I have been a front end web developer since May of 2008 when I got a junior position in a technology agency called Threshold Interactive. I had been bouncing around Los Angeles trying to sneak my way into the film industry without much success, and finally decided I needed a proper day job. So I got a free preview to Lynda.com and taught myself HTML and CSS. I got a temp job working for the Writer’s Guild of America during their 2007-2008 strike. Their antiquated website required someone with some rudimentary coding knowledge to make any post on it at all. Their head of technology and the second in command were engaged and had previously chosen the time of the strike to meet each other’s parents, so suddenly with them gone, there was no one to post press releases to the website to inform the Producer’s Guild of the writer’s latest demands. In any case, that little gig got me started. I then built out my own website and used it to convince Threshold to give me a job.

Since then I went from knowing just HTML and CSS to learning MooTools and then jQuery, and then becoming more and more familiar with the languages of the back end like .NET, Java, and PHP. I’m now quite expert as a front end web developer. I build complex sites with whatever custom layout and functionality you could desire using HTML5, CSS3, jQuery, and WordPress. Below you will find a list of some of my more notable projects.

Projects

  • Fidgetly

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    This site was built in Shopify for Bad Features. I coded both the original site design and the current redesign for the release of Fidgetly's new bluetooth driven "CTRL" fidget spinner.

  • Wonolo

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    This was a site I built while contracting for a company called Bad Features, which was being helmed by a former manager of mine from previous jobs, Justin Kiefer. Wonolo wanted to redesign the look and feel of their website at the same time that they were moving onto a new back end platform called Hubspot. They hired Bad Features to handle it for them, and Justin hired me to do the work.

    Hubspot seems like a Wix for larger businesses. It provides tools to build and layout a website that don't require any ability to code. What's more, it provides a substantial analytics package for keeping dibs on the behavior of the websites visitors. The reason I was brought into the mix was that some of the customizations that were desired were beyond the capacity of Hubspot's basic layout tools, so a coder was needed.

    The designs were provided by a Bad Features web designer, and my task was just to cut up the Photoshop mock-ups and make them work in Hubspots environment in smooth responsive layouts. So far as I know, everyone was happy with the result.

  • Oliver Arts & Open Press

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    This is the site of a small, independent publisher based in New York. I built it in Wordpress using a developer's starter theme called Bones. The design was done by my good friend Maria Petrova. The design is responsive and includes a number of customizations specific to the client's needs. For example, I added two custom content types to the site: Publications and Authors, allowing the client to list all the books they have available with cross-references to each of their authors. Each publication and author has their own page, and each author page has links to all publications by that author.

  • LA Skins Fest

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    Ian Skorodin has run the LA Skins Fest Native American film festival for over a decade now. He already had a website for it, built in Wordpress, but that website was getting more and more clogged with messed up content. He wanted to start it over somehow...maybe just give it a fresh look and clean out some of the messier elements in the database. Given that I had already built skinsplex.com for him with its various customizations, I think he expected I was up to the task.

    It didn't take me much rooting around in the Wordpress admin area of the site to decide that what was really needed was a wholesale restart. LASkinsFest.com was a Frankenstein monster built from various plugins and hacked together with occasionally competing CSS. I decided to built a new theme for the site from scratch, and to create new content types in the database to coincide with the kind of content that needed to be shown on the site.

    The result is what you see now. I used Modern Tribe's "The Event Calendar" extensively to permit Ian to put in all the sorts of events that he runs through LA Skins Fest during the year. I then used the Event Calendar API to customize the type of data that could be saved and would be shown to the user to match his needs. Furthermore, I made a full content type for movies so that each show that is screened at the festival could have its own information page. I made a special type of event called a "Screening" where a movie could be associated with the event, and made all the screenings within a certain time frame fall under the heading of an parent "Festival" event.

    I created my own gallery interface with full screen viewer for the site. I've copied the basics of that viewer here on gurustump.com. I did all the design for LA Skins Fest, and have incorporated a lot of the same aesthetics here in my own site, from the top navigation to the way I line up rows of thumbnails in my galleries. This is unusual for me. In most of my web development work, a full-time designer has provided Photoshop mock-ups of the site I was building, and it was only up to me to write the code. For being created exclusively by me, I think this site worked out rather well.

  • Rawhide Digital

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    I built this site for my old friend Pete Anderson, who works as a Digital Tech in fashion photography. Even though it is only a single page affair, I built it in Wordpress so Pete could easily log in to the administration side of the site to update his price list or any other verbiage he wanted. It has some unusual features, like an auto-scrolling feature that will slide you to the next section of the page when you start scrolling down with your mouse wheel, or the mobile-style menu that is present on any sort of device. Built using the Bones starter theme.

  • Sportsy Duel

    Sportsy Duel was intended to be a daily fantasy sports game rather than one where you had to wait until the end of the season to see if you won or lost. Each day you would log in and complete 20 "duels", where two players would be shown to you, and you would have to decide which one you preferred to have on your team. At the end of the day, your team's statistical performance would be compared to that of other Sportsy duelers, and a winner would be declared. Eventually, cash buy-ins and prizes were going to be added.

    I was hired by Justin Kiefer, who had been my manager at Pixoto.com, and would later be my boss at a company called Bad Features when I did the front end work on Wonolo.com. Designs for various layouts were provided to me, and I built the front end for them. I can't even remember what the back was made from. I remember having to get a bunch of node modules, but at this point I don't even remember what language the back end was written in. In any case, apparently Sportsy gave up on the fantasy sports side of their business and shuttered duel.sportsy.com. I've included a couple of mock-ups to give you an idea what the site looked like while it lived.

  • SkinsPlex

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    I built this site for Ian Skorodin's Barcid Foundation. Ian is a filmmaker and the director of the LA Skins Fest, a Native American film festival that takes place every November in Los Angeles. Over the years, Ian has accumulated quite a lot of films and videos made by Native Americans, and he decided he wanted to make them available to the viewing public at large. He appoached me about building a website where they could be showcased. He didn't give me a great deal of direction on the look and feel of the thing. He only said "I want HBO GO."

    Of course Ian's budget wasn't quite HBO-sized, so while I did borrow some ideas from them for the layout of the site, I built the guts of it in Wordpress, starting with my favorite blank starter theme, "Bones." We decided to use Vimeo for our host, as they provide an API so that the player can be controlled with Javascript, and they permit the skinning of the player with our colors and insignia.

    Since there was no designer involved, it was up to me to come up with a logo for Skinsplex (as well as all the other layout). I merged a Native American medicine wheel with a film reel. Ian seems to have liked it quite a bit, and used the Illustrator file to create the animated logo that he runs at the beginning of many of his films on skinsplex.com, like the "Wave" series that I served as Director of Photography on.

    Per Ian's requests, I gave Skinsplex some interesting features. Each video can have a pre-roll and post-roll advertisement assigned to it, so a different video (usually a 15 second one) will roll before or after the main video according to the way the administrator has set it up. Each video can also have a "Playing Next" video, much like on Netflix.com. When the video (or its post-roll video, if one has been specified) hits the credits, the player shrinks and an image of the next video that is set to play appears with a countdown timer informing the user when it will load that new page. The user can cancel the autoplay, but if they don't, they'll be taken to the new page and the new video will automatically start playing. I liked the functionality so much that I copied here on Gurustump.com (though here I'm using YouTube as my video host).

    Finally, I put all of the content at Skinsplex.com behind a login wall. Anyone can register for a Skinsplex account: it's free and only requires an email address. I modified the way the usual Wordpress login works and included a drop down in the main navigation at the top of the page so the user can log in without having to go to a separate page. I highly recommend giving it all a try, if for no other reason so you can go see some of the films I've shot for Ian that are exclusive content on his site :)

  • Christmas Barrel

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    I built this site as part of a larger project which features prominently in my video production work. Christmas Barrel is a YouTube channel and video advent calendar. Every year, we release 24 videos, one for each day from the first through the twenty-fourth of December. They range from sketches about what goes on behind the scenes at the North Pole to more serious montages about the religious background of the holiday. We have produced 3 seasons so far.

    In any effort to offset the production costs of the whole project, each year we have set up some form of crowdfunding endeavor. In one of the years, rather than use a service like Kickstarter or Patreon, we attempted to host our own crowdfunding on ChristmasBarrel.com. We therefore installed a theme called "Fundify," which permitted us to take donations and pledges and the like. Out of the box, Fundify didn't look very much like what we wanted, so I wrote a child theme using it as a starting point, and then adding in all of our layout changes and additions. The site now contains a page for each one of our 72 Christmas videos with an embedded YouTube player.

  • Pixoto

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    I worked full time at Pixoto starting way back in August of 2012. Pixoto is an online photography competition founded by Jason Kiefer. Anyone can sign up simply by using their Facebook login. It's all free. Once in, you can peruse thousands of images taken by professional photographers from around the world, and you can enter into the contest yourself by submitting your own photos. There is a tiny catch, though. You have to use "credits" inside the site in order to submit photos. You're given some for free at first, but in order to get more, you have to do "duels." When you turn on the dueling interface, you're shown two pictures. You simply have to click on or tap the one you like better. Every time you do a duel, you get a credit. I think it's 10 credits per photo submission, if I remember correctly. The results of all the duels of all the users the world over are tabulated, and the winners get daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly prizes, as well as announcements made directly to their Facebook feeds to tell all their friends how great they are.

    When I joined the team, they were in the middle of a full site redesign. I coded all the revisions to build the new layout, then started receiving tasks to add new features to the site. Pixoto went from just being a contest to being a stock photography warehouse and a place where you could print your favorite photos on posters, coffee mugs, and shower curtains. I coded the front end for all of the user interfaces that made all this possible.

    I have screenshots here of some of noteworthy elements. The grid of thumbnails is the leaderboard. It shows the best pictures, according to the duel voting, on the site. Next to it is the viewer you get when you click on a thumbnail. Finally there is the interface for selecting, resizing, and cropping a canvas print in a floating frame. I used quite a bit of Javascript and css to hack the printer's interface and make that quasi-three dimensional preview appear with the picture inside the frame. The last screenshot is from Pixoto's dueling interface.

  • Pictage

    Pictage was an online storage and workflow management system for professional photographers. A wedding photographer could upload all the pictures from a wedding to their Pictage account, then input all the email addresses from the guest list, and Pictage would email all the guests with offers of prints, photo books, and leather bound albums. We built interfaces for the photographers to manage their photos and clients, and event guest lists, and for them to even edit or retouch their images. We also had interfaces for the event guests to purchase prints and albums, and even design their own photo collages or layout the albums themselves.

    I was just one developer in a rather large team. Most of us were back end guys, either working with legacy databases and parts of the website, or making sure the interface between the guests or photographers and the printers were all working correctly, or working on the redesign and modernization of other parts of the sprawling system. I was one of two front end developers. The other was a Javascript expert, so he focused mainly on interactive and animated elements of the site. I was the css/layout guy. This wasn't quite the bad old days of web development when we had to use tables to get things to sit right where we wanted them to, but it was the bad enough old days where we had to support screwed up browsers like IE6 and 7. About a quarter of my day was spent laying out redesigned pages or newly created ones, and the other three quarters was spent hacking away to try to get Internet Explorer to display it correctly.

    I left Pictage at the beginning of 2012 to try my hand at working from home. They went out of business in September of 2015, as people no longer seem so interested in printing their photos as just having them available online.

  • Honda Powersports

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    This was the last site I worked on before leaving Threshold Interactive. I was one of four developers working in concert on it, and one of two front-end developers. I'm actually rather amazed at how much of what we did 8 years ago is still being used. The header has been switched out. It was previously built in Flash, but I suppose the powers that be decided that they wanted the navigation to work on an iPhone. The bodies of the pages seem to be exactly as we designed them all those years ago, though. At some point Honda is going to have to bite the bullet and make their site responsive. In any case, I'm including a few screenshots of parts of the site I remember building.