Sunday, November 08, 2009

Shiny Discs Web Site

A couple of weeks ago, my Shiny Discs web site domain name came up for its annual renewal, and I decided to let it go. Work has been such that I never seem to get any time to work on it, and it's been left abandoned, just wasting hosting costs for the last year.

However I had a last-minute change of heart late on Friday afternoon, had the domain renewed, and spent Saturday working on the outline for the site.

Using Silverlight I've been able to get something approaching what I originally intended in terms of visual display for the 'This Week's new Releases' section and the 'Next Week's New Releases' section. One other change I'm making is the site is going to concentrate only on Blu-Ray releases. The site shows that this week there are SIXTEEN new releases, and next week there will be TWENTY-FIVE so the format is clearly gaining traction. These days I only ever seem to get time to watch Blu-Rays anyway and I can't remember the last time I bought a DVD.

Screenshot of the first cut of the Shiny Discs Web Site

It's early days yet. Although the user can now use his mouse to 'browse through the rack' of new releases, there is additional work to be done so that when a title appears 'head on' a popup of statistics and review summaries is visible. I think this will be a fun interface and quick way of checking what's coming up without having to read through a long review or watch a half hour video podcast.

Not that I've given up on the video podcast idea. It's just that the length needs to be reduced to under 10 minutes so that podcasts can be played, via YouTube which limites you to 10 minutes, on an iPhone and iPod. I also need to find a way to reduce the crazy render times and increase the ease with which I can grab clips from Blu-Ray to make for a more interesting 'show'.

Please go and have a play and let me know what you think - just remember it's early days yet. Also note that the site runs on Microsoft Silverlight, which is similar to Flash except that it's not from Adobe (and is much better :-P). If you don't already have that installed you will be prompted to download it. It takes less than a minute to download and runs on both Mac and PC, supporting Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari.

Stay tuned!


Steve Langton said...

Just visited your site, Ian, and am bowled over by the layout and the facility to browse the rack of discs. I think it's a good idea to concentrate in Blu-ray and greatly look forward to future developments.
Excellent work!

Ian said...

Thanks Steve. Need to sort out the download times (and merge "This Week" and "Next Week" into one display selected by radion button) and really want to get the "Summary popups" done this weekend. Hopefully as each week passes the site will become more and more functional and a useful visit.

Must say I'm finding discovering the "New Releases" a nightmare though. There seems to be no one central release schedule and even the big sites seem to contradict each other and miss important titles.

Kevin Phillips said...

Ian. Love it that you have got the site going and decided 11th hour to keep it up.
Silverlight loaded and ran first time for me and it looked excellent. Love the space dedicated to the covers - bold, clear and definately the focal point. Can't wait for you to grow it further.
Kevin (IE)

Ian said...

Thanks Kevin. Just need more time to make it into what I want it to be. Things are a bit hectic at the moment but hoping to have some time over Christmas to really add the Silverlight magic dust to it.

How are things with you? Hope you and the family are all well.