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Friday, August 31, 2007


I have recently gained interest in why web applications are not written in a super quick language like C... The obvious reason that many people will point out is development time (and complexity... which leads to a support debate) on large scale enterprise applications. But Yahoo and Google do their stuff in C++ right?

Well, I don't believe in enterprise development overhead excuses - from my limited experience, .NET and Java projects run into performance issues... and then run over budget. Even with massive servers running at 100% CPU utilisation...

I think small applications written optimally is the ideal solution and I am very interested in investigating the use of CGI C on Linux Apache servers... here are some links:


YUI Yahoo! HTML Javascript libraries

YUI provides a set of libraries that can be used to complete a number of development tasks, which would take a lot longer without.

I see there being a number of products people could be using in this space, and they aren't necessarily conflicting. We have GWT - The google toolkit, this is a pretty cool platform - especially for me (being a Java Developer). Then there is the AJAX toolkit for .NET, and the .NET Community AJAX toolkit extenders, these are pretty cool tools and will help .NET developers quickly bring AJAX enabled websites to their audiences. And of course there is Ruby on Rails and a mass of other tools available - especially as many of us enjoy putting these things together from scratch.

I especially enjoy putting this stuff together from scratch. However, I think I should learn about the tools that exist to make web development enterprise ready as opposed to playing around with concepts.

So I should learn about the YUI libraries, as I feel .NET tools introduce a ridiculous amount of content to the webpage and I find it difficult to bend .NET to do what I want it too - though I suppose I could override classes, I don't feel that should be required. I basically feel the same way about GWT - it does some cool stuff and I am happy to seem something that I can build in eclipse like almost everything else.... But YUI seems to be all that is needed - some libraries that I can plug into HTML and call when I see fit... and hopefully it will work on more than IE.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

How to set max height using javascript...

function update() {
var height = 0;
if (sIe()){
height = document.documentElement.clientHeight;
} else {
height = window.innerHeight;
} = (height-20) + "px";

I've been trying to snatch this code from somewhere... so I was pretty
happy to find it. But also very impressed with the site that I snatched
it from: projectX - It looks to me from the code that it uses GoogleMaps
API. But the maps are provided by Terralink. Taking a look at smaps and ZoomIn,
I notice that if Google Maps API is being used, it has been substantially
extended. Though I'm not particularly sure why - I guess to allow Terralink to
provide it's resources to mapping New Zealand.

I am also impressed that the applications run Ruby-on-Rails. Not because I have
any grasp of the technology - but everyone on slashdot was talking about it... So it
must carry some weight. And it runs on Linux in an httpd called 'Mongrel'. That's cool.

old website again....

Well, this website has a number of advantages over my newer one:

  • It works in IE (I've recently broken my newer ones IE controls!).
  • It looks nice with lots of user functionality, graphics, text viewers, file viewers.
However the newer site is better in a more technical way - it attempts to conquer dynamic script loading (like and provides the ability to open an infinite number of windows. The newer site also loads external links inside an iFrame, where the older site was just forwarding the http requests to a new window. So the initial is dynamic windows where the second is dynamic windows and dynamic content. Neither load very well on my cellphone.

Monday, August 27, 2007


Not that it is very important... but I felt like tidying up my old attempt at a web os... again I am a fan of youOS and also 30boxes has a nice desktop interface that provides calendar, email and web browsing.

But it is no fun to just look, experimenting is the next best thing to being the first... it is a homepage of sorts... but it reminds me a lot of yubnub.. which has been around for a while. The only real difference, is yubnub is cooler.

Yubnub is a social command line interface to the internet. And was created as a competition entry. It is essentially a different sort of google. But because people can create their own commands, it is more interesting and flexible - it evolves.

Smplr provides a startpage interface that allows users to jump to where they want to go. It is cool, but only because it is nice to look at...

I devised a site that kept you at home, after checking out yubnub. my idea is a command line interface isn't much of a command line without a command prompt... try opening a terminal and then typing yubnub... what seems to have made sense would have been to provide an actual interface to yubnub as opposed to doing what smplr has done (hard coding commands).. I also have a more advanced version of this that I was working on, but it never made it online.

Saturday, August 25, 2007 I got mail!

Back in 2005 somebody or google got me onto this futureMe thing - it sends you email in the future. And I think it is cool.

Today I received an email from the me of the past... sadly I have failed myself in a number of areas. However, I still think the message in a bottle thing is cool - try it out.

Friday, August 24, 2007

MS Comic Chat...

comic chat amusingly, this is what got me interested in the internet. Comic chat is a gimmick really... it runs against standard iRC, but it interprets communication to make the characters display emotion - or you can easily define your characters emotion and you can create your own character.

Now most people probably don't find chatting on the internet fun... what is addictive about it (for me) is connecting to people in distant places and discovering they are basically the same... awake/drunk/over-caffeinated/bored/horny .. or some combination of emotions/feelings that are easily relatable. But I don't think I would be interested in iRC if it hadn't been for MS Comic Chat. And I was pretty disappointed when it was unavailable - though I think my more internet savvy younger brother was happy that I wasn't muscling in on his PC time anymore.

After Comic Chat (for me) came ICQ, this had the advantage of being able to search for people. People from Israel, Egypt, France, UK, US, Mexico, China, Brazil, Columbia... Anywhere in the world where there were people that could speak english. It amazed me that life seemed to be basically normal in places where the news seemed so bleak.

I don't know if this would have been interesting (for me) if it wasn't for Comic Chat. By this time I was using mIRC, text based communication was OK... it didn't have to remind me of an Asterix comic anymore. But I still wish it did. The comic chat application was somewhat annoying for non-comic chatters... which I guess is why we stopped using it (but we still wanted to). Now there are some private iRCs that allow it to run.

The big difference in internet communication (for me) between 2007 and 1997, is that NOW almost everyone I talk to online is someone that I know through 'real world' connections. However, THEN almost everyone was someone I had actually met online... of course THEN many of my friends could not use a computer... NOW many of my friends work in IT related fields and everyone has an email address.

There is a rather uninteresting comic strip that uses the characters.

That is all.

Monday, August 20, 2007

development projects...

I consider the 'setup' of new development environments on projects to be one of the most useless activities faced by new projects... Personally I believe that vmWare is a practical and robust solution. Simply show up - get a new vm image and start work. Easy.

The alternative is to build and maintain installer applications that manage all the software requirements of the project... and that would be painful.

Documentation should go hand-in-hand with the VM image... but its purpose is just to document the software and the reasons for inclusion - instead of attempting to provide a mechanism hopeful developers/testers/users can use to get acquainted with a complex system.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

I'm really not sure why Ihug continue to publish my old website... And I wonder why? I don't pay them for it... but I still like it. I think of it as one of the earlier examples of what could be done with some javascript and CSS on a webpage. And I was thinking about concepts now used with youOS... However, I think youOS is now a great concept site and the google stuff has really opened up the competition.

Unfortunately I can't update the website, Ihug have removed my FTP access. Perhaps that is good for me - I can't continue slowly improving the design - I have to leave it alone.