For a long time, I’ve been fascinated by websites that are simply a generated set of flat files. 9 times out of ten, the content you want to put up on the web doesn’t change enough to warrant a big back end database. Generating files (HTML and the like) up from and simply serving a bunch of static files is a great way to have a simple and fast website.
The problem: I’ve been looking for a job in New Orleans for the past month. Even though there are only three main job posting websites for New Orleans, it’s still a pain to check each one – I’d rather have one main web site from which I can see all the job postings.
The solution: NOLA Tech Jobs is simple website updated hourly that goes out and compiles a list of job postings from various job posting websites (Craigslist, Work Nola, and Nola.com). It’s powered by a cron script that runs hourly. The script does two things: scrapes the job posting websites and converts them in to Jekyll posts, then re-builds the Jekyll website.
I knew I’d be checking this site on my phone often, so I used Twitter Bootstrap to build out the user interface. The header image is responsive, thanks to some perl code I wrote.
An interesting thing happened when I was building the site. Even though I was powerless to refresh the page and trigger a refresh on the job list, I felt the need to. So I added a countdown timer, which somehow mitigated this urge to refresh the page (possibly by letting me know when it was “ok” to refresh the page). The countdown timer also had the added effect of being a moving element, making the page more interesting to look at.
This countdown box ended up taking much longer than I expected. Turns out, dealing with dates on the web is very difficult. I had to correct my server time with
ntp, and carefully generate the two files that control the countdown.
The countdown logic works like this:
- My countdown counts down from the current time (on the user’s computer) until the
Datedeclared by my inclusion of
- The execution time of the script is stored via a similar
includeand rendered out on the page. It was very important to render these out with the TimeZone, since without it, the countdown would default to the end user’s timezone, which may or may not be the same TZ as New Orleans.
I debated briefly about doing localization, but decided to keep everything pinned to
America/Chicago since that’s the timezone that New Orleans is in.
So, if you’re looking for a tech job in the New Orleans area, and are lazy like me, try NOLA Tech Jobs;