DeeEmm

Pragmatism in code

Waxing lyrical about life the universe and everything software related since lunchtime 2006.

Dolphin Forum - Show Expanded Categories

Here's a quick hack to get the forum categories to display as expanded by default on the forum home page.

Edit modules/boonex/forum/classes/Forum.php

Search for the following...

            if (( isset($p['cat']) && $p['cat'] == $r['cat_uri'] ) /*|| 1 == $r['cat_id'] */)            {                $this->setTitle ($r['cat_name']);                $c .= ''.$this->getForumsXML ($r['cat_uri'], 0) . '';            }

Comment the following lines

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2 New Dolphin MODs Released

Just released two new mods for the Boonex Dolphin platform.

The first mod is a Dolphin 6 mod that changes the standard threaded comments layout to a normal flat comment structure. All existing comments are changed to the new layout, as will all new comments.

The second modification is a Dolphin 7 MOD that creates a custom block for the groups home / view page that aggregates the groups forum posts.  This increases the usefulness of the groups home page by providing all information in one place.

As a bonus, we have also included an additional mod that will show you how to add a block anywhere on your site to aggregate ALL group forum posts into one block.

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Nowdoc string handler

Some of you may be familiar with the heredoc string handler which allows multi-line strings to be easily assigned to a variable, this great tool has many uses - such as retaining pre-formatted layout and improving the readability of code. The heredoc handler also parses variables contained within the string - much the same way that using double quotes does. Replacing any variables with their respective values

This has some not so obvious drawbacks, one of which i discovered whilst trying to inject complex PHP code into a database for later evaluation via the eval() statement. (please don't ask why)

The problem I found was that whilst it was easy to escape the string so that it would not break the SQL statement, The same escape characters also broke the evaluation. This might not have been an issue in any other situation, but for this particular project i did not have access to the code that carried out the evaluation so that I could strip the escape characters out before running the eval query.

However, PHP 5.3 has now introduced the nowdoc syntax - this basically operates in the same manner as heredoc, but does not parse any of the content. This means that not only are variables not parsed, but neither are any characters that would normally require escaping. In essence, any string read into a variable by the nowdoc handler will not require any escaping whatsoever.

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Dophin 7 TinyMCE Browser MOD updated

The DeeEmm Dolphin Tiny MCE Browser modification has now been updated to work with the new Dolphin 7.0.1 release.

This release is a compatibility update, There are no additional features or bugfixes included.

If you have previously purchased the 7.0.0 version, you will be pleased to know that you are entitled to a free update. If you would like a copy of the updated files, please email me and i will send a copy out to you.

As usual, support for purchasers of our premium modifications are all entitled to access to the help-desk for priority 1-on-1 support. General support, bug reports, and feature requests can be posted to the forums.

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CVS changed to SVN

The Sourceforge DMCMS source control active repository has now been changed from CVS to SVN. The old CVS repository will remain accessible for historical reasons.

At this point there are no plans to migrate existing data from CVS to SVN.

The SVN repository will be routinely updated as changes are made. The ability to easily download a tarball may mean that interim builds will simply be made available via the SVN repository instead of for direct download via the forums, but this will be assessed as usage progresses.

If there are any questions, please leave them in the comments section below.

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It's Official. IE6 is Outdated

ie8advert

I have long held the view that the internet needs to be ridded of Internet explorer 6. IE 6 still equates to a massive 10% of all user-agents - some 180,233,045 users worldwide. This figure has fortunately been getting smaller, and the latest statistics show that IE6 has been in steady decline this year.

IE6 is the veritable thorn in the side of most web developers (with IE7 little better). With a userbase numerous enough to still require having to account for when developing websites, IE6 requires extraneous coding hacks to get it to function along side more modern browsers. But this may soon be a thing of the past. It seems that Microsoft themselves are now promoting the demise of IE6. This is great news, and one could only like to think that it is as the result of folk such as you and I actively promoting it's drawbacks. I personally think that IE6 has finally bitten Microsoft on the proverbial backside, with Internet Explorer usage failing to the ever more popular Firefox, which now reports some 45% market share.

The pain in the proverbials, has seemingly spurned Microsoft into action to try and win back some users, and tip the scales back in their favor - and they seem to be targeting IE6 users. So what have they done?

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Dolphin 7.0.1 and beyond

The latest release to Boonex's CMS system - Dolphin 7, has now been out on the wild for some time. Released at Christmas, the much anticipated Dolphin 7 was to be heralded as the latest in web tech, offering an advanced platform for social networking sites that was far ahead of the competition. With several public beta releases, the anticipation was fueled by the glimpses offered in each release, building up the expectations to a massive level. Also adding fuel to this fire, was the long overdue update and bugfix release due for Dolphin 6. As a result, Dolphin 7 had a lot to deliver.

With the release of Dolphin 7 finally made a year later than expected, it was unleashed into the public with a massive amount of issues, over 300 bugs to be precise. This left the Dolphin community a little abashed, with many users having stuck with Dolphin, through the extended development period, now feeling disappointed. Lots of these users had put development plans on hold, with the expectation that the promised release would be the answer to their needs.

It is now a further 5 months down the line, and the recent update release 7.0.1 has addressed many of the problems that plagued version 7. The problems are not completely fixed however, and there are still many issues surrounding how development and releases are handled, but it seems that Boonex are moving in the right direction with a shorter release cycle, and prioritisation of bugs addressed for each release. I previously touched on this issue with one of my blog posts over at unity - http://www.boonex.com/unity/blog/entry/Product_release_cycles

Based on past performance at Boonex, and anticipating the issues and extended wait with version 7, when it was originally announced, I decided to stick with version 6  - This is a choice that i am glad i made. Not only as the expected release date slipped way beyond the original estimate, and there were more issues than even I anticipated, but also as it has meant that I have managed to build my user-base over the past year, and develop the community for which the site serves.

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D7 Hide Promo from logged in users

If you would like to hide the flash promo from displaying to logged in members all you have to do is the following.

Edit inc/design.inc.php

Find the following line in the getPromoCode() function (it's the last line)

return $sCode;

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D7 Move avatar from promo to banner

After updating my Dolphin 6 site to the new version 7 software I decided that I wanted to move the avatar to the banner - basically the same as for my D6 site. I also wanted to put the quotes at the bottom - I decided to mimick the style and layout for my D6 site - I wanted my upgrade to D7 to be more or less transparent to my users.

 

How To Relocate the daily quotes

To modify the quotes position is  simple enough - you just need to modify the sys_injections table - look for quotes_injection and then change the key to injection_footer_after

injection_footer_after refers to the tag that the content will replace - in this case the tag in the footer

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DMCMS beta builds

In a recent forum post about DMCMS, i promised that at some point the current version would be spruced up a little and released as version 1. This is something that I actually started on late last year, but the work was lost when our house was burgled and my laptop (and also the backup drive) was stolen. This happened last September, and it's taken this long to renew the enthusiasm in DMCMS. This is probably spurned in the most part, by the new direction that the site has recently taken, with more time being spent putting web based code mods together, I've began to start thinking about getting DMCMS finished off again.

With more visitors coming for code tutorials and to buy modifications from the store, DMCMS is a bit of a show-case - not in the respect that it is anything worth looking at (it's 6 years old now, and very basic by today's standards) but in the respect that it may be used as some kind of yard stick for my work. So it needs to be tidied to the point where it is at least presentable.

My ideal goal would be to take it and completely re-write it using the jquery framework, smarty template's and maybe a few other Web 2 goodies. Probably the most important aspect would be making it a multi-user version, to allow commenting and third party participation, and using object based code to allow for extensibility.

So with this in mind - I've taken the first steps to getting the current version up to a version 1 release standard. The main changes that I previously carried out were mostly a simple code restructure. The administration interface was completely split away from the main code so that it functioned as a stand alone interface - and some of the other functions that were crammed into the main code were also parred away.

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BoonexNerd Update

Just had a bit of a chat with James Tadeo, who has recently updated his successful Boonex support site BoonexNerd.net to run from the latest Dolphin version - 7.0.0. James blogged about the migration which he said went fairly smoothly using the migration tool that comes with D7, great news to hear for those of us who have still yet to update.

This got me thinking about the update to my own Dolphin site. I started to have a look at this a little while back - i set up a fresh D7 installation, which had a few issues as I had to reconfigure the server setup to suit D7. then I made a start with the data migration tool. I got as far as transferring the user-base over, but have been pretty busy since, and so have never progressed any further.This is something that I really need to make some time to go and sort out.

My main concern was that my D6 site is fairly modified, and whilst D7 does have greatly improved functionality, it does lack some of the mods that my members have come to expect. These mods are a mixture of purchased mods and mods that I have developed myself. There are also a large number of minor enhancements and bug-fixes that are hopefully now covered by the new D7 feature-set. the site has been developed over the past year, which is a nice and comfortable time frame to have developed a site this modded. Unfortunately with the upgrade, time is not that plentiful.

At present I think I will wait for the D 7.0.1. update to be released before revisiting the upgrade. I will have a look into rewriting the current mods for D7 and see how much work is involved, maybe I can temporarily drop a few of the mods to buy a bit of time.

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Webstore Now Open

We are please to announce that our online store is now live.

At present we are in the process of uploading all of our modifications to the new store, so some products may not be visible yet, but we hope to have this completed within the next day or so.

We have added support the PayPal payment gateway, so it is possible to purchase products using either your PayPal account or credit card via the PayPal website. We may expand the supported gateways in the future to include additional providers, so if you have specific requirements or wish to suggest a particular solution, please feel free to leave us a suggestion.

Will keep you updated of the progress.

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Hosted Exchange 2007

We are pleased to announce that along side our hosting packages, we are now also able to offer hosted exchange email services. Our Hosted Exchange mail service runs Exchange 2007 and provides any number of mail boxes that you may require. There are no minimum numbers, and all packages come complete with Push email. Blackberry support can also be added if required.

As users of push technology, we decided to augment the standard email facilities provided with Exchange hosting. The ability to use Hosted Exchange is a great benefit to those clients that do not want to have the hassle of looking after their own servers. It also provides push technology to those clients using windows mobile or Blackberry devices, and our adoption of Exchange 2007 means that there is full integration with Apple OSX for Mail, Calendar and address book functions.

Our Exchange packages are run as separately service and do not require a hosting package to use.

More details to be posted soon, but if you cannot wait that long, please contact us to discuss your exchange requirements.

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Dolphin 6 - Login Redirect MOD

This mod will automatically redirect new members to the profile edit page when logging in for the first time. Every time thereafter members are taken to their profile page

 

DEMO

http://dolphin6.deeemm.com/

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Delete .DS_Store files

Whilst recently packaging some files for distribution, I noticed that that the folders that i was compressing contained .DS_Store files. These .DS_Store files are hidden files used by OSX to store metadata such as icon position and view settings. They are similar to the thumbs.db file used on windows, and are equally annoying when packaging files up for viewing on other systems.

By default the .DS_Store files are hidden in OSX, unfortunately this is not so for other systems where they are displayed alongside whatever content you packaged Not wanting to have to manually drill down through various folder levels to delete each and every instance, I decided to have a quick google to see what I could find.

First page up led me to Ryan Grier's site, where he has an application called the 'DS_Store Cleaner v1.5' listed. The app has not apparently been updated since January 2005, but this is not an issue, as the app works perfectly.

Basically after unzipping the app, place it somewhere on your mac (the application folder seems like a good spot) and then drag it to your dock to create an icon. Now simply drag the folder you want cleaned onto the DS_Store Cleaner icon. After chugging away for a little while, you will be notified by an alret box as to how many .DS_Store files have been deleted.

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PDF Generation - Add Custom text into footer

This is a quick and dirty hack to add some text to the footer of the PDF's generated within Joomla. The library used to generate the PDF's is the open source TCPDF library - http://www.tcpdf.org To add code into the footer of the generated PDF's, you will need to edit the following file:

/libraries/tcpdf/tcpdf.php

Find the following code in the footer() function

//Print page number if ($this->rtl) { $this->SetX($this->original_rMargin); $this->Cell(0, $footer_height, $pagenumtxt, 'T', 0, 'L'); } else { $this->SetX($this->original_lMargin); $this->Cell(0, $footer_height, $pagenumtxt, 'T', 0, 'R'); }

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TinyMCE - add items to style drop down

If you have to display code snippets on your Joomla site, you might find that the following mod is of help. This quick mod will allow you to add items to the styles drop down in the TinyMCE editor - in this case a style for the code class.

The mod is pretty straight forward.

Normally when TinyMCE is called it looks for a stylesheet called 'editor.css' in the default templates CSS folder. The contents of this are used to propagate the styles drop down. If this file is not found in the default templates CSS folder, then the system version is used instead. To add custom styles to the drop down, simply create the following file. (where current_template is the name of your template)

/templates/current_template/css/editor.css

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Toggle Hidden Files In Finder

This is a great little tip for showing hidden files in OSX. Normally all files are hidden, and so access to the hidden unix filesystem is not possible. This is easily overcome however. You can either permanently disable this feature by running the following command in terminal.

defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles YES

or, if you need to change the visibility on a regular basis the following may be of more help

Open up the apple script editor and paste in the following code

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DMCMS Lost and forgotten?

Development on DMCMS has laid dormant for a while, and to most it probably seems like it has been abandoned. Work commitments, managing websites, becoming a father, running my own business, renovating a house, building a car or two, plus various other projects take up lots of time, and I end up finding that I have none left to do things like develop DMCMS.

Last year I actually picked up from where I had left off and rewrote the current 0.7.6 version to release it as a branch of the main code - `DMCMS Light Version 1`. A lot of progress was also made on the Version 0.8.0 code, with many features production ready. Unfortunately we suffered a break in at our premises, and both the laptop the code was developed on, and the backup drive were stolen. Unfortunately, as a result of this, all of the development files were lost, as I had not committed any changes to CVS.

Having just updated the site, I just noticed that most of the work on the 0.7.6 release was uploaded here - the old site was running from it as it was one of my live test sites. So with a little work, I should be able to get back to the same status - a production ready version 1. At this stage I am not completely sure what status the code is at - there may have been other untested changes that were lost, but the main part of the re-write - a change in file structure - is very obviously still intact. When I get time, I will have an audit.

Unfortunately, the theft, and the loss of most of 0.8.0 has now made me have a bit of a rethink about what to do with it, and at present, I am not sure whether I will continue. There is simply too much ground to make up. If anything, a full rewrite might be both a quicker option, and one that brings DMCMS up to date. There are a lot of well thought out aspects of DMCMS, but there are many aspects that do not lend themselves well to managing a user-base, and extensibility - both things that were not considered way back in 2004 when I first started writing it.

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VMware Fusion - Increase virtual machine size

Like many ex M$ Windows users, I still have the occasional need to use it to run programs on that will not run under OSX. For example, probably all of the programs I use for PLC programming simply will not run natively on the Mac. This leaves me with two options - carry round another laptop (sometimes happens), or use a virtual machine.

A job I did recently for a client required I install some additional windows based software, to program the obscure controller that they had. At the time I just had my Mac on me, so I powered up Vmware and started to install the code. Unfortunately the installation started to hang about half way though - the issue was a nearly full disc.

I keep my virtual disc size fairly lean - the work I do is quite storage intensive, requiring lots of space, so I tend not to waste space if I can avoid it. It's easy enough to resize the disc if necessary. So that is what I did. Fortunately I am usually prepared for these things as you never know what will happen when you are stuck working in the middle of nowhere,

A friend of mine, just emailed me to ask how to change the disc size, so I thought I might as well add it up here

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