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…


SEO Friendly AJAX

SEO Friendly AJAX

AJAX isn’t typically thought of as being very search engine friendly. This is because search engines don’t process any JavaScript, which AJAX is built upon.

I’m using a ton of AJAX on this one search engine site. In fact, the search engine itself is done in AJAX since it makes for quick page loads and overall a great user experience. This is a big problem because we also, of course, want all the pages that our search engine indexes to be spidered by Google and the other search engines. Besides the AJAX search, the only other way users reach the bottom level pages is through an advanced search form, which of course Google can’t spider.The solution is to make a hard link search engine that parallels the AJAX one. Since the search begins with selecting a state, I put … Read more…


Dating Software Customization

I’m customizing this dating software for three different sites. Basically each site will have a different stylesheet and limited differences in functionality. It’s somewhat difficult to develop since a lot of the core functions are hashed, so we’ve had to make some compromises on what we can and cannot modify. Overall I’m actually happy that we went down the software modification route, since developing this from the ground up would take much longer, especially the streaming flash video chat.


Auction and Shopping Cart Customizations

I’ve been doing tons of auction software customizations. The software is Geodesic Solutions¬Æ and the code is really bandaged and thick with tables nested within tables. The work isn’t too bad though, since I’m doing pretty different things with each site, and I’m also getting pretty nice at it now. Before I could only really attack the HTML side of it, but now I’m in the PHP like crazy.I’ve also been doing a lot of customization of ZenCart¬Æ shopping cart software. This is mainly reskinning it, which is just replacing the header/footer and then doing a lot of CSS work on the content portion.


Full Time Development

For a while, I’ve been doing odd design jobs and tutoring high school students to stabilize my income while I do the freelance web development. Recently, this has seemed a bit silly to me so I started applying to full time development positions. I think going full time would be good because I think that a team environment would be really helpful to me. I want to have my code critiqued, so I can become a lot better.

I had an interview yesterday for a design/development position, but I’m not sure it went so well, since I didn’t know a lot of the lingo. He seemed interested in my 3D and design portfolios though, which is nice because although I want to code I definitely want to be on the design side of it.

Well they called me back today, so I’m going to go for it. 8 to … Read more…


Switching Hosting Plans

Switching Hosting Plans

Ok it’s time to come clean…when I first started this website I signed up for hosting thru godaddy.com. Yes yes I know, ugh. Well I’d been too lazy to switch it over (that’s how they get you!) until recently, as I have become interested in deploying Drupal¬Æ. Well I had Drupal¬Æ working fine when I found out that I couldn’t clean up the long URLs since godaddy’s “shared hosting” has mod_rewrite turned off and, big surprise, they don’t allow you any shell access. It was pretty annoying because I had been planning on playing with those files to learn the Apache setup. But it turned out to be good news, since I have now switched my hosting to 1and1.com. They’re giving me so much more for actually a little less money, plus the SSH access. Only downside is that a lot of their … Read more…


Site Facelift

Over the past couple days I’ve been redesigning my website.First, I made a design for my website in Illustrator that I’m happy with. What’s better is that I was able to implement it fully in a matter of minutes because of the clean template structure I used previously. I had wanted for some time to add some flare to the site, but not to do too much, since I would never want to detract from the content. I hope this design is successful, I don’t think it’s too flashy. Please let me know what you think. Next, I made a lot of minor appearance changes and cleaned up a good amount of the code, fixing up a few sections that had had minor bugs for some time. This is mostly done, but I’m still not happy with the video playback JavaScript. It works fine in FireFox but InternetExplorer shows … Read more…