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Webmaster T's Featured Site

Our E- Mail interview

First of all let me remind you that English is Mattias' second language and I have decided to leave it as he sent the reply just so you realize how hard it must be to prepare a site in a foreign language.

Webmaster T: Mattias what did you consider when you decided to do the JavaScript Planet Site?

Mattias: The idea of the site was to make it possible to find what you were looking for as fast and easy as possible, rather than displaying the scripts in "optimal environments". I thought that using frames with a list on one side and the script on the other was the best way, since you wouldn't have to use the back-button all the time. I've got several other navigation systems as well, which aren't supported by all browsers and that might be the reason why I'm still "stuck in the frames".

Webmaster T: How did you come up with the concept for the site?

Mattias: I've been interested in programming since I first started using computers about four years ago. The first few months I played games, got bored, and started with Visual Basic which was one of the newest programming tools at the time. It might sound very ambitious but I always want to feel that I'm doing something meaningful when I use the computer. In the beginning I designed smaller apps that helped me/friends in school/everyday life. I still find this interesting. I first came in contact with the Internet in the end of 1995. Okey, it was a new technology and therefore interesting as I saw it, but quite soon it wasn't "new and exciting" and building ordinary home pages wasn't a big challenge or stimulation since the limits in the HTML-language were quite big.

I integrated my Visual Basic interest with my interest for sports and I wrote my first VB-app that, by using a little input, in this case the results in the Swedish National Hockey League, build several pages even graphics (charts etc.) which I later uploaded. It wasn't very glamorous, I didn't even have an Internet connection at home, I uploaded the files in school during a computer-lesson once a week. Last Easter I first came in contact with JavaScript. I found a clock-script, managed to change it a bit, and I was hooked! I already had a personal home page where I experimented with new, for me exciting, things that I came across, so I added a few JavaScripts and also some JAVA applets.(http://www.geocities.com/Colosseum/3231) Since JavaScripts didn't belong in the Colosseum (sports) neighborhood, I decided to start a new page in the right neighborhood (SiliconValley). On June 29 1996 the JavaScript Planet opened with just over 40 scripts!I still didn't have access to the Internet more than 2 days/week. I finally got a connection at home last October.

So this might seem like a long way from what the JSPlanet is today, whatever that is, but what I want to say is that you don't have to be a genius working 24h/day for a long time to make a site that attracts people (currently around 5000/week). Just try to find something that stimulates you and that makes you happy working with, all response you receive also makes it worth the time. Right now I spend about 1 hour/day answering e-mails and 1 hour developing the site. I loose one hour of pointless television watching and one hour of even more pointless sleep, but it's not a sacrifice, believe me!

Webmaster T: How long did it take to implement your original concept?

Mattias: I don't remember, but I don't think it took very long. Most time I spent developing a Visual Basic-app that keeps track of the scripts(I can tell you more if you want), as I see it it's a must when having so many different navigation systems. Otherwise, changing the name of one script would mean having to edit maybe 10 files manually. Now I just push a button!

Webmaster T: How many redesigns have you done to transform it into what it is today?

Mattias: I've updated graphics, colors, features, added groups, toolbars, navigation systems etc. Unfortunately I don't have any old copies left. I might have a copy of the Java-part from my personal-home page. I'll check it out soon.

Webmaster T: To continue you said I could ask about the app you developed to keep track of the scripts. Well I'm intrigued tell us a little about it please!

Mattias: Here follows a brief description of my program, I don't know how much you know about relation databases and Visual Basic 4.0, but I hope you'll understand this. Basically this is how a new script gets into my site. 1. I find it, or get it from someone.
2. I edit it, remove unnecessary stuff, and add a credit to the author.

Now to my VB program...
3. I input the filename, the title and which browser version they require. This is stored in my database (MS Access 7.0). Each script is given a unique ID which is used in step 4 I've got three basic menus.
4.a (group) I choose which group(s) the script belongs to.The Internet Explorer Menu, the Outliner and the SelectionBox-Menu also get the information from these inputs.
4.b (a2z) The program knows the first letter and adds it to the DB.
4.c (date) The program knows the date and adds it to the DB.

Now I've got a script ID which is connected to at a group, a letter and a date in the DB.

     \    |   /
    /   |   \
   /    |    \

I push a button and by looping the scripts and getting the group, letter and date from each ID all menus are written! If the script is less than a week old it gets a NEW-pic.

Webmaster T: Is this one of the software products you are currently selling via the net?

Mattias: No. I've thought about it and I've had several people asking for it, but as the program looks now, no one would have any use of the app, since it's so specialized to the JSPlanet, but I've thought about developing a more user-friendly app that could keep track of any menu.

Webmaster T: Do you have another site for that? Don't be bashful!!

Mattias: It's designed by me and a friend. So far we've only got one product for sale, but it's really useful for golfers. It's in Swedish and adjusted to the Swedish handicap-system.

Webmaster T: How have you promoted it?

Mattias: I realized when I sent the previous letter that I forgot to answer this. When you say "it" you refer to the JSPlanet, right? I added my URL to many search-engines, this was almost a waste of time,since there are so many sites that has JavaScript as a keyword, even though the site isn't really about JavaScript. The best ways to promote yourself is to add your URL to as many other sites as possible that deals with the same subject, in this case JavaScript. Other ways is to be active; answer mails, participate in newsgroups, etc. One of my latest features, "Request IT!", got more popular than I expected. I've always received requests, but with this list it's become even more, it also puts a lot of work from my shoulders now that others can help too.

I received the second mailing from Mattias and at the time was wondering how he could keep this monster so well managed on just one hour a day. I spend at least three times that but now realize the software he developed for himself is the key to the functionality and ease of resource management. It does re-enforce a saying I have "HTML is not rocket science and a little common sense and good content is what separates the good from the bad!" Til next month folks! May the Java Gods smile on You and the Demon Viruses be few and very,very far between!!!!

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