Going Mobile!

I’ve spent this previous weekend teaching myself the art of mobile web development. There is a continuing trend within technology were our devices continue to get smaller and more portable. I know someday laptops and desktops will most likely be a thing of the past so I thought now would be the perfect time to dip my toe in the mobile development waters. I am pleased to say that my website, http://www.michaelouellette.com, is now completely mobile optimized.

In the design of the mobile version of my site I utilized the jQTouch plugin for jQuery. This plugin helps to render the site into a touch screen friendly interface instead of the usual click event focused environment of a desktop or laptop. I tried to match the desktop version of my site as closely as possible when designing the layout and images for the mobile pages. You can see below a few screen shots I included that highlight a some of the pages on the mobile site. Let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments.

Michael Ouellette mobile homepage

Michael Ouellette mobile homepage

Michael Ouellette portfolio page

Michael Ouellette portfolio page

Michael Ouellette portfolio details pages

Michael Ouellette portfolio details pages

Michael Ouellette social page

Michael Ouellette social page

Google+ Follow Up

Well I have had access to Google+ for about 24 hours now (thanks to some members over at droid-life.com). So far I really like the service, it is a much better experience then Buzz and Wave provided. I think that it may have the potential to take on Facebook. My biggest worry however is that Google will not be able to attract “normal users”. Google has no problem working up those interested and working in Tech with any of their new products. However, they have a much harder time attracting people outside of the Tech circle. If they can not capture this crowd then I do not see the product going anywhere fast.

I have total faith that Google will address this problem and one of the biggest signals may be in the discovered code linking Google+ to a Google+ Games platform. This was reported today by Engadget and can be read here. With the addition of a games platform I can really see this product taking off especially if they can work out some way to effectively integrate social into them.

Other then that fear I think many aspects of the “project” were very well thought out. I am a huge fan of the Circles and how it really takes the best of both Twitter and Facebook and combines them together. It allows you to follow people while at the same time keeping your closer circle of friends and family separate. Circles is also one of the best ways to handle privacy settings as well, which I feel Google got 100% right in Plus. Being able to post something to just certain groups of people is really nice. You do not have to worry about who may be reading what you post because now you know.

I have some really high hopes for this new Google product and I really hope to be fully using it, instead of Facebook, soon! Feel free to share your thoughts.

Google+

I am really excited about the new Google+ social network. Google has been lacking in the social space for a long time and many of their attempts seemed promising. I really think this is their chance to take on Facebook, and from what is demonstrated in the following video, they will most likely one up them. The huge benefit Google will be able to provide it’s users comes in the form of integrated search along with integration with their very popular Android platform. Google will be able to use many of the features in their new social product to better offer search results to their users. They may even get to the point of being able to have an intelligent guess in what you are searching for.

I haven’t been interest in Facebook for some time now, to me they have sort of stopped being the innovator and social driver they once were. Don’t get me wrong Facebook is still a great way to connect with friends and family but a lot of their new features are more creepy then useful. Call me a Google fan boy but I have total faith that Google has finally achieved a viable player in social networking. Now only if I could get an invite…

Anyways check out this video describing Google+ a little more:

Javascript and AJAX

Over the last couple of weeks I have learned mountains of new information about Javascript and AJAX. The more I learn the more I am falling in love with these languages. I really feel like I can tackle some larger and more modern projects now. My language of choice has always been PHP, which is relatively flexible when building sites. However, these two languages allow for smoother and unique user experiences.

Currently, I am in the process of adding functionalities, provided by these languages, to the wine map. I hope to have all functions and features of the page self contained along with an auto updating map. Users will be able to go to this application and be able to see information change based on the active of other users without ever having to push refresh. As I develop the map further I keep thinking that it should be turned into a consumer focused product. So expect these bigger changes and the release of the new consumer app this summer.

Speaking on the subject of Javascript I am working on a new project. The client informed me that one thing they really wanted was an interactive site with animation videos. I will be honest, I am not a large supporter of Flash which is what is commonly used when designing these features. I feel Flash has its place on the internet, such as games, but I feel it is a soon to be dead technology. My biggest problem with flash is that it is not searchable by search engines. So when adding flash to a site the web developer needs to think of sneaky ways to improve SEO. I digress. For my client I am implementing a unique javascript library which allows for much of the functionality that you may experience with a product like Flash. This is what I’m talking about when I say flexibility with these two languages. What is your favorite web technology?