Category Archives: Blog

Enotarize.com Beta is Live

The other project that I mentioned, that has been in the wind since 2003, has been uploaded to the server…

Enotarize.com

Some of you are probably scratching your heads right now, but it has possibilities.

Right now, the backend is not connected, its just out to get indexed. In a few days I’ll add the needed database entries and a wget script, and it should go live.

In the mean time I need to do some work on DynamicSide.NET [which should be live within the next 7 days]. This dynamic dns project is turning out to be fairly complicated, since I’m not turning out a hack and am implementing an actual user system that validates, has features, and can be maintained and upgraded. Lots of php and sql code.

I also have a 3rd project, but I think I’ll put it aside for the time being, if I can resist temptation.

Upgrading WordPress, the Simple Way

I’m not sure why some instructions make simple task difficult, but here is how I upgrade WordPress…

Backup current ‘wordpress’ directory and database.

  1. cp -a wordpress/* /usr/local/bk/wordpress/
  2. mysqldump --user=root --password=XXX wordpress > /usr/local/bk/wordpress/wordpress.sql

Download and extract latest version of WordPress.
This will unpack a directory called ‘wordpress’ so be careful where you do this and how.

  1. wget http://wordpress.org/latest.tar.gz
  2. tar -xzf latest.tar.gz

Copy the newer wordpress files over the current base. This will not overwrite files ‘.htaccess’ or ‘wp-config.php’, or anything else that was placed or generated after the initial install.

cp -r --reply=yes wordpress/* /path/to/current/wordpress/dir/

Run upgrade script.

http://www.example.com/wordpress/wp-admin/upgrade.php

New DeveloperSide.NET Website is Live

I’ll make this one short and simple, about something I’ve learned.

Don’t try to design your own website from scratch unless you’re a website designer.

Use a template, or use a CMS. Otherwise it will not look professional no matter what you do or believe.

You might find the following Google Search query invaluable…

Google Search:
“creative commons” OR “open source” website template

And if you can’t locate what you are looking for, you can always buy a template for $60 and save your time and effort for something else.

Switched from phpBB to SMF

All in all, I like it.

It generates valid html/css and has more administrative options than phpBB. Though in someways it does feel a bit more complicated to setup and use properly [keep in mind that *I have* been accustomed to using phpBB since 2003, and I did have to perform the extra steps of setting everything up and converting the old forum db to SMF].

On the plus side, it is much more secure than the nightmare called “phpBB”; though I do not like the fact you have to chmod 777 all the files — or at least some subset. Nor the fact that SMF does not seem to have as large of a community base as phpBB, which translates into “good luck finding the info you require, or locating a solution to a problem.”

The biggest hassle right now is with losing all the old URLs that have been indexed, that have good SE positions…

Indexed phpBB URLs are primarily of a post number while SMF uses a system where you have to start with a thread number and only then can you work to the post number. And since I have no way of knowing the thread number, all I can do is redirect back to index.php.

I’m going to stick to the default theme as it has a very clean and simple look. One other theme that I liked was called ‘DilberMC’, with the light silver color and an 800px width.

And just as a note to anyone interested in SMF, while it is free software, it is not GPL. The licensing termed specifically prohibit you from distributing the software in any way, modified or not. All generated copyright notices must also be retained.

DynamicSide.NET Beta is Live

As of the 1st of January, 2007 I have put up the DynamicSide.NET Dynamic DNS (ddns) site.

Be warned, its very beta right now. You can see the site and do a couple of things, but for the most part it is not integrated with the backend.

This project turned out to be much more complex that I originally hoped for… A solid week and a half of work in what you are seeing, a good 4-8 hours a day. The layout was simple, but the rest is another story. I would say its 75% complete. I just have to go over a few things and put up the backend.

So its out in the wild primarily to get indexed and to let everyone see a bit of the future.

Developed and tested on the Web-Developer WAMP Server Suite. [That would be a nice type of banner/stamp to put up.]

There is another project that I think I will work on before I complete this one, but its much more simpler and once the site layout is done, it should not take more than a few days to do.

MySQL Wants Out of the GPL

It looks like MySQL has no more plans of providing the updated binaries [and source] to the ‘Community Server’ edition of the MySQL Server.

Currently the newest release version is 5.0.30, while Downloads only lists 5.0.27. The situation is the same under the changelog of the Manual.

MySQL is the copyright holder on the software, and is not bound to the license of any previous release, so this is all perfectly valid.

While this will not affect the Linux crowd much, this will be a problem for WAMP distributions as MySQL has always been difficult to compile on this platform.

Dropping the ‘Community Server’ edition in exchange of only providing to paid customers could also backfire, but I doubt that will happen.

Some alternatives to MySQL are…

Win32 source can still be obtained from MySQL’s FTP

A little more info can be found in this blog entry…
mysqlperformanceblog.com

Forums, phpBB vs the Rest

Having run phpBB for the last 3 years as the Forum s/w for devside.net, I have definitely come across issues and problems. Some very serious…

phpBB made it possible for devside.net to get hacked, has corrupted the db more than once with some damage, and is now mysteriously creating backups that are different in size by a large margin from the mysql db dumps [compression is taken into account], not to mention all the headaches it has given me.

Here is an article comparing the major Forums…
http://shsc.info/ForumSoftwareGuide

I think when I have the time, I will try out SMF.

As a note, phpBB3 is coming out, and hopefully will be an improvement over the 2.0 branch. And if it is not… I will not be surprised at all.

DynamicSide.NET Update, Dec 28th 2006

About one week ago I started work on DynamicSide.NET, a provider of dynamic DNS [ddns] Services. I have been meaning to create this project since about 2004… And 2-3 years later, its coming along very well and I should be able to deploy the site within the next 7 days.

This will be a separate entity from DeveloperSide.NET. I will have to write/update the ddns client that I have integrated into the WAMP Controller as we are a bit above the one *.dynside.net sub-domain mark. But primarily, this project will stand alone on its own.

I also have two other projects that I think I will work on when dynside.net is deployed and working… Both of which will not have much to do with WAMP in particular, but will serve a purpose.

Python, the Other Scripting Language

Having spent a considerable amount of time programming in C with the win32 API recently, I have been keeping a note in the back of my mind of finding a scripting language to learn; anything to be able to be more productive in with less effort.

When somebody says “scripting language”, people probably tend to either think Perl or PHP…

With Perl, I have always been put down by it’s “many ways to do a task” ideology and the write-only code it produces. And with scripting languages such as PHP: they tend to be either too web-centric, and/or have grown too big for my taste. A good, general purpose scripting language just seems hard to come by these days.

I need a toolset with tools that are specific in function, easy to learn/use; and not a bloated hack with everything and the kitchen sink thrown in. But rather something that is concrete [as in not loose], something that will do the job it was designed for, and something that is established and has matured in a good way.

And here comes Python out of the blue. A good article about ESR trying this language and finding it easier to learn, use, and to be more productive in over Perl…

Why Python?

Haskell and Lisp are also some other interesting options, though I’m not sure how easy they are to learn.

Dive Into Python is an online book that has come highly recommended.

Byte of Python is another online book [in the form of a wiki] that gets to the point.

Installer, Authoring Tools

With the new release of the Web-Developer Server Suite version 1.90, having not touched the older installer codebase for some time, I decided to take a look at the Authoring [Installer] tools available for Windows.

At first I wanted to go the route of creating an msi package, as it seemed to be the most professional solution with the most advanced feature set.

An MSI package is part of a native Microsoft solution that uses the Windows Installer engine/framework…

Windows Installer

The Windows Installer is an engine for the installation, maintenance, and removal of software on modern Microsoft Windows systems. The installation information, and often the files themselves, are packaged in installation packages, loosely relational databases structured as OLE Structured Storage Files and commonly known as “MSI files”, from their default file extension.

The tools I found for creating msi packages consisted of the following two major players, both providing large and expensive packages…

  • InstallShield
  • Wise for Windows Installer

These tools are sold under three main categories/versions: standard/express, professional, and premier/enterprise. Most of the features are not under the standard/express versions. So expect to pay several thousand for the product.

Here is the breakdown that I have been able to gather from the opinion of others…
InstallShield is more flexible/powerful [a euphemism for "the user will need to hack everything together himself"], bloated, buggy, and slow. Wise is easer to use.

I looked at some of the free solutions out there, and found most to be to be lacking in many ways.

The only msi authoring tool that caught my attention was Advanced Installer, a 7MB download with a free version available.

And for creating an extremely simple msi [no components/features, just the basics], you can’t beat the simplicity and cost of this free version of the product. For anything else, expect to pay…

Unless you have the time and effort to learn to use the WiX toolset…

Wix toolset

The Windows Installer XML (WiX) is a toolset that builds Windows installation packages from XML source code.

WiX exposes everything under the Windows Installer engine for you to use, every bit of it, just as a hex editor would expose the bits under a binary. There is a noteworthy GUI for this tool called WiXEdit and there is also Microsoft’s Orca, but now we are still only at the ASM level.

Letting go of the msi hope, for anything but the simplest of projects, I was forced back to use an exe Installer. Inno Setup or NSIS (Nullsoft Scriptable Install System). Both free, both major projects that have been around for a while and have strong user bases.

Inno is extremely easy to learn/use, while NSIS is considered by some to be the more “powerful” of the two. Though after getting into some of the more advanced features of Inno, I can’t help but think that those same NSIS users probably never tried Inno in the first place [or just gave it a glance over].

At the end, Inno Setup got the job done.

My new motto is use the tools that will accomplish the most work for the least amount of effort. And learn to live with the few “potential” restrictions.