Columbia PMA . org
Below is the original text that appeared under "about this site" in the columbiapma.org website. This monster creation was a work of art, and it was retired soon after I completed my studies there (around late 2007). The internal links have been changed to simple underlined text.

Chronology

This webite was created through a collaborative effort by the PMA officers of 2005-2006. It was designed and programmed by Gary (Che-Yu) Wang, PMA Secretary (2005-2006) and Webmaster, with lots of help from all the other PMA officers.
The idea for creating a new website for this Postbac program was initially put forth at election time of Spring 2005 by Co-President Dimitar Zlatev (2005-2006). The actual concept and layout of the website was envisioned, mulled over, revised and thought about for approximately two months by Gary Wang. The domain name (columbiapma.org) was purchased on July 22, 2005, and actual creation of the website began immediately thereafter. After one full month (plus a few days) of designing, programming, scripting, writing, re-writing, and pulling of (scarce) hair, the website neared completion. In the 2.5 weeks preceding the launch date, the PMA officers spent many 10-hour days staring at computer screens to gather links and generate content for the site. It finally went live at 8:00pm on August 26, 2005, two hours after the proposed launch time. Not too bad for only one month of development.

Technical Information

This site is programmed in PHP, and was
developed on
The actual webite is housed on a Linux system (kernel 2.6.9) running Apache web server version 1.3.33
a Gentoo Linux system running Apache web server version 2.0.54. The PHP code and accompanying HTML was hand-coded using Nedit, a programmer's text editor for Linux. The background images and icons were created using Inkscape (a vector-art program) and GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program). All programs and applications used in the creation of this website are Open Source.
The rounded corners effect (visible in Firefox and other standards-compliant browsers) was accomplished without the use of images. The code was adapted from original CSS code by Stu Nicholls at CSS Play. The elusive floating footer was created though the ingenious use of [div] tags and CSS. The pages on this website have been checked for W3C Standards conformity (conforms to XHTML 1.0 Transitional and CSS 2.0). The site has been made as table-less as possible. All layout and styling is done using CSS.
There is some Javascript on this site to enhance its interactivity and appearance. However, all uses of Javascript have been made as non-essential as possible. The most useful of the Javascript is the expanding/collapsing menu. (Internet Explorer users do not see this.)

Additional Software & Information

Menu script:		PHP Layers Menu
Calendar script:	ExtCalendar 2
Search script:		RiSearch PHP
			(Now using Google Search, as of 2006-05-06)

RSS script:		LastRSS
Weather script:		pxWeather

Message Board:		Unclassified NewsBoard (UNB)
Web Host:		Bluehost.com


Recent Updates (August 2006)


We've reorganized the site to make it a bit easier to find what you need. The category Postbac Life (formerly PMA) now contains things pertaining to the student aspect of the Postbac Program. You'll find information on volunteer programs, the PMA Peer Mentor program and the photo directory under Postbac Life. You'll also find here the necessary program forms, and the Auxiliary Groups of the PMA.

The Academics category houses all information related to classes, school, and advising. You'll find Academic Advising information, the course catalog, a link to culpa and some external resources that we hope will help you get through your classes.

The new Med School category is where you will find links to the accredited Medical, Dental, Veterinary, and Osteopathic schools in the US and Canada. You can also download the required questionnaires and forms, and connect to external links that should help you prepare your application.

The On Campus category has information about everything on campus, from computing, health and financial services, to the gym, and dining options.

And finally, when you are not cramming your head full of science, go to the Off Campus section to find some fun in NYC.

We hope you enjoy these changes. As always, we value your opinion. We are here for you, so please let us know if you have any suggestions or comments about the site!


Other additions, and Tips & Tricks

  • Enabled compression (SetOutputFilter DEFLATE in .htaccess) to cut download time and bandwidth usage by over 70% [2007-3-6].
  • Mouse-over on the category image will cycle randomly through the images assigned to that category (AJAX). [2007-01-16]
  • Mini-calendar now uses AJAX technology to load next/previous months, so we no longer require a full-page reload to see next month's events.
  • Implemented AJAX as an experimental feature for the Facts of the Week on the home page. [2006-11-07]
  • "Set Theme" page moved to Preferences page. [2006-09-17]
  • Photo Directory: [2006-09-07]
    • Added sorting feature - sort by first name, last name, or undergrad institution. Last name is default sorting value.
    • Added "previous" and "next" links.
  • Added code to supply Last-Modified header information [2006-09-03]
  • Site Map is accessible just below the search bar, in the upper right hand corner. [new 2006-08]
  • Photo Directory (aka "Postbac Facebook") is now embedded in this website, to create a new seamless look. [new 2006-06]
  • New site Themes added, and old ones resurrected. [new 2006-06]
  • Mini calendar can be shown/hidden via toggle bar
  • You may change your style setting at the Choose Your Style page. (removed firefox-specific style selection feature) [2006-09-10]
  • The small white running-man icon that appears after some menu items (non-IE users only) marks that link as an external link (one which is not within www.columbiapma.org)
  • Printing: The menu, mini-calendar, footer, and other extraneous items can be hidden from the printer. Click on the "plain" option at the bottom of the page to remove them. The default behavior of printing is to show the menu and other items. The mini-calendar, however, is always hidden from the printer.
2011-06-21 18:36
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