Every programming project starts with the basic “Hello, world!” This isn’t exactly that.

I’ve been tweaking this particular version of The Dam for just over 2 years. It’s “hello world” moment looked like this back in 2007:


A fullscreen Google map with Lightbox. Really just a prototype, it’s meaning and purpose weren’t very… apparent; but it was the first new site for me in a few years, ever since starting work for my employer after graduation. You see, those first few years left me sapped. Spending 10+ hours a day working on web projects, the last thing I wanted to do when I came home was work on the web some more. So I retired the original (v.3) Dam of Knowledge, hoping to create something better later.

There were several false starts over the years to get something new up and running. Version 5 was just a giant picture of my guinea pig. Another was a Flash site that would be filled with a random array of portfolio pieces… clicking each “pixel” of an abstracted image would launch a viewer and uncover a piece of a larger picture. It looked something like this:


Actually, looking back on it today, it is still a good idea, it had a lot going for it. Unfortunately I have a little pattern of abandoning projects like this when my interest wanes or shifts to something else. Hence moving on to the Google map prototype. That was soon neglected in favor of ActionScript 3 video experiments, which turned into the sibling site JoelSunman.com.

Last year I decided to start fleshing out the interface and content of both, also give the two a more unified look and feel. Unable to decide which site should be the personal video of the day experiment, and which should be the more professional portfolio, it seemed best to just make everything every thing and finally merge them as one. Hence the “Joel Sunman & The Dam of Knowledge.” I like it, it sounds like James and the Giant Peach (something I’ve neither read nor seen).

What’s Next?

The basic concept is here now. I’m still sticking with the Google map interface since it offers a lot of interesting possibilities, but the next step will be tying everything into the back end. WordPress, the same CMS powering this blog, will eventually control everything from the map portfolio and featured project highlights to the video-a-day XML. Getting all this various data into a uniform format will allow me to change the front end much easier down the line.

Beyond that I still want this as a place to collect all my development experiments, random little thoughts, and interesting travels. I have a lofty goal with the video-a-day project (probably better named “image-a-day,” since it won’t/can’t always be video) to work my way back through the years and backdate entries in order to expand my little personal timeline I talked about in Goodbye MySpace.

So let’s get started (again)…

program HelloWorld(output);
  WriteLn('Hello World!');