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Websites that don't suck #5: Advanced Techniques


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Geek geek bo beek banana-fanna fo-feek me-mi-mo-meek...GEEEK! You asked for it...here ya go. An even geekier episode in our series of Websites that Don't Suck...

In this episode we cover all kinds of junk. We talk about programming languages such as Perl, PHP, Javascript, Ruby and ASP. We talk about using frameworks and content management systems. We ramble about XML and RSS stuff, as well as AJAX.

We have 2 weeks worth of This Week in Geek, where we talk about kids watching TV, apple school, working on vacation, crapware, Nintendo Wii, and some Adobe news.

Ok, you wanted it, so here ya go...below is linkfest for our advanced and programming discussions...go nuts! Got questions or want more links? Don't forget to drop us a line...visit our contact page to hit us up....

podcast #5

Very good podcast!! Thank you! Could MF suggest a good object-oriented programming podcast? BTW, I am just chomping to start learning Ruby, if I could find all that pesky time that I lost somewhere.



Thanks for listening.

I learned object-oriented programming the old fashioned way with books, teachers, and mentors. I did some checking into podcasts and have a couple that might be good. I don't really listen to them but they have potential to be good. For .Net programming there is the polymorphic podcast. For PHP check out the Pro::PHP podcast. I know the PHP has, amung other things, spoken with the developers of PRADO. But, neither of these are really object-oriented targeted. I will do some more checking. If you have any to suggest I would love to know.

I know what you mean about loosing all that time. If only the day was a couple hours longer....


Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host

Counsel a newbie brother?-)

Congratulations, guys, on your geekiest podcast yet. I love this feed! And congrats to MF for the Summer of Code thing. As a non-Apple iGuy, I hope to hear MUCH more about Google in future podcasts;-)

Back to the podcast at hand, though, getting extra geeky was great for me because I'm an IT guy (a department of one) in the process of upgrading a DBMS-centric application. I'm trying to stay on the drawing board as long as my boss will let me--to keep from locking in decisions before the development process gets too far along.

Can I ask for your advice on something? If you want to reply offline, that's cool.

I'm a developer with about equal experience in Java and .NET. (In school, we only used Java, and in the workplace, I've only been allowed to use Visual Studio .NET). I've never done anything with php, but i'm confident I can pick it up, and I'm really happy to see all the materials available for MySQL/PHP (1/2 of the LAMP, right?).

Anyway, I'm working on this DB-project and then I find out that the company I work for wants to revamp our website (I'm too embarrassed to post a link, even though it was NOT my design ;-). So, I took your advice and got a copy of Dreamweaver 8 (30-day trial). I was happy to see how easy it is to put together a MySQL/PHP web app with DW8, and I'm excited to think about using AJAX to do Gmail-style menus, etc.

So, as you might have guessed, by now, I'm thinking... why not use DW8 to put together a PHP and AJAX front end for a MySQL-based application?

Some advantages I see to this approach are...
1. seamless transition between the application and our new website
2. less graphic design time, since I can reuse lots of images/pallettes/etc.
3. simple transition to remotely hosted application from locally hosted (to inTERnet-based from inTRAnet-based), if we find any clients who are comfortable with that

Some possible problems (as I see it) with this idea are...
1. getting IIS to work for the smaller businesses we serve (who don't have a DBA or anyone who knows how to run a web-server)
2. packaging all of this to install via MS InstallShield

What do y'all think?

(P.S., I dig this expandable textbox!-)


Thanks for listening to the podcast and for trusting us with your questions, Phil.

I am not just a mac user but a user of Mac, Windows, and I have a couple systems running FreeBSD. So, I am no stranger to Windows.

You are right that mysql and php/perl are one half of LAMP. LAMP is Linux+Apache+Mysql+PHP/Perl. Although, the main components to be concerned with are the Mysql and PHP/Perl. There are alternatives to Linux on the Unix style platform side and alternatives to Apache on the webserver side. And, on the non-open source side there are Microsoft products amung others. On top of mysql you might want to check out Postgresql. Postgresql has some more of the enterprise features like Oracle and MSSQL that Mysql lack. It, also, is under the BSD license meaning you can sell it as part of a product bundle.

Dreamweaver is a great package for designing dynamic websites and web applications. One of the great features, which Rob Feature and I use, is the check out system for files when more than one person is developing something. A website with some great dynamic scripts that might help is Dynamic Drive and while your there be sure to check out their CSS section.

The transition from Intranet to Internet based application is one that should be taken very carefully. Security of information is something to be very careful with so that no organizational information that shouldn't get out doesn't get out. If there is sensitive information I would recommend trying to keep the information on an Intranet and outsiders who need access do so via VPN.

In the area of hosting we just did a podcast on it. If you are looking for setup with a web/database server on an intranet and the company doesn't have someone on staff who can manage it then an option is to outsource that work. There are companies out there who can be contracted to maintain your Intranet server.

As for installing, many web apps don't use InstallShield becuase they are attempting to be platform independant, are designed for unix based platforms (the majority of webserver are unix based), or are designed so that a user who just has ftp access to their webspace can install them. Having InstallShield install we web app should be fairly simple and straight forward.

If you have any other questions or you would like some more clarity on something I wrote here please let us know.


Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host

One More Thing

Another package with some great AJAX and Javascript features is Rico.


Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host