Finding Burgers Fast: My DIY Halifax Burger Week Site
Feb 23, 2018 12:55

Every year in late March, restaurants in Halifax get together and put on Halifax Burger Week. Every restaurant has its own take on what a burger should be, from vegan and international-themed burgers to solid heart-stopping classics. There are even burgers where the money raised is donated to charity. All in all it's a fun event, especially since it's right in the middle of Halifax's bleak "oh God will this winter never end?!" season.

The official Burger Week website is a typical modern WordPress-based promotional site - which means it's heavy on large images, JavaScript-based special effects, and lots of plugins and external resources for ad tracking and the like.

The response from at least the design and tech people I follow in Halifax has been ... underwhelming. Here's some of what showed up on Twitter after the site went live (follow the thread to see more - but watch out for some harsh language!)

Like so many promotional sites these days, it seems to have forgotten that the web should be about easily finding information - and that we solved the "displaying information in a formatted manner on a page" back in the 1990s without using megabytes of JavaScript and hijacking the native user interface for special effects - special effects which soon become much less "special" and much more "annoying".

The biggest problem for me, though, has been that the site is so busy showing off that it forgot to have a quick easy way to simply find the burger you want, especially if you're out and about and using your smartphone. The site is fine for browsing but it's really terrible for finding.

So for the third year in a row, I've built my own fast, light, mobile-friendly, and searchable burger week listing site.

The first year I did this it was a full-blown Ruby on Rails app with a database back-end, but the latest version is just a single page of HTML with some JavaScript and CSS and one small branding image at the bottom. The main feature is a search field which, as you type, filters the listing to only include matches. This lets you quickly find 'bacon' or 'vegan' or 'gluten-free' or look for a specific restaurant or even just a street name like 'argyle' or 'gottingen'. This search feature took 6 lines of JavaScript.

The first year I ended up doing a lot of copy-paste and formatting from, if I recall correctly, a PDF of the official brochure guide. This year I discovered that the official site's map page has all the location details stored in a single big JS variable, which I adapted with some search-replace into something more useful for a plain listing.

The official burger week home page is 2.3 megabytes split into 119 requests and on my fast home fibre connection loads in about 2 seconds. The directory listing page, with all the pictures and details, is 6.3 megabytes in 223 requests and loads in about 3 seconds.

My unofficial site is 106 kilobytes in 10 requests and loads in about 0.3 seconds. This includes a JS library, some custom fonts, and Google analytics.

So while my listing isn't as pretty as the official one, it's about 1/60th the size and loads in 1/10 the time, and more importantly is a whole lot more useful for the very common use case of wanting to find a suitable burger near you.

I'm a big believer in "punk rock software" - i.e. skip the vast intricate architectures and heavy loads and just get 'er done quickly. Focus on impactful results in the quickest time possible, like a 90-second song from the Ramones.

(To bring this all full circle, an early use of the term "punk rock" was rock journalist Lenny Kaye describing The Stooges' first album in 1969 as: "the music of punks. It`s about cruising for burgers in your car" - so if you're cruising for burgers in your car like a punk, you might want to use this punk burger guide.)

Previous:
"This is Nowhere" at PodCamp Halifax 2018
Feb 04, 2018 19:10
Next:
This Is Nowhere: Finding My Duck
Oct 08, 2018 17:57
Other Blog Posts
This Is Nowhere: Bloomsday Halifax This Is Nowhere: Why an HTML/JavaScript Single-Page App With GPS Is A Bad Idea This Is Nowhere: GPS and Wayfinding and More UX This Is Nowhere: The Single-Button UX This Is Nowhere: Don’t Just Stand There! This Is Nowhere: Finding My Duck Finding Burgers Fast: My DIY Halifax Burger Week Site "This is Nowhere" at PodCamp Halifax 2018 The Diary Diaries: Fixing Remembary's Facebook Connection Special Leap Day Edition of "Some Weird Things About Time" What's Up With Remembary Can't get pg_dump To Work Now That Heroku Has Upgraded Postgresql to 9.4? The Best Thing I Ever Did To Promote My App If You Build It, They WON'T Come #deployaday, My Big Hairy Plan for 2015 Extracting Plain Text from an NSAttributedString My Year of "Hits" Part 2: Remembary Rolling My Year of "Hits" Part 1: Remembary Rises (and Stumbles) Handy Little Test Method to Check for Translations in Rails Apps My Suddenly Slow-Waking MacBook Air Indie App PR: Keeping Control of Your Tone A Quick Note on 'clone' in Rails 3.2 My eBook Apps 2: iOS, JavaScript, and Ruby My eBook Apps 1: Introduction Quick Tip: No Sound on Mountain Lion My Upcoming Talk at PodcampHFX 2012: My Year of "Hits" starshipsstarthere.ca: Building at the Speed of Funny Screencast Tips Remembary's Cool New Picture Support Indie App PR 2: Keeping On Top Of User Feedback Indie App PR 1: How to Handle an App Disaster Giles Bowkett Diary Project 2 Remembary Video Congratulations! Welcome to Your Nightmare! How My iPad App Remembary Took Off Why You Should Have an App in the App Store (Even If You Probably Won't Make Any Money) PodCampHFX Remembary Presentation - Part 3 How I Used MailChimp Autoresponders to Promote Remembary PodCampHFX Remembary Presentation Part 2 PodCampHFX Remembary Presentation Part 1 Why AdWords Ads Don't Work for iPad Apps Remembary is Sponsoring PodcampHFX Why Can't I Resize my Views in Interface Builder? Momento and Remembary Concerning Remembary iPad-Friendly eBooks of Gracian's Art of Worldly Wisdom Project Report: PTOS2 A Quick Note on Encryption We're all LUsers Thoughts on HAML Friday Afternoon Hack - Getting Beyond the Basics Halifax Friday Hack and Back to Basics Quote from Wil Shipley FutureRuby Make Web Not War Busy Week I: Toronto Ruby Job Fair Employment.nil - the Toronto Ruby Job Fair Code Count: Ruby on Rails vs. C#/ASP.NET A Brief Note on Twitter The Hub Halifax and Mobile Tech for Social Change Deep Thoughts on Microsoft From The Accordion Guy The Two Kinds of Defensive Programming Presentation - Fixing Careerious: From C#/.NET to Ruby on Rails Enterprise! Presenting at Ruby on Rails Project Night - May 7th New Name and New Look for Careerious/Clearfit FutureRuby and More From Unspace Health Tips for Programmers This tables meme won't die Careerious - Ruby and Rails vs. C#/.NET Yeah I Use Tables For Layout, So Sue Me The Different Kinds of Done Giles Bowkett's RubyFringe presentation OfficeTime: Great Time-Tracking App for OS X Back With A New Look Non-DRY Feed torontorb Keeping Your Sanity With The Command Design Pattern shindigital Is All Grown Up! (according to the spambots) Startup Stars? I'm so bored! The Magic Words for RMagick Jennifer from Operations You see? Naming is HARD Business Software as Process Documentation Deployment note: 'execve failed' Steve Jobs on Market Research Why Canada Is Better for Entrepreneurs "Program first and blog second" Toronto Tech Collage The MacBook Air Is A Roadster RubyFringe! Quote of the Week: Steve Yegge Starting Up: Cards Great design tool: browsershots.org Starting Up: The Logo Quotes Of The Day: Hedge Fund Interview TSOT Ruby / Rails Presentation Night - Part 1 Moneyworks: Accounting Software for Canadians on OS X Starting Up: The Name Nice logo, but why is your site so bland? Welcome to shindigital.com