Archive for the ‘Programming’ Category

Inheritance and Mootools Mixins

Friday, February 11th, 2011

I was playing with Mootools’ Class implementation today. It has a few nice features like mixins, easy inheritance and sane parent method calling. I did run into issues combining mixins (through the Implements keyword) with parent method calling. The following code fails with the message: The method “setOptions” has no parent. (more…)

An introduction to PHP’s static scoping

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

The static keyword is a core feature of PHP’s object oriented programming. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of easy introductions available online, so I’d like to give a brief overview of how the keyword functions, and how it should be used.

PHP actually has two distinct uses for the static keyword. The first and most common usage is related class method and property scoping, the second to variable scoping within in a single function. (more…)

Includes are not functions

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Over the last week I’ve been working with a commercial PHP eCommerce package. Amongst some shockingly bad code one of the patterns that has stood out has been the use of includes a kind of pseudo-function. Dozens of files in the application are in the following format. (more…)

Dynamically define subdomains with Apache

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

When I need to develop multiple sites at once I often find defining multiple Apache Vhosts and host files entries to be time consuming. Thankfully, with a little Apache magic it’s possible to automatically create a new subdomain for each project I start. (more…)

Fix your tables: how to stop cells from expanding out of control

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

HTML tables receive a bit of a bad rap thanks to years of abuse in web design, however in reality they’re semantic as the next element. They do have their quirks though, one common problem is that instead of aligning themselves like the rigid blocks we’re used to they tend to be a bit more fluid – expanding and contracting to fit their content.

This useful behaviour can become frustrating when a carefully laid-out table encounters abnormal input and suddenly decides to stop paying attention to the cell widths we’ve specified. Luckily there is a simple solution to this. All the major browsers implement an alternative fixed table layout which is specified through the appropriately named table-layout CSS property. (more…)

Digging deeper into PHP’s static scoping

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Redditor troelskn made an interesting observation about my recent blog post about Singletons, pointing out that static variables defined within a method behave completely differently to regular static properties. I use static method variables often but still found this behaviour surprising. I decided this was a good opportunity to find out exactly how static methods, properties and variables work in PHP. (more…)

Singletons: What can they teach us about PHP?

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Why would I be showing you how implement singletons in PHP? Don’t I know that the singleton pattern suffers from obvious shortcomings? Of course I do, but I have an ulterior motive. Singletons are a simple way to show off some of the features of PHP you probably don’t get to see and use too often. Now we’ve got that covered let’s see some code. If you haven’t seen a Singleton before the premise is simple: there should only ever be one instance of our class. (more…)

Getting started with Python and Django in 23 frustrating steps

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

Should I or shouldn’t I? Should I ditch my well-worn PHP and the frameworks I know so well to go with this new-fangled (silent-d)Jango thingy I hear the cool kids talking about? It’s a big decision, as this project is going to be the big one (you know, the one that will change the world and all that).

I’ve worked with PHP for over six years. It has it’s warts (and how) but it’s very much a known quantity at this point. On the other hand, when I have used Python it’s been a much more pleasant experience. The fact that this is a personal project makes the decision easier: let’s ditch old mate LAMPhp go with LAMPy. It’s almost dinner time and the latter sounds like it’d go well with an ale anyway. So, starting with a brand new dev box, where do I begin? (more…)

Simple Atom / RSS Reader for PHP

Monday, February 8th, 2010

I was recently looking for a simple RSS reader for PHP. There are a few out there, like Magpie RSS. These seem like adequate projects, but much too high level for the scripts I was throwing together. I need to read a couple of different feed formats: namely WordPress’ RSS feed and Flickr’s Atom feeds. I decided to put together a single-class implementation which didn’t do anything more than the bare minimum.


Abusing the Cache: Tracking Users without Cookies

Friday, January 29th, 2010

I’ve been doing a little bit of research into ways to misuse browser history and cache and came across a very simple technique for tracking users without the need for cookies. Firstly, a demo. If you watch the HTTP requests you’ll see that there are no cookies being used.