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Path to 2265

Path to 2265 is my personal Star Trek fansite and major web project. I started development around late-July 2017, since then I have put countless hours into learning as I go, developing its infrastructure, and writing original content for it. Enthusiasm for learning how to develop solutions in PHP coupled with my love of Star Trek has allowed me to do a lot with this project.
View site View dev blog
Database entry example
Article example
Example search results
Skills applied & developed
Before this project, I was fine with using usual front-end languages such as HTML and CSS but I knew that the best way to go forward for me in development my web development skills was attempting a long-term project that could see me having to develop PHP solutions for making a website more dynamic and actually database-powered.

PHP & SQL: making a database-powered website
A major goal for the project was to explore ways of building an interface between a MySQL database and the front of the website to:
  • Provide search capabilities for user search and sitemap (example)
  • Cut down on actual pages being created by allowing certain ones to grab different content based on a given query string (example)
  • Allow index pages to find the pages they need to provide hyperlinks to via the database instead of having links manually created (example)
Such an interface would also have to be secure, so the resulting PHP application for querying the database required me practising and implementing classes in PHP for securing the interface of the application, and using PHP Data Objects and prepared statements for creating a secure connection to the database and to help prevent SQL injection (respectively). The development for this system has been the subject of a few website update posts on my dev blog (link at the top of page).

HTML5 & CSS: designing a usable and functional client side
The website is designed to be HTML5 and CSS3 compliant, with any issues being fixed as soon as they are recognised by validation tests such as those provided by W3C or Silktide's Nibbler benchmark. I have developed the website's layout to be able and efficient when it comes to displaying different kinds of content (images or text) on different sorts of devices, as the website is developed in a 'mobile-first' approach thanks to CSS media queries and thorough testing. Some instances of JavaScript are also present in order to aid the handling of large pieces of text and allowing the mobile menu to operate, but I have chosen to minimise the use of JS elsewhere on this project since observation into other Star Trek fansites and their user base's opinions on site comments and forums suggest a large chunk of that base choses to have JS disabled in their browsers.

Whilst not immediately obvious from the website, I have had to put a fair deal of effort into planning the website's development - upcoming features and content alike - in order to ensure important tasks can be done in the limited time I can allocate to them. The website's source code control, problem tracking, and long term feature planning is done in a GitHub repository (which is private due to sensitive code such as the PHP search engine's database security methods) and its provided Issue tracking and Project creation capabilities. My dev blog posts also serve as a secondary planning tool since it allows me to textually describe changes in great detail.

Throughout development, I have had to consider the legal aspects to web development and building a fansite based on a trademarked franchise. I had to develop a robust legal disclaimer and policies (see here) and ensure thorough acknowledgements of any external content being used (and their sources) are made (see here).