Posts concerning web-development

Internet Illiteracy

12:40 11 Feb 2010

Rather widespread, apparently. When a ReadWriteWeb article on Facebook’s collaboration with AOL became a highly-ranked Google search result for “facebook login”, hundreds of Facebook users descended on that article and used the Facebook Connect button on that screen—which ReadWriteWeb provides so that people can leave comments using their Facebook account—and then became extremely confused, not understanding why they weren’t being brought to their usual Facebook home screen.

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jQuery Project

23:36 21 Jan 2010

I’ve been a big fan of jQuery more or less since it came out, and I’m happy to see the launch of The jQuery Project. I’ve used jQueryUI a couple of times and find it fairly useful; I haven’t tried Sizzle yet but it looks great for situations where you’re really concerned about keeping file sizes low but need decent CSS selector support; and I wish QUnit had been around when I was writing a lot of client-side code.

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WordPress 2.9 Upgrade

15:56 10 Jan 2010

I upgraded this blog to WordPress 2.9 today, and it appeared to go entirely smoothly. Please let me know if you notice any breakage.

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2010 Goals

08:53 01 Jan 2010

Happy New Year!

Once again, my goals for the coming year.

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2009 Goals Review

17:43 29 Dec 2009

I had eight goals for 2009, and all of them that I’m going to get done I’ve already completed. Time to review.

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GPS, URLs, Math, Python, Featuritis

23:53 08 Dec 2009. Updated: 01:43 09 Dec 2009

Earlier this evening Gever suggested a service dedicated to shortening URLs that had geolocation data in them. My immediate responses were that a) this was a great idea, and b) that I wanted the shortened URLs to still be human-readable in some sense—specifically, I wanted a person to be able to look at two URLs returned by this service and have some idea of how close to each other they were.

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addons.mozilla.org Moving from CakePHP to Django

20:43 17 Nov 2009

This post details why they’re making the move. I find this of interest partly because it’s a move from a very popular web language (PHP) to one that’s become vastly more popular in the last couple of years (Python), and also because Django is the one major Python framework I haven’t tried out yet. Because of my liking for Python, I have a personal bias that makes me happy to see a prominent project such as this one move to the language.

I find it odd that they’re going from Subversion to git instead of to Mercurial, but I like the fact that they’re moving their documentation to the reStructuredText-based Sphinx.

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HTML Past and Future

16:04 10 Nov 2009

Mark Pilgrim, author of the excellent Dive Into Python, is working on Dive Into HTML5, and his draft chapter on HTML5 semantics is an excellent introduction to the advantages of the new HTML standard. It’s unfortunately quite far from becoming a real standard, but as a web developer, I’d like to see it happen as soon as possible.

I came across a contrasting Mark Pilgrim article that’s also worth reading: “Why do we have an IMG element?”, which goes over the history of that element in HTML, the objections raised at the time, and how it won out over alternatives.

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Some JavaScript Programming Patterns

15:09 11 Oct 2009

“JavaScript Programming Patterns”, by Klaus Komenda, is an excellent walkthrough of several JS patterns. If you code JavaScript regularly you probably know at least some of these but will likely still find something useful in it—I particularly like the lazy function definition, a pattern originated by Peter Michaux:

var foo = function() {
    var t = new Date();
    foo = function() {
        return t;
    return foo();

Simple, elegant, solves the problem of making sure that the heavy lifting only gets done once.

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404 Pages

23:36 10 Sep 2009. Updated: 00:38 11 Sep 2009

wpbeginner has a list of their favorite WordPress 404 pages. There are some good ones in there, but none of them do what I think they should do—that is, as well as provide helpful links to popular pages, also provide a list of guesses about where the user was actually trying to go. Coincidentally, today I also read this excellent article about finding the longest common subsequence between two strings. So, at some point, I’ll improve my blog’s 404 page so that it calls, probably via asynchronous request, a Python script that checks the user’s requested URL against all valid URLs WordPress knows about, and then suggests to the user whatever the closest matches are. I’m somewhat surprised that this isn’t done more often, but it seems that far too many sites are really blasé about 404s.

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Social Design Patterns

07:00 11 Aug 2009. Updated: 10:21 13 Aug 2009

Via BoingBoing, I came across quite a good article on information architecture and user experience design for social websites. If you’re at all interested in the area, I recommend it. There’s also a related wiki that seems to have a great deal of content on it.

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2009 Goals Status

22:50 30 Jul 2009

At the start of the year I laid out some goals for 2009, and it’s time to review how they’re going.

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Better reST–WordPress Pipeline

23:15 28 Jul 2009

Last week I posted about my setup for going from reStructuredText to WordPress. It involved a shell script, some Python scripts, and the pbpaste and pbcopy commands. It worked, but it was a little on the convoluted side.

Now I have a slightly better process, and one that I will have used to publish this post.

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22:08 26 Jul 2009

thesixtyone is a music site unlike any other I’ve seen. I first heard about it from AlecF’s tweet in June, but only glanced at it then. This week, I was in the mood for finding some new music, and remembered it.

It’s a site where you can browse music, except that it encourages you to try out various discovery methods by giving you “quests” and assigning points to you based on your achievements.

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Some Character Encoding Gotchas

10:31 16 Jul 2009

While scripting my reStructuredText to WordPress workflow, I ran into a bunch of character encoding problems.

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Blog Workflow with reStructuredText

22:57 14 Jul 2009. Updated: 23:13 28 Jul 2009

I wrote about moving my writing over to reStructuredText on Sunday, and since then I’ve moved both my morning pages and my blog writing to it. The latter proved more complicated, primarily because I wanted to make the process almost as easy as writing pseudo-HTML (which is more or less WordPress’ native format, and kind of mine, too, for the last several years). With some hacky wrangling, I’ve managed to set that up.

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Python Syntax Highlighting for star-light

23:37 26 Jun 2009

A couple of years ago I plugged star-light, a syntax highlighter that’s entirely client-side. I’ve been happy with it, but wanted a Python mode for it. I was going to post some other code this evening, and then decided that I should just make the Python mode myself.

This led to fun with regular expressions.

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PyWebSF Site Update

15:46 23 Jun 2009

I did some work on the PyWebSF site, so that it looks rather better than it did with the default WordPress theme. I altered a pretty good WordPress theme called Arras Theme, which I was fairly impressed with. As a reminder, the first meeting is tonight.

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PyWebSF Logo Attempt

23:03 21 Jun 2009

My brother asked me a while ago to design a logo for PyWebSF, and tonight I took a shot at it. Part of me thinks it has a certain something, and part of me thinks it’s exactly the sort of thing you get when you ask an engineer to do a designer’s job.

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WordPress 2.8 Upgrade

17:44 14 Jun 2009

Today I upgraded this blog to WordPress 2.8, a relatively smooth process. I ran into completely unrelated problems (hitting the process limit for my shell account) that derailed things for a while, but the WordPress upgrade itself was smooth.

I use Subversion to upgrade, first using
svn export --force http://core.svn.wordpress.org/tags/2.8/ .
in my development environment, seeing if things look okay there, then checking in the 2.8 changes to my own repository (the only niggly part because I neglected to clean the dev environment of changes before the export, so I had to look through things to see what was part of the upgrade), backing up my live database, and then checking the changes out to the live environment. It all looks fine, and hopefully will continue to function normally.

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Pylons Via Apache Port Issues

16:42 12 Jun 2009

I’ve been using Pylons (and, more recently, the Pylons-based TurboGears 2.0) for various projects for a while, and a few weeks ago ran into an annoying and specific problem: using Pylons via Apache made Pylons occasionally think it was running on a different port.

There’s a relatively easy answer to this, but until I was reading through TurboGears documentation, I didn’t find it.

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PyWebSF: Meetup for SF-Area Python Web Developers

22:07 09 Jun 2009. Updated: 19:42 11 Jun 2009

My brother is organizing what will hopefully become a regular web-centric Python meeting. The first meeting is planned for 18:00 Tue 23 Jun 2009 at the SF Public Library. I think a couple of speakers are lined up already, although I don’t have details on the talks. I’ll be there, and if you’re a Python developer with web interests, or a web developer into or curious about Python, you should attend too!

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YouTube, Linkrot, and Blogging

22:04 18 May 2009

While randomly looking over one of my older posts last night, I realized that the YouTube video that it was centered around had been removed, making it pointless. This is extremely annoying, not just for me but for any reader of that post.

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