Zimplit, simple CMS

Zimplit presents itself as the easiest Content Management System (CMS) ever made. It is extremely lightweight, simple and customizable. Zimplit consists of only one core engine file. No database needed. With Zimplit you don’t need special templates - you can edit any html/css page. You don´t need to install it, just upload and it works. Most importantly Zimplit is an "on-site" editor - everything happens on site, not in admin area. The results are right there, on the page. And you can edit absolutely everything on your website.

Press Release: WordPress for Business Bloggers book

Packt is pleased to announce the release of a new book for business bloggers. Written by Paul Thewlis, WordPress for Business Bloggers teaches users to build an attractive and professional blog with advanced plug-ins, analytics, advertising, and SEO.

WordPress allows users to easily create dynamic blogs with many outstanding features. Its versatility and ease of use has attracted a large, enthusiastic, and helpful community of users, who have created a large and diverse collection of plug-ins.

The book starts by looking at the important features that make a successful business blog: adding value to products and services, providing proper customer service and support, driving traffic to a website, and so on. It then shows how to implement these features in WordPress.

This book will teach users to deal with using WordPress and third-party tools to manage and optimize their blog, focusing on the business aspects of blogging. Bloggers will learn to mange the content including images and videos, which will make their blog more appealing. They will also learn how to market and measure the success of their blog using Google web applications and other popular tools.

Anyone interested in running or starting a business blog using WordPress will find this book useful. The book is out now and is available from Packt. For more information, please visit http://www.packtpub.com/wordpress-for-business-bloggers/book

CMS on chrome

We know chrome, the new challenger for IE and firefox, the new netscape, the saviour,  is faster, safer, and multi threaded. Have you tried it on your favourite web based CMS application ? I have, and yes it's magic. Faster, Safer, and much easier to handle than IE and its multiple errors. Stack Overflow, go away !

Gmail vs OtherInbox

What I like about gmail is not its interface : while it's certainly one of the most accessible web based mail interface, it lacks powerful features from the desktop world. But we don't like it only for its interface, we also like the fact that it kills spams very efficiently. Spam is the issue, and that's where OtherInbox, Austin-based start-up and web service founded by serial entrepreneur and email-marketing guru Joshua Baer, fires. OtherInbox is described as  the cure for email overload - it provides consumers with a free email account that automatically organizes newsletters, social networking updates, coupons and receipts from online purchases so that its easy to find the most interesting things and ignore the rest. OtherInbox shows the consumer who is really responsible for sending them spam and gives them a powerful new Block button to stop it once and for all. OtherInbox launched publicly in September 2008 at TechCrunch50. Served by Ruby On Rails,  powered by sproutcore, otherinbox has gone through a new step in the world of free web based mail readers. Thinking of Migrating ?

MDI viewer

MDI , a high resolution, tag-based graphics format, is supported only by the Microsoft Office 2003 version of Microsoft Office Document Imaging. If you plan to share files with people who are using Office Document Imaging 2002, or another document imaging program, it's best if you save your files in TIFF format for compatibility. If by luck you happen to receive MDI files, the best option if you have been greedy enough to save on M$ Office (prefer openoffice), is to try products from Buysoft, that provides MDI tools and a free MDI reader that will print your MDI file in less than a minute.

Silverstripe Jquery gallery module

Silverstripe CMS, currently relying on prototype for javascript and AJAX interactions, seems to be moving slowly to JQUERY : while contributors and developers might think this is a good move, I personnally wonder about the effort required for such a migration on an interface that relies heavily on AJAX. Anyway, I provide below a quick hack opf the famous gallery module, with the following modifications (demo coming soon) :

  • uses jquery's lightbox implementation of modal galleries.
  • implements GalleryFolder Page type that displays first thumbnail of each gallery sub page

How to : setup jquery  gallery for silvestripe

  • download jquery and add the requirement to your main page OR gallery page
  • download gallery-jquery for silverstripe (384ko) and install it as gallery module
  • flush your database (/db/build?flush=1)
  • include GalleryPageContent in your template or GalleryFolderContent

that should be it, have fun

Color Choice : RGB pickers for firefox

Have you ever found that picking the right color code for a specific style sheet order is a repetitive and annoying task ?  If you happen to work as a web developer with not-so-frequent interactions with your favourite  photoshop, gimp or other image editing tools, you might find that Firefox provides efficient alternatives to find exact RGB code for a specific color that you can then type to your favourite editor (aptana for a change).

  • ColorZilla add on for firefox provides a simple color picker with RGB code for HTML / CSS coding, with other interesting features such as palette display, color and palette bookmarking on social bookmarking websites via a simple application on colorzilla.com website
  • Palette Grabber Add on for firefox creates a Photoshop, gimp, paint shop pro, flash color palette file out of a web page

Pdf Generation with PHP

The topic of PDF generation with PHP used to be quite painful : PHP native functions require PDF lib, a library that does not come straight out of the box, and is distributed under commercial license. In spite of this dominant position, other solutions have been implemented and available under opensource license.

  • fpdf is probably the most famous of PHP PDF libraries. FPDF project remained inactive for years but was still very usable in its latest version, dated 2004. And finally after 4 years of inactivity a new version finally came out this august 2008, with important features such as GIF image support and possibility to have different page formats in a single document. Most interesting is the additionnal PDFTable class, which does a very good job render HTML table conversion to PDF format. That's in my opinion the easiest way for a webmaster with good knowledge of  HTML to generate PDF documents.
  • TCPDF is another example of an advanced PHP PDF generation library but I haven't tried it yet. Does seem to support some level of HTML parsing but not to the point of converting HTML tables to PDF (see above)
  • ZendPDF is a good bet as a component of Zend Framework but focuses on low level graphic functions and as such lacks essential features such as automatic word wrapping.

Images in select box : not that simple

The old HTML select box control is really getting old with Rich Internet Applications coming in from various vendors, such as extjs, javafx, or flex. But still HTML has a lot to say,  but it comes at a hard price : displaying specific option image in a pure HTML select is not the easiest task an interface developper can achieve !!

Solutions include custom div that mimic the select box, options being replaced by javascript add function. We find in that category a few controls available :

the only real select replacement we could find is another jquery custom select that creates select boxes with option images based on icon attribute. Come with a serious bug in its current version though : will duplicate options in first select when more than 1 select is activated in the same page.

Another select box replacement for images options is available from webFX  but it only works on Internet Explorer.

Blog design showcase : Foozoo

The Foozoo design studio blog does not display images on its front page : black and white is the color of sobriety. Inside pages will feature, obviously, images, plus a nice soft blue font that highlights margins and  Based on the very simple Hemingway-19 theme for wordpress, Foozoo adds a few very interesting plugins. Most interesting is the WP-cumulus plugin that transforms the original tag cloud to a real Flash based sphere with mouse 3D effect.

Web developers, have a look at tine 2.0

For those interested in developping the best possible web based application, Tine2.0, formerly eGroupWare2.0, a combination of CRM and ERP,  is worth having a look at. Its multiple feature interface is one of the most intuitive multi panel screen you can imagine, built entirely out of javascript and HTML. Based on Extjs and Zend Framework, it demonstrates that those 2 popular technologies can -finally- work together to build sensible opensource applications with features of most sophisticated desktops : accordion menu that browses between various parts of the application, tere based menu for hierachical structures, dynamic grid for data scrolling, simultaneous record viewing below the data grid. The fact that the source code of Tine2.0 can be downloaded separately from packages you might already have installed ten times on your server will save you the hassle of finding interesting code lines. But i's not only design we're after here : PDF export at right click on  TIne2.0 contact management. More technical details would only bring enthusiasts on the project, especially after a quick look at developpers'WIKI where specific  conceptual choices are explained : MVC or not MVC, that is the question. Anyhow, when Rich Internet Applications is what you're looking for, try out Tine20 !!

Ken Burns effect : 3 solutions for smooth image transition

Remember MonoSlideShow ? It's worth its price but is being challenged by 2 javascript alternatives. Mootols and Jquery respectively handles nice image transitions with Ken Burns effect (Zoom-Translation combined movement) ,  via their SlideShow Class (Mootols) and CrossSlide plugin (Jquery). While the latter seems lighter, it offers the nice programmatic syntax to define exactly the level of zoom and time of transition for each image. The former has more options, such as a controller that mimics Monoslideshow's own mimic. The fact that these two alternative to a flash commercial applet might decide you to make a smart choice between them ?

CMS compare : Concrete5, WordPress, Silverstripe

This article makes a quick comparison of 3 popular PHP  Content management Systems :  Concrete5, Silverstripe and WordPress. While Concrete5 and Silverstripe are two real content management frameworks, WordPress is hugely popular as a blogging platform and each new version brings new feature that make it perfectly usable as a CMS, provided you install specific plugins such as PageMash.

Read more

Zend Framework scaffolding, what’s cooking

The power of a framework is not often based on the speed at which it enables you to build applications :  the reason behind choices for using frameworks are often historical or political. In spite of this, as a developer, chosing a framework relies a lot on the ability to move from a model (database schema for instance) to a full CRUD  (Create-Read-Update-Delete) or BREAD (Browse-Read-Edit-Add-Delete) application. While Zend Framework does not seem ready for what we call scaffolding -quick buiding of interfaces from model-, quite a lot of people have thought about it and started working on it : it's worth haveing a look at and using as a start if you want to go further with Zend Framework and MVC development

 

  • EdwinV from Nederlands worked on the subject 2 years ago. his blog article is still interesting and provides a start for Zend Framework scaffolding. The zip works fine but requires you to create views for each table.
  • Whitewashing, another blog entry from germany, extends the  Zend_Controller_Action which uses   a Zend_Db_Table_Abstract model to generate lists, forms and links for BREAD. Author was inspired by codecaine, another very interesting Zend Framework blog.
  • Avesta is an out of date product built on top of Zend Framework

Google Chrome : new browser challenges firefox and ie

no more chrashing browser because of a single flash app freezing : multi threading is a feature that seems to drive google's new browser imminent release, but not the only one. Google says "new applications have been deployed since browser were invented so we needed to rewrite the whole thing from scratch". More today with press conference scheduled at its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters Tuesday at 11 a.m. PDT.

Grid feature : page number in scroll bar

I've come across another data grid implementation, this time base on mootools. One interesting feature of AJAX datagrids is the ability to scroll unlimited number of records without reloading the main page. Using the scroll bar instead of a opage numbering system can dramatically increase productivity when playing with large datasets. But one advantage of pagenumbering is that it is a good indication of where you stand and page number is often remembered by users as an efficient way of finding specific datarows.  DrasticTools is a collection of PHP and JS scripts that generate AJAX-based data managers and viewers for MySQL tables. DrasticGrid is a data grid that supports pagination, sorting, insertions, deletion and update of records : the most unique feature it implements is precisely the page number indication in the dynamic scroll bar, as highlighted on the screenshot above.

WordPress Plugin : blogroll pages

We provide here a modification of Mark Allen ' Blogroll page plugin, that inserts blogroll into any page of your blog . What we did here is modify his plugin to create more than just a list : we make pages out the blogroll list, one page per category. The first page lists categories with link to blogroll list for this category. Slight Modification but useful fo SEO. Future implementations should modify title page to integrate category description. Enjoy and let us know how it goes.