IBM: Free DB2, Ajax Eclipse toolkit, PHP support

01 February 2006 » Ajax, DB2, PHP, Web design, Web development

IBM announced two more tools designed to pick up developer mindshare this week. First was the announcement about DB2 Express-C, a free, community supported version of the core DB2 product. Next up was this morning’s announcement about Open Ajax, a tool to be built for Eclipse to support rich application development.

IBM also signed on as a platinum plus sponsor for NYPHPCon in June, and is scheduling a lead-in presentation at NYPHP in May, strengthening its support for the PHP development community.

Exciting stuff…

Ajax in ads

23 January 2006 » Ajax, JavaScript, Web design, Web development

In the time period that I transitioned from being a front-end developer, specializing in XHTML, CSS and JavaScript, and a back-end developer working with Java and DB2, Ajax has gained prominence. I suppose it snuck up on everyone, but it kind of makes me feel vulnerable because I had I thought I was Johnny-on-the-ball with client-side code.

Anyway, I picked up Ajax in Action to get myself back up to speed, which has been quite enlightening, and it casts light on what fools we have been in our approach to HTTP-based Web applications (think about all the wasted bandwidth re-transmitting boilerplate template code for each page of your site).

On the other hand, I fear the coming onslaught of advertisement based on Ajax patterns. Think about it. You use your keyboard for anything with a JavaScript-enabled Web browser window open, and it will likely fire an event, which an embedded ad could capture to reload a (possibly hidden) section of the page, and kick off another request. Some of this is mitigated by JavaScript’s inherent security constraints pertaining to cross-domain communication, but ad folks are nothing if not innovative in their use of emerging technologies.

What examples of Ajax ads have you seen in the wild? Where do you think that Ajax’s promise is most vulnerable to being stifled by malpatterns?

Ten years of HTML

18 January 2006 » Web design, Web development

Man, I don’t know how I let the official observation slip by, but this homepage has passed its tenth anniversary. It’s been at this domain for six years, and before that hosted on Trinity College’s servers. I think the official birthdate is November 14th, 1995. The incriminating evidence goes back to at least 1997 on the Wayback Machine.

The doctor is on.. line

17 October 2005 » Potpourri, Web design, Web development

My sister upgrades her Web site to reflect the new digs at Washington University in St. Louis. I provided the layout, PHP and MySQL do the rest. Score another one for easy to set up and maintain LAMP-based Websites.

Windows 95 turns 10

24 August 2005 » Web design, Web development

Wow. I discovered this little tidbit via Slashdot today. It brings me back to my inital foray into the Web via the first GUI browsers.

Ten years ago I was about to start my freshman year at Trinity College, with no idea what I was going to major in. In November that first semester, I stumbled upon Netscape 1.0 with its dangerous little “Net Search” button on my roommate’s computer. I don’t think I slept for 4 days straight after that.

Obsessed with this new medium, I began to play around with HTML and created my first Web site on Trinity’s student server, “shakti” (which still seems to be around to service the redirect:

SunOS shakti 5.6 Generic_105181-35 sun4u sparc SUNW,Ultra-2

The WayBack machine has all the suitably embarassing incarnations of that experiment conveniently sorted by date: On shakti and its alias www2.

I don’t want to turn this into another “10 years ago…” thread, but anyone else have copies of first Web pages from the early days suitable for blackmail that they’d like to admit to? They’re out there for eternity for your kids and/or future significant others to discover one day anyway, so fess up. :)

Article published in IBM WDTJ

An article I wrote for IBM’s developerWorks site went live this week with the May issue of the IBM WebSphere Developer Technical Journal.

The article argues that while PHP and WebSphere are generally considered competitors, they can work together to support a common type of application. The article covers the roles of a web application, where PHP and WebSphere fit in, and how to install them together with Apache and DB2 on a Linux server. I also provided a sample application as a proof of concept. The example code consists of a J2EE Struts application which serves as a content management system to a PHP-driven public website.

Community cats design

02 March 2004 » Web design

Community Cats. A screenshot of my latest pro bono site. It’s just a brainstorm, but I think it works.

JavaScript debugger

03 September 2003 » JavaScript, Web design, Web development

The best thing since sliced bread. Well, at least if you work with JavaScript all day.

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