PHP

Proficiency: Advanced
Years of Experience: 7

PHP is a general-purpose scripting language originally designed for web development to produce dynamic web pages. For this purpose, PHP code is embedded into the HTML source document and interpreted by a web server with a PHP processor module, which generates the web page document. It also has evolved to include a command-line interface capability and can be used in standalone graphical applications. PHP can be deployed on most web servers and as a standalone interpreter, on almost every operating system and platform. PHP is installed on more than 20 million websites and 1 million web servers.

 

PHP is my strongest programming language. I have been using it for years, it was my first programming language. I first started using PHP when I needed a very simple if/then statement, and I was amazed at all the things you could do with it. PHP includes make a coders life so much easier since you can call certain certain code multiple times, but store it in one place, making updating and expanding much easier.

Because it is a server-side-script, the user’s computer sees only what I want it to see. All of the magic takes place on the server where the website is hosted. This allows me to craft pages for specific users, either by region or specified access level. Combined with a database like MySQL I can make a personalized site or product management system.

For the first few years when I was moving from private, personal websites to paid professional development; I was coding entirely by hand. I learned how to use header information, date features, and made custom functions for just about everything I needed to do. The online community was a great resource because many coders freely distribute information and mentor early coders. I was able to learn advance functions and features from the ground up. These days most of the PHP coding I do is modifying existing scripts, but the foundation that I picked up in the early years carried on; now I can look at straight code and see exactly what does what and how I need to modify it.

If there is anything that I need to do within a complex website, I can either modify existing script or write custom script for a unique solution. Much of my contract work involves modifying, updating, or finishing work that was started by another coder; and I find it very useful that I can go into another person’s code and quickly ascertain what is broken and figure out how to fix it.

ACT! by Sage – CRM

Proficiency: Advanced
Years of Experience: 5

ACT! by Sage is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution. ACT! is a way to keep all of your clients, contacts, vendors, and anybody else your company could know. Not only does ACT! store data; it reports, tracks, accounts, and makes notes on all the communication your company has with this people.

 

When ACT! is properly deployed, every phone call and email is linked with the client database. This means a new Sales Manager can instantly become acquainted with all the communications between the company and the client. I have worked with other CRM database programs before, and ACT! is my favorite and recommended choice. I have worked with cloud-based CRMs and local database server versions too. I can help managers and bosses sync their smartphones with ACT! so they can see their employees calendars and tasks in real-time too.

I am very familiar with ACT! by Sage, I have been working with many versions of ACT! software since 2009. I have installed the software at businesses, then instructed the employees how to use the software. I have also configured ACT! for companies, so that the settings are right so the company can make the most from using ACT!

A feature in ACT! 2013 by Sage – Premium allows you to create an ACT! Web Server, which allows users and staff from around the country to access and update the ACT! database from a web browser. I have experience installing and configuring this type of ACT! Server.

I also have some experience with other CRMs including WordPress CRM and SalesForce.com.

WordPress

Proficiency: Intermediate
Years of Experience: 2

WordPress is an open source blog tool and publishing platform powered by PHP and MySQL. It’s often customized into a Content Management System (CMS). It has many features including a plug-in architecture and a template system. WordPress is used by over 14% of the 1,000,000 biggest websites.

 

I have been working with WordPress for a couple years now and I am very impressed. There is a wealth of tools, themes, widgets, and plugins available to everyone. Since I started, I have been using WordPress as an administrative backend for client websites. The people behind WordPress have made the administration panel easy to use by just about anyone.

WordPress is built using PHP, so when I need something to work outside of its original parameters, I can do that by hand. I can modify existing scripts or create new script to augment the existing WordPress features.

WordPress themes are another incredibly useful feature. Themes are basically what the website looks like. The PHP backbone of the site is preserved no matted what theme you are using, so switching themes can make 2 websites that function the exact same way look completely different.

WordPress plugins are another set of amazing tools allowing just about any popular website function to be added to a client’s site with ease.

I have worked on a few different blogging platforms, and WordPress is by far my favorite.

Databases

Proficiency: Advanced
Years of Experience: 8

A database is a structured collection of data. It may be anything from a simple shopping list to a picture gallery or the vast amounts of information in a corporate network. To add, access, and process data stored in a computer database, you need a database management system such as MySQL Server. Since computers are very good at handling large amounts of data, database management systems play a central role in computing, as standalone utilities, or as parts of other applications.

 

I have been using databases for organizing data longer than I have been working on websites. Databases are a great way of making a huge amount of data easily accessible, searchable, and ….. well, useful!

I believe I have a very high organizational ability, and can create interactive tables in the most logical manner; which is very important down the road when the tables are filled with thousands of entries.

My strongest database system is MySql. MySql is the database system that is normally installed on Apache servers and works very well with PHP. Using PHP I can query an MySql database to give me access to any and all data I have stored. I can cut that data any which way that I need for a project – even across barely related tables. I know how to add data, remove data, modify existing data, and most importantly I know how to deliver the relevant data to the server side script in order to make the site dynamic.

I have experience with MsSql databases as well. MsSql is the database system installed on Microsoft servers. While it is not my favorite system, I do know how to use it. I have experience going directly into the management system and modify or create the saved parameters that make  the database work.

My first database system I used was Microsoft Access. It was my first experience with a “relational database”. It was amazing to be able to store data in many different dimensions of tables, and track large amounts of data through queries.

I also have experience with proprietary databases, and can work with them just as easily. I worked with the proprietary Kodak imaging database when I worked at photography installations.

JavaScript

Proficiency: Advanced
Years of Experience: 8

JavaScript, is a prototype-based, object-oriented scripting language that is dynamic, weakly typed and has first-class functions. It is also considered a functional programming language.

JavaScript  is primarily used in the form of client-side JavaScript, implemented as part of a web browser in order to provide enhanced user interfaces and dynamic websites. This enables programmaticaccess to computational objects within a host environment.

 

JavaScript is very useful for making things happen on the user’s computer. JavaScript is client side, but in the form of AJAX it can still communicate with the server and database. JavaScript allows a website to be interactive and dynamic.

JavaScript is great for things like forms. I can make super dynamic forms that will change along with user input. If you have ever been on a form with a city / state drop down menu, and the city form changes when you select the state, then you see how useful small things like that can be.

Form validation with JavaScript  can also make web pages more useful. Validation using JavaScript means that the computer knows that the data is correct even before sending the data. It saves time and it saves page loads.

Changing forms based on input and validating the text before submission are just a couple examples on how JavaScript can be an improvement from a static type website.

jQuery

Proficiency: Intermediate
Years of Experience: 4

jQuery is a cross-browser JavaScript library designed to simplify the client-side scripting of HTML.

jQuery’s syntax is designed to make it easier to navigate a document, select elements, create animations, handle events, and develop Ajax applications. jQuery also provides capabilities for developers to create plugins on top of the JavaScript library.

 

jQuery is a great library of very useful functions. There are THOUSANDS of open source, thoroughly tested scripts that can save a programmer a lot of time and headaches.

I am still relatively new to jQuery, and I am strictly a user, not a contributor. But with every project, I check first to see if a jQuery script will accomplish what I am trying to do. And with every project I have another tool that is already compiled and optimized for use.

Advanced CSS

Proficiency: Advanced
Years of Experience: 7

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a style sheet language used to describe the presentation semantics (the look and formatting) of a document written in a markup language. Its most common application is to style web pages written in HTML and XHTML, but the language can also be applied to any kind of XML document.

 

CSS makes it possible for a web designer to control just about every aspect of look and feel from one file. I am constantly surprised by how many sites that I work on begin with scattered CSS code on every page – and people will spend hours updating and making changes on every single page rather than consolidating the code. Many job posting specify that the designer knows CSS, but I find it remarkable that this even needs to be said, since I think web design as I know it would be impossible or impracticable without that skill.

I have taken my experience in CSS to the next level by making certain formatting state dependent, by that I mean that the website can change based on user interaction without the aide of Javascript, server side scripts, or any real computing power.

CSS also saves time and speed for the user because the main CSS file only needs to be downloaded once by the user, and it contains all the formatting instructions for the entire site.

AJAX

Proficiency: Intermediate
Years of Experience: 3

Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) is a group of interrelated web development methods used on the client-side to create interactive web applications. With Ajax, web applications can send data to, and retrieve data from, a server asynchronously (in the background) without interfering with the display and behavior of the existing page.

Like DHTML and LAMP, Ajax is not one technology, but a group of technologies. Ajax uses a combination of HTML and CSS to mark up and style information. JavaScript and the XML provide a method for exchanging data asynchronously between browser and server to avoid full page reloads.

 

I absolutely love asynchronous scripts. People are very aware of page reloads, and for users with slow or outdated computers, a page load can take forever. AJAX allows the site to take information from the user and process it on the server, without the user ever having to refresh the page.

AJAX allows you to make large or small changes to a web page in real time, as the user is on the page. Using AJAX I can utilize any PHP tool I have, including database access, without reloading the entire page. HTML does not have to download again, images do not have to take up time downloading again, nothing changes except the information I choose.

HTML

Proficiency: Advanced
Years of Experience: 9

HTML, which stands for HyperText Markup Language, is the predominant markup language for web pages. HTML is the basic building-blocks of webpages.

HTML is written in the form of HTML elements consisting of tags, enclosed in angle brackets (like <html>), within the web page content. HTML tags normally come in pairs like <h1> and </h1>. The first tag in a pair is the start tag, the second tag is the end tag (they are also called opening tags and closing tags). In between these tags web designers can add text, tables, images, etc.

The purpose of a web browser is to read HTML documents and compose them into visual or audible web pages. The browser does not display the HTML tags, but uses the tags to interpret the content of the page.

 

I mention HTML because people still post jobs for web developers and specify that they must know HTML. I do know HTML and I have been working with it for as long as I have been working in Web Development. I know how to read and write code and if pressed, I could create a decent looking web page using just a text editor. For the most part I use software to turn what I am making into HTML.

I also know how to manipulate HTML in other ways. I am familiar with making a web server send HTML emails and newsletters. I know how to create PHP code that will alter HTML based on certain conditions. I know how to make HTML editors which will add HTML tags for writers.

 

Adobe Dreamweaver

Proficiency: Advanced
Years of Experience: 6

Adobe Dreamweaver is a web design and development application that provides a visual editor and a code editor. It provides transfer and synchronization features, the ability to find and replace lines of text or code by search terms or regular expressions across the entire site.

 

Dreamweaver is my prefered method of connecting to a remote web server through FTP. In addition to transferring files well between local and server setups, Dreamweaver has many tools and tricks that allow me to code in HTML, XHTML, PHP, .Net, Javascript and more.

I have used other methods of coding and designing websites, but Adobe Dreamweaver has become second nature to me. The color coding hints allow me to spot errors in code before uploading to the website server. There are additional tools for building forms, keeping track of variables, and debugging code on the fly.

New versions of Adobe Dreamweaver come out all the time, I do my best to stay current, or at least abreast of the current changes to Dreamweaver so that I can work comfortably on a workstation with any recent version Dreamweaver installed. I can also administer any Dreamweaver program installation. I can customize the views for other staff and employees, and I can connect users to the server for uploads and downloads.

I also use Dreamweaver to perform various tasks on the server system itself. I can modify folder permissions, create backups, and impliment .htaccess protocols. I can install WordPress or other interactive script package to a server using Dreamweaver.

Adobe Flash

Proficiency: Advanced
Years of Experience: 6

Adobe Flash is a multimedia platform used to add animation, video, and interactivity to web pages. Flash is frequently used for advertisements and games. More recently, it has been positioned as a tool for “Rich Internet Applications”.

Flash manipulates vector and raster graphics to provide animation of text, drawings, and still images. It supports bidirectional streaming of audio and video, and it can capture user input via mouse, keyboard, microphone, and camera. Flash contains an object-oriented language called ActionScript.

Flash content may be displayed on various computer systems and devices, using Adobe Flash Player, which is available free of charge for common web browsers, some mobile phones.

 

I love the flexibility that Flash allows. Unlike HTML websites, Flash websites look and act EXACTLY how the programmer makes it. If HTML websites are a complex and changing newspaper, then Flash websites  are interactive movies.

I have been working with Flash since the coding language was Action Script 2, now the coding language is Action Script 3. I am familiar with both programming languages.

Flash has come a long way since I started using it, and it is really powerful today. The main problem with flash websites today is the fact that it does not run on apple mobile devices, including the iPad. Because of that there is a shrinking usefulness of Flash programming ability.

ASP.NET

Proficiency: Beginner
Years of Experience: <1

ASP.NET is a web application framework developed and marketed by Microsoft to allow programmers to build dynamic web sites, web applications and web services. It was first released in January 2002 with version 1.0 of the .NET Framework, and is the successor to Microsoft’s Active Server Pages (ASP) technology. ASP.NET is built on the Common Language Runtime (CLR), allowing programmers to write ASP.NET code using any supported .NET language. The ASP.NET SOAP extension framework allows ASP.NET components to process SOAP messages.

 

ASP.NET is not my strongest programming language. I only include it here because I am not completely unfamiliar with it. I would not build a website using ASP.NET; but I can go into one and make changes, improvements, and most importantly, I can take an ASP.NET website and convert it into PHP.