The Portland Scene: Web 2.0 Playground

Now, those of you who know me personally know that I really dislike most things. With that in mind, most of you who know me professionally can probably extrapolate that I have little use for buzz-words like AJAX, podcasting, vidcasting, vlogging, etc… Note: This does not mean I’m critical of the concepts behind the buzzwords; I’ve done remote scripting on the web for ages, and I’m writing in a goddamn blog, so that really wouldn’t make much sense. No, it’s the buzzwordiness of it all that I can’t abide. I guess I’m just a curmudgeon.

That said – sometimes, you have to know when you’re beaten. That’s why I’m doing something right now that I really would rather not – I’m using the phrase “Web 2.0.” As near as I can tell, Web 2.0 refers to a website that features a dynamic user experience, and achieves this dynamic user experience with flare and techniques that aren’t employed by most standard websites, which are typically more of the “static page -> form post -> server response -> page reload” variety.

Well, I’ve attempted to throw my own hat in the ring, with a local community website, which launched on New Year’s Day. It's gone now, but it used to leave at

It’s for the city of Portland, OR, specifically, but if you’re a web developer, you might find it interesting anyway, even if you live in Nova Scotia. Why? Well, let’s list some features.

  • I’m using the Scriptaculous Library , which I’ve found quite good, although the Prototype library, which it requires, I have found buggy in the past.
  • I’m using Yahoo’s Map and Geocoding APIs , which are very, very keen.
  • User and picture grids are sortable and filter-able without reloading the page. Play around with the grids in the righthand column, but don’t lose focus on the other things you’re looking at.
  • The Scriptaculous autocomplete control makes searching for locations less tedious, and almost – gasp – fun!
  • There are tons of bits of functionality that are handled without specific page reloads, including picture reordering and adding to favorites. Basically, the entire goal of the site was to create a virtual community for a physical one, and get rid of some of the interface annoyances that we put up with when we use sites like Citysearch. Is it successful? I hope so, but I’m not sure. But, like anything else in the Web 2.0 world, The Portland Scene is in beta, and the features and fixes are coming fast and furious. Hope you find it interesting.
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