Posts written in September 2009

UT Law on the Go: New iPhone Web App

Screenshots of the UT Law iPhone app

Trying to keep up with the proverbial Joneses, today we launched an iPhone / iPod Touch mobile web app for the University of Texas School of Law. If you want to check it out on your iPhone right away, fire up the following link in Safari:

I built it from the ground up with PHP, JavaScript, and a bit of elbow grease, pulling data from a handful of existing sources both on-campus and off. It makes use of the iUI JavaScript framework, which is a great resource for getting up and running quickly (but which also has some drawbacks — I’ll likely switch to pure jQuery for the next major version, but I’m also keeping an eye on the jQTouch project). A quick rundown of the features of the web app:

  • Directory Search — if you’re affiliated with UT Law School you can search our internal phone and email directory by name or department, using the native iPhone apps to place calls and send emails directly,
  • Event listings and Notices pulled from our existing calendar and Law Mail announcement systems,
  • RSS feed view of our press releases,
  • Recent Twitter posts from our Communications office (this will make more sense when/if we have more than one Twitter account posting official news, and can combine them into one stream here),
  • Maps: detailed building maps, Google maps that use the iPhone location services to guide you to our building, KML-based maps of public parking, nearby hotels, and restaurants,
  • and a psuedo-iPhone style photo gallery that’s pulled from our existing mini-gallery on the regular website, adding the ability to flick through the images (did you know that Mobile Safari adds nifty JavaScript events for multi-touch gesture support? I didn’t until this project…)

There are a lot of things already in the works for the next iteration. The number one goal is to support other popular devices, to live up to the ideal of “one web, any browser”. As a developer who has wrestled against the wide range of inconsistent desktop browsers and all of their HTML and CSS inconsistencies over the years, though, it was really, really, nice to work with a single browser that already supports HTML5 and CSS3 presentation out of the box. Now I’m spoiled.

Flotsam and jetsam

Hello to you two or three people that read and care about the things I post! It’s been awfully quiet around here, hasn’t it? I’ll give the weak excuse that I’ve been super-busy this summer, and the best laid plans of mice and men etc., etc. But I’ve also not been posting much to lately, which was always the filler that gave my site the illusion of some life in RSS-land.

I have been quietly posting stuff, though! I’ve moved most of my side-note activities over to Tumblr, which is usually more fun for me to play with (hey, it’s got graphics and video posts in addition to links!). If you’d like to follow along, head over to or sign up for my new “side-channel” RSS feed. That feed will eventually track my other linked entries around the web, from, YouTube, Vimeo, and whatever else I feel should be annotated and passed along and shoved into your reader. I’ll also soon be offering a firehose feed, in case you want to keep up on all of these posts from both the full blog as well as the side items. Just got to figure out how to keep Yahoo! Pipes! from chopping and screwing my media <embed>s beyond recognition…

Okay, get back to reading the rest of the web!

The first of my summer freelance projects is now live: the portfolio site for fabulous packaging designer, Christy Carroll. Love her work! Christy crafted the visual design for the site, and I implemented it in WordPress with a completely hand-tailored jQuery portfolio browser for the homepage. More to come soon…