August 23, 2006

Introducing 24Zones!

24Zones is one of the secret projects that I’ve somewhat half-mentioned in my last post. Last week, I was looking for another reason to dive into Rails when I noticed my dad using a certain other world time site. He likes it because it was a no-fuss way of checking on times in a bunch of places.

I thought it could use some improvement. First off, the clocks were just static text, so you always had to refresh to get a new time. It also looked like 1996 InterNet, mostly unstyled text and table layouts. I decided it would be fun to build something that was a bit more functional and sophisticated.

I think you’ll find a lot of interesting decisions on the site: I went with a cl1p-esque non-login scheme to be able to have people using the website right away. I originally thought it would be a good idea to automatically create an account for every visitor and just hand it to them at the root index. I ended up putting up an index page with a link to a new account. This gives a nice positive action to creating an account that is more user-friendly than hoisting one at them. The thing I like about 24Zones is that, at least to me, it’s already a success. My dad now has a nicer clock application he can use for day-to-day work. The hosting and domain costs are almost negligible. I’m really proud of how it looks, and it makes a good addition to my portfolio. If the ads help it turn a profit, then that’s icing on top of all the other good things it’s already done. Let me know what you think!

EDIT: Ah it seems like Dreamhost and Apis Networks are still fighting over who really is serving the domain. If you see a rails welcome page, then you’re still facing the old servers, please hold!