DeeEmm

Pragmatism in code

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

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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Times a Changing

The site migration is pretty much finished, with just a few small odds and ends to fix up. One of the things that I have left to do is to add in some re-directions for the old content. When moving content it is always a good idea to redirect visitors to the new location with a 403 error response to the users browser. This will in turn be trawled by the web crawlers and your new location duly noted. As the old content locations followed the navigation structure of the old site code, I can add in one or two rules in my htaccess file using mod_rewrite and regex to redirect users from specific areas of the old site.

You may have noticed that the new site no longer runs from DMCMS, and whilst I do feel more than a little guilty about this, I simply did not have the time to integrate shopping carts, trouble ticket systems, forums and user handling into the DMCMS core. It was much quicker and easier to use existing products. Plus, the idea with DMCMS is that it is a simple and easy to use CMS, so integration of additional third party software does not fit with the idea behind it.

The online store is now up and running, although there is currently only one product (DMCMS) this is just for testing purposes. I will add in the premium mods as I develop them. All mods are instantly downloadable on checkout. There are one or two mods for Dolphin 7 already in the works, with more planned to come.Purchasers of premium mods also get access to the helpdesk system for dedicated support.

There are free mods available from the Resources > Tutorial section, this is basically the 'How To' section from the old site, that has now been categorized, I will add hints and tips here as I get time. There are a bunch of mods I developed for Dolphin 6 that I need to convert into proper mod format. My ultimate idea is to strike a balance between free mods and paid mods.

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Fixing the paragraph spacing issue

You may have noticed that after neatly setting out your post within the TinyMCE editor, when the page is published, the paragraphs are all squashed up.

The issue is a CSS issue. Basically the style applied to the P tag by TinyMCE and D7 are different - so it displays OK in the editor, but when the D7 code renders it - it is displayed differently.

The offending code is in templates/base/css/general.css, the attribute margin:0px is applied to the P tag, remove this and the issue will be gone, BUT there is one caveat - obviously this affects ALL instances of the P tag - so it may be that whilst this cures the immediate issue, it may cause problems elsewhere (i've not tested this, and this may be different for your site - depending on which template you use and what modifications you have applied to them)

To fix the issue, you will need to change general.css in two places -

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New Look for DeeEmm

Welcome to the new look DeeEmm website. The site has been re-developed to match a change in focus for our core business, by redirecting web based enquiries made at our main company to the DeeEmm site. The promotion of DeeEmm as a sales brand is to both provide a location for the promotion of our web services division, and also putting an existing resource to better use. What was once just my tech blog, will now become an online resource for providing web services and products. Along with the change in focus for the site, the business aspect of the change will also follow, with DeeEmm will now be run as a subsidiary of my main company. The split setup will allow a focus on web based products and services to be maintained as a separate entity from the main company endeavors, and will encompass a variety of products and services ranging from basic web design, and website management, to more technical solutions, such as remote PLC monitoring, and embedded web based control and monitoring systems.

The new site includes features specifically geared toward the online supply and support of products in a digital medium, for both providing and supporting web based sales of software modifications, plugins and extensions, and allowing instant access to purchased products. The online store provides a convenient method by which customers can purchase and download products and the trouble ticket system provides support for installation and usage issues that may occur. We also offer a full knowledge-base of past issues for users to search.

We will also offer design for other mediums, such as print, packaging and photography, as well as other electronic and non-electronic formats.

The forums have now been reinstated, and subscribers also have access to private forums where dedicated support can be given.

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Site Relaunch

Over the coming weeks we will be updating and relaunching the site. We will be integrating the web side of our software services company into the DeeEmm brand, and providing a number of new features to our existing and future clients. One of the new features is an online marketplace where software modifications can be bought. We currently have hundreds of mods that we have developed that will be converted into downloadable products, some for free. We are also expanding our efforts into the Boonex Dolphin 7 CMS with new modifications planned for release.Other plans include a trouble ticket system and searchable knowledgebase for supported mods and products. The forums will also be reinstated to provide general product support and coding help. Existing client accounts will be converted and carried over. All existing clients will be emailed with new log in details after the migration has taken place. Our future plans include a shift in bias from our more traditional business of industrial software toward web based technologies, including web sites, hosting and domain management.We thank you for your patience in this transitional period. If you have any questions relating to existing accounts, or account migration to the new system, please feel free to contact us using the email address in your control panel, or the contact form on this site.DM.

{jcomments off}

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Dolphin 6 - Add / Move Advertising Banner To Block

If you would like to utilise the inbuilt banner manager in Dolphin, you are stuck with the locations lais out in the templates. Sure you can move the banners to another position within the template files, but what about if you wanted the advert to appear in it's own block? Well, here's how...To add the banners to a block you will need to add a PHP block - to to this simply drag one into the desired position in the page builder in the admin panel. I've added one to the left column on the homepage. Rename it with something meaningfull - i named mine 'advertisement' :DNow here's the tricky part... You will need to directly edit the database to be able to add your PHP code. I personally use phpMyAdmin, but there are many other database editors out there.So fire up your favourite database tool and go to the 'PageCompose' table and search / browse for your newly added block.Now add the following PHP code to the 'Content' fieldecho banner_put_nv(2);

(the number 2 relates to the left block - 1, 3 and 4 relate to the top, right and bottom blocks repsectively)

If you are using the borderless block mod - you will also need to wrap this in a div and give it a height as it will overlap the content below it.

Now, once you've entered this- go back to the admin panel and move your newly created block to another position - and then move it back to the desired position. This clears the cache - if you don't do this - your new block will not display. Now navigate to your homepage and check out your new banner ads in a block.

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DOLPHIN - Create Custom Blocks

Just a very quick tutorial this time.i was looking for a way to create a block that didn't have the normal border and header so that I could add in my own custom HTML. After looking through the code, this is very easy to do - in fact it doesn;t even really need a modification (well not in the traditional sense of the word).Basically what you need to do is this...

Go to the Page Builder in the admin interfaceCreate a block by dragging the 'Simple HTML' sample into position.Add your HTML / text etc, give it a meaningful caption and save itNow you will need to get access to your database by using something like phpMyAdmin.Go to the 'Page Compose' table and find the entry for your newly added block - TIP look for the same captionNow edit this record so that the value of 'Design Box' is 0Now you can checkout your new border-less block by viewing your site in a browser.

DM

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