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Saturday, March 27, 2004

March 27, 2004

Web Update Project!

Well, after trying to decide what to do today, I decided that (to be low-key and not too involved) I would take on the conversion from HTML (anywhere between 3.2 and 4.01) to XHTML (1.0). Essentially it's a change to ensure everything's in lowercase and also that all necessary attributes are in place and properly nested.

I was having a problem during the redesign of the MZ Online root website where some browsers (namely the slightly older ones) were displaying content differently than others. While I nail most of it to the fact that they didn't support 4.01 and CSS2, I did find some things which also might have caused the problem...although was 'transparent' to the browsers which understand how to deal with problems.

Anyway, at this point in time the root MZ Online website has been completely validated as VALID XHTML 1.0 and VALID CSS 2. It's about the best I can do when it comes to ensuring that each visitor sees exactly what the others see (and what/how I'd like them to see).

Fortunately, TWiki does valid XHTML in its parsing and interpretation, so I don't have to worry about that at all. The main parts I need to deal with are in the places where I've written my own HTML (e.g. view templates and some page content blocks). So, the next level of the project is to take on this site (Matt's Home on the Web) and then probably the Python site (although I'm sure that won't happen this weekend). Mine should be fairly straightforward once the templates are fixed, so I would imagine I'd get that done today. The Python site, on the other hand, is another beast and is going to take an entire weekend just to go through (due to the size of it). That, and if I start working on the Python site, I'll have to add some stuff...so...

What a way to spend a gloomy weekend (it's raining and just un-sunny out today)! smile

But in moving on, I'll wrap it up at that and write more as more comes up.

Update (8PM Central Time)!

Well, as of right now (about seven hours later), Matt's Home on the Web has been converted to VALID XHTML 1.0 and VALID CSS 2! Well, with the small exception of some of the news archive, anyway. The news archive was a beast of over 125 pages in total to be edited, most of them for things that would bring the page out of compliance by one item...and so the time involved versus usefulness ratio was too low for me. I did fix and validate the main news pages, though, and future templates so that all additional news will be in compliance. It was also a prime opportunity to do some site tweaking, namely in the MattResume section which was badly formatted before and in need of serious repair. In fact, I spent the last hour and a half on that document itself...pretty much a complete rewrite.

But, it's good to know that it's done now. smile Sometime...will come the Python site and others I host here. But before that comes along, I want to do some 'edit/preview' template tweaks for all the sites (MZ Online has a very good edit/preview set, but the rest are kinda odd). Of course, you as the general public don't get to see these pages...which is why they've been put off.

Anyway, until next time...

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/25/07

Friday, March 26, 2004

March 26, 2004

Another Week Down...

...and more projects complete. This week (at work) entailed a web host move from a local ISP who was 'overcharging' for services (compared to other outlets) to my preferred hosting company, Seagull Networks.

The preparations for such a move have been in the works for about a month, actually. But only has it been in the last week when things have gotten serious. The weeks prior to this last were used in upgrading and bugfixing the website. Namely, the site changed from HTML to PHP. This was for one of two reasons:

  1. As it previously had been, the site was using the same (quite large) chunk of HTML on each page to produce the top and side navigation bars. Not only did this make upgrades impossible (change one page, must change them all), but it also added about (believe it or not) 150KB to the site's disk usage. By using includes in PHP, I was able to use a series of stock pages, including them for each page request. While this doesn't make the user's load any faster, it does save a significant amount of disk space (and just makes my life as the maintainer a whole lot easier).
  2. The future. I have a feeling that at some point in time there will be a semi-serious need for data-driven pages. This is already evident in the administrative back-end of the site (the 'private' part). As we develop and market products through the website, it's ultimately likely we'll need more dynamic content which can be generated in a PHP sort of fashion.

Anyway, earlier this week (Tuesday, I believe) the new host account was set up; Thursday morning I uploaded all the new files to the new host and got some (of that which I could) things configured...namely ensuring the bulk of the pages were working and that the MySQL tables had been imported/converted as expected.

Thursday was also the big day...because it was the day we officially switched providers...signified by the change in DNS. So, for most of the day Thursday (from about 9am Central through approximately 2am Central) and into early Friday there was no connection to a valid host (while the DNS changed).

But, as of this morning (Friday), things are working well. Now that the domain change took place, I've added some POP user accounts for mail and also ensured that the extra features of the PHP/MySQL thing were working as expected. All is going well now...so we shall see what happens in the future. smile

Aside from that...

...not much new is going on. We went out for Pizza and Beer tonight (Beth and I)...which was a nice ending to the week. Kinda low-key and un-stressful. smile

Tomorrow (Saturday) is the first weekend I'll have off from Subway and also be at home all day. It looks like Sunday will also be of that type. So, hopefully some other miscellaneous projects will get done in that time.

Until next time...

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/25/07

Monday, March 22, 2004

March 22, 2004

Cleaning House...

Well, once in a while I find it necessary to go through my bookmarks in Netscape (particularly brought on by the size of the Personal Toolbar Folder which, if you're familiar with Netscape, acts much like its own 'root' of the bookmarks (e.g. they're on the 'same level' as the bookmarks button). As this area is my catch-all, it gets clogged after a while and needs to be purged. This either means I file them in existing folders or remove them, depending upon their usefulness in the future.

Amongst the interesting ones I've come across include:

Interesting Work

Lately at work I've been on the development team for a new piece of software (I won't mention here). This requires data synchronization between the handheld and desktop units. The handheld portion is being developed by my work partner; I'm developing the desktop unit. We've decided on a 'standard' database for the two units...and now it's a matter of making each side read/write to the dataset.

Once we can both read/write to the same dataset, development will migrate to separate, unique datasets -- one master desktop dataset, and a temporary handheld dataset (to be imported to/exported from the master dataset). The algorithm for this is in my head and should work (mostly because I'm more familiar with databases than my development partner), but yet needs to be completely formulated and approved. But more about that at a later time, I suppose.

It's definitely been an interesting learning process for both of us thus far, mostly because the desktop and handheld units are written in different languages. But that's another story in and of itself.

Forthcoming Server Updates

Well, April 1 is not all that far away...and if I recall correctly is the day when official RedHat 9 support ends. This means that I will have to (sometime) migrate/upgrade to RedHat Fedora Core 1.

As the backbone of the office network is running on RH-FC1, I've already got some experience with the new OS. Thus far I've been impressed with it. It seems much lighter in weight than its older brother (RH9)...especially when running on older machines. So, one day I'll grab the CD's I made (which I've stored at work for semi-obvious reasons) and apply the update here at home... Then some minor reconfiguration (if necessary) and all should be good to go.

Anyway, until next time...

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/25/07

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