WebEngine more than a CMS

by Aaron 11/06/09

CMS (content management system) based websites are awesome.  They enable website owners to manage their website without outside help and with very little training.  The cost of implementing a CMS based website is typically a bit higher than a traditional website, but a CMS based website quickly pays for itself. There are many different open source and commercial CMS systems available, so why did I create a new one from scratch?

About a year ago Bryan Mazzarello(a graphic designer with many years of web design experience) approached me about what CMS options are available that would allow him to provide his clients a CMS based website without making any design compromises.  CMS systems always make certain assumptions about design or layout or are too complicated to adjust in order to pass the “no compromises design” test.  Another problem with most CMS systems is they do not provide a mechanism for “listings”.  A “listing” could be anything from a product catalog for an ecommerce site to available rentals for a property management site.  WebEngine combines both a “no compromises design” CMS and Listing Engine into one easy to use tool.

Key features of WebEngine

  • Hosting and support are bundled together.  No need to perform complicated upgrades yourself.
  • In page WYSIWIG editing of content.
  • Robust listing engine with multiple levels of categorization.
  • Image upload tool with image cropping feature.
  • Ability to create unlimited pages with various designer generated templates.
  • Flexible search engine friendly URL’s.
  • Versioning system always save the previous version of the content and tracks who made what change.
  • Supports asp.net user controls within content areas.  Included controls include feedback form and a survey form.
  • Actively being developed and enhanced.
  • Easily customizable to fit almost any application.

WebEngine is built using the following technologies

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Category: WebEngine

Project: POSimple - Point Of Sale using Microsoft Access

by Aaron 07/08/08

This is a project that I started over a year ago and have continued to make numerous small improvements to.  The database is currently in use at one Chinese restaurant based in the Bay Area.  They have two terminals each with receipt printers and one printer for the kitchen.  Prior to using this software the restaurant took all of their orders manually with pen and paper and added up totals using a calculator.  Implementation of the software also included installing 2 computers and touch screens (done by Cortex Computer). 

I'm thinking about releasing a version of this database as a sort of Open Source project as I think many other small restaurants could easily alter the program to fit their own needs.

An easy to use Point Of Sale Program (Unicode compatible - meaning it will display and print Mandarin Characters) for a small resturant.  The program is capably of printing reciepts applying discounts, free drinks (and still apply the tax) and many other features.  Since it is implemented in Microsoft Access is relatively easy to alter it or build off of.


  • Microsoft Access Database (2000 Format)
  • VBA Code for all events
  • Unicode Compatible
  • Ability to Manage Items
  • Screen design done by editing Access forms
  • Touch screen Compatible

Update! POSimple released as open source:

Download Here

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Category: Portfolio

Project: John Balfanz Homes

by Aaron 04/07/08

New Website: www.JohnBalfanzHomes.com

John Balfanz Website Background
John Balfanz Homes wanted a complete remodel and fresh look for their new website.

The new website showcases available spec homes, the bella-vista development, and custom designer homes.

This website uses the latest and greatest .net framework 3.5 and SQL Server 2005 back-end.  There is an admin section of the website that allows the client to update their listings of spec homes.  Smooth gallery is used to showcase housing pictures.

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Category: Portfolio | Web Sites

Project: Chamblin-Landes

by Aaron 02/09/08

New Website: www.chamblin-landes.com

Background Chamblin-Landes Website

Chamblin-Landes Construction of Paso Robles, California wanted a new website to highlight their varied projects.


The new website showcases construction projects based on specific categories.


This website uses the latest and greatest .net framework 3.5 and SQL Server 2005 back-end.  There is an admin section of the website that allows the client to update their listings of spec homes.

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Category: Portfolio | Web Sites

Project: California-West

by Aaron 12/15/07

Website Remodel: www.calwest.com

Background california-west website

Three and a half years ago I created a website for San Luis Obispo based California-West.com.  Their website is contains database driven property listings with advanced features such as searching, email updates, and info about the company.  I was recently asked to give the site a fresh look and add additional content to the site.  We decided to keep all of the core functionality including the powerful property listing features as they have worked as intended.


To give a facelift and update content on the popular and sucessful California-West property management website.


This website is is done in PHP with a MySQL DB backend.  Most of the code is from an open source project called Open Realty, but it has been heavily modified by me to fit the specific needs of a property management company.

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Category: Portfolio

Project: CustomPoolRenovation.com

by Aaron 09/03/07

New Website Published :  www.custompoolrenovation.com

Custom Pool Renovation Screen Shot Background

This project was for a SF bay area company, Cole Tile & Coping. A large part of their business is performing high end pool renovation services. This was an entirely new website and domain, but they are an established business and perform many pool renovation jobs.


My client wanted to highlight their pool remodeling expertise and allow their prospective clients to get  a feel for what can be accomplished with a pool remodel.


The site is a very basic asp.net website that uses a couple of cool flash/javascript technologies.  Sifr allows you to use any font you want in a valid XHTML markup (uses flash and javascript to achieve).  We also use swfobject  to embed flash into html (this is the best way to embed flash, trust me).

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