because I’ve spent the last few months trying to contact the current owners of domains which are suitable for my name, but to no avail. Having such a common name has made it difficult to get a great domain, but I’m very pleased with this one.

The main reason I made the switch is that I grew tired of having to spell out my old domain — dantonybrown.net —  to people, quite often they would think it was D Anthony Brown.com. DannyBrown.net just rolls of the tongue easier, is easier to spell and remember and is shorter.

It also has a slight double meaning, in that I mainly develop using the Microsoft Common Language Runtime also known as The .NET Framework.

At the moment the domain just shows this blog, but I hope to write a full portfolio website soon.

Danny