Are you a sheep? Do you just follow the crowd and switch on a MS Windows PC? Or, do you have inspiration, power, reliability, creativity, flair and a Mac! 😉
Lets look at some of the technology I’ve used to make this site what it is. There are three areas I’d like to share, the technology that makes it possible, blogging, and the mechanisms behind my live weather feeds…
Apple have made it easy for those with no technical know-how to create web content using iWeb.
But for those with more of a technical leaning, use of the following technologies allows you to get really flash (well I think so anyway)…
The other technology used in the pages of Sterling-Adventures is Java Script. A common web technology, but still really powerful for client side scripting.
Especially when the latest AJAX techniques are used to dynamically change content, as used on the Home page news ticker.
See all of the results starting here.
Apple’s iWeb application makes the creation of content super easy. Pages like this, photos, movies, podcasts, blogs, etc. are simple.
However, there are some aspects of iWeb that are a bit tough to get around:
Sterling Adventures has chosen to implement WordPress (“a state-of-the-art semantic personal publishing platform”).
Using this technology has brought fast, easily searched, customisable blogging to Sterling Adevntures, and allowed contributors to have far more control of their adventures reports.
WordPress is a feature rich solution that leverages two key technologies – PHP (described left) and MySQL. MySQL is a powerful (and fast) open source relational database used by WordPress to store all the blog data.
These amazing software products (WordPress, PHP, and MySQL) are free to use! How cool is that?
WordPress takes about 5 minutes to install (“the famous 5 minute install”) and offers a completely flexible environment on which to build a blog.
The look of the blog is all controlled by templates (Sterling Adventures has its own template to get as close as possible to the style used across the whole site).
Add to this an array of freely available plug-ins (Askimet spam filtering, Gravatars, database backup, etc.) to enhance and extend the capabilities and the “state-of-the-art” claim made by WordPress starts to make sense.
Check out the results here…
The custom plug-ins etc. are available for download here…
The Davis Instruments Vantage Pro 2 weather station is the hub of the Sterling weather solution. It’s an awesome weather station, and following Davis’ installation instructions is easy – even setting up the rain gauge for millimetres is straight forward. Why do those silly Yanks still use inches anyway?
The Davis WeatherLink software does a great job, but it is deficient in that it doesn’t expose the forecast information. For many it’ll do fine as-is, but I wanted more – flash icons, up-to-date forecast information, etc. So I searched for a solution to the Davis functionality gap. I found Joe Jaworski’s VPROWEATHER software. The only problem with this is, it’s written for Linux on a PC and the handling of 32 bit data when compiled on a Mac doesn’t work. Some debugging of the C code followed by moving bytes of data 8 bits left using Apple’s X Tools sorted that.
Next, how to automatically update the weather and publish it to the web:
Check out the results here.
Want to know more, or get your hands on some of the code?
e-Mail me (link below, remembering to remove your PANTS) and I’ll do my best to help out…