Welcome

What do I know?

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A Brief Blurb Befitting Ben

I graduated high school with honors and then originally went to college for Mechanical Engineering, but decided that it was not the career path that I wanted long-term. After speaking with a friend, I decided to go to school for web development. So two and a half years and a few 'Deans List's later, I received an Associate's degree in Web Design and Development. It's the most expensive piece of paper I possess.

That slew of logos up there aren't just for show; I have professional experience with all of them. You'll notice that I don't have much in the way of example sites or code. That's because I primarily handle enterprise-level solutions at my day job. So while I have quite a bit of experience, I can't exactly use them or code from them as examples; I dislike lawsuits.

In my spare time I game (primarily RPG's), play golf, or just spend time with my wife and our two cats. If I feel like going outside, I will often work on one of my two race cars or, if it's snowing/cold, perhaps go snowboarding.

Sites

MentorRugby.com is a website built for the Mentor Rugby team. This website was built using Wordpress 4.x and has a blog, event calendar, and contact page. I partially optimized it using the Hummingbird plugin.

NorthernOhioMotorsports.com is a website built for Northern Ohio Motorsports. I built it using Wordpress 4.x, Woocommerce, GravityForms, W3TC, and a slew of other plugins along with integrating W3TC with Amazon S3 and Cloudfront to use as a CDN. W3TC is similar to Hummingbird in that it assists with optimizing the site load speeds, but it's far more complex and more suited to large tasks.

I optimized the loading speed according to Pagespeed and Yslow. Both scores are over 90% and page load times are typically under two seconds. The main issue with the scoring of this site lies with the Facebook integration plugin in the footer as you can see in GTmetrix results, however removing it would be 'cheating' as the plugin provides useful functionality.

BenjaminCrute.com I use as my portfolio site. I used html5, css3, bootstrap3, parallax scrolling, and jquery in its construction. This site is intentionally very small and simple for a few reasons: less to load means faster loading times and less server load, I don't require a full multi-page or media-heavy site to get convey the information presented, and it's far less for me to maintain. With many web development firms, you may notice that parts of their site don't properly function or that their copyright isn't current. Using my approach, I don't have to worry about that for quite a few years

I also optimized the loading speed according to Pagespeed and Yslow. I had to make a call between loading multiple images (to satisfy Pagespeed's ranking system) or to go the more efficient route in this case and just load single images and allow the browser to resize them itself. Despite that, I still managed to optimize the rest of the site enough to hit 95% with Pagespeed and 94% with Yslow. Additionally, according to GTmetrix, the page load times are under one second, however loading/reloading the page as a user produces near instant results. There are a few other optimizations I could do to improve both observed speed and ranked speed, but they aren't widely supported.

Additionally, you'll notice that the only place the site didn't score 100% in YSlow was in CDN usage. The reason for this is that using a CDN increased loading times by 50-100% because the site so small and optimized that it takes longer to request the files from the CDN rather than just load them straight from the server.

Both of these cases are very good examples of why it's important to test real-world usage rather than just blindly following recommendations. Because, at the end of the day, that's all they are. GTMetrix isn't browsing my site for information; you are.