New Toy

Feb. 6th, 2007 01:40 am
lostcarpark: (Lego Spaceman)
This evening my Mum wanted me to come over to help her with her printer (ink cartridge needed a cleaning cycle). I took the advantage to download a few largish files that I haven't been able to get at home while I'm without broadband.

I've always used a simple text editor for PHP, but it's a bit limiting for the class library stuff I'm trying to work on now, as you keep having to look up the exact syntax of class members, which tend to be a bit more exacting than the simple function calls of old (and there's a lot more of them). So I've been trying out Eclipse, which has a PHP extension. So far I'm well impressed. Coming from a Visual Studio background, it seems to do everything I expect it to, though I've only been fiddling with it for an hour or so. I look forward to trying it out some more and getting into some real coding.

In other news, my keyboard's space bar seems to be dying, and I keep having to go back and insert missing spaces. I need to either get a new keyboard or get into the habit of pressing space with my left thumb (it seems to only be the right side that's going). The fact that the keyboard doesn't have a Euro symbol next to the dollar gives an indication of its age, so it might be time for a new keyboard.
lostcarpark: (Lego Manga Figure)
Still have no Broadband, so this will be fairly brief as I can't be bothered going offline to type it and reconnecting to post it.

I've been doing quite a lot of web stuff lately. I'm working to update my websites, though there isn't really any visible change yet. One thing I'm trying to fix is the different versions of similar scripts that have propagated over various websites over the years. There have been small changes to provide a specific feature for a particular website, so that I have places where the same script might have five slightly altered versions on different websites. So I'm trying to pull them all together and produce one script that services all of the sites, correctly implementing the features each site needs. At the same time, I'm trying to tidy up some very old code, and take out old styles that are no longer considered good practice. This will allow me to turn on some security and performance settings on my new server, and ensure all the code is up to a good standard.

I've also been working on several bits web things different people have asked me to do, which are also proving good fun, but somewhat time consuming. Hopefully I can find enough time to keep them all happy while still having a bit to work on the stuff mentioned above. I'm working on a system that makes it fairly easy for the website owner to edit much of the content themselves, which should cut down considerably on the amount of time I have to spend doing it.

There's a lot on at work too. Mostly good stuff. The last while, I've been doing quite a bit of work on optimisation of some of our systems. It's fun taking a process that takes almost an hour to run and reworking it so that it completes in under a minute.

In other news, I took some time out today to go bowling with Angie and Jack and the two Austrian students who've been staying with us for the week. I'm not particularly good at bowling, though I did manage to get a strike (though this was more than offset by the balls that went in the gutter).
lostcarpark: (Lego Spaceman)
This won't be of interest to most of you, but for any web developers...

I have been using a lot of Microsoft ASP.NET at work, and I've been quite impressed by it, especially around the database abstraction and AJAX development areas. So much so that I was considering moving some of my personal web projects to this platform.

However, there were some things troubling me, particularly around the area of ViewState, which can really cause web pages to bloat if not used carefully. The problem is that sometimes coding around ViewState to keep page bloat down can bring pack a lot of the work ASP.NET is supposed to save you from.

So, I've been looking at how some of the same things are done in the latest implementation of PHP, in conjunction with the PEAR library, and I have to say I'm very impressed by what I'm finding. Some of the PHP5 language developments turn it into a really lovely object oriented language. Meanwhile the PEAR library is turning into a wonderfully rich class library that has the potential to be a strong rival for the .NET framework. I've been getting to grips with the MDB2 database abstraction class, which really strikes me as elegant giving a lot of rich features with a high level of performance, while avoiding tying your code to a particular database engine. .NET, by comparison, seems to encourage you to use classes tied to one particular database over the more generic OLEDB classes, which always seemed a retrograde step to me.

And there are some nice-looking AJAX extensions in PEAR, which look very attractive without requiring huge amounts of code.

I'm still keeping my options open, but it looks like PHP/PEAR is in front for my personal sites for the moment.

NaNoWriMo

Nov. 5th, 2006 02:31 am
lostcarpark: (Lego Harry Potter)
Gosh, four days into the National Novel Writing Month, and I'm just about keeping my head above in terms of word count.

If I could keep from getting distracted, it would help a lot. I spent a lot of this evening working on a web system which might eventually become profitable, but in the shorter term should make it a lot easier to manage all (or at least most) of my web sites. Early days yet, but initial results look promising.

The first chapter (I hope) is nearly finished. I'm still plan to stay up and write a bit more and maybe get the chapter finished. I think this chapter was one of the more difficult ones for me to write, as there's a lot of personal stuff in there, and not much of the SF stuff that will dominate the later chapters. Hopefully once I get past this, it should get a bit easier to write, and hopefully I can catch up a bit.

Exit at 4619 words

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