Introducing NoteForge Hammer 2.4

In 2007, I started putting my marginally-useful programming skills to use building a simple Content Management System (CMS) to manage my website, similar to Drury’s CMS (named, originally, DCMS). As my programming skills improved, the CMS grew, adding modules for composition management, event notification, invoicing, and something called “Opportunity Organization” (which is directly responsible for my increased performances in 2012) among others.

The original simple CMS has evolved into Hammer, which is both a Composer Management System and a platform for building similar applications such as Keys (for private studio management), DAVID (Document Management), and a few more starting in 2013.

Today, that system, just shy of its 5th birthday, was upgraded to version 2.4 in what is the largest cosmetic and backend upgrade of the system to date. Here’s a brief look at some of the new features.

Improved Navigation

One of the complaints about Hammer 2.3 was the static left-side navigation. On modules such as opportunity organization, the user was forced to scroll up to access the main menu. This has been completely rewritten in Hammer 2.4 with the change to the Twitter Bootstrap framework with CSS3 Microsoft Modern Buttons styling. The navigation stays at the top of the page, and divides modules by category.

Smart Buttons

Another complaint of 2.3 and previous versions was unstreamlined functions. After creating a new item, the user would have to scroll up to the menu, click the correct module, and then click a link to create a new item. While not annoying for a few items, this becomes tedious when inputting a month’s worth of invoices. This has been fixed with the addition of New and View All buttons when accessing a module that allows new items.

User Menu

Building different applications on the same platform (or at least, this same platform) means that all applications share a codebase and a user database, allowing one Hammer account to access all of the applications. The new user menu allows for fast switching between Hammer applications.

Account Management

The addition of multiple applications to Hammer necessitated a rewrite of the user and configuration modules, and the creation of a permissions database. These are all controlled via the new Account application in Hammer.

Improved Search

I finally rewrote all the code to make searching possible (and useful)

UI Improvements

Like these buttons:
And these forms:

Hammer now has a consistent look across all applications, and the CSS probably sucks less.

Completely Rewritten Code

Every module in Hammer has been recoded. All of them. Every single line. While developing DAVID (Digital Access to Vanderburg Internal Documents. Yeah, I know. It’s a fantastic name) I discovered a better way of coding the modules that use 25% of the code I was using before. As in, a module with 800 lines of code can be done in just 200 lines. It’s far more streamlined, and easier to add fields.

Proprietary Hashing Algorithms

Passwords and other hashed information (such as invoice access numbers) are calculated via a new proprietary hashing algorithm.

New Lemon Scent

This might be false.

So yeah. That’s what I’ve been doing with all my time when I’m not writing music. And now, off to build more things.