23 December 2003

I was the primary developer for the GRAVEL Web Site Management System (a CMS) for approximately four years. During that time, I built it from scratch to handle whatever challenges the aijalon clients brought our way. I did a lot with it, but I did not take any screenshots. Courtesy of the Way Back Machine, I have found a few images that hint at what GRAVEL could do.

GRAVEL was started back in 1999 in the days before "CMS" was coined as standard jargon and a foregone conclusion. It broke new ground. While it had many of the same features as modern-day CMS applications (Drupal, Joomla, DotNetNuke, etc), it had a different underlying development framework in terms of integration, storage and customization. This was the largest closed-source project I have worked on. The goal was complete online customizability, so many of the feature silos became quite sophisticated.

The small images of GRAVEL are in orange, which was a rebranding effort that occurred after my departure from aijalon. Unfortunately, it is the best I can do after so many years...

When I left in 2003, the system features included:

  1. Membership system
  2. Contact management
  3. Database management
  4. Email form creation (with database integration)
  5. Calendars (with the ability to share events)
  6. Banners
  7. Shopping Cart
  8. Email list management
  9. Photo albums
  10. Quick Polls

I was replaced by two full-time developers. I did not monitor progress on the system after helping to migrate a couple systems into Collaborate. The system went with aijalon as it merged with Pickering Creative Group.

This system was used in roughly 100 sites after its first four years. The lessons I learned building that system were applied to GoRad and Collaborate. It was a great experience, and it set the stage for the impressive projects that came after it.


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