Lovebox was one of the 3 biggest dating sites in Hungary (it still rocks, although not nearly as popular). From the very start (Sep 2002) I programmed and managed the whole engine, with all the fine tuning on the go, down to the level of optimized database operations, and also created a lot of maintenance & operator areas to keep it going. It was my single most detailed and most enjoyable project, and also the longest - I owned the company for 12 years. I gained lots of skills from it, practically this was the challenge of my life, mostly because of the limited budget for hardware that ended up in high performance coding.

Technology involved: PHP, JS, CSS, MemCached
Takeaway: Understand what your server does and she'll love you forever.
Every programming team needs a well-working project management system. Backstage was our answer for the market not giving us a truly cutting one. It's a clean, easy-to-use local system that keeps track of every project and every edition (i.e. thread) inside them. It's fully based on our experiences & practices; allows members to communicate, share notes, deal with each other's code, efficiently index & maintain sources, document any identifier or part of the program on-the-go - it helps creating and taking care of projects. It's a developers dream, basically. I'm proud of having made it come true. I love to work with Backstage tools even as a single developer.

Technology involved: PHP, JS, CSS
Takeaway: Always have the best tools to keep your source tidy. You live there.
Szallodak (hungarian for 'hotels') is a Booking-like company with the top 500 hotels in Hungary, mostly four- and five-star ones. They have a complex site with a nightmare level admin, and had a very old code behind the scenes that was my job to replace with something modern. Can't say it was easy. Took me almost a year to disassemble the fuzzily written parts and rebuild the site while running but it turned out to be a success story at the end. I also refurbished their administration areas - now they have lots of handy everyday tools, along with automatized customer management so they can spend all the valuable time ensuring their guests' flawless holiday experience.

Technology involved: PHP, JS, CSS, SiteXpress
Takeaway: Uncovered wall outlets have softer touch than undocumented legacy code.
Various EU projects
During my working with EuropaMedia I participated in many projects' website creation; my job was usually the front-end. Later on, we created a portal engine called nJinn and started to implement all our projects in it. Due to company (and project) regulations I can't include screenshots for every single one, however the bottom line is always the same: head menu, logo, boring text, some animation to cheer the whole thing up, and a footer with the mandatory EU flag. Sometimes we went a bit further, designing custom UI elements or a facelift for the standard look. Sometimes I even started to create my own version as a proof of concept and we switched to that after a while. But it's not about innovation, really.

All EU websites are backed by a custom administration area (like a CMS) and they're all completely data-driven. For the admin screens we used Telerik's KendoUI components; I never worked with them more than 30 hours but they're very powerful and well-built. However, a typical thing I do is rebuild libraries like this because of their heavy footprint, or at least I give them some tune-up to make them work faster, with less assets loaded, etc. It happened to several projects here; I especially dislike the complexity of grid-like editing so I made my own solutions for that and I keep using it in my own projects (Daru, for example).

Technology involved: PHP, JS, CSS, SVG, KendoUI, CodeIgniter, nJinn
Takeaway: Spend 10hrs on a tool that saves you 5 minutes - you'll use it twice.