Splatterbound decisions

After making a bunch of first starter pages for Splatterbound and emailing with Annie about the Splatterbound book we (okay it was more me) ended up deciding that it would be good to stick the whole thing on a website. This means that other people can add to it. This really changes the direction of the project. The book is still an aim of the project but in talking about a website for it we realised an online version means a completely different set of challenges.

splat

If Annie and I can load up pictures for it from where we are then why not other people? If anyone can upload pages for the ‘book’ then it is immediately somewhat divorced form the true sense of its being a book. In book format there is at least some restriction on page size and also media. Online, people can use Photoshop to add to a page.

Suddenly, we’ve gone from making a splattery collage book that was originally more about exploring aesthetic possibilities of quick doodles and seeing where that went when someone on the other side of the world was let loose on it, to making a membership enabled social networking multi-nationally collabarative art website.

I made a basic version with a login and file upload function and it worked pretty well. When you uploaded a picture to a page that picture got added immediately when you refreshed – though it would have been nice if it had done it without refreshing. On the whole, it was a good starting point. The thing is, it took roughly five seconds of looking at it before we both decided it needed lots more functionality. Each member needs to have a profile page and history of everything they’ve added to the book. There needs to be a few different ways of indexing the pages. It needed quite a few basic things.

What all of this meant was that I needed to go back to the drawing board a little and learn some new things. I’m not an expert with PHP by any stretch of the imagination after all. I decided the best thing to do was to use CodeIgniter, a PHP framework which will help me make the site in a more object oriented fashion. That way my code won’t end up looking like a total mess.
So, main reason for writing this? Just thinking through the process really. I’ve spent a while learning about CodeIgniter when I’ve had time (I haven’t had much) and think that soon I’ll be at a level where I can get back on with building the site proper. I need to figure out what the essential components of the site are (member profile pages) and what things are for the future (comments).
In essence we’re back at square one in terms of structure so I want to break up what each page needs and how the whole thing works.

Questions (I think I might try to answer them more in a separate post as this one is beginning to get too long):

  • How to do indexing? What should people see when they arrive on the site and what should happen when they click through from the homepage to one of the book pages?
  • How could they look at the edited versions of each page?
  • What should the flow of creating or editing a page look like?
  • Should each page have different branches? If so, how should those be presented?

Anyways, the main thing to remember is that I wanted to do this a – for fun, b – to learn more about programming to back up my front end development.

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