DeeEmm

Pragmatism in code

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Waxing lyrical about life the universe and everything software related since lunchtime 2006.
DeeEmm AKA Michael Percy is an industrial software engineer specialising in language based programming. A long time supporter and contributor to the open source community, now days he can mostly be found tinkering about in his workshop creating things.

Sitemap Generator Updated

The DeeEmm Dolphin 7 Sitemap generator has just been updated. The update addresses an issue where multiple URLS are included within the sitemap.

Some configuration parameters have also been added to make it easier to customise the output.

Links from each module can now be easily enabled / disabled from appearing in the sitemap.

Updating is simply a case of overwriting your old sitemap.php file.

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Time Out

After 6 months of Dolphin development, I have decided that it is log overdue, to take some time out. The change in bias for the site from personal tech Blog to business site, alongside the change in business direction has proven to be a lot less profitable than anticipated.

The focus on Dolphin as a platform for which to develop was seen as a potential with high returns, and so some effort was spent in writing up some simple mods and providing support and development work for it's users. The idea was to test the water and see how the market lay. The reality is that the active userbase is relatively small, as are the returns.

The effort taken to write up even relatively simple mods, is a fairly big undertaking. Testing is required to ensure that mods function correctly, database scripts need to be written to add in additional database fields, and with every update, each mod needs to be tested and updated again. All of this amounted in an inordinate amount of time being required for developing, and maintaining a suite of mods.

The reality is that even with a selection of mods available, there is simply not enough of a turnover to be able to earn a living from, plus there seems to be a massive underground movement in ripping off mods - more so than with any other community that I have been involved with. People rip off your work, and pass it out like it is their right to do so. For someone trying to make a living this sucks.

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Dolphin 7.0.3 on the horizon | More free MODs

A new blog post by Andrew Boon over at Boonex, has finally announced the upcoming release of 7.0.3. Whilst there is still no commitment to a date, it is scheduled for the beginning of August. This is great news, as for a moment it almost looked like Boonex had forgotten about Dolphin, I was almost certain that the next announcement from them was going to be the release of Trident.

It's good to see Boonex continuing to follow their promise of more regular updates, and whilst I may be very vocal over at Boonex.com about a monthly release cycle, the truth is, anything is better then the year waited for D7, especially when you consider the failure that it was bug wise. As with any of these interim releases, bugs have to be prioritised, so not everyone will get what they want, but give it time and all bugs will eventually get fixed.

It will be interesting to see what kind of balance between bugs and features there are. I personally think that the bugs should have a higher priority than features, but I guess that Boonex policy differs form this, as there are generally some new features released with every update.

New Improved Orca

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Dolphin - Open RSS links in same window

If you do not want a new window opening when you click on links in RSS feeds - such as the forum feed, you will need to do the following.

Edit

/inc/js/jquery.dolRSSFeed.js

find two instanced of

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Dolphin - Hide banners from guests

If you want to hide advertising banners from non members - do this...

Edit

/inc/banners.inc.php

Search for

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Dolphin - Include instructions on the 'Add Site' page

The sites module in Dolphin sometiumes does not create the thumbnail, often refreshing the page fixes this. To display a simple tip to your members about this do the following...

Edit

/modules/sites/classes/BxSitesFormAdd.php

find

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Dolphin - Hide Menu Bar from Guests

If you would like to completely hide the menu bar from non-members, then this is the mod for you.

Edit

templates/base/scripts/BxBaseMenu.php

Find

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10419 Hits
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Dolphin - Redirect users after editing profile

If you would like to redirect users to a different page after editing their profiles, then make the following changes.

Edit

pedit.php

Find...

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Dolphin - Auto membership level on join

If you would like to automatically apply membership levels to new members, then this mod is for you.

This can also be useful when wanting to differentiate between different member groups - ie - making all female members of a female only member group. Both methods are shown below.

in profile_activate.php

Find

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5632 Hits
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Syntax highlighting code in TinyMCE

After a recent tutorial a member mailed me to let me know that the code snippets were not displaying correctly. A quick look told me that this was due to my use of the pre tag, which prevented the text from breaking when it reached the bounds of it's containing element.

The fix was relatively easy - add the following hacks to force the text to wrap for pre formatted text...

word-wrap: break-word; /* Internet Explorer 5.5+ */ white-space: -o-pre-wrap; /* Opera 7 */ white-space: -pre-wrap; /* Opera 4-6 */ white-space: -moz-pre-wrap !important; /* Mozilla, since 1999 */ white-space: pre-wrap; /* css-3 */

But this got me thinking, and jarred my memory to something I was working on a little while back.

I had previously taken a look at syntax highlighting for WYSIWYG editors, this was for use in the DMCMS project where i wanted to allow full editing of template files from within the Admin panel. This is something that I had implemented on an earlier development version but had then abandoned. (For some reason that i can no longer remember)

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Dolphin - Show Group / Events latest forum posts

If you would like to add a block to your Group or Events home pages that displays the latest forum posts , or maybe add a block to the home page for your site, you will need to do the following.

Go to

Builders > Pages Blocks > Groups Home

or Main Events Page for the events page

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Dolphin - Add search by country to Groups

To add an extra search field to your groups - for example 'Country' do the following.

Edit

/modules/boonex/groups/classes/BxGroupsFormSearch.php

Find

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Dolphin - Hide custom pages from non-members

Dolphin is not very good with permissions, as a result it is impossible to assign permissions to individual pages. So if you have created some custom pages for your site that you only want to display to logged in members, you will need the following hack...

Edit

viewPage.php

Find

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Dolphin - Record user Name and ID with IP address

You can (fairly) easily record the userid along with the ip address by adding an extra field to the database table and modifying member.phpHere's how...Add the following fields to the sys_ip_members_visits table in database

ALTER TABLE `sys_ip_members_visits` ADD `UserID` INT( 10 ) NOT NULL

ALTER TABLE `sys_ip_members_visits` ADD `UserName` VARCHAR( 30 ) NOT NULL

 

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Dolphin - Change landing page after login

If you want to direct members to a page other than the standard dashboard page (member.php) after they log in, then follow these simply steps.

Edit member.php

Find the following code

if(!$sUrlRelocate = $_REQUEST['relocate'] or $_REQUEST['relocate'] == $site['url'] or basename( $_REQUEST['relocate'] ) == 'join.php' ) $sUrlRelocate = $_SERVER['PHP_SELF'];

Change it to...

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Dolphin - Remove 'unregister' Links

To disabled the un-register buttons on your site - go to admin > builders > navigation builder and un-check both member and guest check boxes from the unregister link. This will prevent it from being displayed in the top menu and the quick links menu.You will then need to also get rid of the link from the members menu too.To do this you will need to edit your database - look in the sys_menu_member table for the entry named Dashboard - Then you will need to edit the PopupMenu field - simply remove the following text, leaving the rest intact

    'unregister' => array(        'url'     => 'unregister.php',        'icon'    => 'memeber_menu_sub_unregister.png',        'caption' => _t( '_Unregister' ),    ),

Then delete all files in cache folder except for the .htaccess file.

Refresh and enjoy.

/DM

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FREE RMS Service

For those of you who have been using Dolphin for a while, you will remember that Boonex used to offer a free RMS hosting service for it's free licenses. This service has long since been discontinued, leaving users to either ensure that they find a combined Web / RMS hosting package, or look for a third party RMS host.

Smoge over at ModMySite, has recently introduced a free RMS hosting package on their own servers, for small low bandwidth sites. There are also a variety of paid packages that should support all sizes of sites from small to large.

ModMySite, are a long time Dolphin support site that has been around since the original days of AEDating, way back in 2003, so they certainly know their stuff.

If you're interested in ModMySites RMS services, click HERE

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Add Youtube video button to TinyMCE

Not strictly a Dolphin modification, as it applies to TinyMCE in general, but I will outline it here for Dolphin 7. It's a pretty easy modification to do, just two files to edit.

The functionality for this is already in TinyMCE, but for some reason it is not enabled. I've tested this out on version 7.0.2 with no issues.

To enable YouTube /flash video button in the forums

Edit

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Dolphin - Remove big join button from promo

There are a few different ways of removing the join button from the promo banner. The method you use will vary depending on your requirements. You can even change the location that it navigates to.

Here's a few different methods.

 

Remove (hide) button via CSS

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Dolphin - Remove checkboxes from keyword search page

If, like me, you do not like the massive long list of checkboxes at the top of the keyword search page, removing them is pretty simple.

Edit the following file...

searchKeyword.php

At about line 97 look for the following text...

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Boonex Blogs Gone

Well, maybe the title is not strictly true, but for all intents and purposes, the user blogs over at Boonex Unity are now dead. Andrew Boon, in his infinite wisdom, has decided to remove the user blogs from displaying in the blog index, leaving this solely for Boonex team posts. Whilst there is (some) merit in this, from a commercial perspective, it leaves the user blogs with no index, and no way of knowing if there is a new post.

So whilst the blogs still exist, you now have to navigate to each blog individually, via each members user profile to view them. Needless to say, I cannot imagine anyone bothering to post any more.

It's ironic that the focus on the community at Boonex has always centered around their core philosophy of 'Unity', it seems that this is far from uniting people, in fact I woud go as far as to say that it has the opposite effect.

If I were to be blatantly honest, I think that it is Andrews way of dealing with opinions that do not agree with his. I am probably one of the contributing factors in this respect, as i have often made very pointed statements in the Blogs, but if you do not want people to have opinions, why have blogs in the first place? I guess that is what has now happened.

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Increasing server memory limit

If you are experiencing memory issues with scripts, it may be necessary to increase the memory available to the script.

If you have access to your servers php.ini file, this is relatively straightforward -  simply increase the value of the memory_limit directive to 128M then restart apache. However, I'm guessing that if you're reading this post, looking for a solution to memory issues, then the last sentence probably made little sense, and chances are that you do not have access to your servers php.ini file - this is true for most shared servers.

If you do not have access, all is not lost - you can override the value in either a custom php.ini file, or via the htaccess file - the method needed depends on the following:

If PHP is compiled to run as a cgi script then you will need to use a custom php.ini, but if it is compiled to run as a module then you will need to use htaccess. (tip - you can view your servers php_info() to find out which one)

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Dolphin 7 - Increase text size in comments box

If you have the tinymce editor enabled for comments boxes, and you wish to increase the size of the text, then you will need to do the following.

To alter the size of the text in the comments area - if you have tinymce enabled for comments.

Edit /tinymce/themes/advanced/skins/default/content.css

look for the following element

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Dolphin Tag Converter

If like me, you used the migration tool to transfer your Dolphin 6 based site over to Dolphin 7, you will notice that there are some things that need a little tweaking. One of these things for me was the tags.

On D6 tags could use a space as a delimiter, but on Dolphin 7 the space is ignored, this is to allow multi word tags. What this effectively does is create massive long 'tag words' out of those tags that were entered without using a comma as a delimiter in D6.

The following code reads the tags and splits them up if more than one word is detected. it then deletes the original entry and creates a new entry for each word detected using the original data. Single word tags are ignored

$sql_query = mysql_query("SELECT * FROM `sys_tags`");

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Boonex Dolphin Security Vulnerability

It seems like this week is a bit of a strange one so far. Not only is it National Cyber Security Awareness Week here in Australia, but first the Boonex site suffered a massive DDOS attack and then my own dolphin site suffered a similar fate. I believe that the two events are probably coincidental, as the attack on my site was not particularly well formed, and was easily defeated - most likely just some kiddie with a script. I managed to get the service that the attack was coming from terminated due to a violation of the providers TOS - they're probably in big trouble with mom and dad now. The attack on the Boonex site continued over the weekend, and there are still some services out of action.

I believe that the main source of the attack on my site was to take advantage of the exploit recently published on Boonex's site, and reported about here on DeeEmm.com in an earlier news article - http://www.deeemm.com/news/154-dolphin-7-security-vulnerability-exposed.html Whilst the noise about this issue seems to have been muted a little, after the attack on my site I am pretty convinced that the solution given by Boonex is no solution at all.

The main crux of the problem was claimed to be the DB_FULL_VISUAL_PROCESSING or DB_FULL_DEBUG_MODE settings, which caused the debug backtrace to be echoed directly to the browser in the event of a fault. Boonex's comments were simply that these were disabled by default and so the issue was a non-issue. This glaring oversight caused an obvious embarrassment to those who made the claims that the issue was with the DB_FULL_VISUAL_PROCESSING setting, this then caused them to promptly back off a little.

Whilst Boonex's solution has seemingly pacified the masses, it does not address the initial issue - that the debug back-trace is getting echoed to the browser in some error situations. The fact is that the issue has been reported by many, and until now no one had been sure of a definite cause, unfortunately the DB_FULL_VISUAL_PROCESSING setting was little more than a red herring, and whilst easily dismissed by Boonex, their solution does not actually fix the issue.

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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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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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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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4080 Hits
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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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4638 Hits
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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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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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4364 Hits
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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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4247 Hits
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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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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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Dolphin MOD - Upcoming Events

One thing that has always bugged me about my dolphin site, is that it always shows me events that are waaaay waaaay in the future - This is of little use as it hides the upcoming events - practically meaning that no one knows what is happening in the coming days / weeks / months / etc.

This is easily fixed with a quick hack.

To display events so that they show from the next upcoming event onward...

Edit /inc/classes/BxDolEvents.php

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UEX Ultraedit For Linux

uex.jpg

 

It's a very exciting time in the DeeEmm office, we have been made part of the beta team for UEX - yes, that's right - UEX - the Linux version of Ultraedit - the long awaited port of Ultraedit to the Linux platform.The new Ultraedit for Linux is nearing the release date and a few lucky users have been chosen as beta testers - We were lucky to be one of those.

First impressions of UEX are exactly as expected. UEX is very similar visually to UEDIT and UEStudio. It differs in that there are a few features that are missing or different, but it likely that these will appear with the final release.We've been using Ubuntu 9.04 to run the UEX beta on, and we've been using it for the current re-write / tidying of the DMCMS version 1 release. So far our findings with UEX are pretty much as expected with a beta release, mostly the code works as expected, but with the occasional bug / hangup. Hopefully our dilligence with reporting the errors will mean that RC1 will as robust we have all come to expect Ultraedit to be, and that the final release of UEX is not too far behind it.

There are also rumors of a mac port of UEX, although there is no timeline currently available for it. My guess is that once UEX is up and running it will be little matter to port it to the mac platform.

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Dophin X-Site RSS Feed Bouncer

Using Boonex Dolphin software can be a bit taxing on your patience, there are many idiosynchracy's that alter the way that Dolphin works from how you would expect most 'normal' scripts to function. One of these is the way that it displays forum posts within groups, blogs and on the main page.

Like many sites, forum posts are aggregated in RSS feeds, different feeds are available for different users, groups, forums and categories. The feeds are available to anyone who wants to view them. Unfortunately Boonex have decided that they should use the same feeds to aggregate data within the site, whilst this may seem like a great idea on the outside, it does however introduce problems on some servers.

So you have installed Dolphin and are now stuckk looking at te spinning icon that tells you the latest forums posts are loading.. and loading... and loading. In fact it seems that they will never load.

This can be one of two things.

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Coda - Web Code The Mac Way

http://www.panic.com/images/major4-3.gif

 

It'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 smilingIt 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.L8RSDM.

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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 apache2You 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 :DOne 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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Resolutions

Once again it is that time of year where most of us will make the resolve to change something for the New Year. Usually this ends up with failed attempts and frustrations with only some being lucky enough to follow through.Well - it is coming up to one whole year since I gave up smoking :) I guess this time round I was one of the lucky ones - although I didn't give up on New Years Eve - it was more like mid January. Maybe this is why I was successfull? Who knows? (If I did I would have spent the past year marketing my 'how to give up smoking' book).But now it's time for me to make some more promises to myself - this year my biggest goal is to get a little fitter (I managed to put a few pounds on in the process of giving up smoking), a hard task for most - hopefully I can apply the same determination to this as I did to giving up smoking last year (In a way I almost feel that now I've managed to give up smoking I can achieve anything).A much harder task to acheive will be getting DMCMS V0.8 into a state where it is ready to release - this is however one of my New Years Resolutions.Looking back over the past year a lot of progress was made on the development of DMCMS in the first 6 months - the whole project was made public on Sourceforge (there have been nearly 600 downloads to date from the Sourceforge site), it has been targetted by various hackers exploiting vulnerabilities in the code (which I see almost as an honour - lol), it has been promoted on various websites and it has continued to provide the basis for most of the websites that I create / manage. Unfortunately the latter part of the year provided no further releases due to other commitments.My commitment for 2008 is to get the Version 0.8 release finished so that it can be made public - The biggest part of the V0.8 release is the user management features. The decision to integrate user management into DMCMS was taken earlier in the year and it has proven to be quite a bit more work than originally anticipated. The current test releases have a functioning user management system that provides user registration and user commenting for registered users. The plan for the final V0.8 release is to also include a permissions system so that access can be restricted to created pages.Currently the permissions system allows users to be split into three different categories -

Users (this category is for registered users) Administrators (these users have access to all site features) Moderators (these users can modify / delete / add content).

These user categories are mostly to deal with the commenting system - moderators can be made to carry out moderation functions but thier access to other admin functions is completely restricted, Administrators obviously have access to do anything and Users have to be logged in to be able to post (therefore they have to be registered).No Guest posting is allowed as this will most probably just event in a lot of unwanted spam. User registration involves confirmation by email for account activation. I have also added captcha integration using the reCaptcha API for added anti-spam security - this may or may not be bindled with the release - I'm not sure at the moment - I personally think it's great but I also have to consider the added complexity it presents to the user setting up a DMCMS installation.The [currently] limited user account types will have to be expanded to provide access control to created pages, it is most likely that this will be expanded to customizable user groups. This route is almost a definate as it fits in well with another project that I am currently undertaking where I need to provide a seperate area for each logged in (subscribed) user - the ability to be able to create unique groups will allow me to be able to assign a group to each user. I can then create a page specifically for each user where access is only granted for the group associated with the user. Fully customisable user groups also allows the end user to choose a name for the groups that best suit thier site.

This method of access restriction works well, as a user can be made a member of many groups, meaning that access can be infinately complex. I may also add a timed function so that users can be made a member of a particular group from / until a specific time, this is something that I will need to do for the other project I am working on as paid subscriptions will be required, it seems logical to also include the features develped for my other projects in DMCMS too.

My other New Years Resolutions relate to other projects that I need to finish - I currently have a web based project that is in the initial stages of development, a desktop application that is 25% of the way through, a WM5 application that needs rescuing (it was finished but then a hard drive failure has meant that I lost some files) and an idea for another web based project. All of these projects (with the exception of the last one) need to be finished within the next few months, fortunately the web based project largely depends on DMCMS V0.8 so it is likely that this will cause the next DMCMS release to be pushed along nicely.

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Wine At Christmas

Regular readers would remember my look into IDE's / Programming Editors for the Linux platform from the last post. My main reason for this was to try and find something to replace Ultraedit Studio which has been my weapon of choice for coding for the past 7 or 8 years. Well, I've possibly found a better alternative - running Ultraedit 'natively' on Linux!No, unfortunately IDM have not decided to port UE for Linux (although more on that below...), I have discovered Wine. Wine is an application layer that allows Windoze applications to run on Linux by allowing access to dll files.The Wine website has an application database that lists applications tested with Wine, this ranges from applications like UEdit to PC based games. There are several entries listed for Ultraedit - namely different versions. There are some reports that ftp functionality does not work or is limited but generally it appears that Ultraedit functions fine. The Database entry can be viewed HERE and the Wine Home page can be viewed HERE

Installation of Wine in Ubuntu is easy - simply choose Wine in the Synaptic Package Manager. Wine is also available for other flavours of linux, with installation options to suit each.

After installing Wine, you will now need to download a copy of Ultraedit to your linux box. I've chosen to download and install Ultraedit Studio. Installation involves setting the exe file to open with Wine - this can be easily done by right clicking on the file and choosing 'open with other application'.

A bit of a tip - I found that if I chose the custom installation it would fall over trying to register wodCertificate.dll - wheras choosing the typical installation had no problems.

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Linux Programming Editors

A week or so in and I am really digging my Ubuntu installation, so much so that I'm almost regretting spending the cash on the new laptop - Installing Ubuntu on my old Dell Latitude has speeded it up end - it's now a much more useable machine. So far I have only had one issue with the Ubuntu installation - I've not yet been able to get WEP authentication working on wireless - the wireless card connects to non-secured networks no problem - but doesn't connect to WEP secured networks. Anyways - it's not a major issue and I'm sure I will sort it out in time.

EDIT: I reconfigured my router to use WEP Open Authentication and now it works!

I've decided to transfer over my web development onto the Ubuntu machine - I figure that if I can manage to comfortably use ubuntu to write code then I will junk my copy of Windoze Vista on the new laptop and make the jump over to linux permanent. The few programs that I need to run in windows can be run inside of VXWorks.My biggest issue is finding a replacement of Ultraedit - I've been using Ultraedit (Studio) for about the past 7 years and have found it hard to move away from using it, it simply has too many usefull features that many other editors do not. In the past I have tried many different open source editors for the Windoze platform but none quite hit the mark (I use Notepad++ on my work machine as they are too tight to cough up for a copy of Ultraedit). Linux appears to be no different.The main 'advanced' features I use for editing are syntax highlighting, function lists, bracket matching, project management, cvs integration, column editing, find / replace in files and php syntax checking.

I mainly use Uedit Studio for my web development - PHP / HTML / CSS, however it does get used for more specialist programming endeavours such as robot programming and so things like compiler integration is very handy.

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Ubuntu

A recent hard drive crash ended up in me treating myself to a new laptop. Somehow the hard drive on my old Dell decided to just... well... stop working. A bit strange to say the least - the hard drive was less than a year old and hadn't really seen any rough use. But anyhows - I used the whole fiasco to talk myself into replacing the whole laptop with a new one (but of course bought a replacement H/D to revive the Dell)With my new machine pretty much installed and up and running, with the exception of a webserver to my taste (I've been playing with Ulimate Server - a slim php/sql distro that runs from a USB stick but it doesn't work with my syntax checker) I decided to get the Dell up and running with linux.After looking into the current range of Linux distro's I decided to give Ubuntu a go as it seemed like the least painfull route to getting it up and running. I have previously used Fedora but had a lot of trouble with wireless drivers.So far I must say that I am very impressed with ubuntu and the ease of installation. (I'm typing this from Firefox in ubuntu right now ;) ). everything has worked pretty much right out of the box. I've enabled Beryl (the expose style task switcher) and am currently setting up the avant window manager (a mac icon dock clone).Other software will get installed in time - I'm already happy using open office and gimp the only program I need to sort out is a decent text editor...I'll keep you posted of the progress.

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Hold The Front Page

Regular visitors to the site will notice the sudden shift in editorial content on the front page. This used to be the space where info and download links for my open source CMS project was displayed, that is until now...I originally registered the site for the CMS and have used it as both a testbed for new CMS code and as a platform from which it is aupported and served. The change in focus is largely due to other developments now taking a larger protion of my time away from the CMS, and a descision to free up the DeeEmm name association from being solely associated with the CMS.The name DeeEmm is the phonetic spelling for DM, which is in turn an acronym for an old nickname of mine. I used to use the name (and still do of course) as a psuedonym under which I program. Nowdays my identity is much less of a secret than it was way back when I first assumed the DeeEmm nickname but old habits die hard.Hopefully this page will develop into my personal blog and include news about tech stuff that I'm working on. (Yup - I know - just what the world needs is another blog) In a sense it is also a massive advertisement for myself to the rest of the world and can potentially be used as a platform from which to offer my services - for that reason alone it needs to be at least jazzed up a little as it is just a little dull :)Work on the CMS is still continuing, the bugfix for the SQL injection vulnerability has been implimented in a number of test sites and will be rolled out soon. Version 8 is still on the horizon, there are still a number of items to fix up but it is basically operational. I have a live version 8 site up and running at the moment and all appears to be well. The site was successfully updated from version 7 using the update function and will be used to test out the remaining bux fixes and features before the next release.My main focus with the CMS at the moment is to get the user management system completely up and running - at present it is functional but wholely untested. The addition of the user management system was a decision made some time back, it has meant that the final release has been delayed quite considerably but it has also proven to be a sound decision due to the demand from a number of current projects to have user management functionality.One such project requires a subscription based access restriction system to be employed - hence my current focus on getting stuff to a point where it is functional. The same project also requires ecommerce functionality, but I doubt that this will make it's way into the open source release.Anyways....This is more than enough rambling from me, I have real work to do - specifically getting the commenting system tested - that way some of you folks reading this can comment.DM.

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Open Source

A recent hard drive failure has forced me to purchase myself a long overdue new laptop. I ended up purchasing a nice Asus F3. The machine is a lot better than my old Dell 505 which has served me well for the past four years but unfortunately came installed with vista. A long time user of Dell products, I decided on the F3 as it has a very similar feel to the 505, which after struggling with my Toshiba Tecra at work was very important to me (the tecra has a number of really annoying features / non-features such as no right hand control button, windows button at top of keyboard, lack of bluetooth etc etc...)The spec of the machine is much better than my dell and should see me ok for the next few years.Originally I had considered changing to macs but the extortionate price of the macbook pro gave me trouble justifying it. My next choice was very obviously Dell, but as I really needed to pick something up this weekend I was left with little choice than to change manufacturer.Being a writer of open source code I decided that it was also long overdue to replace my aging office suite with a better and open source version - especially as I dont think my old version is compatible with vista.I've tried open office before - it came bundled with a fedora installation that I installed and I also installed / uninstalled it from my old laptop. this time though - I've decided that I will not give in to the pressure of installing office instead.Browsing duties go exclusively to Firefox of course, but with the addition of Internet Exploder / Opera and now Safari for testing purposes. Unfortunately the ieolas standalone version of IE6 no longer works :((deja vu)Another product that I've downloaded is netbeans - an open source and cross platform IDE supporting multiple languages. I've yet to use it and so cannot tell if it can replace visual studio express for me - I will keep you all posted.I previously used sharpsoft but ended up replacing it with visual studio express as it was a little too buggy.I'm embarking on a project to develop a desktop app - its a basic data handling and reporting app - I'm tempted to use the java portion of netbeans to write this - both as a test of the IDE and also to end up with a x-platform app.Another change for me is the adoption of Thunderbird as my email client - this coupled with the lighting calendar plugin has me pretty much set. This combo allows meeting requests to be sent to outlook clients with no porblems.All I need to do now is get push working with my windows mobile PDA when it gets back from the repairers and I can finally junk using the works SBS :)

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Pocket PHP

I recently discovered a Pocket PC PHP server called PocketHPH. PocketHPH is available from MobileLeap and runs on various platforms including the WM5 that my JasJam runs. Also included is SQLite3 support to allow you to run dabase based php developments.You might wonder what use running a server on your Mobile phone would be, from my point of view it could allow me to work on DeeEmm CMS development whilst on the road without needing to take a laptop with me, although I'm not sure that it would run in it's current configuration. Currently I have it loaded up and am using it so that I can test the output of DeeEmm CMS on a mobile device whilst configuring the mobile css file.Pocket HPH is free for non commercial use.You can download it from http://mobileleap.net/hph/

Whilst on the subject of programs for Windows Mobile 5 I should also mention a few other apps that I find invaluable.

Minimo is a miniture version of Mozilla that is far better than the Internet Explorer that came with my JasJam. Amongst other things it includes tabbed browsing.

Minimo is available free for downbload from http://www.mozilla.org/projects/minimo

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X10 Kit Arrived

I took delivery of my Active Home X10 starter kit yesterday. The kit is the 7 peice version that includes the Computer interface, appliance outlet, lamp outlets, bayonet fitting, radio receiver and remote control. As I already have the mControl demo installed on my laptop I decided to try and get control of at least one light. I fitted the bayonet adaptor into my hallway light and then plugged the radio receiver into a socket outlet. Using the remote I could easily trigger the appliance adaptor built into the radio receiver; by pressing '1' and then 'on' I heard a satisfactory click as the relay clicked on and off, however pressing '2' and then 'on' did not switch the light on as expected - that is until I realised I needed to obviously leave the light switch in the on position - D'OH!In less that 5 minutes I had a working system - I could now turn the hall light on and off from anywhere in the house and garden (for what pupose I'm not really sure). The range on the remote control seems very good - I now have it plugged in at one one of the house and can use the remote from the other with no problems.So now for the tricky part - getting it to work from my PC. I put the batteries in the pc adaptor and plugged it in, I then run the comms cable from the adapator to the comm port on my laptop (the unit I received is the serial version - a USB version is also available).With the connections done I opened up the mControl demo. I created a zone for the Hallway and added an LM14 device as it did not have an LM15 calling it Hall Light. After I saved it I clicked on the button to turn the lamp on and hey presto - the light went on!!! So far so good - this only leaves one thing left to test - My JasJam smart phone. I have a static IP address as I host some web sites on a home server which is great for accessing computers whilst i'm away from home. Its also possible to use some kind of service if you have a dynamically assigned address that allows you connect to your home server, but I haven't used this before. Before I could use the remote interface I created a rule on my firewall to pass port 29990 through to the IP address of my laptop, I then navigated my JasJam's broswser to http://myipaddress:29990/mobile.aspx I was pleasantly surprised to see the zone I had created with the hallway light in my browser, I could easily turn the light on and off with a surpringly quick reaction time of only a second or two.mControl rocks!!! - it worked right 'out of the box' with no fancy configuration required, the mobile remote access is also great - not only is it included with the package its easy to use and has well thought out controls for the small mobile screen.I am more than happy with the whole system (well - based on installing one light I am - lol) its easy to setup, use and the mControl software is worth every penny. I must admit I didn't even load up the software that came with the product - perhaps this is all you may require but if your're a Media Centre user I definately reccomend mControl for the integration into the MCE interface. The browser based access is also great - I tried this on a small 8" touchscreen which will be the permanent access point for the whole home automation system, the layout of the mControl interface works great at this size.All I now need is for the rest of my X10 parts and the Micro PC to turn up

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Home Automation Part Duex

Regular visitors may remember me mentioning that I had been looking into home automation. My 'research' has lead me to invest in an x10 Active Home starter kit which includes a whole bunch of lamp and appliance controllers and most importantly a PC interface.

This and a bunch of other 'projects' have made me stop work on DMCMS for a while. Work on DMCMS will resume when I've finished the other more important stuff. Anyhows - back to my ramblings...

The PC interface comes with the Active Home software allowing you to program scheduled programs to control the modeules.

The modules themselves are controlled by signals carried through the pre existing power cables of the building, meaning that I dont need to run in a trillion new cables into my 80 year old house.

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A New Project Is Born

Regular visitors to the site will recal that a few weeks back I mentioned that I was working on a new project. The new project is a software package aimed at making risk assessment easier and more precise. I have decided to split the development of this package away from this site and host it on it's own site. The main reason for this is that it is intended that the package will be a commercial product and for the time being I want to keep DeeEmm as an open source site. The other reason is simply one of branding.For the time being I intend to keep everything under wraps but as usual - watch this space!!!

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Suggestions Please

Interest in DMCMS has slowly been building over the past few months. This increased interest has been reflected in the number of downloads that we have been seeing. Last month saw a total of 142 downloads, bringing the all time total to 405.The 0.7.0.beta release has now been bug free for the past month, with no user submitted bugs or developer bugs being reported within this time.Progress on 0.8.0.beta has been made, with improvements added for the search engine and the translation functions. The things to do page shows the current outstanding tasks needed to be acheived before 0.8.0.beta hits the streets.0.7.0.beta upgrade

I have been considering upgrading the 0.7.0.beta release to Release Candidate 1. It is stable with no known bugs, but obviouosly lacks the additional functionality offered with the upcoming 0.8.0.beta release - namely the user management / commenting system.

Suggestions Please

With version 0.8.0.beta fastly approaching or perhaps even 0.7.0.beta being promoted to version 1, it is time to make your suggestions and feature requests known. There has been very little input from users so far and so we would like to encourage users to get involved and join the forum, to make suggestions and to post critisiscms that you have with the software.

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Test Drive

I've been getting the framework of the safety analysis / risk assessment software laid out to get a better idea of how to put it all together. The basic underlying usability is simply to identify, score and then reduce safety related hazards. The risk assessment process is pretty straight forward, in fact I have been successfully using a risk assessment model that I previously developed within excel. Along with some different reporting options, these will both be carried over to the software futher down the track.After doing a google I stumbled across a rival peice of software. Marketed at up to $3300 per floating user license I decided to take a look to see what the opposition had to offer (mostly as it offered a free trial).The software was pretty much as expected, and lacked ease of use for both the hazard scoring and the reporting functions and nether aided the assessor or provided any reccomendations based on the results. These are the main areas where I feel this type of software should be of benefit.The hazard identification aspect was relatively straight forward with pick lists to pick from that also incorporated the ability to be able to add user defined entries. Generally there appeared to be a lot of additional 'value added' aspects but when the extra options were scrutinised they were no more than gloss and padding. In my mind, not worth the stated $3300.

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Home Automation

This week I've been delving a little into home automation. Home automation is a topic that I have been meaning to have a look into for quite some time. Being an industrial automation specialist, the home automation sector is a very interesting topic for me as it is something that should be relatively easy to someone of my background to do.Prior to looking into home automation I had a few pre-conceived ideas of usefull facets including modulated signals using domestic AC supply as a carrier wave. It was no surprise to see that this has been adpoted as part of the X10 standard.My personal view of home automation was to utilise a home PC, equipped as a master controller with inputs and outputs to control functions within the house such as lighting and access control. Modern Home Automation system can be much more sophisticated also including audio and video streams throughout the house.Home Automation is a relatively new sector, with relatively few companies providing off the shelf systems that can be catered to suit end user needs. With the utilisation of a development medium such as Visual Basic and a simple I/O interface or perhaps interfacing to the already available X10 standard it may be possible to greatly reduce Home Automation costs.

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Risk Assessment Software

It has been nice to have some time away from the computer this week, perhaps it is something I should do more often. The 'holiday' has given me time to think about stuff like the development that goes on with DMCMS and the amount of time that it takes up. Whilst my current goal is to get it finished off to a standard where it can be realeased as a full and final version I may shift my focus a little and spend some time developing a couple of other ideas I have, ideas that potentially can bring in some revenue.One of the ideas that I would like to spend some time to develop is a risk management package for performing, scoring and recording risk analysis. Risk analysis is the procedure through which hazards are identified, prioritsed and then actions developed to minimise or eliminate the hazard. These hazards may be many and varied and can range from general workplace safety right up to the exotic - like perhaps space exploration. In fact, wherever there is human activity, there exists the possibility of a hazardous situation potentially being able to cause injury or harm. One of the hardest things for most companies / individuals involved in risk assessment is the ability to easily score or 'rate' the hazard. There are several techniques available to achieve this but all of them leave something open to interperetation.My idea is to develop a software package to make this task easier, and provide less room for error. By removing the 'grey' from the descision making process, the task of identifiying the hazards and providing a method of risk control becomes much easer and the need for expensive consultancy can be negated.My ultimate goal is to develop the software into a saleable item, to be sold right here from this site, as after all, the site is intended to be a platform for all my works, not just DMCMS. The software would initially be available on the PC platform, with a later development for mobile devices such as handheld PC's, allowing field operatives to easily carry out risk assessments in the field without having the need for even a laptop. Collected data can then be imported into the main application back at the office when it is more convenient.The coming weeks may see little change for DMCMS as I intend to spend at least a little time developing the initial idea / structure for the application.DM.

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Risk Assessment Software

It has been nice to have some time away from the computer this week, perhaps it is something I should do more often. The 'holiday' has given me time to think about stuff like the development that goes on with DMCMS and the amount of time that it takes up. Whilst my current goal is to get it finished off to a standard where it can be realeased as a full and final version I may shift my focus a little and spend some time developing a couple of other ideas I have, ideas that potentially can bring in some revenue.One of the ideas that I would like to spend some time to develop is a risk management package for performing, scoring and recording risk analysis. Risk analysis is the procedure through which hazards are identified, prioritsed and then actions developed to minimise or eliminate the hazard. These hazards may be many and varied and can range from general workplace safety right up to the exotic - like perhaps space exploration. In fact, wherever there is human activity, there exists the possibility of a hazardous situation potentially being able to cause injury or harm. One of the hardest things for most companies / individuals involved in risk assessment is the ability to easily score or 'rate' the hazard. There are several techniques available to achieve this but all of them leave something open to interperetation.My idea is to develop a software package to make this task easier, and provide less room for error. By removing the 'grey' from the descision making process, the task of identifiying the hazards and providing a method of risk control becomes much easer and the need for expensive consultancy can be negated.My ultimate goal is to develop the software into a saleable item, to be sold right here from this site, as after all, the site is intended to be a platform for all my works, not just DMCMS. The software would initially be available on the PC platform, with a later development for mobile devices such as handheld PC's, allowing field operatives to easily carry out risk assessments in the field without having the need for even a laptop. Collected data can then be imported into the main application back at the office when it is more convenient.The coming weeks may see little change for DMCMS as I intend to spend at least a little time developing the initial idea / structure for the application.DM.

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Time Out

I will be taking some time out this week to get some stuff done around the house, this means it is likely that I won't be sitting in front of my computer too much. I've been spending too much time trying to get everything finished off and neglecting my chores (which doesn't bode too well with the better half).After a quick tot-up I estimate that there are approximately 80 hours work left until the next (and hoipefully final) release is ready. There are a lot of new features planned including a full user based commenting / subscription system, reinstatement of the translation function (obviously working this time round) as well as a completely redesigned administration interface.A lot of the work has already been carried out and tested but will require further testing to make sure that it is reliable enough for release. The remaining items are either still in development or have yet to be started.The current release is hopefully stable enough that it will not cause any problems and so will likely remain as it is until the final release is ready.Some minor bug fixes have already been released and the packages updated to reflect the bugs found. As usual, if you find any errors / problems / bugs then don't hesitate to bring them to our attention, either as a Bug Tracker entry or in the forums.DM.

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Insensitivity

In my haste to get the last version released it would appear that I wasn't thorough enough with testing it to make sure everything was okay - That's Right!!!! (We've hit another bug). This one is a relatively simple one to fix and is a by-product of developing for the Linux envoironment on a Windoze machine.

The bug is simply one that it caused due to case sensitivity on some linux installations - the offending files are the language files - the ones supplied with the old package have 'capitalised' names - ie the first letter is a capital. The filenames stored in the database start with a lower case letter. Simply renaming the files will clear up the issue.

As usual the downloadable packages have been updated (a big sorry to all those who have already had a problem with them).

DM.

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Only Buggin

You may have noticed from the news flash that the DMCMS.0.7.0.BETA release has a bug in the SQL database file. This has hopefully now been sorted out - the files in the download area have been updated and an updated file is available to download should you require.The bug, whilst only a minor thing (I say this only because we are still in BETA) goes to show how difficult it is to cater for every platform and server software version. The bug didn't appear on any of my test installations that I carried out before uploading the code for public consumption but, was still there, none the less.The bug partly originated from a relic of a past version stuck in the database and partly from an error in the database backup function, I guess I need to be more careful in future.DM.

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Hate Is A Strong Word

{jcomments off}Trying to get the latest incarnation of DMCMS ready for release seems to be a never ending battle. Just when I thought that I had it licked something else crops up - and guess what!! - it's yet another IE flaw / bug / idiosynchracy. After redesigning the admin interface into a nice tabbed affair that put everything on one page in an easy to digest format I then find that it doesn't work in explorer. Phah - seems to be about par for the course recently.

Now whilst this is really frustrating I wont declare to hate IE and it's odd renderings, after all, being a Firefox protagonist I am in the minority. IE is also the browser that I first discovered the internet on, so I must at least owe it something.

My day today is being spent at home, which is great as I get to spend some time trying to finish the 0.8.0.beta release off whilst heating is being installed in the house. It's also great as I am now within swearing distance of an internet connection so I can try out some of the stuff that requires connectivity to the world wide wobble (such as user registration verification).

I've decided to load the latest offerings onto my webserver at home and test everything out, first thing I wanted to do was create a new CVS branch for my source repository - pretty easy stuff. Then I check out the latest branch as a release so that I can load it onto the server and update the existing DMCMS test installation.

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Admin Style

{jcomments off}This weekend I've been taking a look at the administration interface and how it is presented to the user. The admin interface is probably the biggest part of any CMS, even though it may actually be the least used. The age old addage is in full effect here - 'first impressions last', new users trying a CMS for the first time will be more impressed with how something looks rather than how it functions and will probably mistake an average interface for a good one if it looks the part. If the interface doesn't at least look capable, then chances are that the user will not give it more than a cursory glance before moving on to the next demo.

Part of my thinking whilst developing DMCMS was to keep everything very simple - to try and only use basic, compliant HTML / CSS and as little fancy effects and javascript as possible. Javascript has unfortunately been employed for a few functions, which I don't think is too bad, and for the most part there are no frills with the basic template supplied with DMCMS.

To try and create some kind of image to the Admin interface I have changed the way that it is presented. Some functions have been fused together and are now presented in a tabbed navigation structure. Javascript will be required to be enabled, but not absolutely necessary as the interface will still function without it - it will simply not look as good.

Bringing the different admin functions together into a more condensed interface acheives the goal of improving the first impressions factor tenfold: Rather than having to scroll down the page to see all of the different functions, the user can instantly see scope of what is controlled from within the interface.

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Re-Integrated

{jcomments off}Latest offerings for the upcoming release is a better method of integration for 3rd party web applications (forums, wikis, etc. etc...). The current method using the phpBB integration file has been changed and will be known under a more generic name.

The basic method of useage is the same - the integration files is called from within the 3rd party application, the relevent DMCMS bits are created and then assigned to a local variable allowing the DMCMS parts (header and/or footer) to be seamlessly stitched into the 3rd party app.

It may be necessary to modify the 3rd party app so that the DMCMS header / footer replaces existing logos etc, but this is entirely down to you.

I revisited this a short time ago due to wanting to add the site footer onto the bottom of the forum, I've since revisited integration again as I have now included the DMWiki.

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No Sleep Until 1am

{jcomments off}The automated user registration is now up and running on my test server. There are still some things to iron out and a few features to add to make administration easier but the basic system is in place and working.

I'm currently working on the backup / alternate method of user account activation so that, if required, activation can be done by administrators - this is usefull in cases where there is no access to a mail server or where site admins like to personally check and manually enable all registrations.

DM.

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ReCAPTCHA

I just surfed across reCAPTCHA whilst researching some code for DMCMS. reCAPTCHA is a site developed to make better use of the 'Captcha' security devices utilised on most web sites. Captcha's are those pictures with distorted words that you need to type into a box to validate your submission when posting information on the web. They are used to prevent spam by trying to prevent automated scripts from posting information. The basic idea behind reCAPTCHA is that it uses Captchas to convert text scanned from books (the captcha picture) by validating and then storing the result - thus allowing books that cannot be recognised with OCR software to be converted into the digital format. A great idea!I am currently looking into integrating reCAPTCHA into DMCMS for user comment validation

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New Features On Their Way

{jcomments off}Work has been progressing towards the next release of DMCMS which will likely be another major revision due to the amount of changes that have happened. The template parsing methodology has completely changed, gone is the fixed layout and instead in it's place is a template based layout system that allow layouts to be configured within the template itself. configuration variables can also be set within a template configuration file allowing complete freedom to template writers.The user commenting system is also now up and running, in fact the only thing stopping the next version from being released is the incomplete user admin system which is currently being finished off.As usual I have discovered more IE related issues, this time relating to the layout, it's only a small bug and will be fixed by release time.I have also spent some time tidying up the code - although there is still a lot to do.DM.

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0.7.0.BETA

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{jcomments off}DMCMS.0.7.0.BETA is very nearly here. The files are finished and uploaded to SF.Net's servers but I just can't seem to add them to the download section. It might be my dodgy wireless internet card :cry: Hopefully I can finish the job when I get home later on.The 0.7.0.Beta update is a major update from the previous version (hence it's jump from version 0.6.X to 0.7.X) practically all of the files have been changed. The changes are mostly to address problems with how the site is rendered in Internet Explorer. which for the most part I have not taken care of due to mostly developing in Firefox.Hopefully now I have stopped alienating IE users by actually releasing something they can see/use the site traffic should go up and someone might actually join the forum.

All current bugs have been fixed in this version and some feature requests have also been incorporated. The main outstanding feature of user commenting has been postponed until a later release so that this release could be issued in a timely manner, work is already well underway on getting the next release finished.DM.

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IE6 Display Issues

{jcomments off}It's just come to my attention that there are a few issues for Internet Explorer 6 users. This is mainly that the drop down menus do not work. A fix is being worked on at the moment, it will hopefully be ready for the 0.6.5 release this week.DM.

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Mac Database Client

http://www.sequelpro.com/assets/images/g-notebook-header.png

A recent project using a remote database server forced me to go looking for a suitable database client for my Mac. Previously i had used EMMA on Linux, but as I only has my macbook to hand I decided to have a look into what was available.A quick google turned up Sequel Pro - an open source project - http://www.sequelpro.com/

Sequel Pro is a very capable tool, that works flawlessly, it supports SSL connections and had a wide range of encoding options. The layout is instantly familiar to anyone who is used to using phpMyAdmin, and the interface is pretty intuitive to use.

The query editor allows easy query management with both a history feature as well as a favourites menu to keep track of your more frequently used querys, this alone is a great feature for anyone who needs to use the same querys over and over. The query editor also provides basic text editor functionality and syntax highlighting to make life a littel easier, it also includes auto complete.

Overall, if you need a remote database client, or simply want to use something other than phpMyAdmin, I would reccomend Sequel Pro. A great application, at a great price.

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IE6 Display Issues Fixed

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{jcomments off}The IE6 display issued have been traced to a simple spelling mistake (actually incorrect case on one character in a javascript function). The site has been updated but the fix will not be available until the release of version 0.6.5.beta. Work on 0.6.5.beta is currently progressing at a very fast rate, it is anticipated that it will be ready by the end of this week. Both the site and the demo site have been updated to the latest development ;evel.The Demo site is now also using the DMCMS template. There are still some issues to sort out with the template (mostly relating to IE6 not being able to correctly display PNG transparency) these will be addressed before the 0.6.5.beta release.For those of you who cannot wait until then for the IE6 drop down menu bugfix - simply make sure the term 'sfhover' is all lower case in the following files - /templates/.../banner.tpl & /templates/.../css/default.cssAlso, for those who cannot wait for the rest of 0.6.5.beta - all current changes are commited to the CVS repository - so you can checkout your own version.DM.

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