Introducing the Hinksey Studio

I’ve just launched a new website for a new business venture of mine – producing limited edition prints…

Do have a look and let me know what you think!!

http://www.hinkseystudio.co.uk

It’s been really quite exciting to start this up – guess I’m officially grown up now 🙂

And of course, it’s all ColdFusion driven. But of course.

ColdFusion now free for Educators.. but…

ColdFusion 8 is now free for Educators.. but… you can’t use it on a production server. Oh well – good start though. It follows the Flex free for Educators program: https://freeriatools.adobe.com/

I’m still going through the conditions, but presumably this means I can use a development server in house with no 3 IP limitations – definitely a step forward.

It always felt painful as an a higher education department to think about having to buy twice the licenses just to power our in house dev server.

Adobe – go the whole hog! Release CF (and while you’re at it) the whole of Creative Suite free for educational use! You know you want to…go on go on go on etc.. I know, I’m dreaming.

CF8 + MAMP on OSX step by step

<p>Someone left a comment after my last cry for help about installing CF8 + apache on Mac, so I thought I’d quickly run through the steps I took.

Assuming you’re on the latest version of OSX, you *could* use the inbuilt Apache server. However, I’ve used MAMP, which is essentially a bundled version of Apache, MySQL, PHP.

1) Uninstall CF8 – If you’ve got it installed already (it’s just going to make this easier)

2) Download MAMP from here

3) Download the 32bit (not 64bit, as, although MacOSx is a 64bit OS, the connector on MAMP is 32bit) version of CF8 from adobe.com

4) Install MAMP in the usual way – don’t worry about CF yet – just get Apache + PHP working. NOTE – you only need MAMP, NOT MAMP pro. When configuring, set the apache + mySQL ports to their defaults. It should be now reading the files out of /applications/MAMP/htdocs when you go to http://localhost. If you don’t get the MAMP start screen, check that a) both the lights in the MAMP Application window are green, and then you’ve got web sharing turned OFF in Settings/Sharing in OSX

5) So we’ll assume you’ve got the MAMP start page working. If you’ve got a different place for your installed websites (personally I’ve got a whole drive which I use as my ‘www’ root) change it now in the MAMP config. As directory browsing appears to be enabled by default in MAMP, you should be able to see the folders/files in whatever directory you point it to when you go to localhost.

6) Now for CF. Install CF with the following – Single Server Instance, and use the built in webserver (we’re not actually going to be using that for now, but I could never actually get the correct config in the installer to get it work on install)

7) Now open the ColdFusion Web Service Connector: You should be able to find this in Applications/ColdFusion (I’m actually writing this on a PC, so can’t check the location, sorry).

8) On the window which opens, click “Add” to add a configuration. Use the following settings:

jrun Host: localhost
jrun Server: ColdFusion
Web Server: Apache
Configuration Directory: /Applications/MAMP/conf/apache
Configure web server for ColdFusion 8 Applications: ticked

And this is the important bit, in Advanced:

Enable verbose logging for connector: unticked
Enable native OS memory allocator: unticked
Build Apache module from source using APache eXtenSion tool: unticked
Directory and file name of server binary: /Applications/MAMP/bin/apache2/bin/httpd
Directory and file name of server control script: /Applications/MAMP/bin/apache2/bin/apachectl

Now, CF *should* have done a couple of things. One is rewrite your httpd.conf file to include CF settings, such as .cfm files, and the second is turned on Web sharing under your OSX settings – you need to go back and turn OFF web sharing – the reason is, that is the inbuilt OSX apache server, and not the MAMP one. It gets a little confusing if you don’t do that, as you’ll see an Apache notice, but it won’t be running CF!

I then restart MAMP (if you’ve set the ports to defaults, it will require your password everytime, as if your port number is lower than 1000 it’s sort of quasi protected as a service on OSX).

You should now be able to go to localhost/CFIDE/administrator where it should run the migration script. You’ll then be good to go.

I’ll double check and add the proper file locations another time when I’m on my Mac.

Good things, Ning.

I was initially skeptical about Ning – whose claims of being able to create your own social network without programming knowledge seemed a bit optimistic.

I take it all back. I finally got around to creating a network for a project which I was consulting on, and I’m really impressed. I think I got the whole thing up and running in about 6 minutes.

Obviously, that’s without much in the way of customisation, and I had the logo all done beforehand etc. but still, that’s pretty quick.

So Ning Pros:

  • Stupidly fast to set up
  • Initial site free
  • You can request the source code for customising – although you’re then on your own in terms of code updates
  • Good use of Groups/Forums/Social Profiling, and user management – you can lock down the whole thing to registered users if you want
  • Quite simply, this will do *most* people, if they want some community based system

Cons:

  • not so much a con, but you have to pay to remove adverts, use your own domain or subdomain, add extra bandwidth (100GB per month) etc – they’ve got to make their money somewhere I guess.
  • Every event seems to require a picture of some description, which seems pointless.
  • Some people are happy on facebook, and don’t want yet another social network

I’ve yet to really delve into the inner workings, APIs etc, but it seems all sensibly thought out so far.. Now if it was only written in CF…

UniForm Custom Tags V2 released

Pleasingly, a customtag library I’ve been using has had an update: Uni-Form XHTML Forms See here

I hate styling forms. This really has made my life easier (and when you write your own CMS systems as I do, there’s a *lot* of forms)…

Sugarbutties released

Sugarbutties – a pottery painting studio in the Chester/North East Wales – now up!
See http://www.sugarbutties.co.uk

Creating .ico Files in Photoshop

It’s bugged me for ages that Photoshop doesn’t have native support for ICO files.
Thankfully, there’s a free plugin which will let you save as a .ico. See here – http://www.telegraphics.com.au/sw/

Drupal 6 – not quite ready yet

I’ve been playing with Drupal recently – although I’m primarily a ColdFusion programmer, I find it very interesting to look at other Content Management Systems in other languages.

Overall, Drupal is excellent. There are some really well thought out parts. Drupal relies on a set of “core” modules, which in themselves offer a ton of functionality – almost enough for most sites. Almost.

The catch I’ve discovered with Drupal is that some of the most useful modules which exist for version 5.7 have yet (at least at time of writing ) to be ported to the latest version, 6 (or even 6.2 which we’re on now).

If you were planning on building a bi-lingual website, Drupal 6 promises some amazing core functionality; however, to do something like language specific menu items requires the integration of a third party module, i18n. This module isn’t feature complete, and still in development for Drupal 6; but for 5.7 it does pretty much everything you might need, just outside of the core Drupal modules.

The speed which Drupal runs through its versions is slightly alarming as well. Within a week of installing 6, 6.1 was out, and two weeks later 6.2 Now whilst I’m not against upgrading versions, when you have a large dependency on 3rd party modules, they have to catch up before you can upgrade.

So in sum, I needed to do a bilingual site in PHP, I went for 5.7 and it’s all been plain sailing ever since.

Firefox, Web Development plugins and Joe public – part 2

In part one of this post, I look at the Web Developers Toolbar, an essential firefox addon.

This time round, I think it’s worth a look at Firebug. Firebug is aimed more at what I would call ‘realtime’ debugging – it has a definite emphasis on Javascript, DOM manipulation etc.

For Mr/Mrs Joe Public, all this is beyond the realms of comprehension, but it does have one particularly useful function which shows the time used to get/parse the various files and elements which make up the page.

Firebug Screen

In this screenshot you can see the various CSS files, JS files, and the loading times associated. At the very least, this can help show a client where the issues in a page are, and why any page may be slow loading.

It also helps demonstrate what happens when you load an enormous image, and then resize it in the browser (rather than using Photoshop’s Save for Web command).

Firefox, Web Development plugins and Joe public – part 1

The general public are often mystified by how a webpage actually works. Sure, you could explain HTML, CSS, Javascript and Server side scripting to them, but you’ll often be faced with a pair of glazed over eyes and a puzzled expression. Normally, this is a sign you’ve said a switch off keyword like ‘parse’, or better still, some seemingly secret code like ‘ISAPI’.

I find that a good visual aid is often enough for people to make the link between what they’ve scribbled on the back of a napkin, and a working proof of a website.

Enter Firefox. Apart from being one of the best browsers out there (alongside Safari and Opera), it has an excellent range of plugins to visually represent the structure and layout of a website.

The main one I use (and use every single day, if not every time I even open Firefox), is the firefox Web Developer addon. If I’m actually showing someone how a website is put together, this is invaluable.

Take this site for instance; one click is all it takes to view the block elements, CSS classes, etc.

See these screenshots for a quick example:

screenshot for Web developer toolbar

 

Basic block elements

screenshot for Web developer toolbar

 

CSS Styles in place

screenshot for Web developer toolbar

 

Block level elements

Next up.. firebug