At Webmonkey, the favorite technologies are, of course, those that inspire the most punning. So Java is way up there (all those “brewing up” and “double tall” opportunities), as is HTML (“HTML is for Children” and “HTML and Back”), while topics like CGI and XSLT aren’t really a whole lot of pun.
Thus I am extremely lucky to be allowed to write about SOAP, one of the punniest technologies to come along since Unix. And it’s true:I feel lucky. So everybody scrub up, and let’s get started.
Continue Reading “Get Your Feet Wet With SOAP” »
It’s difficult to think of an electronic gadget that’s changed the way I look at the world more than my digital camera. I held off from buying one at first, but after a year of researching and one particularly hefty tax return from Uncle Sam, I made the plunge. Roughly US$500 later and I was staring down a convex lens at my life. Suddenly, every sight was a picture waiting to be taken! Every scene a perfect composition begging to be snapped up and stored on a memory card. After some advice from my pro photographer friends and a whole lot of practice, I officially became the annoying guy with the camera at the crowded party.
The truth is that digital photography is actually rather difficult. Not the taking pictures part, that’s easy. It’s the creation of a perfect end product that’s the sticky part. Taking a raw JPEG or TIFF file and crafting a digital image that looks beautiful on all the different monitor types is a process that transcends art and borders on science. Some photos turn out almost perfect from the get go – never underestimate the power of good natural light! – but most of your snapshots are going to need some gentle persuasion in the right direction before they are ready to wow the New York gallery scene.
Don’t panic, because Webmonkey is here to impart advice on creating that sharp, bright, and well-balanced image that you can show off on your site, your blog, Flickr, Zooomr or anywhere on the web. We’ll be using some tools and techniques that will be familiar to you if you’ve ever spent any time messing around in Photoshop. I’ll also be covering some basic rules about file handling, monitors, and display options.
Continue Reading “Photoshop Tips for the Web” »
Open source has brought a lot more than Linux to the computing world. It has also given us PHP and MySQL.
In the first installment of this three-lesson tutorial, we cover everything you need to know to begin developing database hubs. You’ll get instructions for installation on both Unix and Windows, and then you’ll learn some simple scripts that will insert information into a database and display that data on a web page.
Lesson 2 covers more PHP/MySQL goodies than you could probably imagine:while loops, the ever-useful if-else statement. But this information alone means little if you don’t continue and see how PHP can be used with HTML forms. By the time you’ve polished off this lesson, you’ll be able to add, edit, and remove information from your database.
In Lesson 3, you’ll learn some of the secrets that will turn your simple data-driven site into a useful application. We’ll cover validation and show how to prevent users from leaving key form fields blank and how to make sure numeric files don’t contain letters. You’ll also learn how PHP handles includes and functions. Plus you’ll see how these two features, when deployed together, can make the coder’s life much easier. Everything winds up with some tearful parting words and a bit of advice for the aspiring PHP/MySQL coder.
If you’ve built a few websites from scratch, chances are you’ve noticed that you have to solve some of the same problems over and over again. Doing so is tiresome and violates one of the core tenants of good programming — Don’t Repeat Yourself (DRY).
Luckily for you other people long ago noticed that web developers face similar problems when building a new site. Sure, there are always edge cases which will vary from site to site, but for the most part there are four general tasks we developers have to handle — Create, Read, Update and Delete, otherwise known as CRUD.
To help you out, a number of web application frameworks have emerged over the years. You might have heard of some of the more famous frameworks — Ruby on Rails, CakePHP and Django.
Continue Reading “Get Started with Web Frameworks” »
Version control is a sine qua non of serious software development, but casual developers and even non-programmers can use it to improve their lives. In its simplest form, a version control tool maintains an archive of the history of a project — not just its current state, but every milestone along the way. So if you realize that the progress you’ve made in the last three weeks is all wrong, you can effortlessly go back to what you had then; or just glance at it and harvest the good parts.
Continue Reading “Using Git Version Control” »