Drupal Ramblings

Stupid Simple Web Scraping with SimpleXML

Section:

The other day, I was tasked with building a data scraper. Having never built such a contraption, I naturally turned to the Internets for preexisting code. I was horrified with what I found.

The “free” PHP scripts (that’s “free” as in “free baby vomit”) were all infested with the worst sorts of newfangled regex, and PHP 4 era DOM traversing.

WWYUIGD? Two Guidelines for Writing Hell's Best CSS

WWYUIGD (What would Yahoo User Interface Grids Do?)  is defined as two things:

  1. Exaggerating a good idea to such ridiculous proportions that it becomes a bad idea.
  2. The duel guidelines that anyone can use to write hell's best CSS

Guideline One: Meaningless numbers are great

The .yui-t(x) set of classes offer powerful control over sidebar widths, and positions. Indeed, so powerful that the classes themselves offer neither clue, nor an understandable pattern. 

  1. .yui-t1: 160 on left
  2. .yui-t2: 180 on left
  3. .yui-t3: 300 on left
  4. .yui-t4: 180 on right
  5. .yui-t5: 240 on right
  6. .yui-t6: 300 on right
  7. .yui-t7: One full width column 

If Yahoo was full of sissies, they would have made this system semi easy to remember by using this pattern:

WYMeditor (What You Mean is What You Get) Poised for World Dominance

Back at ON Networks, we just finished upgrading from tinyMCE* to WYMeditor to power the textareas on the backend.

WYMeditor's main concept is to leave details of the document's visual layout, and to concentrate on its structure and meaning, while trying to give the user as much comfort as possible (at least as WYSIWYG editors).

...The end-user defines content meaning, which will determine its aspect by the use of style sheets. The result is easy and quick maintenance of information.

ON Networks Redesigns

Today, we, the people of ON Networks launched version 1.0* of our website. Its built off of Drupal 5.2, and more than ready for 6.0 (please god, grant me the API improvements in 6.0 right now).

Since this is the first time I’ve introduced my company on my blog, I ask you forgive me for giving you “the pitch.”

We’re into online video.

We’re not idiots: we are not a “youtube 2.0… with tagging, ajax, and a bunch of fake content that is supposed to look like it came from real people”. (this seems to be the majority of online video startups)

Rather, we’ve decided that old media may actually have a few good ideas: say… professionally produced content, high production values, and video quality unmatchable on the internet (not counting subscription, and pay-per-view sites) . Oh, and letting you watch our videos on your ipod, iphone, tv, or screen, be it via rss, email , or appletv subscriptions.

Here is Backpack Picnic (sketch comedy), and Play Value (an exploration of the history of video games): two shows that really illustrate what we are after.

Our business model comes from an analysis of the structural weakness of old media. One way you could put it is, “We’re what NBC, BBC, and Fox would be if they could start their entire business over again.”

Our traffic and content is growing exponentially, and the daily bandwidth required to pump out our videos is measured in terabytes (tigs, as we call them in the office).

Anyhow, enough about us:

Thank you drupal. Expect a donation very soon.

*Nobody at the company is actually using version numbers, so I’m calling it 1.0

R.I.P. PHP 4.x (2000-2008)

The PHP development team has sentenced PHP 4.x to death. On December 31st, 2007, there will be no more releases of PHP 4.4. On August, 8th, 2008, they will discontinue even critical security updates.

I wonder if the drupal community had anything to do with instigating this? I'm tempted to think so...

Praise Allah! PHP lives!

How Real Men Code: In 5 Easy Steps

By Carl Poland (guest contributor) -- CEO, Compubiztech Solutions, LLC, and Professor of Computer Science

For all those modules that are in a class of their own...

Update: Check out Boris Mann's ideas on the subject. They are better thought out than the ones I shared in this post.

While studying the mystic ways of jquery, I noticed something: Jquery has granted some plugins an "offical" status. Its easy to inference that these official plugins exist because:

Drupal is Part of the Problem

Should Drupal move to PHP 5?

In one word: absolutely.

In one sentence: if we don't, the drupal project will die along with PHP.

My friends, PHP is dying. Every day, the best programmers are moving to, faster, better constructed, more powerful languages such as python and ruby. The developers of PHP have been aware of this for some time. That's why they released PHP 5*. 

Drupal Wonders: "Where's the Love?"

How much money have you made from Drupal? Now that we have a drupal association, its a question I want you to consider when you make your first donation. Drupal has shown you a lot of love over the years. I hope you can show some love back.

You really have no excuse.

CCK is Dangerously Sexy in Drupal 5.0

CCK no longer neuters nodes.  To clear the record, CCK is drupal's most kick ass contributed module, and I recommend it in just about any situation and enviroment.

My reasoning for this 180 degree reversal in opinion are firstly two new modules included in cck:

content_copy.module -- this module allows you to import/export CCK node types from installation to installation. Using drupal_macro() (found in the devel.module), or drupal_execute(), one could theoretically automate these imports in .install file. I know its possible, but I haven'yet completely worked out some details... (namely, that CCK node tables don't appear to exist at the moment drupal_execute, or macro is executed). maybe I'm just an idiot... I don't know....

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