Tag Archives | PHP

Seacoast WordPress Developers Group, April Notes

On April 6th, the Seacoast WordPress Developer’s Group met at the New Hampshire Innovation Commercialization Center to talk WordPress. Networking and casual conversation started around 6:30, with the meeting formally starting at 7 PM with a round of introductions:

Dave – former Cold Fusion, ETL, new to WordPress,
Carl Eric Johnson – web developer, WordPress instructor and eveloper, fan of Thesis framework.
Amanda – BIL doing Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress
Sharon, Rye Public Library, Technology Coordinator, just launched a freshened site on April 1st using WordPress and Atahualpa theme/framework.
Will, a graphic designer in a print shop who’d been encouraged to learn web design and now WordPress.

Book recommendations:
Amanda praised the Wrox Professional WordPress book.
Carl Eric has enjoyed WordPress: Visual QuickStart Guide to get up and running, and WordPress Bible(Aaron Barzell) from Wiley as a reference.

Main Presentation: Carl Eric Johnson: talk about themes and frameworks
Sitepoint.com Wicked WordPress Themes book has free sample download chapter. Table of contents points out the choices of custom themes, child themes, building a framework.
Child themes: load with parent’s theme files, in your child file, you import the parent, then override what’s different.
In WordPress 3.0, theme TwentyTen has a lot of options built in. Thesis and Atahualpa have a number of pages of options: sizing, features, colors, styles, etc.

Amanda talked about file structures and “the loop” – directories of wp-admin and wp-install are pretty much off-limits, containing the installed WordPress files and overwritten up updates; wp-content contains most everything else, including the stuff you customize. Add your own functions.php and copy the functions you want to override. A theme consists of index.php and style.css as a minimum; you can add as much as you want from there. See the Codex for the hierarchy of theme files WordPress looks for in order to render your content. Consider starting with a “blank” theme if you’re building your own, such as Starkers or Boilerplate themes – essentially stripped-down skeletal themes with all of the style removed.

See http://codex.wordpress.org/Template_Hierarchy for a description of how WordPress selects the correct template(s).

See http://codex.wordpress.org/The_Loop_in_Action for an overview of the loop.

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WordPress updated to version 3.1

A new version of WordPress is available, and I’ve updated the blog to version 3.1 and downgraded it again. It seems like some of my custom hacks didn’t make the transition as smooth as I’d like. A good lesson there: always make backups; they’re handy for quick rollbacks. Check out some of the new features, listed here.

It appears that the Header Image Rotator (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/twenty-ten-header-rotator/) is the problem. I’ve disabled it, got the update working, re-enabled it and it broke again. Sure enough. I’ve let the author know about the problem and the error messages in my logs. Let’s hope for a painless fix. In the meantime, I’ll post a favorite old picture of mine, taken on a cold snowy night.

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Seacoast WordPress Developers Group announce March meeting

Organizer Amanda Giles announced a second meeting of the Seacoast WordPress Developers Group:

When: Wednesday, March 2, 2011 7:00 PM
Where: NH-Innovation Commercialization Center, 75 Rochester Avenue, Portsmouth, NH 03801
Why: Let’s get together for another meetup. More details coming soon. Please send me your suggestions or ideas for things you would like to share or see shared.

CMS Learning Curves, artist unknown

CMS Learning Curves

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Notes from SeaCoast WordPress Developers meeting, 11-Jan-2011

The premiere meeting of the Seacoast WordPress Developers group occurred on Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at the Portsmouth Public Library from 6:30 – 8:30 pm. Four people attended, a modest but promising showing. All four – Amanda, Jesse, Kevin and I – had experience with WordPress and relatively advanced computer experience, as befits a “Developers” group rather than a “Users” group. We did a round on introductions and discussed what we’d like from the group. There was a lot of meta-discussion: how to organize the group, when to meet, what features to offer attendees, etc. We talked about what we had done with WordPress and what we were looking to do. We shared some advice on resources and plugins we’d had success with.

Kevin shared some insights into the Drupal community and the Seacoast NH Drupal Group. Kevin talked about working with Drupal’s Aegir enterprise management system and the Content Creation Kit

I mentioned the Joomla’s recent 1.6 release and Barry North’s CompassDesigns.net pointing out we have a lot of good options in CMSes out there, and we talked about some of the hybrid solutions: some of this and some of that.

Jesse’s been working with Expression Engine and is interested in the CMS capabilities of WordPress as an alternative. I pointed out that Expression Engine is built on the CodeIgniter framework which I’m currently working with.

We spoke about a lot of related groups and hope to share contacts and exchange publicity with the New Hampshire Ruby Rails Group, the Greater New Hampshire Linux User Group, SLUG, the Seacoast Linux User Group (meeting in Morse 301 on the second Monday at 7 Pm for the past 11 years). Amanda and Kevin recalled the GNHLUG meeting featuring Linus Torvalds, attended by over 200 people, on 31 Jan 1996 (accoding to GNHLUG’s list of past events), We mentioned other meetings, such as NHUPA: New Hampshire Usability Professionals Association (now NHUXPA) the eBrew last week at the Press Room, the New Hampshire High Tech Council and the NH PodCamp and Boston WordCamp

Amanda was the organizer of the meeting, and had the most experience with WordPress sites. She has developed and released a number of sites, modified plugins and worked with other developers to get the features she needed. Amanda was interested in learning more about WordPress’ CMS abilities. She’s interested in the Flutter add-on, the Magic Fields CMS Add-On, and extending WordPress with the WP 3.0’s Custom Fields. Amanda brought two books for show-n-tell: Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog by Thord Daniel Hedengren (Smashing) and Professional WordPress by Hal Stern, David Damstra and Brad Williams (Apress/Wrox)

This was a great start to a good group, and I’m looking forward to future meetings. Thanks to Amanda for organizing the meeting and the Portsmouth Public Library for the fine facilities. Stay tuned to the meetup group for announcements on future meetings.

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LAMP – Linux, Apache, Microsoft?!?!!, PHP?

For a new client project, I’m configuring LAMP in a way I have not before. The “M” in LAMP, often referred to as Middleware or the trademark of a certain database, is Microsoft in this case, Microsoft SQL Server.

My development workstation is running Fedora 14 and I installed the following to get it working: unixODBC, FreeTDS and php-odbc. (The other components were already installed.) In order to get it working (the target server is up and running, that’s another rant/post), I followed the how-to at http://www.unixodbc.org/doc/FreeTDS.html. Taking care to do the intermediate tests with tsql and isql, and then configuring the PHP CodeIgniter framework to use odbc (with one tweak to the source), I was up and running!

The power of Open Source continues to amaze me.

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Notes for CentraLUG, 7-June-2010: Wikis

The topic of the month is Wikis. “Wiki Wiki!” is Hawaiian for “quick, quick!” and is a pattern of presenting a read-write web site. There are more variations and implementations than grains of sand in the universe. but we’ll look at a couple of them, specifically:

We’ll talk a little bit about the range of markup languages, the technology behind the wiki, the social and community aspects of how a wiki works (or doesn’t), and how Free/Open Source has played into the success of wikis.

Recommended Reading: “The Wiki Way, Quick Collaboration on the Web” by Ward Cunningham (inventor of the wiki) and Bo Leuf, Addison-Wesley, 2001, ISBN 0-201-71499-X and http://wiki.org/. We’ll have a copy there for your browsing.

Comments from other members suggest we might also want to look at:

MindTouch (http://sourceforge.net/projects/dekiwiki/)

Wekkid https://launchpad.net/wikkid

Wikipedia’s entry on Wikis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki_software and

a list of software with comparisons: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_wikis

and http://www.wikimatrix.org/

My most active Wiki experience: http://fox.wikis.com (Not open source, either in implementations nor base language).

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Visibone, a source of great reference guides and online utilities

Visibone's Everything Book
One of my favorite tools for the past couple of years has been a web developer’s reference guide from Visibone. The book has rarely left my desk, within arm’s reach, to help out when I just can’t remember all the options for an HTML tag or a CSS style. While there are some great online references, having it all in a couple sheets of paper makes it easy to find what I’m looking for (especially if I couldn’t remember if it was text-something or font-mumble) and the reference has also let me browse around the dusty corners and learn something I didn’t know.

Recently, I did some web development using XHTML 1.1 and CSS 2.1 and realized my 2004 version of the guide was getting out of date. I was pleased to see many of the pages had been updated to a 2009 version. After reviewing the many options, I chose to go all in and bought the Everything Book, a step up from my earlier version. This one includes cheatsheets for PHP, MySQL, JavaScript, DOM, HTML, CSS, HTML special characters, web colors and a great index. The reference not only includes broad coverage of each topic but many side notes and compatibility guides (for CSS, the IE-Netscape-Opera-FireFox-Safari compatibility color coding is tremendously useful!)

There are a number of bonus references available on the Visibone site at no cost. Check out the color lab, the color swatches for many of the common graphics programs, the online color codes reference, and excerpts from all of the various reference materials. In addition to reference book, Visibone offers posters, charts and mouse pads. The web site is worth a visit; it’s charmingly quirky, retro, opinionated and clearly individualistic.

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Listening to… August 2008

Kent Beck spoke at O’Reilly Media’s RailConf on Test Driven Development, Patterns and Extreme Programming and I got to listen while working out last week. A long trip to a client gave me an excuse to listen to last week’s Technometria interview on Sxipper, and catching up with some 2006 archival Twit.tv FLOSS recordings featuring PHP’s originator Rasmus Lerdof and a second one with Jeremy Allison on Samba.

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Notes from MonadLUG, 10-April-2008: Guy Pardoe and Joomla

Sixteen people were present for the April Meeting of MonadLUG, the Monadnock Area Linux User Group meeting, held as usual on the second Thursday of the month at the School Administrative Unit #1 main office off Hancock Road in Peterborough.

As is usual with most LUG meetings, we spent the standard ten minutes wrestling with monitor settings for the cool new projector. We couldn’t do better than 640 x 480 so Guy was a trooper and persevered through the presentation at teeny resolution. Ouch. We’ll have to do some research to figure out how to get this new projector system to rock and roll.

Guy reminisced about his last presentation, (February last year) where he had talked about the new version of Joomla, which was due Real Soon Now and how he had promised to be back when it was released. In April of 2008, he was back to report that 1.5 is released, and the wait was worthwhile. In fact, version 1.5.2 is out now.

There was a discussion of the many new content management systems – Drupal is another one that’s received a lot of attention. Guy had also heard another one – ModX (http://modxcms.com/) that he hears all the cool kids are playing with.

Guy talked about how the web grew up in a table driven layout just to get positioning right, and that as css came along, that was prefered. Joomla templates are nearly always 100% CSS and valid HTML with few or no tables, and how there’s a lot of advantages from better accessibility, easier localization, better search engine optimization and fewer cavities.

As part of his presentation, Guy downloaded the .zip from the web site www.joomla.org, un-zipped the package, copied to an install directory, ran the installation (a pre-flight check, verified versions, etc.) and he was up and running (Joomla reminded to remove installation). Members noted that Guy showed them things about file management using the GNOME file manager that no one had bothered to try, since they would have all done it from a shell. Guy didn’t apologize for being a Windows refugee. There’s more than one way…

Guy talked about the first presentation of Joomla we saw, from Barrie North on 7 September 2006 at DLSLUG. Barrie has recently published a book, which Guy had with him and praised.

Guy gave us tour of the interface, both the public presentation and the administrative interface. Built-in default templates are pretty slick. The setup wizard was quite graceful. And addons and replacement templates seem to be available in huge quantities (Ted: downloading code off the internet and installing it to run on your computers without inspecting and understanding the code is a Bad Idea. Use only trustworthy sites and review what you get.)

Finally, Guy showed off a site he is developing for a client at Bristol Elder Care and talked about what was involved in getting the site up and running.

Thanks to Guy for a great presentation, to Charlie for organizing the meeting, to Ken and the SAU for the great facilities.

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