An entrepreneur with a dream. That’s how MemoryBox Calendars began. Greg Hill, the founder of MemoryBox Calendars started making his own custom advent calendars for his family every year; the calendars were such a hit that he decided to make a business out of it. Greg came to us to help make his vision come to life. This site is really an excellent showpiece for our skills, every last piece of it is custom, from the logo, page design, application design and development, Flash & animation, image processing and conversion tools, shipping systems & ecommerce. Each piece fits wonderfully together to create a beautiful, elegant system.
The overall premise is simple , build a site where people can create their own advent calendars. The execution was a bit more challenging. Each customer can begin creating a calendar without creating an account, add cover pictures, window pictures, text, frames, change fonts, colors, frame colors; basically the customer gets to go nuts customizing. Once logged in, the customer can save the calendar (or “save as…”) or launch existing projects. Once the calendar is built the customer can then purchase one or more copies, add messaging to the package and complete their checkout. At that point, a high-res USPS shipping label is generated, and the high-res calendar files are pushed to an Amazon AWS account and processed into a high-resolution PDF that is then sent to a print house.
You might guess, this site is a laundry list of complexity. Due to the requirements, everything on this site is totally custom; the login & user maintenance system, image uploading and converting, shipping label generators, the ecommerce system, and the pdf generation. Every last piece was built to the client’s demanding specifications and the final result looks great, and is a joy to use. We’re not often thought of as application developers, but almost everything we build involves some sort of admin system, user management system, or dynamic content. This site is a more extreme example, but many of the challenges faced in building this site were challenges that we had dealt with before, even some for which we had already custom libraries. In this case, many of the user login & management parts, the ecommerce system, data models, and some of the billing, shipping, and image processing libraries were pieces of code that we had built before with the expectation that they should be extensible and used again. There’s no doubt that we’ll use these custom libraries yet again, they solve complex problems quickly and easily, and help us keep our prices reasonable even for complex jobs.