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August 1, 2003

working on a website

I reported some time ago that a publisher was talking to me about writing a very quick "issues guide" for new voters, to be published in the fall. They actually sent me a contract, which I decided to sign, and then they withdrew the offer because of qualms about marketing. So now I'm considering writing the same material and giving it away on a website. I think I could persuade friends in the civic-engagement business to publicize the site, and the resulting traffic would be enough to justify my labor.

I'd like the website to be quite interactive. In particular, I'd like visitors to answer a bunch of questions and see an initial political profile, which they could then modify in the light of the information and perspectives presented on the website. The progamming for this quiz would be a breeze for someone who know what she was doing. And it would be a fairly cheap application to buy from a programmer. But I don't know what I'm doing, and I don't have any money to pay for custom code. I spent quite a bit of time this week finding and downloading "freeware" that was almost right, but not exactly. In the process, I figured out that a Java script would do the trick: no need for a database. I also decided that I could learn how to write the script without pouring my time into a sinkhole. So I bought a Java script manual and I'm busy learning it. The last time I wrote code was about 1984; the language was Basic, the computer was an Atari, and I was in high school. I wasn't especially into it (I was always a humanities kind of geek, not a techie); but it had an appeal then and it has an appeal now.

August 1, 2003 12:33 PM | category: Internet and public issues | Comments


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