TaxConnections bills itself as an "Interactive Worldwide Directory of Tax Professionals". It seeks to bring together ordinary people and tax professionals to the mutual betterment of both. Tax professionals can use the service to build their business and branch out to new clients, and non-professionals can use the site to find a tax person, ask tax questions, or seek out local tax-related events.
This is a heavy-duty web application, similar to sites like LinkedIn. I was brought onboard the team both for my technical skill and my experience working with large teams of diverse skill sets. In my day-to-day work, I had several responsibilities, from fixing bugs and adding new bits of discrete functionality, to integrating the site with third-party APIs like Facebook, Twitter, and Authorize.Net. I also created large swaths of functionality from scratch, and was heavily involved in all phases of the development process: gathering requirements with management, building mockups and iterating over them with the design team, developing a scalable database schema, and writing clean, maintainable business logic and front-end code to bring it all together.
I was initially brought in to be a part of a crack development team for Zbiz's web-based contest and marketing product offerings. However, due to high turnover on the development team, I quickly found myself solely in charge of running their various contests. These were used for marketing professionals to build their subscriber lists and interact better with their customers, and were heavily integrated with Facebook to provide a fun and dynamic contest experience. I also worked on their software-as-a-service product to offer custom-built Facebook Connect buttons, ConnectSimple.
Like most of my professional clients, my work for MCE Conferences was varied and sundry. While I was initially brought in to fix the design quirks and source code bugs of an outsourced development team, I quickly transitioned to maintaining all aspects of the site.
This included tasks such as: integrating the CMS and registration functionality with the new design, updating site security to prevent common vulnerabilities, troubleshooting problems with the credit card payment gateway (LinkPoint), and adding new functionality to make for a more vibrant user experience.
One example of this last item is the My MCE feature I built from scratch, which allowed admin users to upload documents associated with a particular conference on the back-end, and conference attendees to access those documents in a password-protected section of the site.
Named after a river in Italy with mythical healing properties, Tiber was to be a complete overhaul of the UCSD Recreation Point-of-Sale system, and to heal the wounds left over from the previous, very painful to use system. This is easily the most complex application I have ever worked on, providing comprehensive Point-Of-Sale, Inventory and Member Management, Facility Access, Equipment Checkout, Rosters and Reporting functionality, and all sorts of other administrative tools to the department. It has become the backbone of all their business processes.
I provided coding and coordination assistance to the project leads during development, and am now responsible for leading all maintenance and new development for the system. AJAX is used extensively to provide an experience more like that of a desktop application, as that is what the staff is used to. Other technologies include FreeBSD, PostgreSQL, Perl, and Python.
The Department of Surgery at UC San Diego has many needs when it comes to running their department successfully and efficiently. As part of a two-person team, I worked over several years to meet these needs with various web-based applications, turning requirements from the surgeons and IT staff into functional tools.
These applications include: a General Accounting Ledger; an HR application for tracking employees; a WebVote system for voting on new faculty and staff appointments; and a Data Mart system for reporting on financial data.
UCSD Neurosciences had a familiar problem: they had a lot of data, but it wasn't in a form that they could use. I helped architect and build a system that would allow them to automatically download their financial and HR data, and then organize it and run reports on it. The system helps their department process data more accurately and efficiently.
A set of scripts written in Perl run on a nightly basis as cron jobs to grab the latest financial data from the central campus data warehouse, where the data is stored in an IBM DB2 database. The data is stored locally in a PostgreSQL database. Users then interact with the data by running reports against it via a web-based interface. The interface utilizes the ExtJS framework, and pulls the data from the local database via API calls also written in Perl. The final data is outputted to the ExtJS user interface tables using JSON.
The first web app I ever wrote, while still an undergrad at UC San Diego, was a Sports Clubs online management system (unimaginatively titled "SCOMS"). I cut my teeth designing and building this app from scratch. Eventually, however, it began to show its age, and so the department contracted me to rebuild it.
The system provides a suite of tools for keeping track of all Sports Clubs athletes; their contact information, team rosters, travel form requests, medical histories and diagnoses, &c. It also includes a set of reporting and management tools, for rosters, travel forms, and medical emergency cards.
Both versions offered me immense growth as a designer, developer, and project manager. Creating the first taught me the entire LAMP stack, and rebuilding it allowed me to use what I had since learned to make better design decisions, including ditching the monolithic signup process for a more modular design, and employing AJAX for a responsive, simple, desktop-like interface.
In working on the Gallus website I was given one of many opportunities I've had as a freelancer to coordinate a diverse team, with varying skillsets. On one side, I had to work with the executive team to turn their requirements documents into an attractive, functional website. On the other side, I had to coordinate the design team to produce graphics and a corporate logo and brand.
In addition to my project management duties, I spent the majority of my time adapting the HTML and CSS of the template to the modifications given to me by the design team, doing some basic image manipulation in Photoshop, and setting up some basic PHP for templating and view organization.
7E LLC is a health and wellness company, offering products for weight loss, mind, and body. I was asked to provide a clean, attractive, easy-to-use site to act as a showcase for the company's products, including images and video. The launch of the website helped 7E LLC go from a fledgling health & wellness company to the profitable, successful business it is today.
From his own description: "Cris is a master trainer/coach and nationally recognized expert in the field of fitness development, strength and conditioning and injury prevention. Cris has helped thousands of individuals and hundreds of teams accomplish their goals, maximize their potential and improve their life over the past 23 years."
Cris needed a website to showcase his skills, sell his merchandise, and promote himself to new clients and create new opportunities. His site was very content-heavy, but other than that was a simple promotional tool. Template adapted from Blue Web Templates, Flash video provided by Flowplayer.
My Pogo Badges
My Pogo Badges is a companion site to Pogo.com, where people who play flash games can earn badges and display them to others. A friend was doing the site design, and asked me to step in to help with the coding aspects of the site. I created the Login and Signup functionality, as well as working on the Profile page, Admin section, and Members page, which pulls badges information directly from Pogo.com.
While I didn't create the original design, I did take care of miscellaneous styling and formatting necessary after integrating the functionality. On the coding side, I used PHP's cURL functionality extensively to grab badge data from the main Pogo.com site.
Jan Stamm is a San Diego-based artist, and she asked me to put together a simple site for her to showcase her work. She also wanted people to be able to learn more about her as an artist, and have a location on the web to which she could direct people. Jan created the site design herself, and I implemented it.
This is the epitome of a brochure site. A few pages, a common CSS stylesheet, and some standards-compliant HTML. It also uses a little PHP for templating and image navigation.
Wellpraxis needed a company site to promote their new technology, as well as provide a source for press releases for themselves and their partners. I was asked to design and implement a simple, informative site to introduce potential customers to the company, its management team, and their Video-on-Demand technology.
One thing to note with this site was the rapid speed with which it was launched: the initial request was made over the phone on a Thursday, and the site went live the following Wednesday. From prototyping to design, coding, and testing, that's a turnaround of only 6 days.
HTC One X
A friend of mine works for a large SEO/Marketing Agency, and needed a bit of work for one of their new clients, HTC. They wanted a simple, fun quiz app whereby a user tries to guess which of a pair of images was taken by a DSLR camera, and which was taken by a smartphone, to promote the HTC One X.
I created the app using HTML and jQuery (so that it also worked on mobile devices) and with some help from another friend who does excellent design work, we had the app up on HTC's corporate blog 4 days later.
My first attempt at creating an app for the iOS store, Keep Away was based on a simple flash game I played online many years ago. I wanted to do something simple, and I wanted to do a fun game, and I think I was successful on both fronts.
The game itself is pretty easy; simply move the center icon with your finger, while not letting it touch the other four icons. It gets progressively harder, as the other icons speed up over time. Nothing groundbreaking, but a fun little diversion. Plus, it's free!
Technologies: Objective-C, iOS SDK, Cocoa Touch, Xcode, Interface Builder