DeeEmm

Pragmatism in code

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

Coda - Web Code The Mac Way

 

http://www.panic.com/images/major4-3.gifIt's been a long time since I switched from using Windows as my primary development platform, and whilst you may hear a fair bit about the effect that this has had within my posts (for better or worse). Something that i have never really been able to completely replace on either the Mac or Linux platform was my favoured editor - Ultraedit. Deep down I have a soft spot for Uedit, and whilst it can be a little bloated for simple tasks, years of useage and tweaking to my liking made it my favourite tool for all kinds of development work.

Gedit on the Linux platform, once endowed with a few useful plugins, becomes a useable tool for web development. The inclusion of tools such as the 'Class Browser' (http://www.stambouliote.de/projects/gedit_plugins.html), 'Symbol Browser' (http://symbol-browser.sourceforge.net), 'Word Completion' (http://users.tkk.fi/~otsaloma/gedit) and 'Find in Files', makes Gedit a really useful editor, which whilst not really feature packed is more than capable, which is excellent for the standard packaged editor that is supplied with the Gnome desktop.

For the Mac, there are quite a few editors out there, some free some not, none are really on par with Ultraedit featurewise, but this could be seen as a plus in some respects. I was quite happy using TextMate for web development work, especially as it had plugins available for code browsing and project handling, that is, until I found Coda.

Coda, takes up where other editors on the Mac finish, and whilst it may only be aimed at web development, it includes everything that you might need in the day to day life of a web dev.

Coda integrates the most useful programs all into one single IDE, it includes project management, an FTP client, text editor, preview window, css editor, SVN client and even a terminal window for remote access to your web server.

The Project management features allows you to keep local and remote server details, as well as FTP and SSH login details all together, meaning that when working on a project it is easy to upload / download files, check the results of your work in the inbuilt browser, edit css etc. There is even a built in book library that includes books for HTML, Javascript, CSS and PHP, There is also the ability to add more if you so wish. The in built code navigator allows quick access to classes and functions, and with the addition of a few extra plugins you can also validate your PHP code, and perform other actions such as HTML tidying and url encoding. All of this is in addition to the standard expcted features of any decent editor such as tabbed MDI, syntax highlighting, find in files, text commenting, text conversion and even split window editing.

Coda is not a free application, but does offer a free demo. If you're in the market for a decent development platform for web apps, then give Coda a try, I'm sure that you will not be  dissapointed.

Coda is available from Panic software at http://www.panic.com/coda/

DM

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CSS For Beginners

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After discussing template editing on another site, and how easy / hard it is to change the look and feel of your site to make it your own. I decided that in my opinion, the whole process is fairly simply to do but requires that you have knowledge of a few skills and a few tools to hand to help you out.

This is a basic outline of what to do and how to do it, use it as a guide to get you started on style modification, and applied to all sites using css and html.

First things first - lets cover the REAL basic stuff - not that anyone wanting to do this kind of stuff should be that much of a novice (you need at least half a clue), but more to emphasize the RIGHT way to do things. There are rules laid down by W3C and we should all do our best to read, understand and apply them.

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New Communities

It's been a little while since I've posted anything here, my time has been taken up with other projects which has left me with very little time to work on the CMS or update the site. You would probably have noticed that the proposed version 8 is currently on hold (see DMCMS news), this is likely to stay like this for the foreseeable future, I simply have too much work on a present which means something has to give. There have been a few minor updates to the DMCMS release whch will be combined into the next release - Version 1 !!!!

The code has been in regular use on many sites now and has proven to work reliably enough to wear the Version 1 badge. This means that the whole thing will be repackaged and supplied slightly differently from previous releases. The database layout will be the same but the table prefix will be shortened. there will be a conversion script for the previous versions database but it is reccomended to simply reinstall the software. For this reason there will be no update path from the current version to Version 1.

The new version will hopefully be up within the coming weeks.

One of the other project's I have been working on is a social networking site, this is still in it's early development stages but is up and running and utilising a social networking product called Dolphin. Dolphin is a PHP / SQL  and AJAX powered site that was initially designed to power dating sites. Dolphin has progressed in recent years and now can be modified quite easily to work with any type of social networking site. The dating specific features can be disabled or modified to be more suitable to the sites content. I may post more about Dolphin over the course of the project so if you're a dolphin user or need some help with your Dolphin site be sure to check back.

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How To Pass It On

This week has been an interesting time in the Linux driven portion of the household. After struggling with my HTPC in the lounge getting slower and slower, it was finally taking longer to boot up than I had patience - which meant that I had to find some time to have a look at it.

I put the machine together a few years back, it's based on an old Asus A7N8X Deluxe MOBO running an AMD Athlon XP 1250 that I fitted into an Origen AE case. I installed XP Media Centre on it and pretty much left it at that - that is until I decided to try and fix it.

I tried all of the usual suspects - but none made any difference, I ended up trying a repair from the install disk, but the problem with XP MCE is that the media centre part is a hacked on extension to Win XP and not really part of the core. Needless to say - the recovery didn't fix it either,

So left with the choice of a complete reinstallation or updating to Vista I decided to look elsewhere. The XP install would be relatively painless but as support will no doubt end soon upgrading is the sensible option. The only problem with that is that Vista is not really much of an upgrade- I had it on my laptop for less than a week and then junked all Micro$oft apps in favour of open source alternatives - Ubuntu / Open Office etc.

On the subject of Windows... Being a long time user of windows (3.11 > 95 > 98 > 2000 > XP) The transfer from 2000 to XP was a big step. I abstained from changing to XP for a long time as it had a lot of issues running the software that I used (IDE's for Industrial Robot and PLC programming). I nicknamed XP 'Windows for Girls' as it seemed to have no real benefit over earlier versions apart from the horrible little animated icons that automatically appeared to tell you how to do something that you already knew how to do. Whilst it may have looked more polished around the edges, it did not run that much better. It also gave me headaches by forcing me to migrate from a perfectly good VB6 to VB.Net.

The most amusing thing with XP was that not long after it was released SP1 appeared to fix massive seciurity issues (XP was advertised as more secure / faster / etc) The irony was that the patch to fix the security issues slowed the machine down massively and also broke most of the software that was released as XP compatible (afforementioned IDE's etc). As a result many of us ran XP without the SP1 update for quite a while.

When I bought my most recent laptop it came pre-installed with Vista. So I decided to give it a go.

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Whats New?

It's been along time since I wrote anything to this page, this is mainly due to not having the time to spare to site and get some words together.

So, what has been happening in the past four months?

The DMCMS (DeeEmm CMS) project has been updated a couple of times, the updates were mainly security related and mostly due to the site being hacked (Damn script kiddies!) The development has been rather slow apart from that. The project has  now branched into two seperate versions, with a 'lite' version being available to download from Sourceforge - this is basically the normal version that has been available. The second branch is a version that is incorporating full user and permissions management.

The new branch was originally going to be available this year but has now taken a back seat to other projects.

The current 'lite' version is currenly still available as a beta version release, but it is likely that this will be released as version 1 before the new year.


Synergy

A great little program I come across that allows you to use one keyboard and mouse for more than one computer is 'Synergy' http://sourceforge.net/projects/synergy2/ Synergy is cross platform compatible and utilises the loacl LAN network to pass mouse and keyboard info between computers. The synergy client needs to be installed on both computers, and then setup to allow one computer (the one with the keyboard and mouse) to be run as the synergy server - the screen positions between both then need to be set and youre then ready.

To switch between computers the mouse is simply moved off of the screen and on to the next computer monitor, in the same way that multiple monitors work.

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Exchange Mail And Linux Hosting + EMMA

Some of you may be aware that I've been setting up a new business - Indau Industrial Automation. Before setting up the new website and email servers I decided that I was going to look for exchange based email hosting packaged with a Linux web server. This would allow me to retain the Windows Mobile smart phone that I currently use and utilise it for push email and OWA Calendar and task synchronising. Having used Push based email for the past year it was high on the list of things to have - even though it meant retaining a tie to Micro$oft.

Unfortunately there are no comparible solutions available from the open source community yet, There are a few solutions that offer push email from the Linux platform but none that I wanted to risk trying, and none that are as feature rich as the Exchange + Windows mobile solution.

For the hosting package I looked no further than ComWebHosting my current service providers - although not advertised they were able to sort out a package that included Linux based web hosting with PHP and SQL along with exchange based Email. ComWebHosting come highly reccomended - I've used them for the past 8 or 9 years and have never had a problem - even now I'm based in Australia, using a UK based hosting company is not a problem - even for push email from my smart phone.

One new thing to sort out with the web hosting was the SQL database administration. Normally most web hosts provide phpMyAdmin to administer the database, some use other clients but there is normally a way in which you can upload a database backup or run an SQL query. As the sql database server was not the same as the webserver phpMyAdmin was not available so I needed to find a DB client that could be run remotely from the server - allowing me to install it on my local machine but access and administrate the database located on a different server.

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Change Afoot

Well the new tax year here in Australia has brought change for in the guise of a new job. It's been a case of out with the old and in with the new as I have quit my old job and set up a company for industrial automation and software. For the past 3 or 4 years I have been working for an engineering company trying to set up an automation department for them, Unfortunately it's too much work for one person, and with little support and even less apparent interest from my employer I decided that I might as well put my effort into something that I would at least benefit from.

At present I'm still setting things up, but look out for an announcement in the near future with further details. You can rest assured that there will be a website that uses the DMCMS code, and that there will be a bit of cross promotional marketing. If you're in need of software development or would like to employ an automation consultant - give me a shout.

Another new development is that progress is being made on the 0.8.0 version and I have pretty much decided that the current 0.7.3 release should be released as a 'lite' version of the software. Generally I consider it to be stable, and whilst it may not be so pretty around the edges it deserves to live on rather than be simply discarded when the 0.8.0 version is released.

The main differences between the two versions are that the 0.7.3 version has no user management outside of the appointment of additional admin users, whereas the 0.8.0 version has a full user permissioning and access rights system.

I will take the time to tidy up the 0.7.3 admin interface to bring it into line with the 0.8.0 version and then schedule a release candidate for testing.

Watch this space......

DM.

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Firefox Download Day

Download Day - English

June 17th is 'Download Day' - the official release date for Firefox 3. Firefox have decided to try and set a world record for the highest number of downloads in one day by publicising the release day for the new Firefox 3 as Download Day 2008. To take part all you have to do is download Firefox - Simple huh?

As a user of Ubuntu Hardy I've already been introduced to the relevent merits of Firefox 3 as the beta version comes bundled with the Ubuntu Hardy package. I've now been using it as my primary browser for the past month or so with no problems at all. The first thing I noticed about the new version of Firefox was that it appeared to run a lot faster than the older version - a definate plus for computer impatient people like myself - this is a real boom when using it for web developing - especially when constantly refreshing to check changes.

My one gripe with the beta version was that many of the addons that I use were not ported and were not compatible - not really a problem at all - this is something that will obviously change with the production version as addon authors update to be compatible with the new version.

So if you're already a user of Firefox 2 or want to upgrade your internet explorer to something a little better, why not update tomorrow and be a part of a new world record.

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Ubuntu 8.04

Well not being able to resist the advert shown above, I decided to take the plunge and update my Ubuntu install. Generally I have been very happy with 'Gutsy' What could go wrong?

The update is very straightforward and is easily done via synaptics update manager - first you make sure that the current install is up to date and then it allows you to install the update. The whole process takes about 20 minutes whilst it downloads and installs the relevent files and then reboots.

There's  a load of updated apps which is great as some of the apps in the Gutsy repository were a little out of date, Unfortunately there is still no VMware and more unfortunately it is likely that your curent VMware will stop working as mine did - however - fear not - it is fixable - After the mandatory google - I simply reinstalled it following some instructions for 8.04 and all was good (don't forget to back up your Virtual machine files first just in case).

One dissapointment for me was the new version of Firefox - well not firefox exactly (it's even better than it usually is) but the fact that most of the extension developers have not updated thier code to work with the new version. This is a bit of a pain for me as I regularly use quite a few additional tools for web development. The biggest pain is google sync as I use it to sync my bookmarks between my machines. Firebug and FireFTP need to come to the party too.

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A Good Time To Try Linux

With the New release of Ubuntu just around the corner and the bloated and expensive Vista requiring a hardware upgrade for most current 2000 / XP users to even be able to install it on thier machines it has never been a better time to try Linux. With the ability to be able to boot off of the disc and try Ubuntu without even having to install anything on your hard drive there is really no excuse - especially as it is free!

5 months and still smiling

It has now been about 5 months that I've been solely using Ubuntu Linux as both my work and 'play' operating systems which means it's being used about 10-12 hours a day. So far I have only had to revert to using Windoze on one or two occasions - and that was only to use an excel file that I had written a bunch of VB code for as open office does not seem to support it. Eventually I will get around to re-writing the file in Javascript as a standalone software package - then my ties with Windoze will be completely gone.

For emergency use I had set up Windows XP as a virtual machine (as well as leaving the Vista installation as dual boot when I initially installed Linux) The vitual machine allowed me to use the Excel file for a client demo, and as the virtual machine integrates quite nicely within the Linux window handling I'll leave it installed (see THIS video I recorded whilst writing this article). The dual boot Vista on the other had has not been booted into since I installed Linux on the machine - when I get some spare time I'll look into removing it.

Another item of note is that I have managed to function using Linux in a solely windows envoironment - everyone else (with the exception of one Mac user) uses Windows at work, the main server is running Windows SBS, most of our clients use Windows. Even considering that I am probably the only person using Linux file sharing and editing of shared files has not caused any problems - Email from the SBS 2003 server has not been a problem - even acessing and creating public exchange folders is possible.

Despite all the success, there are a few things to look out for - occasionally Evolution (the mail client I use) goofs out, Incorrect formatting within office documents seems to get very exaggerated within open office and you will probably need to manually set up some things that you take for granted on windows (such as being able to connect to the internet via bluetooth on my WM6 Smartphone) - Mind you, one point of note is that Ubuntu is a LOT more stable - as well as simply working with my Asus laptop from day 1, it has never suffered one lock up - I cannot say the same for my experience with any windows operating system.

 

So,why not replace your MCE machine with Linux too?

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Eclipse PDT And Xdebug (Better Than Ultraedit?)

Unusually I have found myself with a spare half hour this morning so decided to put it to good use and write a post here. Progress has been slow of late - the only thing that has really changed is the folder layout - I've created a few new folders and moved some files from the site root - the only real use this serves is simply to tidy things up a little. There's basically two new folders - 'javascript' and 'core_files' - both of these should be self explainatary. For those of you who are interested - checkout the latest CVS - you will see a branch called 'new_folder_layout' under the dmcms_080 module - that's the new site layout.

Other worthy things of note are my continued useage of eclipse - some of you may recall that late last year I switched to Linux from Windoze (Ubuntu to be exact) the transition was relatively painless but it did leave me without a linux version of my trusty Ultraedit. Rumors of a Linux port aside it looked like UEdit Studio was not going to find its way over to the dark side and so that left me with little choice than to try something else - that something else was Eclipse with the PDT plugin (which I have installed by using the Pulse Eclipse manager).

For the odd file edits here and there I must admit I use the built in text editor (Gedit) which has syntax highlighting and generally suits me fine but for project based stuff (like DMCMS) I've been using Eclipse.

The integrated CVS client is great - there's not even any need for a key - just put in your password once and the checkout / update process is seamless and uninterrupted. Checking out into a project is very easy - in fact a project can be created when you check the files out if you require. Overall - very easy to use. My only (very small) complaint is that the CVS commands are hidden under a second level in the context menu (Under the 'Team' menu to be precise).

With an active project you might want to set up the Xdebug integrated (free) php debugger - to do so you will need to select Xdebug as the default debugger from the properties menu (accessible under windows > properties) and add in the path to your php executable. A point worthy of note here is that you may not have a php executable if you installed PHP from the repository - you might need to add the command line interface version of PHP - you can easily do this by the following command-(for ubuntu)

sudo apt-get install php5-cli

Obviously replace the php5 with your version - now you should be able to find php5 under Usr/Bin (type 'find php5' in a terminal to list all occurances of php5).

The Xdebug debugger http://xdebug.org/ is an open source project that is now bundled into Eclipse, it is free and thus very obviously a fraction of the price of the Zend version. For those of you who have a license for the Zend product - Eclipse also offers support for this too

With the Xdebug debugger installed and the CVS client up and running I now have a tool of comparible use to Ultraedit Studio for PHP work -for me it's still a bit clunky but then that's probably more to do with the fact that I've been using ultraedit for many years - I'm sure I'l eventually get used to it.

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PhpBB Blog Mod

With the recent update of a site I help manage and some discussions about a new direction for DMCMS towards the social networking side of town I stumbled across a mod for phpBB that allows users to create thier very own blog. The mod, known as 'The Blog Mod' seems to have a very chequered history and is difficult to find somewhere that currently supports it.

Trawling through the phpBB mods forums I found out that the original author (Hyperion) seemed to simply dissappear, A deluge of posting then raised the concern that the mod would simply die without some kind of rescue attempt - so another topic was started to discuss the relevent merits of saving the mod. The outcome of that discussion was that yet another topic was started to support the newly ressurrected 'Blog Mod' - after the topic was blasted for not being in the specific phpBB mod style, and the original auther gracefully backed out of thier offer of support yet another thread was started and the mod lived on...

That was until about February when the official development thread on phpBB was locked. In addition the official website at http://www.theblogmod.com seems to have died about August time last year.

It seems a shame that there is so much beurocracy over at phpBB that what appears to have been quite a well respected mod has now had the plug pulled on it by the closure of the thread, as for what happened to the official site, who knows?

A little digging has found a few links to sites still hosting 'The Blog Mod' -

http://forum.khurram.ca/viewtopic.php?p=1248

http://www.outshine.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=3438#3438

If anyonw knows what happened to this mod shoot me a message via the forums.

DM.

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MD Webhosting

Regular visitors will have noticed that the site has been out of action for a number of weeks now - this is due to my web hosting providers poor service. I have been plagued by bad service from this provider since I started hosting with them last year - access to the email server would stop, as would access to the site, then it would start, then stop again... this seemed to be hourly. 


No amount of service calls seemed to bring about a resolution - the tech team's standard response seems to be clear your browsers cookies and then restart your browser... mmmmmnnn... ok?

Well, a recent security breach left me pretty pissed - my site was hacked, filled with phishing software and then used as a launchpad for a spam assault - it would appear that the security breach was server wide - no doubt someone gaining access as root. I lost my site when they deleted it - with no warning and then had all my service requests ignored. All I can say is it is a good job that this site is not for profit - if I relied on it for an income I would be bankrupt by now.

Well enough was enough - I've now changed providers - hopefully the service should be a lot better.

Mind you, I had the last laugh yesterday when MD Webhosting's site was down again - they're probably still getting hacked.

My advice to anyone thinking of using MD Webhosting - DONT! They're not the cheapest and they're far from the best.

Anyhows - that's enough ranting from me - Just thought I'd add to the plethora of Google results that say MD Webhosting suck - guess I should have read a bit deeper before deciding to go with them.

Please be patient whilst I get the site back up and running, hopefully it shouldn't take too long. I'm limited for time at the moment so you may have to wait a while before I get the forum and Wiki back up.

DM.

 

UPDATE: 13:54:55  2008-02-22 - The Wiki and Forum are now back online. However I have not been able to restore the Wiki backup - I may use this as an excuse to rewrite it.

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One Week Later...

I've now been using Eclipse for the past 5 days and must admit I think I've found a serious contender for replacing Ultraedit. I've set up the CVS client plugin - which incidentally doesn't have the annoying problem found with crossvc and tortoise that requires you to input your password multiple times (I added it once and haven't needed to add it in again!!!) - the CVS client is as good as any others I've used - it integrates nicely into the main editor so you only really need to go into the plugin to set it up. Some of the terminology differs from what you might expect (instead of 'CVS' on the context menu it says 'team') but once you're used to it it really isn't a problem.


Eclipse as an editor has some nice productivity features - for instance - it searches all the code in the project and lists all instances of the text 'TODO' (and some other tags) and provides you with a task list in a window at the bottom the screen - these tasks link directly with the code in which they were found - clicking on them open the relevent file at the appropriate place. You can update / expand the text to make it more useable or readable, plus you can set priorities and mark them as finished too. What a great tool!!

Code checking was one feature that I loved about using Ultraedit for writing PHP, well Eclipse not only includes code checking - it handles it in a very different way. Along side the task window you will find the 'Problems' window - this is a live list of all errors and warnings found in all files in the project - No need to syntax check each file - simple browse through the window content - again clicking on the error will take you directly to the relevent part of the code. Warnings and errors are also highlighted by a warning or error icon in the margin of the codepage.

Another nifty feature that I love is the full page editing - if you double click on the tab for the page you want to edit all of the docked menus are automatically hidden and the page is shown full size within the editor - menus can still be accessed by the use of small icons around the edge of the screen. Double clicking the tab or selecting one of the restore icons returns the layout back to normal. This feature also works with any of the tabbed docked tool windows as well.

I must admit however, I haven't found a column edit mode, which I use quite a lot in Ultraedit.

In summary - I actually like this editor quite a lot, whether it is extensible enough to use for other non supported languages remains to be seen but as a PHP editing envoiroment it certainly cuts the mustard, I'm quite happy to adopt this as my primary PHP editor within the Linux envoironment.

One thing of note is the way in which you choose to install it. I am running Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy) and found that if you wanted to install Eclipse via synaptics and then installl the plugin using the built in feature manager in Eclipse the PDT plugin will not install - this is because the version of Eclipse in the Gutsy repository is too old. this means that you can either manually install a later version of Eclipse, or install the PDT 'all in one'.

There is also another alternative - you can use Eclipse 'Pulse' - this is an online plugin management service - it is free to use and currently in beta - Pulse provides PDT as a package as well.

Anyhows...

Enough talking for the moment - I actually have work to be getting on with. Currently I am working on getting the user group functionality sorted out for DMCMS - this will provide the possibility of many additional features - one of which will be user comments. (Hopefully some of you who read this might also contribute to the discussion) I just thoght I'd take the time to share my findings with Eclipse.

L8RS

DM.

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Eclipse

Last Friday I decided to throw a curve ball at my editing practices and try something that didn't involve Ultraedit. Somehow I ended up on the Eclipse IRC network and had a chat about the relevent merits of Eclipse, it's useability, scalability etc. I had briefly tried Eclipse before but had not really tried to use it in earnest, plus I think that I probably had the wrong version installed.

Eclipse is basically an editor platform on which plugins are added to flavour it to your requirements - if you want to edit and compile C++ you simply install the relevent plugins to turn it into a C++ IDE. Likewise for PHP / Web editing you add in the relevent PHP plugins - this is the part I didn't do last time! Armed with new information - and a link to the PDT package download page (the PDT package is the PHP Development Tools plugin) I installed a copy of Eclipse. It's worth noting at this point that if you don't have the Java Runtime installed on your machine you will need to install it as the program will not function correctly - the installer will alert you if you need to install it (you can install it easily via synaptics).

My first impressions of the PDT package are that it seems to be pretty impressive - I like the way that it lists included files in a hand to use menu, the syntax highlighting is as good as most - generally the layout is well presented. Projects are easily generated and it has a built in CVS client although I havent set it up yet.

I'm going to try using it for the next week or so and see how I get on. Watch this space...

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CVS Linux Or Windows???

With my new Ubuntu installation taking shape there are only a few things left to sort out to make it 100% functional as my primary web developing machine. So far I have not regretted making the change, especially as I can now run my beloved Ultraedit Studio within VMware on a virtual XP machine. The transition has been pretty seamless, the interface is intuitive and a pleasure to use. I have made a few minor customisations to help increase productivity and changed the theme to add a little eye candy.

The main change was adding in the Compiz manager so that I could enable a few additional desktop effects - specifically I added a 'hot corner' to the 'Scale' effect so that I could use it as an entourage type screen switcher - this also works great with VMware. Normally you need to press the 'ctrl' + 'alt' key combo to release the mouse focus from the VM - setting a hot corner to the top right of the screen means that the Scale effect is called regardless - no need to press the key combo - simply moving the mouse to the top right not only releases the mouse focus but also calls the scale effect. Checkout the screenshot on the left - The VMware screen integrates seamlessly with the rest of the applications. For the best effect you should turn off the tabs, toolbar and summary so that the VM looks like any other Application window. Click on the image to open up a larger version.

Using VMware this way has allowed me to retain the use of Ultraedit (which is good as bought a lifetime subscription - lol), but it does leave me with another small dilema - what cvs program do I use?????

Up until now I have used Tortoise CVS - an excellent program that integrated nicely into the windows shell. For a while I also used the CVS built into Ultraedit but found Tortoise to be far superior.

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Lamp Not Wamp

As regular readers would know, I have recently changed my primary operating system over to Ubuntu. This computer is mostly used for web development so running a Linux based system makes sense as the end platorm I write for is Linux based.

On Windows I usually use WampServer to host and test PHP code on my local machine, this is basically an AMP stack (Apache2 + PHP5 + MySQL) bundled with phpMyAdmin and a nice task bar 'applet' where you can change settings, start / stop the server etc.. All of this is installed from a sinle installer file - things don't get much more convenient than that.

To make my Ubuntu (Desktop version) installation more useable I needed to install the LAMP stack but this involved installing the components seperately. This isn't really that hard but it does require using the terminal and typing some commands in. Incidently, you can use Ubuntu server version which already has this set up, but being aimed at use as a server it is void of other programs.

Installation of the AMP stack is best carried out in order - this is basically Apache > PHP > SQL.

To install Apache2 you will need to use the following command -

sudo apt-get install apache2

You may get an error as follows - "apache2: Could not determine the server’s fully qualified domain name, using 127.0.0.1" this is easily remedied by adding the following line to your httpd.conf file

ServerName localhost

You can call the file up in the text editor by using the following command

gksudo gedit /etc/apache2/httpd.conf

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Dual Boot Linux And Windows

As some of you may recall, after a recent hard drive crash I invested in a new laptop and then installed Ubuntu on the old laptop. This was a great idea as I found that all of the previous issues I had encountered whilst using Linux seem to have been addressed with Ubuntu (I have previously used Fedora). The only problem I found was that I was neglecting the new laptop and using the old machine with Ubuntu on it a little tto much.

With renewed enthusiasm in Lunux I would love to make the jump from Windows but try as hard as I can - I cant seem to take the plunge and replace Vista on the new laptop with Linux. This is mostly due to not being to find a decent replacement for Ultraedit - I've tried the alternatives - none of which really cut the mustard, I've even installed Ultraedit running under WINE but nothing quite matches up to my expectations (Ultraedit is just too sluggish running under wine to be really useable for me)

Well....

Although I haven't one the whole hog - I HAVE taken the plunge and set up the new laptop as dual boot Linux / Vista.

This is actually very easy to do with Ubuntu Gutsy - basically you'll need to have Vista already installed and then boot up with the Ubuntu CD. Once booted, click on the 'Install' icon on the desktop and the installation process will start - it will ask you a few questions and then launch into the partitioning tool. The partitioning tool will present you with 3 options - assisted partition / use whole disk / manual partition. Choose the first option (assisted partition). The tool will then ask you what size you want to adjust the partition to - choose a suitable size and then the installer will do the rest.

When the installation is finished it will ask you to remove the disk from the drive and hit enter - the machine will then reboot and start with a boot menu allowing you to select what os you want - the bottom option will be windows.

Anyhows.....

With Ubuntu installed on my machine I have opted to install VMware under Linux so that I can run Windows as a Virtual Machine - this will allow me to run Ultraedit and the other applications that I need that I can't find Linux alternatives for (mostly work related applications such as robot programming clients). Setting it up in this way I can use Ubuntu as my primary ooperating system :)

I have also taken the plunge and done the same for my company laptop - evolution works flawlessly as an exchange client and I seem to have less network problems with Ubuntu than I did with Windows. (plus I can't wait to see the look on the IT managers face - lol).

The coming weeks will be a real test to see if I can live without windows - it shouldn't be a problem with the company laptop as I don't do any programming with that machine - just manager stuff involving the office suite (open office that is ;) ) and project based stuff for which I already use open workbench.

If I can happily live without booting into Vista on the other machine I will remove it :D

One annoyance has come out of this - my new laptop came with a recovery disk - the disk is an Asus branded disk that will only allow installation onto an Asus machine - This however means that it won't allow me to install Vista into VMware as it does not see the virtual machine as an Asus machine - phah!!! - looks like I will have to revert back to XP for the time being.


DMCMS Latest

With renewed vigour I have been ploughing into getting the next release of DMCMS ready. At the moment I've been working on groups and group membership - I'm trying to set it up so that there can be any number of groups and users can be members of multiple groups - this level of flexibility when coupled with access permissions granted to group members should make DMCMS very flexible in terms of managing content access.

At the moment I'm thinking of access restrictions in terms of categories -

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An E-Mail Server For Your WAMP Setup

For all of my development work I use an AMP stack running on my windows machine (commonly referred to as a WAMP server). This allows me to run Apache / PHP / MySQL on my windows box without the need for a Linux machine - very handy if you are developing something like DMCMS and don't have a linux box on which to test your work. Over the years I have tried many different WAMP distro's - I've even installed the seperate components myself.

Nowdays I tend to favour Wampserver - http://www.wampserver.com/ as it is compact, easy to install and has a nice, easy to use interface. I have also used UniServer (http://www.uniformserver.com/ ) as it has a very small footprint and can be installed on a memory stick so it can be used an any PC. However, it didn't integrate correctly with the syntax checking function in Ultraedit so for the time being Wampserver is my tool of choice (although I must admin I have no use for SqlLiteManager).

The only problem I found with Wampserver is that it does not include a mail server - this makes it impossible to test any mail functions within your software.

With my current focus on getting DMCMS Version 080 ready, it didn't take long for me to get bored with uploading changed files to a test site, so that I could test out changes involving sending mail, so I decided to install a mail server on my Windoze machine.

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Start As You Mean To Go On...

With the first working week of the year at an end I am very pleased with myself - not only have I managed to release two DMCMS updates but I have also managed to keep my other resolutions too. The long long overdue security update was rolled out in Version 0.7.1 closely followed by another version to address a couple of small issues that were missed with the first release. Whilst only up for few hours the Version 0.7.1 release had 20 downloads - thats a lot of interest in such a short period of time - hopefully this is an indication of things to come.

Work has continued on the Version 0.8.0 release with a number of items being crossed off of the To Do list. In a bid to keep visitors more informed I have added a 'Current Task' to the To Do page to indicate what I'm currently working on, I also split out the list into items scheduled for the next release (To Do List) and items for later releases (Wish List) - this has allowed me to review and remove a few items from the 0.8.0 release to speed up it's release. Hopefully this should provide an accurate status for future project development.

Have you visited ohloh.net?

Also worthy of mention is http://www.ohloh.net - Ohloh was started up in 2004 as a way of providing more visitbility into software development. Utilising a number of aids ohloh provides analytical data and project overviews in an easy to read format. Statistics can be viewed for both projects and contributors alike. In addition Kudos points can be awarded between members. Members can also add projects to 'Stacks' (a personal colletions of projects) allowing projects to be suggested to them based on common choices.

Naturally I added DMCMS as a project. The project page proides entries for RSS feeds, descriptions and after adding CVS information a breakdown of the content of the project is displayed.

Amusingly the breakdown indicates that it would cost you approximately $844,130 if you wanted to hire a team to replicate DMCMS - And to think I gave it away for free - surely THAT should give me some kudos points.

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