Because the world needs another URL shortener: http://n.adesi.co/
Not as short as many others but anime related. At the moment it’s very lo-fi and doesn’t have an API or any integration points so it isn’t currently compatible with your favourite Twitter client – this will come soon enough along with stats and other paraphernalia. Built from scratch in less than a couple of hours so any bugs drop me a line, likewise with feature requests, otherwise enjoy.
Edit: Forgot to say, it is currently gathering data, so once a frontend is built existing links will reveal their stats.
My Sunday afternoon project wasn’t something that I could just let lie and it didn’t take long for work to start on it again. Using the list of improvements I had identified, I began with the aesthetics and then moved on to other, more number intensive areas of research.
Before even touching the code I subsumed everything into a Git repository; I’m a long time Subversion user but relatively new to Git so I still regularly refer back to the “Git – SVN Crash Course” which is pleasantly concise. With this done, I attacked the GIF output method first:
“cooked up in a few hours and wasn’t subject to any stringent mathematical basis”
First was visibly increasing the size of the cells, I had originally used a multiplier of four for previous iterations but that made them very indistinct, and with only fifty generations it meant a large portion of the space wasn’t used. The result was an increase in cell size to seven with a one pixel border: this was the result of a happy accident while crafting the previous post and resulted in the introductory images, however the calculations for the edge cells was incorrect which is why those animations don’t appear to “loop” at the edges as they should. This implementation fixed that and with a vastly smaller environment (only 8×8 with a 5×5 seed), each generation of cells and their progression is easier to see. Next was addressing the colour issue, generating both a background and foreground colour met with mixed results so taking a leaf from WP_Identicon’s book, I kept the background colour constant and generated the foreground colour only: Read the rest of this entry
As a way of spending my bank holiday Sunday afternoon, I decided to embark on a small project; I didn’t know what the project would be when I first began browsing through Wikipedia but eventually I ended up in About.com’s C++ challenge section, one of which concerned John Horton Conway’s “Game of Life”: a rudimentary cellular automaton which, after its inception in 1970, had immeasurable impact on fields as diverse as philosophy and theology. After toying with some ideas, I decided to build a script which automatically creates animations of a number of generations of the game. From that seed the project grew into the first steps towards an avatar system, much like the automatically generated Gravatars that currently adorn so many WordPress based blogs.
“I wanted something that was deterministic and identifiable”
The first step was getting the algorithm working, and as I had already decided to make it web-based, that meant a PHP implementation. Using only the Wikipedia page as reference, I threw together a very basic script that allowed me to enter in some settings (grid dimensions, seed and generation limit) and for it to spit out the states between the seed and the generation cut off. After some wrangling with minor bugs (spelling errors, incorrect typing etc.) an unoptimised first version of the algorithm was complete: Read the rest of this entry
gallery.chaostangent.com is an application for storing and organising images – ostensibly a very simple desire but one I found not catered for by existing web applications when it was first conceived in 2005. The concept was an application that was simple and easy to use while still allowing for a degree of organisation to ensure images weren’t stored in a single “pool”.
“With a small, well-defined feature set it seemed like a good time to address some of the issues which had crept in”
When I first started developing the application, PHP 5 hadn’t been released for very long and was receiving a mixed reception. Regardless, I started developing using a custom built framework I had cobbled together from scratch – one that would eventually go on to be refined and used in some of my work projects. With the lack of other mature frameworks to compare with, it was rough round the edges and did little more than segment out code into the MVC pattern and even then it wasn’t an entirely clean encapsulation; it was however useful.
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The release of PHP 5.3 is due sometime soon and with a feature freeze in place since the 24th of July and a pre-release alpha now available, it’s worth exploring some of the many additions and changes that are going to be introduced.
As PHP is the language I most frequently work in and one which I’ve done all sorts with (from web applications, to file exploration to media player scripting), I like to think I’m sensitive to deficiencies and oddities in the released implementations. Version 5.3 contains a lot of elements backported from the still distant version 6, the most glaring omission being end-to-end Unicode support without mb_* fudges or iconv; being able to use string-backed functions like array_unique() without suspicion will be a big help, but I digress.
The most high-profile addition is that of namespaces, gone will be the warts that dot current frameworks (e.g. Zend_Db_Table_Rowset) which will make different frameworks and modules far easier to use and far more friendly when you want them to play nicely together.
“PHP and MySQL have always been bedfellows despite their conflicting release licenses”
Static functions have also been promoted to all a lot of the meta-programming niceties that member functions have including true overloading support which will allow first level abstractions such as database wrappers to not require instantiation before being called (which I discovered around the same time as my get_class exploration). For instance, if using an ORM, doing People::getAllById() will now be easier to achieve. Along side this many of the magic methods have been tightened up to make them less ambiguous (__get can only be public and not static, signatures enforced etc.)
Looking through some of the other changes detailed in the PHP Wiki it seems that a selection of new functions surrounding garbage collection are now being exposed including checking whether it is enabled, and selectively enabling or disabling it. Whether this is a mistake (close by get_extension_funcs() is detailed as a new function but appears to have been in since PHP4) and these are bleed-throughs from the Zend Engine is unclear, but without some surrounding memory management facilities, it would seem unwise to disable or allow disabling of garbage collection.
On the extension front numerous ones have been standardised and moved into the PECL system which goes some way to neatening things up; the change some are talking about is the choice between a local MySQL library (mysqlnd) versus the native libmysql library that comes when compiling against a MySQL release. PHP and MySQL have always been bedfellows despite their conflicting release licenses (especially so since Sun gobbled up MySQL) so this seems like a smart move for all concerned with separate code-base, better engine integration and statistical analysis now possible (PDF details).
What all of this adds up to is a release that’s solid on paper, but the bum-rush for patches is sure to be as swift as any other PHP release. Especially with the OO enhancements though, it feels like these should have been included from day one, as not only will there now be a disjoint between PHP4 and PHP5 shared servers, but PHP5.2 and PHP5.3 as well. For someone who runs their own server this is not massive worry, especially when the list of backwards compatibility changes are so small, but for service providers (hosts, ISPs etc.) still dragging their feet over 4 > 5 > 5.2, this adds another step of complexity.
The real test will obviously be the frameworks and high profile applications that PHP utilises and with word that the Zend Framework won’t be supporting namespaces until its 2.0 release next year the lead time could be immense, especially when you consider phpBB, what was once considered the yardstick of PHP usage, still supports 4.3 with its most recent version, the playing field for cutting edge PHP seems less than agile.