RantFever 4

I pontificate but not in the pejorative sense of the word.

The Over-complexity of php-ews

Posted 24 April 2015
Category PHP

Let's say you want to write a simple ticketing web application. It won't have a lot of features, but hey, you don't need all the bells and whistles. One critical feature that it will need to support, however, is the ability to accept emails and input them into the system as a new ticket. Oh yeah, and imap and pop3 are not an option because IT refuses to do anything helpful... ever. So you are relagated to dealing with Exchange Web Services.

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Private Social Networks

Posted 6 January 2015
Category PHP

I had an idea to create a social network (similar to Facebook) for just my family.

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Crossword Puzzle Download

Posted 12 October 2014
Category PHP

I discovered that I could run Across Lite in Linux under Wine. Once that worked, all I needed were some crossword puzzles, but where to find them...

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FamilySearch Indexing on 64bit Linux

Posted 23 June 2014
Category Linux

I had some issues with getting the LDS FamilySearch indexing program to work on Ubuntu 14.04 64bit. I eventually got it to work, but I had to jump through some hoops.

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Posted 11 December 2013
Category Laravel

I had an idea that sprang from a need: a website that would have all the local ultimate frisbee games. It would display them by type and tell me when new games were coming up. And it would have a mailing list that would email me with the games coming up for the week. There is something to this idea...

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A new home for CodeIgniter

Posted 17 July 2013
Category Codeigniter

A week ago on July 9, 2013, EllisLab announced on their blog that they are looking for a new owner for Codeigniter.

I have embraced Laravel as my PHP framework of choice, but I, like many others, learned the MVC pattern with CI. CodeIgniter has long been the most approachable of the major frameworks. It is easily accessible, has great documentation, is really fast, and has a large community. And now EllisLab is done with it.

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Laravel 4 Packages

Posted 11 June 2013
Category Laravel

Over the weekend, I created my first package using Laravel 4.

No more bundles

Laravel 4 just came out at the end of May 2013. When it did, L3 users noticed quickly that bundles were long gone. Replacing bundles are packages. Are packages better? I have idea. I do know that they can be distributed via packagist and composer. Maybe that is why they made the switch. But really, it is all the same to me since I never really got much into L3.

Why build a package at all?

Good question. Packages are a way to add functionality to an application. But really, they are more than that. A package can have its own config files, models, views, controllers, routes, et cetera. So really, a package can be an app all by itself. HMVC, anyone?

I have a few web apps that I wrote in Codeigniter that I wanted to redo in a more cohesive way. So I created a L4 web app that I intelligently named Portal. Portal is a parent app to the other apps that I want to recode. The apps are distinct enough that they need their own configs and controllers but are related enough that it sort of makes sense to put them under the same umbrella.

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Learning Curve

Posted 28 April 2013
Category Ember.JS

Complaining is not attractive. But I will do it anyway. I want to get this off my chest.

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Posted 10 April 2013
Category Ember.JS

I've always had a fundamental problem with Javascript. As a web application grows, I have struggled with how best to organize my Javascript into something reasonable and easy to maintain. I generally use jQuery along with any number of jQuery plugins. But I have never been sure about how should the folder structure look or how the code should be organized. I heard about node when it came out, and it sounded exciting. I also heard about backbone. Backbone really intrigued me, but I never had any time to really devote to either. 

Eventually, I had an idea for a project. I wanted to build an online version of Dominion. There already was one, but I thought I could do better. So I tried it, but I quickly got bogged down in jQuery. I figured a javascript MVC framework is what I needed. I then read about Ember.js. It was new and hot and seemed like the perfect fit what I was looking to do. I tried it a couple of times, but my efforts were half-hearted and never amounted to anything. Dominion online took a backseat to life. Since Rant Fever is redone and looking fairly good, I am ready to take Ember.js by the reins again. And this time, I won't accept defeat!

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The Old Archive

Posted 8 April 2013
Category PyroCMS

The older versions of Rant Fever (v. 3, 2, 1, and beta) were a group blog. And as such, there are a good 1,500 posts there. The new PyroCMS install didn't have those old posts, of course. And since Rant Fever was a proprietary content management system, there was no built-in way to automate importing all those posts. I could have figured out a way to bring them into the Pyro blog, but I wanted to keep them separate while still keeping them accessable. After all, that is a lot of wit to just throw away. I thought I could just put the posts in a couple of tables alongside the rest of the Pyro install and access them via a module I could write.

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Blog Categories to Rant Categories

Posted 6 April 2013
Category PyroCMS

When designing this site, I wanted the front page to have some tiles on it that linked to major sections. I quickly saw that Pyro's blog categories really leant themselves to this idea.

PyroCMS's Categories

I wanted to associate an image and a description with each category tile. But to make that happen is problematic. PyroCMS's default_blog_categories table has three fields: id, slug, and title. So how to display the categories on the front page. Luckily, PyroCMS comes with a widget to display the categories and the capability to assign the widget to an area. The area can then be added wherever you want in a post or in a template. Fine. I can do that. 

The only problem with the categories widget is that I am forced into an unordered list with the category names in order by title. No place to put an image and no description. So I quickly realized I would need to do two things: alter the table structure and associated admin pages as well as create a new widget to output the categories with an associated image and description.

For the record, there are probably lots of ways to make this happen, this is just how thought to get it done. With web development, there is always more than one way to skin a cat.

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Theming: When LESS Is More

Posted 2 April 2013
Category PyroCMS

Four themes came with my PyroCMS by default. I liked them. They were good. Still, you can't just leave the default theme. Even though the default themes look good, you don't want to look like every other default Pyro install out there.

A default situation

I began with the minimal theme. It had the fewest styles, so I copied the folder and named my new theme "rantstyle." It used 960gs as a base to the CSS. I blew away the stylesheets to start over from scratch.

There are only a few basic files needed to make a theme in PyroCMS. There is a theme.php file that has the basic theme info: who created it, what version it is, urls, etc. There is also a views folder where the layout of the site is held. It is a templating system that uses handlebars to embed or import what they call partials. So I can create a default layout that has the basic html structure I want and then insert a { { theme:partial name="metadata" } } to include anything I have in the metadata partial, which, in my case, is everything that would go in the <head> element.

As I learn more about PyroCMS, I like the simple design. Things seem to make sense so far.

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Hello, World

Posted 29 March 2013
Category PyroCMS

Since I have changed Rant Fever to a new CMS and abandoned the old group-blog, I have decided to dedicate the new Rant Fever 4.0 specifically to my technological interests. Right now, I envision that to be Web Development, Laravel, LESS, PHP, Python, PyroCMS, and anything else that strikes my fancy.

First things first

The first thing I did was download a copy of the community edition of PyroCMS. Frankly, the professional edition did seem better, particularly with the PyroStreams and multi-site management. But since I didn't want to spend any money, I'm passing on the pro version... for now.

Eventually, I want to write a module in PyroCMS to display all the old posts and comments. But, first things first.

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