Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Like to Chat? Check out Meebo

I stumbled across www.meebo.com today, and I like it. Web based "omni" chat client, to use my own words. Use MSN, Yahoo, Facebook, and more. Pretty cool.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ahhh Vanity

Basically, as a writer and a blogger, I suck pretty hard. Broken English, misspelled words, incomplete sentences and thoughts, yadda yadda. This occures partially because I really do suck at times, but more often then not it is laziness on my part to not cross every t or dot every i.

But blogging is fun, and feeds a little personal vanity I suppose. I don't bring much to the table, but every once in a while someone will thank me for posting some code or quote a comment I left on a blog.

Here is one case...

http://dusanwriter.com/index.php/2009/02/17/identities-constructed-virtual-worlds-and-anonymity/

This post is about virtual identities, something I'm very interested in. And the author, Dusan, talked briefly about a comment I made about Oscar Wilde, though I can't seem to find the original comment on the other blog post. So, in a small way, I added to the discussion of things, and got people to think a little bit about a point I made, which is cool.

Does my heat good and feeds the vanity flame a little more.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Think Science Isn't Cool? In the USSR It Is

Just so you believe me, say you were a nuclear engineer in Russia. Here are some of your comrads.

http://miss2009.nuclear.ru/participants.html

I doubt most engineering or scientific firms in the US could mount any sort of challenge to the miss atom contest in the CIS.

What does this tell us, besides the fact that I was checking out some Russian scientific hotties? That there is a big cultural difference between Russia and the US. In Russia, science is cool enough to attract some babe talent. In America, not so much (though there are exceptions to every rule...if you are female, in science, and reading this, you are the exception...of course:). This is a problem.

Source: Wired Defense Blog

Monday, February 09, 2009

Three PHP Frameworks Worth Checking Out

I think php is kind of in a crisis right now (and I'm sort of talking through my rear, as I'm working on my first PHP project now). It seems like PHP is really simple. But a lot of folks talked down to PHP because it wasn't "object oriented" enough. So now PHP is trying to become what maybe it shouldn't be, a first class object oriented language. Or let me put it this way, hopefully it won't become a first class object oriented language at the expense of loosing its easy to use/easy to understand roots.

Anyway, I digress...

For those of you who just can't stand the fact that you don't have all the OOP and other "modern" features of other languages in PHP, check out the following PHP frameworks that extend PHP to support things like MVC, better OOP, and Active Record, to name a few. Here they are.

CakePHP http://cakephp.org/
The Zend Framework http://framework.zend.com/
Code Igniter http://codeigniter.com/

If you have any opinions on which is better, I'd be interested. I will take one out for a spin on my second or third project.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Abyss and Sql Server 2008




You might be wondering how hard it is to get php and SQL Server 2008 talking to each other on an abyss web server. Turns out it is pretty easy. Here are the basics (which is pretty much exactly how you think you would do it). Below assumes you already have Abyss, php, and sql server up and running.

1. Download and "install" (unpack into a folder) the latest php/SQL Server driver (it says 2005, works wth 2008, but you have to get funky if you want to use some of the new 2008 data types...update in the works).

http://www.microsoft.com/DOWNLOADS/details.aspx?FamilyID=61bf87e0-d031-466b-b09a-6597c21a2e2a&displaylang=en

2) Copy the php_sqlsrv_ts.dll from your driver's install folder into your php folder.

3) (Optional: Back up your php.ini file in your php folder, then...) Add the following line into the extensions section of your php.ini file-

extension=php_sqlsrv_ts.dll

4) Restart Abyss, and you should be done. You can check for a sqlsvr section in php_info.

I haven't done to much testing with this, but it says it has installed, so for now I will assume good. Also if you have sql server running on a different box, you may have to tweak your php interpreter settings in abyss from named pipes local to named pipes tcp/ip. Not sure as I'm just using a local version of sql express.





Wednesday, February 04, 2009

XMLDataSource Remembered

I always forget this. Sometimes I don't have the db setup but I need to model some web pages based on data. The XMLDataSource comes in really handy for that (in ASP.Net that is). Here is a link to a quick reminder of how to use the XMLDataSource with a little xpath.

http://www.codeproject.com/KB/webforms/XMLDataSource.aspx

Thanks Keyvan Nayyeri

Update: Or you can use XML directly in the XMLDataSource control

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/322190/asp-net-3-5-bind-to-xml-string


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Monday, February 02, 2009

Problem for Microsoft

Do a little web searching for top Web 2.0 sites for 2008. You might have to adjust your search params to include social media or what not, but go ahead and search.

Once you have a few list up, go through them, and see hot many of them are using ASP.Net.

1? Maybe 2?

Not good. ASP.Net is awesome for creating internal enterprise-based web applications. It isn't getting that much steam, it would appear, with the innovative crowd that is bringing new web apps to the masses. This in turn means that up and coming developers, who may not exist in the enterprise sphere (yet), see only sites using PHP, or Ruby, or something else. A rational choice for this next wave of developers will be to go with what the big boys (at least of what they can see of the big boys from their vantage point) are using, and it isn't ASP.Net.

I'm in a similar position right now. I do all ASP.Net/C# dev at work, but for an upcoming personal project I'm thinking of ditching ASP.Net for at least the web component of the project. Why? It is just to much. The last web site that I built where I was exclusively focusing on solving client problems, while not having to learn how to implement technical solutions on the fly, was written with simple classic ASP. With ASP.Net it seems like you really need to be at a guru level before you can quit worrying about the how-to's and focus elusively and the why's and what is best questions. Even though I use ASP.Net all the time at work, I don't feel like I'm at the guru point yet. Classic ASP was simple, but it did what I needed without me having to think to much about it. I miss that.

Now I'm looking at PHP for the web component (I will probably stick with MS SQL Server for the db). I'd have to learn it, but it looks like the basics of PHP are really, really simple, something I can probably sit down and master the basics of (data in, data out, data on the page) in a few days. That sounds really appealing to me right now. My project isn't about learning how to do something, it is about providing something. I want to get into the providing a solution rather then learning how to provide a solution as quickly as possible with the minimal about of head aches. Plus I want to right code and have once it works to be able to sit for the next 10 years without worrying about it. PHP is going on version 6 right now, but from what I understand version 1 code will still run under PHP 6 (though this might not be 100% the case, I imagine minimal tweaking would be needed). Classic ASP is pretty stable, but who knows how long that will be around. With .Net, Migrating say from version 1.1 to version 4.0 (when it comes out) would be nightmare, and would require investments into MS server tech and developer software.

So, is ASP.Net a fit for public web applications? The big boys don't seem to think so, probably for some of the reasons I alluded to above, and for Microsoft, that is a problem.