Denna Jones is a multi-talented consultant around architecture and culture. She has a unique sense of design and her influences are diverse. We knew that working with Denna was going to be different; something fresh and a pleasure from start to finish. We decided to do something a little different when we built her site; we baked her a lovely cake.
As we talked with Denna about her work, a story unfolded and ideas fell out. She uses a variety of services around the Web. We wanted to take content that was already being produced by Denna and make it her own, bringing together all the pieces of her Web-wide puzzle and assembling them on her kitchen table.
Flickr tells a lot of the stories that Denna's work has to tell, so it was obvious from an early stage that Flickr would play an important role. But much more important than this was the concept of retaining ownership of information that Denna was already publishing to the Web. We like that you can adumbrate Denna's character from her writing, and we wanted her web site to do that for her as well.
Providing an easy way for her to harness and manage her online publishing became our main goal. Armed with a recipe and our main ingredients, we got baking.
Denna's site is powered by a series of services from around the Web:
The content that Denna publishes using these services form the core of the site; all of the site's content comes in from these external services. The advantage of this is that it removes the need for a conventional content management system; the services do this job for us. What the site does is pull together Denna's content from these different sources into one place under her name.
Binding everything together (the egg in the recipe, if you will) is CakePHP, a Web development framework. It's a development catalyst, giving you a head start and allowing for rapid application development.
Designing and building the site we felt a bit like spoilt kids, but it was great to find that Denna was receptive to our ideas. We are very happy with the result, and Denna's happy too:
“The designers of this website are happiness merchants. [...] Happiness is the difference between feeling good (e.g. eating chocolate), and doing good (e.g. holding the door open for a stranger). It's the doing good that truly makes us happy, not personal gratification. Equally important, happiness comes from learning and achieving, especially when the learning comes with a bit of a struggle. And that's where Jon and Jon come in.”
Thanks for the kind words, Denna, and for helping us bake this cake for you! We're happy to see that you're enjoying it.
We've been somewhat remiss in posting this entry, but in the meantime we've seen a lot of kind remarks from the Web too, which you can see for yourself in the Technorati reactions to dennajones.com.
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