Workplace Ethics…

“Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.”

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

ethics imageThis months blog assignment asks the question “What are workplace ethics?”

Ethics are defined as moral principles that govern a person or groups behavior. Workplace ethics are important not just for your clients, but also for your employees. Ethics in the workplace exemplify professionalism and good business practices.

The following list is the “Six Pillars of Character” developed by The Josephson Institute of Ethics:

  • Trustworthiness: honesty, integrity, promise-keeping, loyalty
  • Respect: autonomy, privacy, dignity, courtesy, tolerance, acceptance
  • Responsibility: accountability, pursuit of excellence
  • Caring: compassion, consideration, giving, sharing, kindness, loving
  • Justice and fairness: procedural fairness, impartiality, consistency, equity, equality, due process
  • Civic virtue and citizenship: law-abiding, community service, protection of environment

Unfortunately, we are going to come across people who are dishonest or unethical or we may find ourselves in a situation that might test our ethics. The key is to remember that being ethical is about making choices that may not always feel good or seem like they benefit you but are the “right” choices to make.

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A Passion For Creativity…

“Passion, it lies in all of us, sleeping… waiting… and though unwanted… unbidden… it will stir… open its jaws and howl. It speaks to us… guides us… passion rules us all, and we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love… the clarity of hatred… and the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion maybe we’d know some kind of peace… but we would be hollow… Empty rooms shuttered and dank. Without passion we’d be truly dead. ”
–Joss Whedon, American Screenwriter

Passion is defined as an intense desire or enthusiasm for something. Hmmm… It can be said that I feel an intense desire or enthusiasm about almost everything!  I guess that makes me a passionate person! I am passionate about my family. I am passionate about my career. I am definitely passionate about art and creativity. I often joke that I have creative ADD. When I am not making jewelry, you can find me cooking inventive gluten-free recipes or making crafty hair accessories with my daughter. I love graphic design, art and all things creative.   I feel incredibly fortunate to have this passion in my life. I am finding a new excitement for web design and look forward to the new paths it will bring.

Understanding the principles of PHP…

What is PHP?

PHP ImagePHP is an open source software script that stands for Hypertext Preprocessor. It is free to download and use. PHP is mainly focused on server-side scripting and allows the ability to collect form data, generate dynamic page content, or send and receive cookies. Its code is executed on the server, and the plain HTML result is sent to the browser.

Who developed PHP & Why?

PHP was developed in 1994 by the Danish/Greenlandic programmer Rasmus Lerdorf. Initially, it created a set of Perl scripts he called ‘Personal Home Page Tools’ to maintain his personal homepage and it included tasks like displaying his resume and recording how much traffic his page was receiving.

Photo of Rasmus Lerdorf

PHP Creator Rasmus Lerdorf

In 1997 two developers at the Technion IIT, Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutmans, rewrote the parser and formed the base of PHP 3, changing the language’s name to PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor. Public testing of PHP 3 began, and it was officially launched in June 1998. Suraski and Gutmans then started a new rewrite of PHP’s core, producing the Zend Engine in 1999. They also founded Zend Technologies in Ramat Gan, Israel.

In 2008 PHP 5 became the only stable version under development. Late static binding had been missing from PHP and was added in version 5.3.

How do you use PHP?

PHP pages contain HTML with embedded code. The PHP code is enclosed in special start and end processing instructions <? php and ?> that allow you to jump into and out of “PHP mode.” It’s scripting block can be placed anywhere in the document. One of the best features in using PHP is that it is both extremely simple for a newcomer and offers many advanced features for a professional programmer.

A PHP file normally contains HTML tags, just like an HTML file, and some PHP scripting code. Each code line in PHP must end with a semicolon. The semicolon is a separator and is used to distinguish one set of instructions from another.

Additionally, the file must have a .php extension. If the file has a .html extension, the PHP code will not be executed. There are two basic statements to output text with PHP: echo and print. Print and Echo both output data to the screen in a similar fashion, but differ in how they are structured. Most developers use Echo, but either can be used effectively.

The 3 main areas where PHP scripts are used:

PHP Code Image

  1. Server-side scripting. This is the most traditional and main target field for PHP. You need three things to make this work. The PHP parser (CGI or server module), a web server and a web browser. You need to run the web server, with a connected PHP installation. You can access the PHP program output with a web browser, viewing the PHP page through the server. All these can run on your home machine if you are just experimenting with PHP programming. See the installation instructions section for more information.
  2. Command line scripting. You can make a PHP script to run it without any server or browser. You only need the PHP parser to use it this way. This type of usage is ideal for scripts regularly executed using cron (on *nix or Linux) or Task Scheduler (on Windows). These scripts can also be used for simple text processing tasks. See the section about Command line usage of PHP for more information.
  3. Writing desktop applications. PHP is probably not the very best language to create a desktop application with a graphical user interface, but if you understand PHP well, and feel comfortable using advanced PHP features in your client-side applications  you can also use PHP-GTK to write such programs. You also have the ability to write cross-platform applications this way. PHP-GTK is an extension to PHP, not available in the main distribution.

Compatibility & Support

PHP gives the author the freedom of choosing an operating system and a web server, including Linux, many Unix variants (including HP-UX, Solaris and OpenBSD), Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, RISC OS, and probably others. It also can support most of the web servers including Apache, IIS, and many others. PHP works as either a module, or as a CGI processor.

PHP’s abilities are not just limited to outputting HTML,  it can also output images, PDF files and even Flash movies (using libswf and Ming). You can also output easily any text, such as XHTML and any other XML file. PHP can autogenerate these files, and save them in the file system, instead of printing it out, forming a server-side cache for your dynamic content.

Related Technologies

One of the strongest and most significant features in PHP is its support for a wide range of databases. Writing a database-enabled web page is made very simple by using one of the database specific extensions (e.g., for mysql), or using an abstraction layer like PDO, or connect to any database supporting the Open Database Connection standard via the ODBC extension.

PHP also has support for talking to other services using protocols such as LDAP, IMAP, SNMP, NNTP, POP3, HTTP, COM (on Windows) and many others.  PHP has support for the WDDX complex data exchange between virtually all Web programming languages. Additionally,  PHP has support for instantiation of Java objects and using them transparently as PHP objects.

PHP has useful text processing features, which includes the Perl compatible regular expressions (PCRE), and many extensions and tools to parse and access XML documents. PHP standardizes all of the XML extensions on the solid base of libxml2, and extends the feature set adding SimpleXML, XMLReader and XMLWriter support.

Additional Resources:

A helpful tutorial for beginners to learn the basics of PHP programming

PHP: Hypertext Processor

Works Cited:
“A simple tutorial.” php.net. 4 Mar. 2011. 5 Mar. 2011. <http://us3.php.net/tut.php>”PHP Tutorial.” W3Schools.com. 5 Mar. 2011. <http://www.w3schools.com/php/default.asp&gt;.”PHP.” PHP- Wikipedia. 11 Mar. 2011. 5 Mar. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PHP&gt;.

Respect

”Every human being, of whatever origin, of whatever station, deserves respect. We must each respect others even as we respect ourselves.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

This month’s blog post subject is respect. Respect is the foundation of every relationship both personal and professional. Having respect in the business world means that you honor your role in fulfilling the needs and solving the problems of your employer or your clients. Often times when business or personal relationships sour, the cause can be traced to a lack of respect which prevents one from recognizing and appreciating the problems or needs that an employer or client is trying to fulfill.

“Respect your fellow human being, treat them fairly, disagree with them honestly, enjoy their friendship, explore your thoughts about one another candidly, work together for a common goal and help one another achieve it. No destructive lies. No ridiculous fears. No debilitating anger.” –Bill Bradley

Creating positive relationships with the people and striving to understand them, is essential to all aspects of your life, both professional and personal. It will also open your business up to new opportunities. When you respect others, they will respect want to work with you.

Home Page Design – Good vs Bad

The home page is your visitors first impression of your website.  Your home page should be simple, clean and easy to navigate. Layout, content and page design play a key role in making a successful homepage.
My class blog assignment this week is to critique 4 homepage designs. The first two are examples of good home page design and the last two are examples of (to put it kindly) not so good homepage designs.

Good Home Page Designs:

Example 1: Eight Hour Day

Good home page design

Eight Hour Day

A great example of a clean, well-organized homepage. The site is easy to navigate and has an attractive well-developed design layout. The site makes great use of color and uses high quality graphics that don’t take too long to load. A first time visitor can easily understand the purpose of the site.

 

Example 2: CSS Dude

CSS Dude

Another great example of a good home page design. The site design is strong and makes good use of space. The navigation is simple and easy to find. The colors are inviting and the images are high quality but don’t take too long to load. The information is well-organized and easy for first time visitors to understand quickly.

Not So Good Home Page Designs:

Example 1: Maison Martin Margiela

Maison Martin Margiela

It’s never a good sign if the web page you are visiting comes with a warning that states “the page you are visiting is not under construction”! I am still not sure what this website is about. I think they are selling clothing, but I’m not 100% sure. To say that the navigation is a bit confusing is an understatement. The lack of color and design gives the site an unfinished, technical and bleak feel. The images are random and don’t give the visitor any insight into what the purpose of the site is.

Example 1: Oceanside California

Oceanside CA

Another example of a poorly designed homepage. The navigation is just about non-existent on this home page and it’s unclear to the visitor what the purpose of the site is. The graphics are low quality and the colors are dull and uninviting. The links are unorganized and confusing.

Some final thoughts to keep in mind when designing a homepage:

  1. Keep it simple, clean and well-organized. A good homepage should not have too much information cluttered together; making it difficult to read and know what is happening. You do not want to confuse visitors the moment they enter your homepage with too much information.
  2. Good page layout is also an important factor for a good visitor experience. Be mindful of using too many high quality graphics or flash images that take a long time to load. A beautiful homepage is ineffective if it that takes forever to load, especially for those with slower internet connections and can turn visitors away.
  3. Information should be well-organized into easy to read layout, making it easier for visitors to quickly find what they are looking for. Content should be kept short and presented in a pleasant manner that is attractive.
  4. Navigation should be easy for any visitor, they should be able to know where to look for what they want with just a simple glance. Common links to pages within your website such as “About Us”, “Contact Us” & “Help”,  should be placed in such a manner and position that is easy to locate.

Additional Resources:

Top Ten Guidelines for Homepage Usability

The importance of having a positive attitude…

The pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

–Winston Churchill

This month’s class blog subject is about the importance of having a positive attitude. As we all know, there are times in life when we will face problems and obstacles. I truly believe that the biggest challenge in life is often not the actual obstacle itself, but our reaction to it.

People with a positive attitude will treat any problem as a challenge. Instead of being discouraged, they are encouraged. They see the lesson to be learned instead of the failure that has happened. People who lack a positive attitude however, see problems and difficulties in an entirely different manner. It often overwhelms and immobilizes them. They are hopeless instead of hopeful. They see the glass half empty instead of half full.

I believe having a positive attitude is essential to living a happy, healthy and fulfilled life. It isn’t always easy to see the best in tough situations, but I think the key to having a good attitude is to  identify negative thoughts and try to put a positive spin on them. I make it a daily goal to try to see the good in every situation. I immerse myself in stories and articles that are inspirational rather than negative. Having a positive attitude is a conscious decision  that I choose to make. I cannot control all circumstances in my life, but I can control how I react to them.

Additional resources:

Positive thinking: Reduce stress, enjoy life more

Power of a super attitude

Taking Stock…

What are my web design goals? I am interested in learning the fundamentals of web design and development because I want to expand my skill set as a graphic designer. I think this training will make me more marketable and provide me with many professional opportunities the industry.

Which aspects of web design interest you the most? I am most interested in (X)HTML coding. As a designer, I have dabbled with Dreamweaver and occasionally have snuck a peek at the code. I want to understand what all those letters and symbols mean and how it works in relationship to my design.

What current skills do you have that will be useful in creating web pages?I have worked as a designer for over a decade and have designed many web sites in the past. I understand the importance of layout, the relationship of color and content. I am very familiar with the software programs needed for design.

Which skills will you need to brush up on? Even though I’ve had some brief training in HTML and read a few books on the subject, I feel my knowledge on the subject is really limited and I am looking forward to learning as much as I can.

Which hardware and software tools do you already have for web design? Which tools do you need to buy? Which tools would you like but eventually? Luckily, I am set on tools! I own a Macbook Pro. I have the Adobe Creative Suite Design & Web additions.

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