Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Dreamweaver Templates And A Family Home Page

To recap where we are with my project to learn web server creation and maintenance as well as web content creation:
  • There's an Ubuntu server running as a virtual machine on a Windows 7 box
  • Said server runs a LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP)
  • We've got Adobe Creative Cloud
  • We've got both the FTP and SFTP connections to the server working in Dreamweaver
The goal is to master creating content with Creative Cloud apps and post them to a web server. Adobe makes this very easy.

Dreamweaver now has site templates that give you a sample site which you can edit as you see fit. It's not the same as creating one from scratch, but as I have no design training, they're great for me. I can lean on their proportions and artwork while I play with creating the content that lives inside.

My current idea is to create a home page on the server, only accessible from within the house, that has various sub-sites which do interesting things. Here are some of my ideas:
  1. Daily scrape the California rainfall totals and plot Percent-of-Normal charts for a couple of California cities
  2. Blend Google Music and our family photos so we can play music while a slideshow runs
  3. Blend Pandora and our family photos to do the same thing
I picked out a template that gives me some basic navigation and have created a site on the server using it. I've stored my files on Creative Cloud so I have access to them everywhere and can edit them from any machine on the Internet. There are so many things to do now that as soon as I uploaded the site and had Dreamweaver working with the server, I sat paralyzed momentarily as to what to do next.

I think the first thing I'm going to tackle is the California rainfall totals chart. I've scraped web pages before with a PHP DOM parser, so I've got a start on that. The project will require me to learn MySQL databases to store the data and some kind of javascript graphing library. Here's the way forward now:
  1. Scrape the rainfall page and create an HTML table with the results for a single day
  2. Design and create the database table for the daily data
  3. Create a chron (regularly scheduled) job on the sever to scrape the rainfalls page and insert the data onto the table
  4. Find a javascript graphing library and plot the data
  5. Profit!
How Step 5 will be achieved is still a bit murky, but I'm sure we'll get there somehow.

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