XM Radio Online v2.0 launches, now with AJAX!

XM Radio Online v2.0 is up. This was a complete rebuild of the UI and a nice overhaul to the back-end as well. Unlike the previous version, the UI is now mostly Javascript using xmlHttpRequest (that’s AJAX if you follow the trendy names for these things) for the channel/song data updates. There’s still a few small Flash movies for displaying the presets and the current song data.

Here’s a screenshot of the new player:

XM Radio Online Player v2.0

This new version should be much more accessible and easier to use, and also takes up fewer system resources, so people who want to tune in a channel and leave it playing in the background while they work should be happier.

This was an excellent project to work on – while I’ve done quite a bit of DHTML/Javascript work in the past, I’ve never used it as a base for an entire application. This was also the first time I used xmlHttpRequest, but I found that applying my Flash knowledge to the AJAX model worked out great – the only tricky part was figuring out a few browser inconsistencies and working around those.

If you want to check it out, you can sign up for a free 3 day trial.

iVillage.com redesign launched

I mentioned that the iVillage entertainment section soft-launched a couple of weeks ago, well now the full site is up and kicking (complete with horrid full screen ads to skip before viewing the front page).

It was a very… ehm… colorful project to work on :). As mentioned in my other post, the site is XHTML 1.0 transitional with CSS used for layout, with a little Flash content peppered in there for some extra flavor. More and more of the sites we are working on these days entail an XHTML/CSS layout and then a few Flash movies embedded around in various locations to spice things up a bit, and I have to say it’s working out great. I really think a lot more designers will go in the direction of hybrid sites rather than the old full Flash site or straight HTML in the coming year.

Another thing to note is the validation problem. It seems that most of the problems (if not all) stem from a few sloppy Javascript embeds and unencoded ampersands that were added in by the iVillage development team. Unfortunately with the way the site was developed – doing the design and template coding first, then integrating those files with the content management system – and without someone on the development side constantly cracking the validation whip, I suppose these things are bound to happen.

Anyway, enjoy the site: www.ivillage.com.

The new Jetta mini site

The new Jetta A5 mini site is up. Designed by Arnold Worldwide and put together (Flash development) by us.

Of special note is the fact that this is the first large scale (high traffic) site that is using my FlashObject embed method. The site has been up for a few weeks so far without a hitch. Unfortunately they seem to have changed the HTML around from what we gave them (it was valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional). Oh well, can’t have everything.

Anyway, the site turned out pretty nice, so go check it out.

iVillage Redesign

For some reason nobody told me that the iVillage redesign that we did was partially launched last month.

This was one of the first projects I worked on when I moved to New York. We decided on a CSS layout using XHTML 1.0 transitional (sent as text/html), with some Flash peppered around. Right now only the entertainment section is using the new design, with the other sections to follow as their internal team takes our template and adapts the content in the other sections. Unfortunately the site doesn’t validate because of one little error(!) that I’ll be passing along to their internal team along with a few small visual errors to fix.

It uses a similar method to the suckerfish dropdowns for the flyout menus on the left navigation, and some basic CSS rollovers for the main navigaion tabs at the top.

I would have liked to use my FlashObject embed for the Flash content, but this was handed over to their internal team way before I had even thought it up, so it uses generic Javascript to detect and embed the Flash movies.

UPDATE (12-22-2004): Looks like the one validation error was in some content that has now rotated off of the homepage, so now it validates!

UPDATE (01-31-2005): The whole site went live this week.

XM Radio Online update

In developing the XM Radio Online player, we came across a pretty big issue that made it impossible to use the windows media player in Firefox and Safari. Well, we are also developing the same player for Windows Media Center edition and came across the same problem.

So after finally finding a workaround, we realized very quickly that it was also a fix for the Firefox/Safari issues we were having.

So, starting today, you can listen to XM Radio Online using Firefox or Safari on your mac. Go sign up for the free 3 day trial and check it out.