Martin Ström
my-domain.se

Pluxemburg.com

Pluxemburg.com is the website for Swedish technotronica band Pluxus and the record label Pluxemburg they run together with Jonas Sevenius and us (Martin Strm and Peter Strm).

Pluxemburg has since its launch in 2000 gone from a small independent label with only one artist “Pluxus” to bigger with several artists (and grammy awards!) and then back to again being a quite small label. The 2009 version of Pluxemburg focuses mainly on Pluxus and Pluxus related projects.

A small record label needs to not only work on the websites of their artists and the label itself, but also constantly make sure that the info on the many online forums and communities are up to date and accurate. There needs to be Facebook and Myspace pages, last.fm events, discogs.com entries and so on. Updating these websites as soon as something happens (gigs, releases, parties, videos, etc) is time consuming and unfortunatley often ends up in a copy paste manner (spamming) rather than using the different forums for their different purposes.

When thinking about these conditions in connection to building a new Pluxemburg website, we realized that instead of constantly keeping the Pluxemburg and Pluxus websites updated, we should make a website that mirrors the contents of each community and instead spend our time keeping these communities updated. The information for each part of the new Pluxemburg.com is therefor spread out on the community where it “belongs” the best. The discography is mirrored from Discogs, the events from Last.fm, videos from YouTube, information from Wikipedia, links from Delicious and sounds from SoundCloud. We use the popular tumblelog Tumblr for the newsfeed, adding not only a tool for keeping our website updated but a small community in itself too. All colors used on Pluxemburg.com are based on the “corporate” colors of each community, making also the design a mirror of each community. There is even a Twitter-feed that mirrors everything that goes on on Pluxemburg.com, somehow making the site into a complete loop.

Technically, every day a pretty straight-forward Ruby script will automatically run on our server to update the information from all sources and then sends it (together with a security token to make sure the data isn’t messed with) to a PHP script at pluxemburg.com. The PHP script then processes (cleans and validates) the data and stores it in a file as serialized PHP, which is used by the index page to present the information.

www.pluxemburg.com


Pluxemburg

pluxemburg-site.png

Pluxemburg is a record label I’m co-running with some friends. The site in its current form is almost two years old, but a lot of things have changed since it was first released. Since I just released some updates, I thought I’d write something about them and show how the CMS/administrative interface works.

Recent site updates

I won’t go through the whole site and tell you everything about it. Instead, go browse it by yourself. The shop has been improved with a smarter cart that doesn’t forget your items if you by accident reload your browser or hit the back button. Validation is more clear and better looking in the same style as the improved (and AJAX powered) guestbook and newsletter subscription.

Browser support

When the site launched almost two years ago, it fully supported Internet Explorer 5 (Mac), IE 5, 5.5 and 6 on PC and of course, old and new Firefox versions, Mozilla, Safari etc etc. It was a pain to fix the CSS especially for IE Mac and IE5, IE5.5 on Windows. Currently, I’ve dropped support for MacIE (it’is not even supported by Microsoft any more), IE5 and IE5.5 for Windows. I think the site should work more or less using outdated browsers, but it might not look exacly as intended.

CMS and site admin

The site is powered by an advanced CMS that helps us adding and editing news, products in the shop, guestbook spam and a lot of other things. When I first wrote it for this site, I had in mind to keep it so general I could, so it could be extended and used in other projects. Of course the administrative interface is password protected, but I’ve recorded two movies showing some parts of it. I’ll convert the movies to H.264 right after this is posted, so for now, the movies are pretty large in size. The movies are now in H.264 format and are 75% smaller (before: total 44.8 MB, now: 11.6 MB)

The first movie, shows a basic task such as adding some news items to specific part of the site and then view it. Pretty basic.

Watch the first movie (QuickTime 7, 20.9 3.1 MB)

The second show how easy it is to manage products in the shop, as well as track orders.

Watch the second movie (QuickTime 7, 23.9 8.5 MB)

To download them, hold the ⌥ (alt) key down and click the link or right click and choose “Download Linked File”

You’ll need QuickTime 7 to watch them.


Pluxemburg upload script

Today when working with the pluxemburg.com-site I got really tired of uploading everything with Transmit. Since our host doesn’t have support for rsync or something like that, I made this really easy bash-script that will upload everything that have been changed since last time the script was runned.

cd ~/Projects/Pluxemburg/pluxemburg.com #local path to site root
find . -newer ./lastupload -exec open -a Transmit "{}" \;
touch ./lastupload

In Transmit, remember that both local and remote paths have been set, and “Use DockSend” enabled. I saved the script as an application using Automator (Automator –> Run Shell Script), and made an icon in 20 seconds. Now I just run the app from QuickSilver or Finder and it uploads everything really fast and easy.

Update: This is for OS X and only tested in 10.4 Tiger


CSS is in progress