Mazzarello Media And Arts: New Site

by Aaron 09/17/10

We are proud to announce the launch of Mazzarello Media & Arts.  The site design and concept was done by Bryan and Stephanie (the husband and Wife team that is Mazzarello Media & Arts) is implemented using WebEngine, our awesome CMS tool.

We really took the site to the next level by fully utilizing the integrated Blog and List Engine tools.  Notice that the home page includes featured projects that pull in directly from their portfolio listings and their three most current blog post are displayed as well.  I really think this is one of the best creative professional websites I've seen, please visit and let me know what you think.

Cool Technical Features (for people who make websites)

  • CMS driven website  (very easy to edit and make changes to the website
  • List Engine tool used for portfolio section of websit
  • Dynamic home page pulls in a featured project and blog entries (no need for Bryan or Stephanie to repackage thier content).
  • Image cropping and resizing tool used to maintain consistent image sizes and quality for portfolio images
  • Random style selection on home page (try it by refreshing the home page)
  • Each section of the site: Look, Learn, Collaborate, Connect; uses a seperate style
  • Dynamic navigation menu uses the WebEngine site mapping tool
  • Friendly urls (not mazzarello.com/default.aspx?pageid=100&view=yes)
  • Cross Fade slide show on detail sections of the site like here: http://www.mazzarello.com/Learn/Team/
  • Next/Previous navigation for portfolio (look at the bottom right: ready for more): http://www.mazzarello.com/look/details/li/LIGHTING4PEOPLE/
  • Blog Feed: http://www.mazzarello.com/feeds.aspx?type=POSTS
  • Portfolio Feed: http://mazzarello.local/feeds.aspx?cat=21
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Category: Portfolio | Web Sites

Project: Delicias Salvadorenas

by Aaron 08/20/10

New website: http://www.deliciassalvadorenas.com/

Designed by: Mazzarello Media And Arts

Technical: implemented using WebEngine

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Category: Web Sites | Portfolio

WebEngine more than a CMS

by Aaron 11/06/09

CMS (content management system) based websites are awesome.  They enable website owners to manage their website without outside help and with very little training.  The cost of implementing a CMS based website is typically a bit higher than a traditional website, but a CMS based website quickly pays for itself. There are many different open source and commercial CMS systems available, so why did I create a new one from scratch?

About a year ago Bryan Mazzarello(a graphic designer with many years of web design experience) approached me about what CMS options are available that would allow him to provide his clients a CMS based website without making any design compromises.  CMS systems always make certain assumptions about design or layout or are too complicated to adjust in order to pass the “no compromises design” test.  Another problem with most CMS systems is they do not provide a mechanism for “listings”.  A “listing” could be anything from a product catalog for an ecommerce site to available rentals for a property management site.  WebEngine combines both a “no compromises design” CMS and Listing Engine into one easy to use tool.

Key features of WebEngine

  • Hosting and support are bundled together.  No need to perform complicated upgrades yourself.
  • In page WYSIWIG editing of content.
  • Robust listing engine with multiple levels of categorization.
  • Image upload tool with image cropping feature.
  • Ability to create unlimited pages with various designer generated templates.
  • Flexible search engine friendly URL’s.
  • Versioning system always save the previous version of the content and tracks who made what change.
  • Supports asp.net user controls within content areas.  Included controls include feedback form and a survey form.
  • Actively being developed and enhanced.
  • Easily customizable to fit almost any application.

WebEngine is built using the following technologies

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Category: WebEngine

Project: Tap Time

by Aaron 07/08/08

Background
One of my first IT/IS jobs was implementing a Time and Attendance system and the interfacing it with the payroll system.  This sounds easy but it involved integrating home grown system developed in Access by the warehouse manager and implementing 3 new timeclocks at two different facilities and over 400 employees during the busy season.  Through this project I learned much about Time Keeping systems and told myself I could create better system that was accessible via the web.

Fast forward a couple of years and I was looking for side work and I found a posting on the Cal Poly Help Wanted Forum requesting a timekeeping system for a small Bay area Landscape Company.  I eventually bid and got the contract for the job and implemented the first version of what I now call Tap Time.

Tap Time is now in its third version and is actively being used by a Local San Luis Obispo Based government agency and other local businesses.  The program has grown to include many project management/budgeting features that are key for Government work.  It is entirely web based and includes payroll export features and numerous management reports.

Purpose
Provide acurrate and easy to use web based time keeping with advanced budgeting project management features.

Technical

  • Developed in ASP.net 2.0
  • SQL Server 2000 backend
  • Advanced Budgeting Features
  • Ability to Bill hours to a project
  • Customizable for individual clients
  • Available as either on on site install or hosted solution
  • Export to Payroll feature

Project: POSimple - Point Of Sale using Microsoft Access

by Aaron 07/08/08

Background
This is a project that I started over a year ago and have continued to make numerous small improvements to.  The database is currently in use at one Chinese restaurant based in the Bay Area.  They have two terminals each with receipt printers and one printer for the kitchen.  Prior to using this software the restaurant took all of their orders manually with pen and paper and added up totals using a calculator.  Implementation of the software also included installing 2 computers and touch screens (done by Cortex Computer). 

I'm thinking about releasing a version of this database as a sort of Open Source project as I think many other small restaurants could easily alter the program to fit their own needs.

Purpose
An easy to use Point Of Sale Program (Unicode compatible - meaning it will display and print Mandarin Characters) for a small resturant.  The program is capably of printing reciepts applying discounts, free drinks (and still apply the tax) and many other features.  Since it is implemented in Microsoft Access is relatively easy to alter it or build off of.

Technical

  • Microsoft Access Database (2000 Format)
  • VBA Code for all events
  • Unicode Compatible
  • Ability to Manage Items
  • Screen design done by editing Access forms
  • Touch screen Compatible

Update! POSimple released as open source:

Download Here

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Category: Portfolio

GMAIL IMAP and Trashing Messages Using VBA and Outlook

by Aaron 06/21/08

One of the email options I offer to my clients is the ability to use what Google calls Google Apps which is a business version of their Gmail, Calendaring, and other various services.  The GMAIL service offers the IMAP protocol to synchronize email with various mail clients (Outlook, IPhone, Web...).  The benefit of IMAP is that you will have same version of your mail wherever you access it from.

One of the biggest hang-ups people have with using this is the whole paradigm of archiving messages vs. deleting messages.  Using the IMAP interface the delete command is interpreted as Archive to delete a message you have to move that message into your [GMAIL]/trash (where it will be automatically deleted after 30 days).

One of my bosses at my day job kept pestering me about the ability to delete various marketing email that she had no desire to archive and felt that moving the messages to trash was too much of a hassle.  After trying to convince her that it wasn't too much of a hassle I realized that it was in fact a pain in the butt and there had to be a better way.  So with my expert Google skills I set out to find a solution and I did.

http://www.kilpo.net/FixOutlook.html outlines 2 specific Outlook idioms, one being the IMAP move to trash issue discussed above.  The code presented there is not specific to GMAIL, so I took his code and made some minor changes to get it to work with a standard Outlook Gmail Setup.  I have tested with multiple account in Outlook 2007 and appears to work as expected. 

To implement the what I'm calling the "Trash" feature follow these instructions (USE AT YOUR OWN RISK)

  1. Open up Outlook
  2. In the menu bar go to tools->Macros->Visual Basic Editor (or hit alt+F11)
  3. Locate ThisOutlookSession Macro and open it
  4. Copy the code below into the Code Area
  5. Save and Close the VBA Window
  6. Create a Toolbar item by going to the menu bar View->Toolbars->Customize
  7. Locate Macros in the Category (left pane)
  8. And Drag the Project1.ThisOutlookSession.TrashMessages up to your toolbar (I put mine next to the X - delete command).
  9. You can give the Trash toolbar item a more friendly name an icon and even assign a hotkey by going back to the Customize Command window  and then Rearrange Commands. Use this article on Windows IT Pro Adding Hotkeys and Toolbar Buttons if you need more help with this.
  10. That's it I hope you find this useful!

Below is the VBA s code:

Sub TrashMessages()

    Set myOlApp = CreateObject("Outlook.Application")
    Dim myNameSpace As NameSpace
    Set myNameSpace = myOlApp.GetNamespace("MAPI")
    Dim myExplorer As Explorer
    Set myExplorer = myOlApp.ActiveExplorer
   
    'Get the folder type, expected type is 0 i.e. mail folder. If other type of folder
    'being used then abort macro as it should only be used with mail folders.
    folderType = myExplorer.CurrentFolder.DefaultItemType
   
    'Check that folder is mail folder
    If TypeName(myExplorer) = "Nothing" Or folderType <> 0 Then
    GoTo invalidMailbox
    End If
   
    'Locate root folder for this account
    Set thisFolder = myExplorer.CurrentFolder
    Do Until thisFolder.Parent = myNameSpace
    Set thisFolder = thisFolder.Parent
    Loop
    Set accountFolder = thisFolder
   
    'Identify selected messages
    Dim selectedItems As Selection
    Set selectedItems = myExplorer.Selection
    Dim currentMailItem As MailItem
    Dim iterator As Long
   
    'Move messages to Deleted Items folder
    Set trashFolder = accountFolder.Folders("[GMAIL]")
    Set trashFolder = trashFolder.Folders("Trash")
   
    Count = selectedItems.Count
    For iterator = Count To 1 Step -1
        On Error Resume Next
        Set currentMailItem = selectedItems.Item(iterator)
        currentMailItem.Move (trashFolder)
    Next    
   
    Exit Sub
   
invalidMailbox:
    MsgBox ("Macro configured only to work with mail folders! ")
    Exit Sub

End Sub

 

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Project: John Balfanz Homes

by Aaron 04/07/08

New Website: www.JohnBalfanzHomes.com

John Balfanz Website Background
John Balfanz Homes wanted a complete remodel and fresh look for their new website.

Purpose
The new website showcases available spec homes, the bella-vista development, and custom designer homes.

Technical
This website uses the latest and greatest .net framework 3.5 and SQL Server 2005 back-end.  There is an admin section of the website that allows the client to update their listings of spec homes.  Smooth gallery is used to showcase housing pictures.

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Category: Portfolio | Web Sites

Project: Chamblin-Landes

by Aaron 02/09/08

New Website: www.chamblin-landes.com


Background Chamblin-Landes Website

Chamblin-Landes Construction of Paso Robles, California wanted a new website to highlight their varied projects.

Purpose

The new website showcases construction projects based on specific categories.

Technical

This website uses the latest and greatest .net framework 3.5 and SQL Server 2005 back-end.  There is an admin section of the website that allows the client to update their listings of spec homes.

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Category: Portfolio | Web Sites

Project: California-West

by Aaron 12/15/07

Website Remodel: www.calwest.com


Background california-west website

Three and a half years ago I created a website for San Luis Obispo based California-West.com.  Their website is contains database driven property listings with advanced features such as searching, email updates, and info about the company.  I was recently asked to give the site a fresh look and add additional content to the site.  We decided to keep all of the core functionality including the powerful property listing features as they have worked as intended.

Purpose

To give a facelift and update content on the popular and sucessful California-West property management website.

Technical

This website is is done in PHP with a MySQL DB backend.  Most of the code is from an open source project called Open Realty, but it has been heavily modified by me to fit the specific needs of a property management company.

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Category: Portfolio

Project: CustomPoolRenovation.com

by Aaron 09/03/07

New Website Published :  www.custompoolrenovation.com

Custom Pool Renovation Screen Shot Background

This project was for a SF bay area company, Cole Tile & Coping. A large part of their business is performing high end pool renovation services. This was an entirely new website and domain, but they are an established business and perform many pool renovation jobs.

Purpose

My client wanted to highlight their pool remodeling expertise and allow their prospective clients to get  a feel for what can be accomplished with a pool remodel.

Technical

The site is a very basic asp.net website that uses a couple of cool flash/javascript technologies.  Sifr allows you to use any font you want in a valid XHTML markup (uses flash and javascript to achieve).  We also use swfobject  to embed flash into html (this is the best way to embed flash, trust me).

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