Some of the most personally rewarding coding I have done was for the web. Although I was making web sites before high school, it wasn't until just before going to college that I began working with dynamic content and databases.
Over the summer before starting at RPI, I took my breaks from the lifeguard stand reading "PHP & MySQL" by Larry Ullman (out of print). Teaching myself as I went along, I finalized the first version of Weytown.net by the last day of summer. It was a private web forum designed to help eleven of my closest high school friends stay in touch.
Over the years, I would continue to add features and functionality (of my own design and suggested by my friends). This included a number of online games, interchangeable CSS themes (called "skins"), a dynamic calendar for helping coordinate spring-, summer-, and winter breaks, and a featured called "Weyworld".
As members began studying abroad in countries like Ireland, Italy, Kenya, and Australia, I wanted to increase awareness of these travels. Weyworld sensed the location of site users every time they logged in using hostip.info and displayed this information using the Google Maps API. Users could also "tag" posts and photos with locations by specifying city names.
This site was produced under the direction of a local school teacher. Tom basically wanted a CMS to distribute assignments to his students (both in school and private tutoring). This was the first site I developed from scratch since starting at RPI. Because of this, I was able to build a much more maintainable backend structure (again using PHP and MySQL). It had a dedicated "Administrator" interface designed to allow Tom to maintain his site without my help.
The project was also a good lesson in working with files. Tom would be uploading Word Documents, scanned images, and PDFs for distribution to his students. All these files had metadata beyond generic "Date Created" and "File Size" (i.e. "Date Assigned", "Date Due", and "Visible/Hidden"). As original work, Tom also wanted assurance that these assignments would not be publically-accessible.
Buy Local (2009)
During my senior year at RPI, I participated in an independent studying developing an open source e-commerce website. This work was most notable as my first attempt to apply object-oriented design patterns to web development. This early attempt was highly educational, but I now much prefer to use the CodeIgniter PHP framework.
My most recent web work is this portfolio site, which I cover in more detail here.