Archive for 2008

Lumifi – Web Search Without a Web Browser

Lumifi – Web Search Without a Web Browser

There’s a new search engine being showcased on Apple.com’s widget download page, lumifi® , which, unlike other search engines, does not run through a web browser. With web search being so integral to our computer lives, is it preferable to search through a website or an application?

Lumifi’s marketing department provides one answer :

“lumifi is different than Google and other search engines in that it reads each search result for you to determine what is actually relevant to your research rather than what happens to be popular at the moment.”

But obviously other search engines do relevance tests–determining relevance is their main purpose. Perhaps they mean that lumifi does some sort of post-processing of standard search results; basically a double-search. Their program hits Google, or some other search engine, then filters and returns the reordered results.

The problem is the results are pretty lousy. Google‚Äôs algorithm is great … Read more…


Spaces in Mac OSX Leopard – Best Workflow

Mac OSX Leopard

At first glance Mac OSX Leopard looks like Tiger with a new, sleeker skinning. A few new applications are available, and a few others are broken, but overall basically the same thing. That is, until you discover the Spaces command.

Spaces are great, they’re like the Expose flyout but taken up a level. With Spaces, you can arrange all the windows on your screen, all the clutter, into multiple, separate areas. Each of these areas functions like its own desktop, when you use the Expose flyout, only the windows in that Space are seen. And the best part is that you can set programs to open by default in certain spaces. I love this feature, since I am always working on such disparate things. Now my web development can be separate from my web design and … Read more…


jQuery Animation and SEO

jQuery Animation and SEO

I put a bit of jQuery on my site, animating the links in my art portfolio section. Check it out. I really like jQuery actually, it looks nice, and its a great way to liven up a site’s visuals without using Flash and losing all that SEO.

The problem is that jQuery, which is essentially JavaScript, is also not very SEO friendly. You can use it pretty much the same way as Flash, in limited quantities where you don’t care about searchability. However, when you want to make it SEO friendly, it operates pretty similarly to AJAX. Basically, you don’t want jQuery to be the only way you access any content. Any content that is accessed with jQuery also needs to have hard links, anchor tags with the href to make the search engines happy. These anchor … Read more…


Lower Case Months Plugin for WordPress

Wordpress plugin

This WP plugin is kind of pointless, since you can modify text capitalization via the CSS text-transform property: lowercase, capitalize and uppercase are all options. more info

While doing some WordPress customization recently, I ran into a problem forcing lower case output for the month headers in my blog archives.

It seems like a simple task but it turns out the WordPress templating engine prevents you from returning any strings from functions while within a template. You can use all the PHP you want, and call any function you want, but the functions in the end work by echo’ing out a result, rather than returning it. This seems like a pretty good security move, but it turns out to be pretty annoying when you’re used to object oriented code and you want to do something simple like make an … Read more…


Workflow: Mac vs Windows

Workflow: Mac vs Windows

Everyone knows the value of improving your workflow. Well it turns out I work a whole lot faster on a Mac, both in web development and web design. I think the OSX developers must have thought a great deal about workflow, because Mac has a lot of great features: from much more drag-and-drop integration between programs than windows, to little things like the mouse command to fly out all windows or show the desktop (this saves me so much time). But workflow on a Mac goes much deeper than these features.

Web development is great on a Mac, since the programs you need for coding run very quickly and the terminal is really handy for doing lots of things, its really easy to move between the terminal and the finder/other programs. Also since the terminal is Shell based, its … Read more…


Cache-Control and AJAX

Cache-Control and AJAX

Here‚Äôs some free advice: don‚Äôt forget the cache-control tags on any server-side AJAX page. I was doing some Geodesic Solutions customization today. Anyone who has dealt with Geo will tell you it‚Äôs the biggest pain to customize, and that anyone who mentions Geo and best-practices in the same breath must be joking. Basically, the only way to customize it is through a series of patches, or by reworking the Geo class files (which will be overwritten in any upgrade). Geo doesn‚Äôt allow any mysql calls within the templates (I suppose it‚Äôs a good security measure), and since I didn‚Äôt need to do too much database work, I decided to do all the database stuff with AJAX. So far so good. Basically, I was trying to populate a select box with a bunch of options, and I found out that IE … Read more…


Quickbooks Integration with nuSOAP

Quickbooks Integration with nuSOAP

I’ve been working on integrating an online shopping cart with in-house Quickbooks. I’m using SOAP (nuSOAP) and cURL / SSL to pass QBXML (Quickbooks XML) data through a port. Muchas gracias to Ryan Szrama of the open source project Ubercart for his extensive notes on Quickbooks / SOAP integration.I developed a pretty nice php class to pass data to the Quickbooks RDS server but the cURL requests kept failing, even though I opened the ports through the router and I had the computer they were passing data to on an FQDN DNS IP. It turns out I had to pass the IP through the server as well (SSH tunnel to: etc/hosts). It’s all good though, I would have liked to wrap up this project today, but it will have to wait for tomorrow.


Why WYSIWYGs Suck

It’s a new year, and what better way to start off than with a lengthy rant. Strap yourself in.

People often ask me why I am so concerned with writing standards compliant HTML, and they have good points, mainly that it takes longer to develop something that is compliant, and the only people who really know if it is are other developers. I’ve always been in favor of standards compliant code, but to be honest, for a long time I didn’t even know why I did it, it was really just nerd lore to me, the big nerds wanted it, and I agreed blindly. You might think that a production environment with constantly encroaching deadlines would make me throw my compliance to the wind, well to a certain extent it does (although I write standards compliant XHTML out of habit, I do not have time to fix other people’s … Read more…