Sunday, November 30, 2008

Joomla! Joins Another List of Winners

EContent today published their EContent 100 List of Companies that Matter Most in the Digital Content Industry. You can see us right here under Open Source Matters along with other notable open source friends like Drupal and Wordpress. The EContent 100 winners will be honored at the Buying & Selling eContent Conference next April 5-6 in Scottsdale, AZ.

There are a variety of categories: classification & taxonomy; collaboration; content commerce; content creation, production, & digital publishing; content delivery; content management; content security; fee-based info services; intranets & portals; mobile content; search engines & technologies; and social media.

EContent said, "We are proud of this list and of the companies on it. Members of the EContent 100 List are the companies empowering the content that fuels business today. We hope that our readers find the list as valuable as we did the process of creating it." The Joomla Project is honored to be recognized as a high-calibre business solution.

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Java and Linux - an open marriage in search of success

In 2004 Eric Raymond wrote an open letter to Sun Microsystems' then chief executive officer Scott McNealy demanding Sun open up their core Java intellectual property and allow anyone do whatever they damn well please with it.

That other pillar of open source, and creator of the GNU Project Richard Stallman, meanwhile, became one of Java's loudest opponents - sternly advising people not to install the closed-source evil that was Java, and giving Java as a dire example of corporate lock-in.

Two years later Sun silenced the the baying crowd with OpenJDK - an open-source project based on Sun's closed-JDK codebase.

Sun also released Java Standard Edition (Java SE) for the desktop, Java Mobile Edition (Java ME) for mobile devices and Glassfish - Sun's implementation of Java Enterprise Edition (Java EE) - under GNU General Public License v2 (GPLv2). Sun said GPLv2 would achieve the objectives of "driving more volume and adoption for Java and maintaining the 'write once run anywhere compatibility' promise."

Sun has spent much of the intervening period talking about how OpenJDK would make it easier to distribute Java with Linux, putting Java into new markets and on platforms, and into the hands of new developers. Stallman, himself, was sufficiently impressed by the move.

Two years on, has Sun's move changed anything other than end the shouting war over whether to open-source Java?

Sun's chief open-source officer Simon Phipps told The Reg that OpenJDK is doing "at least as well as I hoped." Sun could hardly have done any worse.

But has the move improved the life of Joe the Programmer, the everyday coder? "If you're an everyday developer programming under Windows writing everyday programs, you'll probably see no visible differences. But a tools developer will see a huge difference, as their market has suddenly grown hugely," Phipps said.

In other words, their tools will now be easily available on Linux as well as Windows.

Java goes further

The addressable market is certainly bigger. OpenJDK is now included in the top four FOSS GNU Linux distributions - Fedora 10, the Ubuntu main repository starting with version 8.10, OpenSUSE 11, and the planned Lenny version of Debian. It's also available in Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL5) and CentOS 5. Sun, meanwhile, claims success by download on Glassfish: eight million downloads and 250,000 "product registrations" in the last 12 months.

OK, so OpenJDK ships with top Linux distros - job done? Not quite. Java might ship with certain distros, but there is no single version of Java, or set of Java APIs or libraries, certified as 100-per-cent Linux compatible. That makes the job of installing it and administering Java on Linux a headache and creates portability hurdles for application developers writing software for different Linuxes.

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20 Reasons Why I Choose WordPress

1. WordPress is Free
Whether you are using a hosted or opt to install the script on your own web server, WordPress is made available gratis. It costs you nothing to use. Who says “There is no free lunch in this world?

2. Easy to Setup
Installing WordPress is super fast and super easy. In fact, the process is much simpler if you’re using Fantastico autoinstaller that comes pre-installed with your hosting package. It doesn’t get any easier than that. If you need help with WordPress setup, ask and thou shall receive.

3. Themes Availability
You don’t like the look of your default theme? There are plenty of great design themes available for you to choose from. It doesn’t matter what your preference is, there is always one for you that suits your taste and personality.

If budget isn’t an issue, do yourself a favor and differentiate your blog with a premium theme.

4. Plug-ins Do Wonder
Without any doubt, the primary reason I choose WordPress over any other blogging platforms is the limitless possibility I could extend its functionality using a wide array of plug-ins which are continually built to make WordPress the best it can be for the blogging community at large. Best of all, all these plug-ins are free to use.

5. No-Fuss Maintenance
With WordPress Automatic Upgrade plug-in, I can always be sure of running the latest software in case of any upgrade. The process has been simplified and automated without the need to go through the individual upgrade steps.

6. No Programming Skill
WordPress can be used out-of-the-box without any programming skill that even the greenest of newbies couldn’t screw it up! Though a little knowledge in HTML or PHP might be an advantage, albeit not a necessity.

7. User-Friendly
WordPress Admin dashboard is one of the most user-friendly interface you can find. Whether you need to write a post or manage your settings, navigation hasn’t been that simpler, hasn’t it? As if that’s already good enough, the upcoming WordPress Version 2.7 gets even better and sleeker.

8. Open Source
Being an open source platform, in theory WordPress will have a better software development model which is good from users’ perspective. There will always be a continual improvement to its platform.

9. Customizable
Since WordPress platform function in a template-based structure, customization has never been easier. A typical blog structure consists of header, content, sidebar and footer. Any change to its template can be conveniently done right from the Admin Dashboard. I was pretty much impressed with it in the beginning.

10. Hassle-free Integration
If you do have an existing static website, now is the time you should consider WordPress to power your site. I can’t think of any other Content Management System (CMS) that is comparable to WordPress.

Do you know you can easily integrate WordPress pages seamlessly into your existing website? I’ve done it on numerous occasions for my clients.

11. Ease of Migration
The process of migration is as easy as telling WordPress which blogging platform to access and import from. All your posts and comments in another platform will be migrated in a relatively easy process. Go to ‘Import ‘ under ‘Manage’ on your Admin Dashboard.

12. SEO-Friendly
With the built-in auto-ping feature in WordPress and coupled with the use of Google XML Sitemaps plug-in, it takes minimal efforts to get indexed by search engines. In fact, Google loves blogs powered by WordPress. In case you aren’t aware, here’s 15 SEO Tips for Beginners.

13. Good Community Support
Due to its popularity, the solution to any WordPress problem is just by googling the question. Well, at least that’s what I usually do. There are just too many discussions on WordPress-related issues on various forums and discussion groups that a typical answer to any question can be readily available at the click of a mouse.

14. Monetize
For a long time, Google Adsense has been the preferred choice for blog monetization. With the availability of WordPress plug-ins, monetizing a blog is just as simple as pie.

Though I believe blogspot manages and integrates Google Adsense better than WordPress.

15. Statisticize
Checking my stats is easy with Google Analytic. All I need is to create an account and place the code conveniently at the footer.php. As a matter of practice, it is one of the first things I do on my post-install checklist.

16. Multi-Lingual
By default WordPress is in English, however the software has built-in capability that supports localization in any other languages. Learn how To Install WordPress in Your Language.

17. More Dofollow on WordPress
Probably it is much easier to remove the nofollow tag on WordPress than other blogging platforms. I could be wrong but more often than not, more and more blogs powered by WordPress are adopting the dofollow concept if you ask me.

18. Better Time Management
What I love about WordPress is the fact I could easily schedule my post to be published at a later date with post-time stamp. As such, I could manage my time better and more efficiently. Write today, post tomorrow.

19. Multi-User Environment
WordPress is not limited to just one user. It works in a multi-user environment where two or more people could collaborate on a single project using WordPress. How ’bout that?

20. If You Can Beat Them, You Join Them
If the majority of probloggers like Darren from Problogger, John Chow, Jeremy, to name a few, are using WordPress, it’s much safer to place your bet on WordPress than any other blogging platforms. If you can’t beat them, you’re better off joining them. Unless, you are as famous as Seth Godin.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Motivation in open source

As my focus was mainly on discussing about open source projects, while I was preparing my presentation, I made a thinking exercise. And I noted down the motivational factors for developing open source applications. Let’s go through the list.

* Passion. Remember that most of you are working in this field because you like it. Sometimes developers get to work in a company and in a project that they actually don’t like. Open source is their chance to do what they like. So, even tough this takes extra time and effort, the moral satisfaction pays it off. Keep the fire burning with Open Source!

* Educational. Working in an open source is the best way to keep you up-to-date with the latest technologies. Due to economical reasons, the projects developed in closed profit-based organizations, are not up-to-date with the last technologies. Keep learning with Open Source!

* Portfolio. What you developed as open source could be a very good showcase to obtain a better job. If you don’t have yet industry practical experience, this can compensate. Show off your Open Source!

* Status. There is a special pride of being a member in a successful open source community. Be proud with your Open Source!

* Need. This is actually one of the main reasons for developing open source applications. Either there isn’t a software solution for your problem or it is too expensive, you can always make your own or contribute to other people effort to do it. Use Open Source!

* Influence. This is somehow related to need. Because a company is needing some features in an open source application, they encourage their employees to take an active role in the development of it. In this way they can easily influence the direction in which the open source project is heading. Influence your Open Source!

* Altruism/Knowledge sharing. Some people simply do it because is the right and moral thing to do. They used and enjoyed open source and now it’s time to give something back. Share by Open Source!

* Quality. I know that it may sound like a paradox, but I really think that a successful open source project has a higher quality than a successful closed, private one. Usually an open source project has a more varied and wide pool of users. It means that it also have a wider pool of critics. Moreover, the commercial products will have to constantly improve because of the competition. Improve Open Source!

* Economical. Open source is not entirely free. And here we have to talk about cost reduction and profit.

Cost reduction. A company can develop a project, but due to the lack of resources, they decide to make it open source. If the project is not on their portfolio, but it was merely developed as a library for other projects or to support the internal infrastructure, this is a very good choice. Their business won’t be affected, but their winnings could be huge. In the first place, they win a huge amount of users, which are actually free ad-hoc testers. As the project is growing they can also gain developers or other specialists, thus tremendously decreasing the maintenance costs.

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Does Google Hate WordPress and Other Blog Platforms?

Doing a simple search for the term blog reveals some interesting information found in the SERP. There is absolutely no mention of WordPress or any other blog publishing platform. Yet, there are three instances of Google mentioned.

Ironically, after allowing Google to track my web history, doing the same search logged into iGoogle, one would think that the results would be more "personalized" based off my previous browsing history and also due to the fact that visiting is one of my top most visited sites while logged in.

To no avail, the SERP still included three instances of Google with no listing of WordPress, TypePad or any other alternative blog publishing software. To further my research, I searched for the term: create a blog, and found that three of the top ten results show and once again, no instance of WordPress.

What are your thoughts about this? Does Google hate WordPress and other blog platforms? Is this a way of Google attempting to lessen the number of new bloggers from using more powerful platforms which in return make Google's job controlling them more difficult? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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Apple attacks open source iTunes replacements

Apple’s moderately popular ipod line has always been a POS. It’s overpriced, uner featured, and generally overrated. It is an expensive toy that has limited use, not being able to open up most media formats known to man (such as .wav or .ogg). Next, if you want to actually plug it into a computer (that is, a real computer, not a boat anchor), you’ll need to use a special proprietary cable that manages to connect to; usb. Why couldn’t they have put in a mini usb connector? Anyway, your computer mounts the device and hey presto, since you don’t have iTunes installed, (and on Linux, can’t), then tough luck, you can’t use it for anything. But wait, a brave team cracked the retarted and useless database system, and miraculously, you can now use the device with a decent media player (sich as Winamp, Songbird, AmaroK, etc).

Apple doesn’t like this. They assembled their own crack team of anti-compatibility experts, bringing together the top minds in the field (and then some), creating a newer, and crappier system that messes up your media in a different way to before. Now, if you bought a new generation of i stuff, you won’t be able to use it with a decent player. Sucks to be you. But, again, a group of people have gotten together, and have started sharing ideas on how to crack this new annoyance. (But not to crack the also irritating DRM).

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WordPress update kyboshes XSS flaw

WordPress has fixed a cross-site scripting (XSS) flaw in its blogging software.

Version 2.6.5 also addresses three unrelated performance and stability bugs with the open source package. The XSS fixed by the latest version of the software is limited to particular setups involving IP-based virtual servers running on Apache 2.x.

In those setups it might be possible for hackers to rig systems so that they serve up malicious Java Script from domains under their control, as explained in an advisory by WordPress here.

WordPress has jumped from version 2.6.3 to 2.6.5 of the software in order to avoid confusion with 2.6.4, a fake version recently offered up by black hats via a bogus site. Sysadmins were directed to download the backdoor-rigged code earlier this month by hackers exploiting vulnerabilities in the blogging package.

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Ultra Light Startups: Open Source Content Management Systems

"The cost of launching a tech venture is continually falling, due to a large number of interrelated technical, social, and financial factors." - The statement couldn't be more true, it's simply becoming easier and less expensive to build and launch a startup compared to 5 years ago, or even last year. It's part of the reason why there are more startups founded in undergraduate universities, business grad schools, and by young entrepreneurs who have small savings, if any, to seed their ideas. At the same time, some of these early stage companies create very viable and attractive investment opportunities for venture capitalists. Earlier this week, I spoke with Bijan Sabet, General Partner at Spark Capital who not only agrees that "students make for great investments", but also invests in those young entrepreneurs. He's led investments in Tumblr, which was started by David Karp when he was 19, and Twitter.

The notion that startups could be started with little startup capital spurred Graham Lawlor (currently studying for his masters at NYU), to found the Ultra Light Startups group. (I was fortunate to meet Graham a short while back at the Web 2.0 conference in New York City. We kept in touch because our common interests and that our two projects have a lot in common.) Graham describes Ultra Light Startups as "a group of entrepreneurs who explore these perpetually evolving factors and refine techniques to launch technology ventures - minimizing cost and time associated with testing ideas in the marketplace." I absolutely love the idea and have given thought to helping him start one in Boston, but I just haven't had time to give it as much attention as I would like.

The startup group meets once a month and hosts on average 30-50 tech entrepreneurs who come to actively share ideas, network, and participate in discussions that focus on a particular "ultra light startup" technique. Last month, they ran one on SEO and SEM. On December 4th, they'll have a panel and forum discussing open source content management systems, such as Drupal, Joomla, and Wordpress, and how you can utilize them for your startup. Part of my job at Acquia is to discuss prospects' web initiatives and how Drupal can help them build their websites, whether its a large media site, social network, or application. I have talked to a large number of startups who are using Drupal not only because it saves them time and money, but because it is a very extensible and powerful open source platform. Open source strategies have proven to be critical underpinnings of some of todays most successful companies...Google leverages OS and many applications on the web are built off PHP, just look at Facebook.

What are the characteristics of an Ultra Light Startup?

* Low permanent headcount, low overhead, low budget
* The use of outsourcing, offshoring and outsourcing marketplaces (e.g., Elance, oDesk)
* Use of off-the-shelf and open source software and platforms (e.g. WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, MediaWiki) and their ecosystems
* Minimizing hardware costs and maximizing flexibility with cloud/network computing
* Leveraging infrastructure and communities provided by the diverse set of existing and social platforms and devices
* Viral/guerilla/social marketing
* Any other low-cost, high-flexibility techniques

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Updating Drupal 5 Modules to Drupal 6

About 5 months ago I was worried when the department I was working with in NYC was getting ready to migrate sites from Drupal 5 to Drupal 6. I had started working with Drupal during the late 4.6 days but wasn't really a developer until a few months into Drupal 5. Even then I was making beginner mistakes of hackng modules (but not core) to get my desired results.

Fast Forward 1 year and a few months, after hours of reading other people code, blog post, going to DrupalCamps, DrupalCons, and Lullabot trainings, I finally feel comfortable developing in Drupal 5. Of course this is all in relativity, you have modules like Views and Panels which remind you there is so much more to learn.

I moved onto a new position here in San Francisco right before major migrations started at the other company. I'm thinking "Phew, saved my ass from having to do that, more Drupal 5 sites here I come." But sure enough, after a few months the overwhelming power of Drupal 6 came along and of course this new platform I'm working with is needing to be upgraded.

Because the Drupal community is so awesome (understatement), a majority of contrib modules have already been migrated. We're basically building the platform from the ground up and eventually migrating old sites to the new platform when all custom pieces are in place and well tested. Till then we're able to release new sites based on Drupal 6 that aren't dependent on all features from the previous platform. The flexibility of this is great for numerous reasons and the person streamlining this process has done a great job of laying out the groundwork to build upon.

Custom modules appear to be the only things we needed to migrate to D6. It finally felt like enough time had been provided to learn the major changes that effect modules from D5 to D6. Well, it appears not much time was needed at all. With the assistance of Coder module, I began seeing a pattern of; change hook_menu, fix l() and url(), use menu_get_object(), hook_form_alter() with $form_states. I'm sure there's plenty more but these appeared to be most common.

So i'm gaining confidence in the types of changes being made using Coder for module upgrades. I've heard of a module called Deadwood that will do most of these changes automatically. After dropping a Drupal 5 module into a deadwood folder in the files directory clicking a few buttons a Drupal 6 module would magically appear in a goodwood folder. This worked great, the easy stuff that I was accustomed to was getting done and I would spend a just little more time using Coder to catch some things that were missed.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Getting my hands on Drupal

If you happened to visit CodeTRAX, my (at the moment) personal software publishing spot, during the last two months, you would have noticed that I’ve started using Drupal on that website. My alternative options had been WordPress and a custom CMS based on Django, but I finally rejected both and I am glad I did so. Although I like WordPress, which I proudly use on G-Loaded, it cannot be compared to the flexibility and maturity of Drupal. I am sure it will get there some day, but there are many things that need to be changed in the organization of this project until it becomes as serious as Drupal is.

On the other hand, after trying Django for about 2-3 days during the last summer, I realized that this is far from what I was actually looking for. I recall that at some point I had felt like trying to re-invent the wheel. Well, Django is not a CMS. It’s a framework. I should have known better! CodeTRAX is not just about content. It is about the integration of different software: a CMS, bug trackers for projects, project wikis, download center, notification system, community-based support forums, statistics. In order to build all this around an open source CMS you need the best available open source CMS; and I think this is Drupal.

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Christmas Drupal Themes: Enjoy the Magic of Christmas!

With Christmas coming soon, many are thinking about how to decorate their web sites. As Drupal has grown in popularity, more and more people have started using it. But unfortunately, there are not so many choices of Christmas Drupal themes. We spent a great deal of time in searching them and were unpleasantly surprised. But nevertheless, we would like to bring to your notice some attractive professional Drupal themes created especially for this joyful holiday.

When selecting a theme it is probably best to consider the needs and preferences of your project. But if your main goal is to decorate your web pages, to meet the holiday in the proper way, to impress your customers and visitors or just create a festive atmosphere, then the following Drupal themes for Christmas will be right for you!

* * *
Christmas Drupal Template # 112

This stylish Christmas Drupal template will greatly work for beauty salons, fashion houses, boutiques, model agencies, design studios, fashion blogs, women’s portals, personal pages, online galleries and etc. The black background makes the template more elegant and powerful. It contrasts well with bright colors and makes the other colors stand out. The red color is used as an accent color, it brings text to the foreground. So, on the whole, the template looks bright and welcoming and evokes cheerful feelings.

Download Themes..

PHP developer myths

1# Using single quotes for your strings rather than double quotes can yield a substantial speed boost.
This is one of the most commonly repeated performance myths about PHP. Whether you use double quotes or single quotes is pretty much beside the point - yes, there is a performance boost to use single quotes, but it is much less than 0.01%, and it is generally just not worth the extra hassle. Many people use double quotes for everything, and that is fine - use whatever you feel most comfortable using, because it will not affect the speed of your script.

2# you should always take the comments and whitespace out of your scripts “for maximum performance”
Comments and whitespace have such a minute effect on the performance of your PHP scripts that it is not worth considering. Furthermore, if you use a PHP code cache system like Zend Performance Suite or PHP Accelerator, comments are stripped out for you in the cached version, meaning they have no impact at all.

3# Use GLOBAL inside function to access external values
There is a lot of fluff concerning the supposed performance hit of using GLOBAL inside functions to access external values. Some people will tell you it is faster to use GLOBAL, others that it is faster to pass a parameter in, and still others that it is faster to use a static or class variable to store the value in. I find them all to run at the same speed unless there are exceptional circumstances, and I would recommend you use the way that suits you best on the basis of ease of use as opposed to performance.

4# Use unset() on complex variables
You may find people telling you to use unset() on complex variables so that PHP can free up the resources. This is quite an unusual one to tackle, because it is the sort of thing that should be true, and it is re-enforced by the fact that using a function to free up external resources, such as mysql_close() and imagedestroy(), does actually have an effect. I have never found unset() to actually free up memory when it is called. In fact, it tends to just burn up a lot of CPU time, which might have the opposite impact to what you want. Generally I think it is best to leave PHP to do the clearing up of standard variables, even if they are very large arrays, and stick to concentrating on more important things.

5# use $var rather “$var”
Some may try to convince you that using typing print $var is better than print “$var”, and indeed it is - but not because one is faster. Instead, the first option looks a little neater, and I would recommend it for that reason only. Again, this is a style point – don’t let people tell you that either is faster than the other. This is particularly irrelevant if you use a PHP code cache, which will treat both code lines in exactly the same way.


Creating Joomla plugin

Joomla! plugins serve a variety of purposes.They are like hook of Joomla!. As modules enhance the presentation of the final output of the Web site, plugins enhance the data and can also provide additional, installable functionality

The eight different types of plug-ins include the following:
1. Authentication — Provides user authentication functionality so that additional methods may be
added. Some of the authentication plug-ins included with Joomla are LDAP, OpenID, GMail,
and Joomla.

2. Content — Allows content to be modified after it is retrieved from the database and before it is sent to the user. This allows content to be modified (for applications such as email address cloaking to prevent spam) or supplemented with additional information (such as item rating, user comments, and page navigation features).

3. Editor — For content editors such as TinyMCE and XStandard Lite.

4. Editor button — These plug-ins extend the capabilities of the content editor with buttons that add functions such as the ability to insert an image or a page break. In previous versions of
Joomla, this type of plug-in was called an editor-xtd.

5. Search — Used to add search capabilities for a particular item type such as content, sections, contacts, Web links, newsfeeds, or categories.

6. System — Interfaces with the core Joomla system functions and allows control and modification over foundation tasks such as publishing, unpublishing, and even installation.

7. User —Used to synchronize a user database with another user privilege system such as Gallery2, Simple Machines Forum, and so on.

8. XML-RPC — Receives events directed through the XML Remote Procedure Call (RPC) communication protocol.

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Calling All WordPress-loving Icon Designers

Have you seen the getting-prettier-all-the-time menus in 2.7-almost-beta? They really are. Getting prettier all the time, I mean. Once we drop in the fonts and do a little brushing up of edges and colors, the menu system is going to be smooth. The last thing we’ll need to do to is replace the icons we’ve been using as placeholders. Currently, the menus are using icons from Crystal Project, which is perfect because they’re released under LGPL (yay for open source!), but less perfect in that they don’t quite fit with the new visual style of 2.7, so we’re thinking custom icons.

I’m always meeting people at WordCamps or via email who say they wish they could give back to WordPress, but that since they aren’t PHP developers, they feel like there isn’t any opportunity for them to be a part of the open source project. Well, here’s a golden opportunity. Want to design the new WordPress icons?

The icons:

We’ll need icons for each of the main navigation sections, plus a matching pair of list/excerpt view icons for the table screens like Edit Posts. That’s a total of 13, and for the navigation icons we’ll also need a larger size for use in the screen headers. Some of the sections have natural iconography, while others may be more challenging. The sections are: Dashboard, Posts, Media, Links, Pages, Comments, Appearance, Settings, Users, Plugins, Tools.

The style:
Icons should be subtle, with a classic/designed look, nothing cartoonish. Thin lines. Maybe a little old-fashioned looking. They’ll be grayscale by default, possibly with a color version for active menu items.


Wordpress for iPhone

Our first priority is to fix all the bugs, and once the app is stable and bug-free start looking at adding new features. Here are a few notes about the bug fixes, source code, getting involved, roadmap, and when to expect an update.

We’ve identified two bugs which are now being fixed:

1. Certain multi-byte characters (ex: Æ, Ø, Å ) cause the app to crash and make it impossible to add a blog
2. The way the app creates theme previews is interfering with a plugin which causes a one-time blank post to be published to Twitter and possibly to 3rd party RSS services

Source Code
The source code is now available via SVN. You can browse at or point your SVN client to the latest trunk The 1.0 release is what’s in the Apple iTunes store right now,, and “trunk” will be where you’ll find the latest development build. If you’ve never heard of SVN, a good place to start is on

Getting involved
Lots of you have contacted us wanting to get involved in this project. The best way to is go through trac and participate in defining new features, identifying and squashing bugs, and contributing code. The login system uses the registration. Make sure to download the free SDK so you can run the latest build in the iPhone simulator.

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Google Sorts One Petabyte Of Data In 6 Hours

According to last Friday's Official Google Blog, the Google Systems Infrastructure Team has sorted a record 1 terabyte of data on 1,000 computers in only 68 seconds, which breaks the previous mark of 209 seconds established in July by Yahoo.

Team leader Grzegorz Czajkowski wrote that the team followed the rules of a standard terabyte sort benchmark and used Google's MapReduce software framework that supports parallel computations over large (multiple petabyte) data sets on clusters of computers. Yahoo's effort had featured a 910-node cluster, and used Hadoop, an open-source MapReduce implementation.

The sort benchmark, which was created in 1998 by computer scientist Jim Gray, specifies the input data (10 billion 100-byte records in uncompressed text files), which must be completely sorted and written to disk. Not content with just rewriting the record book, the Google team then decided to up the ante in sorting massive volumes of data.

"Sometimes you need to sort more than a terabyte, so we were curious to find out what happens when you sort more and gave one petabyte (PB) a try," said Czajkowski. "It took six hours and two minutes to sort 1 PB (10 trillion 100-byte records) on 4,000 computers. We're not aware of any other sorting experiment at this scale and are obviously very excited to be able to process so much data so quickly."

One petabyte is a thousand terabytes, or roughly 12 times the amount of archived Web data in the U.S. Library of Congress as of May 2008. One way to put that amount in perspective, according to Czajkowski, is to consider that the aggregate size of data processed by all instances of MapReduce at Google was, on average, 20 PB per day in January 2008. A paper explaining MapReduce on the Google labs site says that the upwards of one thousand MapReduce jobs are executed on Google's clusters every day. So the infrastructure team's MapReduce job that extended the benchmark factors out to 50 typical MapReduce jobs, or one-twentieth the total of all daily MapReduce jobs run on Google's clusters.

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Writing and Automating PHP Crons in Windows and Linux

A cron (an abbreviation for chronograph) defines a process used to execute a script, start a program, send a newsletter, backup a database, display a message, remove some unnecessary files at a specified date or time, or at a set interval. In general, any process that you want the computer to execute automatically is a cron. This article explains how you can run PHP scripts as crons.

PHP Crons and Linux

Linux has a good solution for managing processes that execute at specific times: the cron daemon (called crond). You define the scripts or commands that you want to run in “crontab” files. Crontabs represent a set of tasks performed chronologically; each line represents one entry. Each entry specifies information about how to perform a task, such as executing a script. These individual tasks are called “cron jobs.”

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tata Motors Nano Car Website in Joomla

Over the last few months, we've had some fun spotting major companies that use Joomla.

Here's another ... earlier this year India's Tata Motors made a huge splash by unveiling their Nano car. It's designed to cost just $2500 and bring car ownership within reach of more Indian families. The car's website is built in Joomla.

Hat tip to Ivo Apostolov from Joomfish.

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7 Reasons to Use Ubercart!

1) Big names are using it
Prominent companies such as AOL and Warner Brothers Records has been using Ubercart for a while. More recently, Lullabot launched an Ubercart site for their conference registration.

2) Stable release for Drupal 5, significant progress on Drupal 6 version
Ubercart for Drupal 5 has been at a stable 1.x branch since the beginning of June. While it’s not yet stable, there is a dev version out for Drupal 6, and I know of at least one brave soul using it on a live site already. This is a testament to the active development community of Ubercart.

3) Ubercart is highly represented at Drupal events
There have been sessions on Ubercart at the last three Drupalcons, numerous local Drupal camps, FrOScon, etc. Ubercart even held their own Ubercamp this summer, for developers and interested parties to get together for a weekend of coding and planning.

4) Very active community
Dozens of new forum posts a day from its 3500 registered users, numerous code commits every week, and several community-contributed modules added or updated each week. The support time for issues and forum posts is very quick.

5) High visibility outside of the Drupalsphere
This is nearly unheard of for Drupal modules, but given Ubercart’s high visibility, it’s actually been a big draw for users coming into Drupal itself for the first time. They also recently had a mention in PC Magazine.

6) Full time developers with commercial backing
While the Drupal project itself has been proof that full time, funded developers aren’t needed to create a great product, in the world of e-commerce, it’s certainly helped. There are currently two (soon to be three) full time Ubercart developers, and an estimated dozen or so more from other organizations who also do only Ubercart development.

7) Focus on being user friendly
The Ubercart developers don’t want you to have to be a developer to set up an online store. There are a million settings and configuration possibilities for creating an online store, but they’ve put a strong focus on the UI, simple checkout, and intelligent defaults. This goes a long way in deploying a site right the first time, that looks great.

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15 Things Every Web Developer Should Be Thankful For

With Thanksgiving only a couple days away, it’s appropriate to look back on the things that we appreciate best about our jobs. Let’s face it: Web Developers have the best jobs around, right? We’re incredibly lucky to have the professions we do.

Here are 15 things that we all should be thankful for. These are the technologies that we couldn’t live without, or that have previously paved the way and allowed us to be web developers.

1. Mosaic
Graphic designers everywhere should reserve a day in November to give thanks to the software that’s enabled our careers. Without Mosaic’s picture support, the Internet doesn’t need good design. The 1993 launch of this web browsing software opened up a brand new world to web developers and web browsers alike.

2. Firefox
Firefox ended the long tyranny of IE oppression for experienced web users. The extension-enabled browser has forced IE to play catch up and improve their lukewarm browser, which hadn’t seen an update for 5 years.

Aside from pushing a standards-based browsing initiative, the ability to extend Firefox has made the developers life much easier. There are oodles of extensions that are nearly essential to the developer.

Every web developer knows the awful pain that is making designs constant across different browsers. Thanks to Browsershots, we can easily see a screenshot of any page across a multitude of different browsers, showing potential problems that might arise across different browsers, and giving new reason to invent curses for legacy IE versions.

4. Firebug
Thanks to Firefox, we now have a browser that is also an important tool for the web developer. Firebug is a must-have extension for the web developer. With this nifty little extension you can view just about any aspect of the web page, visible or behind the scenes, and modify it real-time. It’s incredibly useful for designers and programmers alike.

5. Google Code
If you’re trying to find a useful snippet of code, there’s no place better than Google Code. Not only is it a great place to search for entire libraries, you can find useful bits of code that might be hard to find otherwise. If you’re wanting to house a project, you’ll be especially thankful for G Code, as it’s a free and easy way to have a working community for a project without hosting costs.

Also, with Google Code you can use Google’s bandwidth for the javascript libraries included in your projects. Using jQuery? Just call Google’s hosted version and be on your way. No need to slow your own server down with Google’s gracious offer.

6. Frameworks

Frameworks have given developers a major reason to be thankful. Gone are the days of building websites around repetitive code. Using frameworks like Rails, Django or CakePHP on websites needing database interaction and user permissions takes a major burden off of the programmer. They can spend less time on common, tedious code and more on the interesting and unique. It’s a powerful paradigm shift in programming.

Here are some of the major frameworks used today, in no particular order.

- Ruby on Rails (Ruby)
- CakePHP (PHP)
- Django (Python)
- Zend (PHP)
- CodeIgnitor (PHP)
- Symfony (PHP)

7. Open Source projects
Mad props should be bestowed upon the Open Source Initiative and all the software it promotes. It is a fact that we wouldn’t have a) the Internet or b) much of the technology that it runs on without open source projects. Most of the biggest and best projects are open sourced software, and they all run on the basis that the people building and contributing to them are doing it for free. Granted, these folks might make a hefty profit on consulting services and other opportunities around the projects, they’re still opening up the code base for developers to modify and improve, as they see fit.

Open Source is the Internet’s best contribution yet. The free exchange of ideas encouraged by Open Source is the best thing that’s happened to the web, especially for web developers. Show of hands: Who hasn’t ever used open source software to build a site or project? I’m guessing none of us. That is plenty to be thankful for.

8. Creative Commons
On the heels of Open Source is Creative Commons licensing. You can modify, reuse and redistribute Creative Commons-licensed material, in exchange for (at the most) attribution. Ultimately, Creative Commons protects the original work, but allows people to modify and reuse at will.

Creative Commons is a very big benefit for designers and bloggers alike. The pictures seen in posts on this blog? Creative Commons licensed. There is absolutely nothing better for content producers than free media that can be reused and remixed.

9. Paypal
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Paypal and other payment gateways have made collecting payments a much friendlier task on the web. Sure, there are horror stories and bad experiences using their product, but Paypal has revolutionized the way money is exchanged on the Internet. They have an easy to use API, and if you’re wanting something even simpler, they offer a painless web interface to receive money from.

If Paypal has done you wrong in the past and you’re looking for a better alternative to send and receive money, you might check out a CNN article on five Paypal alternatives. Definitely worth the read.

10. Javascript Libraries
Javascript is always one of the most popular aspects of web development, and a big reason for that is the advent of Javascript libraries. Javascript libraries, (like frameworks), have eliminated the much of the need for custom Javascript programming. Aside from the fact that the core files in the Javascript libraries do a great many functions themselves, the ability to use custom plugins gives even more functionality to the library.

Not having to do custom Javascript programming for specific effects has given me a much greater respect for Javascript libs this holiday season. Here are some of the more popular Javascript libraries:

- jQuery
- Dojo
- Scriptaculous
- Prototype
- MooTools
- MochiKit

11. Amazon S3 and EC2

Amazon’s on demand services S3 and EC2 have developer’s lives a lot simpler. Not only do they not have to worry about traffic influxes and scaling headaches, they don’t have to spend buckets of cash on reserve servers. The pay-what-you-use business model to web hosting and file serving is a godsend for developers.

The launch of these “cloud” services has also spawn the change of many hosts to move to the pay-as-you-go model. Amazon’s innovation has helped spurn change for the betterment of web development.

12. Anti-RSI software

There is no friend like RSI-preventing software. RSI (or Repetitive Strain Injury) is typically in the form of carpal tunnel for web developers and typing zealots. Because the typical developer or designer spends at least 8 hours sitting in front of a computer screen all day, there is a likelyhood that RSI will creep into the wrists, hands, forearms, elbows, shoulders, back… and the list can go on and on.

Thanks goodness for RSI software that forces you to take breaks on a regular basis. Many times I’ll find myself fixated at the computer until I finish xyz, and consequently it’s over 50 minutes before I’ve gotten out of my chair away from the computer. With RSI software, you can have a reminder flash on your computer at set intervals that ensures you’re moving your limbs and warding off RSI. If you’re on a Mac, try AntiRSI, Windows and Linux users can try Workrave.

13. Advanced Text Editors
Advanced text editors have sped up the development time by adding a myriad of useful features that can benefit nearly anyone who writes in code, blogger to advanced programmer. Whether you prefer Textmate, Emacs, Vim or some other editor, text editors can save plenty of time on the development cycle.

14. CSS
CSS seems to be one of those technologies that is taken for granted. Can anyone remember what the pre-CSS days were like? It wasn’t pretty. Modifying a web layout’s design meant going through each page and changing each inline style. Ugh. Thanks to the wonderment that is CSS, we can make one change in a single file, and Poof!, it’s reflected across the entire site. Simple, clean, and much less involved.

There are times when I’m not that thankful for CSS (see: Internet Explorer), but for the most part it’s a technology that we’re much better off having.

15. Laptops
Laptops can completely change the effectiveness of a developer. Instead of being confined to the same room, chair, keyboard and monitor each day, the laptop allows for a much-needed change. While the screen real estate may not be as big as your office setup, it offers one thing the other can’t: Variety. Laptops enable you to work from anywhere.

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What’s the opposite of open source hacking?

To effectively teach Open Source, it’s necessary to move each student into the role of contributor. At first blush this appears straightforward, but it ultimately proves to be an enormous challenge because Open Source is as much a social movement as a technical one and because many Open Source practices are the exact opposite of traditional development practices.

I like this paragraph, but something struck me as not quite right about it. Open Source practices don’t really feel like the opposite of traditional development practices to me. What I think they’re the opposite of, actually, is homework.

If your programming experience is limited to homework assignments, working on a real-world software project is going to be overwhelming for you, whether it’s open source or proprietary—and for the same reasons. You’re used to writing small programs, individually, completely from scratch. The software companies I’ve worked for all had teams of developers working cooperatively on a large, existing codebase, with version control, complex build systems, not enough tests, bug trackers, thousands of known bugs, good code, bad code, and way too much of the stuff for any one person to understand.

Did I mention working cooperatively? Traditional software development really is supposed to be done that way, I promise. Well, maybe it depends on where you work.


Why do .NET developers fear open source?

The fear in the .NET community of alternative tools, especially open source ones, is doing a lot of harm to us. There’s a paraphrase I learned from the ALT.NET movement that goes “No one ever got fired for choosing Microsoft” (I think the original quote was about IBM). And it certainly feels like it’s tragically true, the fact that we only trust Microsoft to provide us with everything and that nothing trustworthy can come out of the plethora of excellent ideas and tools that exist outside of Redmond.

Whenever I hear about this, I think of a person I talked to once. This person was going on and on about this open source version control system and how much it sucked, how they had never been able to get any support and how it showed just how rotten open source products are in general.

Curious to know, I asked the person what system it was. The answer I got was “SourceSafe”.

Of course I had to tell this person (not a developer mind you, but working in a .NET developer team) that it’s not open source software, but rather some crap that Microsoft has produced.

It’s an amusing story, and is serves as a good example of how many people working with .NET seem to feel about Microsoft vs open source.

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How to Set a WordPress Blog to Under Construction

If you need to take your site down for a little while to work on it, you can set the WordPress site to under construction. In this tutorial, I will show you how to set a WordPress Blog to Under Construction and use a personal message to do it.

There is no magic button that you can press to place your site under construction. Instead, you can create a static front page that says under construction on it. This tutorial will show you how to create the static page and how to set it as your front page. So, when people visit your website, they will see the Under Construction page. The downside is the links are still clickable.

Login to your Admin Panel and click the Write tab. Under the Write tab, you will need to click the Page link. Create a new page and type your under construction message in the body. Publish the page as you normally would.

Click the Settings tab and click the Reading link. On this page, you will need to look for the Front Page Displays box. It should be the first box in this section. Tick the Static field and drop the pages box down. Select the Under Construction page that you created. Then click the Save Changes button.

Now you can open your home page and see your under construction page. When you are ready to take the page down, go back to your Settings section and click Reading. Then tick the Your Latest Posts field and click the Save Changes button. Then click the Manage tab and select the pages link. Tick the field next to the under construction page and click the Delete button.

This method is the easiest way to notify your readers that the site is under construction from the WordPress blog or website. Hopwever, some control panels will allow you to set your site to under construction, but different control panels offer different options. If you want to use the control panel to set your site to under construction, you can look around your panel to see if you can find the Under Construction Option. If not, you can email your hosting company and ask if the option is available.

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Creating Wordpress Posts with Thumbnails

Creating blog posts is extremely easy in Wordpress, but adding simple thumbnails to your posts is not. I’m not talking about adding images within the post content, but adding them to your theme so they display in a standardized way in your blog loop, and on individual post pages.

The problem is that though Wordpress allows inserting images within posts, there is no way to “attach” these images to the post, so that theme designers can pull standardized images out for display. By making a few changes to your Wordpress configuration and your theme templates, and by using the Post Thumbnails plugin that I have written, you will be able to add thumbnails to your site in an intelligent way.

Wordpress Configuration

First step is to login to your Wordpress admin dashboard and navigate to the Settings -> Miscellaneous page. Here you will need to change:

- Uncheck the “Organize my uploads into month- and year-based folders.”

- Change the Wordpress thumbnail size to your desired size. This is important! Take careful thought when making this decision – you will break old post’s thumbnails if you chose to change this value later. I recommend 50×50 pixels.

Plugin Installation

Download the Post Thumbnail plugin using this link. Unzip it and place the file within your wp-content/plugins/ directory. Navigate to the Plugins menu within the Wordpress admin dashboard and activate this plugin.

You’re going to need a default post thumbnail to be used when no image is associated with a post. Upload an image that is the same size as the thumbnail size you chose above to the wp-admin/uploads folder, or the same folder you have chosen for uploads if you’re using a custom location. On most installations that folder would be wp-content/uploads/.

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WordPress 2.6.5 in detail

WordPress 2.6.5 has been released and includes a number of changes including one security fix, here is a list of the changes in detail:

* Added a check for the correct post_type to blogger.editPost and blogger.deletePost (#8267).
* Updates to update_post_meta() and delete_post_meta() to ensure they work correctly with post revisions and don’t create the meta on the revision instead of the post (#7925).
* Protection for a very difficult to exploit XSS issue (#8291).
* Fix for an XSS issue with the Atom and RSS feeds on some hosting setups ([9754], [9770]).

For a complete list of all the changes you can read this section of the branches/2.6 log on the WordPress bug tracker.

Note that we have skipping version 2.6.4 and jumped from 2.6.3 to 2.6.5 to avoid confusion with a fake 2.6.4 release that made the rounds.

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How to Use the PHP Include Statement

Saving time on a web design project is going to do two things. First, it is going to make for a happier client since the job is completed faster. Second, the web designer saves time and maximizes their earnings per hour as a result. One of these time-saving measures we use is the include construct.

The include construct in PHP is actually a lot like a function, but we call it a language construct simply because we view it as a piece of the PHP language. The include construct in particular is going to enable a web developer to include a remote file into the currently running application. It may seem unexciting, but this is a very big time saver.

The PHP include is going to save us time by allowing us to edit multiple files through a single file. If we had a navigation bar that needed changed, we would normally have to go to every page and change it if we were using HTML. But with PHP we can just reference a remote file, and dynamically change each and every page.

The average “neat freak” will also see benefit from the PHP include statement. PHP includes save many lines of code for those who use them properly. By saving lines of code, it should not be thought that performance is increasing- if anything, it is decreasing. All we are doing is taking out the nonsense code and focusing on other parts of the current application.

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Joomla 1.58 Released

Hot on the heels of the J1.57 release Joomla 1.5 has been upgraded to v1.58. From the looks of the docs and release notes the bug squad has been working overtime to bring us this release. Each revision means that Joomla 1.5 is becoming more and more stable and Joomla 1.0 is looking more and more old school. If you are running a 1.5 site be sure to upgrade as soon as possible to the 1.58 release.

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Google Analytic and Joomla

Google Analytics is a free website tracking tool which helps you understand your website’s visitor. We highly recommend it, and in this post will run you through how to add Google Analytics to either Joomla 1.5 or Joomla 1.0.1x.

We have broken down the answer of this question into two steps:

1. Create a Google Analytics account
2. Add the Analytics code to your Joomla template

Go to the Google Analytics website and sign up for account.
Once you’ve followed the registration process you will come to a page where you are given a tracking code to add to each page of your website. If you are given the choice to choose between the new tracking code (ga.js) or the old tracking code (urchin.js) choose the new tracking code.
Keep this webpage open with the tracking code on as we’re going to need it in a few minutes.

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10 great websites for PHP code snippets and tutorials

1. PHP Builder - Offering articles about the different features of PHP, as well as a code library with free to use code snippets for your own website and applications.

2. - The official website of the PHP programming language. They offer a complete documentation of PHP, downloads of the latest PHP version, and news.

3. The Basics - Learn the very basics of the language, from loops and arrays to sending email messages with PHP.

4. Pixel2life - Offers some more extensive guides, with tutorials about shopping carts, file uploads, security and more. You can also find tutorials on lots of other platforms like Flash, Photoshop and 3D rendering.

5. WeberDev - 2800+ tutorials and code examples for PHP. You can find information here for almost any aspect of PHP coding, including beginner guides.

6. PHP at W3C Schools
- A reference guide for some of the most common functions of PHP. They also offer a guide for setting up a MySQL connection and updating your database.

7. PHP Freaks
- Useful PHP tutorials and a forum where you can ask questions to other members of the community.

8. Devshed - 400+ more advanced tutorials on PHP, MySQL and lots of other programming languages. Their website offers 1000+ scripts, to use in your website and to build upon.

9. Planet PHP
- The latest news aggregated from PHP related blogs, keeping you up to date with new versions, security flaws, etc.

10. Hotscripts - 15000+ PHP scripts. Most of the scripts are free, but there are also paid scripts available on this website. There are lots of other languages available for download as well, like ASP, Ajax and Javascript.


Monday, November 24, 2008

PRADO - Component Framework for PHP 5

PRADO is a component-based and event-driven programming framework for developing Web applications in PHP 5. PRADO stands for PHP Rapid Application Development Object-oriented. A range of web applications have been built using the PRADO Framework.

There is a configurable and pluggable modular architecture and full spectrum of database support within PRADO. It supports AJAX-enabled Web components, Customizable and localizable error/exception handling and Generic caching modules and selective output caching. There is some sort of Security measures: cross-site script (XSS) prevention, cookie protection as well. Most importantly, Rich documentation and strong userbase will help you through.

The sole requirement to run PRADO-based applications is a Web server supporting PHP 5.1.0 or higher. PRADO is free. You can use it to develop either open source or commercial applications.

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Welcome Bug Fixes In Joomla 1.5.8

On November 10th just 2 months after the release of Joomla 1.5.7 the Joomla development team (Development Working Group’s) released the new version (1.5.8) of one of the most popular content management systems. The release is composed of bug fixes and 2 moderate-level security resolutions and does not offer any other additions. Its codename of is Wohnaiki. Let’s see more of Joomla 1.5.8.

What’s new?

There are two moderate level security fixes in 1.5.8. Both involve com_… XSS issues.

Com_weblinks XSS Vulnerability: It allows raw HTML to be placed in the title and description tags for weblink submissions.

Com_content XSS Vulnerability: This fix allows entry of dangerous HTML in the default article submission. It however affects only users with Author access or above and in cases if there are no filters set up in com_content configuration.

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Facebook and YouTube plug-ins for Windows Live

I've always found it pointless to use Windows Live applications if they don't work together with the online services that I already use. Well, recently released plug-ins are about to change that, and make a lot of people happy in the process. With just a few clicks you can share your photos and videos on Facebook and YouTube. If you're more interested on how the plug-ins were created, you can even take a look at the source code.

LiveUpload to Facebook is a plug-in for Windows Live Photo Gallery beta. The plug-in takes advantage of the new people tagging feature in Photo Gallery, meaning tags of your friends in Photo Gallery will also appear on Facebook, assuming you have the same friends there too. You can also add multiple Facebook accounts (great for home computers), and upload your pictures to an existing or new album.

LiveUpload to YouTube is a plug-in for both Windows Live Photo Gallery beta and Windows Live Movie Maker beta. It works just like the Facebook plug-in, except that it allows you to upload straight to YouTube videos that you're storing in Photo Gallery or that you've just created in Movie Maker.

You can check out more plug-ins (Flickr, Picasa, SmugMug, and Drupal) on the Windows Live Photo & Video Blog download page.


Piwik plugin for Drupal

If you are using Drupal to power your website, you may be interested by the Piwik Integration for Drupal plugin.

The module automatically adds the Piwik tracking code in your drupal website, as well as providing the following features:

- Selectively track certain users, roles and pages
- Monitor what files are downloaded from your pages
- Cache the Piwik code on your local server for improved page loading times
- Direct access to statistics in reports section (D6+) using Piwik widgets and API

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Singularity: Microsoft's Open Source Operating System

The Singularity project was started in 2003 as a fundamental redesign of how operating systems work. From the ground up everything is based on the concepts of isolation and verifiability.

Processes are highly isolated from one-another. Communication is done strictly via type-safe channels, shared memory of any form is not allowed. Processes are "sealed", meaning they cannot dynamically load or generate code. This has the advantage of making virus injection virtually impossible, at the cost of not being able to use dynamic link libraries or meta-programming techniques.

Other than a small part of the kernel, the bulk of Singularity is written in the type-safe language Sing#. Instead of platform specific assembly languages, Singularity uses .NET's IL as the lowest common denominator. Singularity will not even try to load unmanaged applications.

The first 2.0 release includes the full source code tree and a bootable CD image. A Virtual PC file is also available in this release.

In an unusual move by Microsoft, Singularity is soliciting patches and offering full developer rights on CodePlex.

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15 Firefox Tricks

15 Coolest Firefox Tricks Ever

Everybody’s favorite open-source browser, Firefox, is great right out of the box. And by adding some of the awesome extensions available out there, the browser just gets better and better.

But look under the hood, and there are a bunch of hidden (and some not-so-secret) tips and tricks available that will crank Firefox up and pimp your browser. Make it faster, cooler, more efficient. Get to be a Jedi master with the following cool Firefox tricks.

1) More screen space. Make your icons small. Go to View - Toolbars - Customize and check the “Use small icons” box.

2) Smart keywords. If there’s a search you use a lot (let’s say’s people search), this is an awesome tool that not many people use. Right-click on the search box, select “Add a Keyword for this search”, give the keyword a name and an easy-to-type and easy-to-remember shortcut name (let’s say “actor”) and save it. Now, when you want to do an actor search, go to Firefox’s address bar, type “actor” and the name of the actor and press return. Instant search! You can do this with any search box.

3) Keyboard shortcuts. This is where you become a real Jedi. It just takes a little while to learn these, but once you do, your browsing will be super fast. Here are some of the most common (and my personal favs):

* Spacebar (page down)
* Shift-Spacebar (page up)
* Ctrl+F (find)
* Alt-N (find next)
* Ctrl+D (bookmark page)
* Ctrl+T (new tab)
* Ctrl+K (go to search box)
* Ctrl+L (go to address bar)
* Ctrl+= (increase text size)
* Ctrl+- (decrease text size)
* Ctrl-W (close tab)
* F5 (reload)
* Alt-Home (go to home page)

4) Auto-complete. This is another keyboard shortcut, but it’s not commonly known and very useful. Go to the address bar (Control-L) and type the name of the site without the “www” or the “.com”. Let’s say “google”. Then press Control-Enter, and it will automatically fill in the “www” and the “.com” and take you there - like magic! For .net addresses, press Shift-Enter, and for .org addresses, press Control-Shift-Enter.

5) Tab navigation. Instead of using the mouse to select different tabs that you have open, use the keyboard. Here are the shortcuts:

* Ctrl+Tab (rotate forward among tabs)
* Ctrl+Shft+Tab (rotate to the previous tab)
* Ctrl+1-9 (choose a number to jump to a specific tab)

6) Mouse shortcuts. Sometimes you’re already using your mouse and it’s easier to use a mouse shortcut than to go back to the keyboard. Master these cool ones:

* Middle click on link (opens in new tab)
* Shift-scroll down (previous page)
* Shift-scroll up (next page)
* Ctrl-scroll up (decrease text size)
* Ctrl-scroll down (increase text size)
* Middle click on a tab (closes tab)

7) Delete items from address bar history. Firefox’s ability to automatically show previous URLs you’ve visited, as you type, in the address bar’s drop-down history menu is very cool. But sometimes you just don’t want those URLs to show up (I won’t ask why). Go to the address bar (Ctrl-L), start typing an address, and the drop-down menu will appear with the URLs of pages you’ve visited with those letters in them. Use the down-arrow to go down to an address you want to delete, and press the Delete key to make it disappear.

8) User chrome. If you really want to trick out your Firefox, you’ll want to create a UserChrome.css file and customize your browser. It’s a bit complicated to get into here, but check out this tutorial.

9) Create a user.js file. Another way to customize Firefox, creating a user.js file can really speed up your browsing. You’ll need to create a text file named user.js in your profile folder (see this to find out where the profile folder is) and see this example user.js file that you can modify. Created by, this example explains some of the things you can do in its comments.

10) about:config. The true power user’s tool, about.config isn’t something to mess with if you don’t know what a setting does. You can get to the main configuration screen by putting about:config in the browser’s address bar. See Mozillazine’s about:config tips and screenshots.

11) Add a keyword for a bookmark. Go to your bookmarks much faster by giving them keywords. Right-click the bookmark and then select Properties. Put a short keyword in the keyword field, save it, and now you can type that keyword in the address bar and it will go to that bookmark.

12) Speed up Firefox. If you have a broadband connection (and most of us do), you can use pipelining to speed up your page loads. This allows Firefox to load multiple things on a page at once, instead of one at a time (by default, it’s optimized for dialup connections). Here’s how:

* Type “about:config” into the address bar and hit return. Type “network.http” in the filter field, and change the following settings (double-click on them to change them):
* Set “network.http.pipelining” to “true”
* Set “network.http.proxy.pipelining” to “true”
* Set “network.http.pipelining.maxrequests” to a number like 30. This will allow it to make 30 requests at once.
* Also, right-click anywhere and select New-> Integer. Name it “nglayout.initialpaint.delay” and set its value to “0″. This value is the amount of time the browser waits before it acts on information it receives.

13) Limit RAM usage.
If Firefox takes up too much memory on your computer, you can limit the amount of RAM it is allowed to us. Again, go to about:config, filter “browser.cache” and select “browser.cache.disk.capacity”. It’s set to 50000, but you can lower it, depending on how much memory you have. Try 15000 if you have between 512MB and 1GB ram.

14) Reduce RAM usage further for when Firefox is minimized.
This setting will move Firefox to your hard drive when you minimize it, taking up much less memory. And there is no noticeable difference in speed when you restore Firefox, so it’s definitely worth a go. Again, go to about:config, right-click anywhere and select New-> Boolean. Name it “config.trim_on_minimize” and set it to TRUE. You have to restart Firefox for these settings to take effect.

15) Move or remove the close tab button. Do you accidentally click on the close button of Firefox’s tabs? You can move them or remove them, again through about:config. Edit the preference for “browser.tabs.closeButtons”. Here are the meanings of each value:

* 0: Display a close button on the active tab only
* 1:(Default) Display close buttons on all tabs
* 2:Don’t display any close buttons
* 3:Display a single close button at the end of the tab bar (Firefox 1.x behavior)

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Joomla 1.5.8 Released

The Joomla Project is pleased to announce the immediate availability of Joomla 1.5.8 [Wohnaiki]. This release contains a number of bug fixes and two moderate-level security fixes. It has been around two months since Joomla 1.5.7 was released on September 9, 2008. The Development Working Group's goal is to continue to provide regular, frequent updates to the Joomla community.

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WordPress vs. Drupal - Content Management Systems


The first CMS to highlight is called WordPress (which is what Make Use Of runs on). WordPress was started in 2003 and is released as free, open-source software, meaning it is developed for and by the community. WordPress is a very functional, extensible, and easy to use blogging content management system. With WordPress you can create just about anything from a family photo journal to large scale news site.

At, you can find the open source software that you can run on your webhosting service. It takes a little bit of know how to set up but if you’re lucky, your webhost might have an auto-installer for it. For those of you that don’t have hosting or don’t want to get into the configuration and setup, gives you your own free WordPress blog. It is like a blogging social network of sorts. WordPress is very secure and reliable because of its large user base and development backing. It is extensible through thousands of plug-ins to use on your WordPress site. Your site can grow as you grow.


The next CMS is Drupal. Drupal is an open source content management system framework which means you can build anything from a static two page site to a high traffic social network. With this huge pool of flexibility comes a much more advanced set up and configuration. It will take you longer to get your site ready but it may make more sense in the long run.

The latest version of Drupal 6.x, gives a very clean admin panel with status and error logs so you can track most errors and know when your installation is out of date. This applies to all of your modules (referred to as modules in the Drupal community), themes, and core. Drupal, like WordPress, is extremely extensible and secure. It also has a very large user base and developer base. Best of all, Drupal is my favorite price - free!

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Adobe wants to bridge gap between PCs and cloud

Microsoft’s power with programmers is tethered to desktops and laptops, the vast majority of which run Windows. Google is trying to dominate what it believes is the new frontier, cloud computing, where applications run on the Web. Adobe, though, is trying to run down the middle with a strategy that touches on both domains.

“It’s a balance of the client and cloud together that makes for the most effective applications and the best development,” said Adobe Chief Technology Officer Kevin Lynch, who’s planning to speak on the subject in a keynote speech Monday at the company’s Max conference in San Francisco.

Since Adobe’s $3.4 billion Macromedia acquisition in 2005, programming technology has been rising in importance within a company that got its start with publishing software such as Photoshop. The technology that brought the two companies together, Flash, will hog the spotlight at the conference.

Flash got its start as a way to give Web pages animations and basic applications such as games, but it’s grown up since then. The Flex technology has given developers a more mature programming model, and the addition of video-streaming abilities to the Flash Player that’s plugged into the vast majority of Web browsers has given Adobe’s technology incumbent status. Who can live online without YouTube?

Adobe is still working on Flash, releasing Flash Player 10, aka Astro, in October. At Max, though, a Flash cousin called AIR–the Adobe Integrated Runtime–will share the stage with the release of version 1.5.


Open Source Shopping Cart for Joomla! and Mambo

VirtueMart is an Open Source E-Commerce solution to be used together with a Content Management System (CMS) called Joomla! (and Mambo). Joomla! and VirtueMart are written in PHP and made easy for use in a PHP/MySQL environment.

All you need is to download the latest Joomla distribution from and the VirtueMart package from this site. Joomla provides the Core System and the Framework, which VirtueMart can use. So you can easily use a complete Shopping Cart Solution within your own dynamic Website (”Portal”), together with many other Plug-Ins, called Components and Modules, like Forums, FAQ, Guestbooks and Galleries.

VirtueMart is free software released under the GNU General Public License. No limitations exist for VirtueMart. You can create and maintain a site with an unlimited number of categories, products, orders, customers, etc.

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Drupal 6 vs. Drupal 5

Drupal 6 is stable and it has a lot of great features that aren't available in Drupal 5. The only reason I would use Drupal 5 for a new site is if using a module that were only available for Drupal 5. Ubercart is one that comes to mind. (I haven't used Ubercart, but it was recommended to me as the ideal way to to ecommerce in Drupal.)

Drupal 6 is great. There's no reason not to use it except if there is a module that isn't available yet. I can't think of any modules that I use on a regular basis that aren't available for Drupal 6.

Drupal 6 gives you things like:

More AJAX - you can drag & drop things to order them instead of setting weights by numbers in select boxes.
Views 2 - this version of the Views module is incredible, and only available for Drupal 6.
Trigger and Actions - built in.
Status updates - Drupal 6 emails you when new versions of your installed modules are available.
and much more...

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Open Source Maintenance Software in Php and Mysql Development

While launching a website, too many things have to be taken into consideration. One of them is of course php mysql development. But that is not all. As we prepare to launch the website the heavy cost of proprietary software will always create a doubt in our mind.

Open Source Code Software’s

But if we opt for php and mysql programming language then we can always avail the option of
Open Source Code software’s. This programming language ensures object oriented application structure. This application is of great importance because it makes the process of coding simple and prevents the system from developing technical problems with the growth of the database. Moreover, with php mysql web development one can easily separate the codes from HTML, storing them eventually in the specific libraries.

Maintaining Software

In PHP programming because of open source coding the large community of programmers always assist each other with codes. But this data has to be preserved in a proper manner for future reference. Therefore, the maintenance management software’s helps plan and execute various methods involved in the operation of a company. This process involves the supplying of the source code to the buyers along with the maintenance management software.

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Programming for mind management

A wise king wanted advice about what to do when he faced a real crisis in his life. He met his master. The master gave him a locket and told him to open it only when he was in difficulty. After some years he was defeated in a battle and he lost his kingdom.

He was worried and was hiding in a cave. He suddenly remembered what his master had told him. He opened the locket and there he found a note, "even this will pass", and a second note which said, "if one door closes another door opens". He gained strength from this piece of advice and after a month won his kingdom back. He went to his master and thanked him and asked a question: "Why does the door close?" "The door is always open, your mind is closed," replied the master.

There are two types of worlds we live in. The visible world and the invisible world. The outer world and the inner world. Our body is in this outer space but our mind is in another space. Just as our body gets dirty if one is in a dirty space our inner self, our mind, gets dirty if we visit dirty areas in the inner world. If one broods over worry, dislike, anger, jealousy, then our mind is polluted. With such pollution you find the outer world a pain. The real pain is when our mind lives in negativity.

What type of world are we in? This is what one should really be aware of. Where are we placed psychologically is what we have to watch for. One believes that the outer world is the real world and not the inner world of mind.

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Can Apache Maven Make It by Going Commercial?

A widely used open source project maps out a plan for building a viable open source company.

What does it take to build a company on the back of a non-commercial, open source project?
The figures behind Apache Maven are betting that for the widely deployed, open source Java project management tool, the answer is relying on open source's ability to slip in the enterprise back door, gain fans organically and only then upsell users on commercial-grade improvements.

So far, Maven has enjoyed growth without a commercial backer behind it. That's now changing as Sonatype, a company founded by Maven founder Jason Van Zyl, steps up as its commercial backer, with new executive leadership and a plan for products based on the project.

Sonatype's new CEO, Mark de Visser, is a veteran of both Linux vendor Red Hat and PHP vendor Zend, and he's confident that Maven can be the basis of a viable commercial enterprise. In an interview with, De Visser detailed new products that are in the pipeline and Sonatype's plans to build its business. The approach is one that could shed light on the broader issue of how to create a successful business enterprise around open source.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Zend Framework update focuses on AJAX integration

Zend has added integration with the Dojo JavaScript toolkit in the new version of its PHP programming platform.

Zend Framework 1.6, released yesterday, makes it easy to integrate AJAX and JavaScript with PHP applications, according to the company. There is a Dojo view helper for setting up the Dojo environment, along with form elements and decorators for integrating with Dojo’s Dijit library, which provides interface widgets. A new JSON-RPC server implementation and class can manipulate Dojo data envelopes in Zend.

Also new in Zend Framework 1.6 is interoperability with the SOAP Web services protocol, which Zend said makes connecting Web services to data across the Internet easier. New features around SOAP include client and server classes that can operate in both WSDL (Web Services Description Language) and non-WSDL modes, and auto-discovery. Unit testing features for controllers enable agile practices like unit testing and test-driven development, where a developer writes tests prior to writing code.

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Taking productivity lessons from open source

Even if your organization doesn’t produce software or work with open source development, you can still take some lessons from open source communities — in particular, how to get work done with fewer meetings and less real-time.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols covers some of the things that outsourcing companies can learn from open source, but this really applies to any organization — whether it has remote locations or not. But they’re particularly useful for organizations with a distributed workforce with non-English speakers. In particular:

* Don’t have a meeting when an email will do. Coordinating schedules is an often unnecessary headache when an email exchange would provide the same information.
* Any method with an “audit trail” is better than a phone call or face to face meeting for those who may need to catch up later. (It’s also far better for remembering who has what action items, and what has been decided.”
* As Vaughan-Nichols writes, “E-mail and Web communication make it far easier for a non-English speaker to read or translate e-mail and Web text than to understand several English speakers chatting on the phone.” (Frankly, this is also true when all of the participants are English speakers, too. Trying to understand five people on a conference call, with several huddled around a speaker-phone, is usually less than pleasant even if they are all speaking the same language…)

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Drupal CMS Customization and Development

Drupal is a free and open source modular framework and content management system (CMS) written in PHP. Drupal, like many modern CMSs, allows the system administrator to create and organize content, customize the presentation, automate administrative tasks, and manage site visitors and contributors.

If you want a blog, if you are looking for a professional website for your company then drupal is a good option for you.

Why Choose Perception System?
We have skilled and professional developers/programmers for drupal development work having more than 3 years of experience in PHP. Our developers have customized and integrated drupal on many corporate websites and due to its prominence most of the clients prefer drupal (CMS). We have a team of drupal designers to design drupal themes and free templates.

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Open source shopping cart for Joomla!

VirtueMart is an Open Source E-Commerce solution to be used together with a Content Management System (CMS) called Joomla! (and Mambo). Joomla! and VirtueMart are written in PHP and made easy for use in a PHP/MySQL environment.

All you need is to download the latest Joomla distribution from and the VirtueMart package from this site. Joomla provides the Core System and the Framework, which VirtueMart can use. So you can easily use a complete Shopping Cart Solution within your own dynamic Website (”Portal”), together with many other Plug-Ins, called Components and Modules, like Forums, FAQ, Guestbooks and Galleries.

VirtueMart is free software released under the GNU General Public License. No limitations exist for VirtueMart. You can create and maintain a site with an unlimited number of categories, products, orders, customers, etc.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

13 useful graphing solutions for web developers

Many a web application can be enhanced with a decent graph to show data. Unfortunately out of the programming languages / frameworks that we have available to us, none seem to be very forthcoming with decent graph components, and it is left up to third party solutions to provide the necessary. From my hunts around the web the following showcases some of the better options. I’ve tried to keep these limited to the open source / free options.

Libchart is a simple PHP charting component, and it is totally free free free! The project is an ongoing one - with the last release in April 2008. If you are a PHP coder, you’ll love its simplicity.

Currently supports:

* Bar charts (horizontal or vertical).
* Line charts.
* Pie charts.
* Single or multiple data sets.
* Compatibility with PHP 5.

Primarily for Barcharts and Piecharts, plotkit uses some fancy Javascript, SVG and Canvas to do some wonderous things. Both these formats are gaining traction in the javascript community, and with implementations in major browser engines, we are deffo going to see more useful javascript drawing libraries cropping up over time.

FusionCharts Free
Fusioncharts offer some of the best animated flash charting components on the web, and luckily for us they also offer free components. Not only are they used commercial with clients such as Oracle, Microsoft and Dell amongst others, so you’d be in good company. FusionCharts Free can be distributed for free with your free or commercial softwares, irrespective of whether they’re open source or closed source. Hurray!

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PHP Programming is Your Ticket to Web Success

Just like any programming language today, PHP has its share of commands which we now call as tags. These as the ones used to start and end a program or a website output in this case.

For some people, it may be too complicated but given a couple of sessions and trial on how to program using PHP, most of these tags such as and will become elementary for most.

You can build a lot of things with PHP and one important program you can compile are file uploaders which will be important when you need to place images or other files necessary for you site.

If you’re a PHP developer who has built a certain number of web applications, then it’s quite probable that you’ve already worked with HTTP file uploads. They play a relevant role in the business logic of any PHP program that permits users to transfer specific files from their client computers to a web server via a web-based front-end, which is generally represented by an online form.

Ranking behind Java, C, and Visual Basic, PHP is the fourth most popular computer programming language that is especially suited for web development
. It mainly runs on a web server with PHP code as its input and generating web pages as output. PHP can be installed on web servers, operating systems and platforms. It can be used for command-line scripting and client-side GUI application, as well as with several relational database management systems. The PHP group provides the complete source code for users to build, customize and expand for their own purposes and the best part is, it is free of charge.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Zend Framework update focuses on AJAX integration

Zend has added integration with the Dojo JavaScript toolkit in the new version of its PHP programming platform.

Zend Framework 1.6, released yesterday, makes it easy to integrate AJAX and JavaScript with PHP applications, according to the company. There is a Dojo view helper for setting up the Dojo environment, along with form elements and decorators for integrating with Dojo’s Dijit library, which provides interface widgets. A new JSON-RPC server implementation and class can manipulate Dojo data envelopes in Zend.

Also new in Zend Framework 1.6 is interoperability with the SOAP Web services protocol, which Zend said makes connecting Web services to data across the Internet easier. New features around SOAP include client and server classes that can operate in both WSDL (Web Services Description Language) and non-WSDL modes, and auto-discovery. Unit testing features for controllers enable agile practices like unit testing and test-driven development, where a developer writes tests prior to writing code.

“Functional tests for your application will be much easier to write now that Zend Framework has built-in support for testing controllers,” said Wil Sinclair, Zend’s development manager.

Other new features and improvements are a component for displaying large data sets from multiple sources, a service providing text-based CAPTCHA images, and smaller XML documents that are easier to read, the company said.

Zend will tout version 1.6 at ZendCon 2008, taking place Sept. 15-18 in Santa Clara. The conference offers presentations and networking opportunities for PHP developers and business managers.

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Evaluating Open Source Options

The great thing about open source is that there are usually a ton of open source projects to help you solve a problem. The bad thing about open source is that there are usually a ton of open source projects to help you solve a problem. Part of a good open source developer is the mentality to test and evaluate different projects and then choose the best option for your current problem.

This goes along with my research phase. Projects with good documentation are much easier to work with. If the project leaders have not written a lot of documentation, then they will most likely not be very forthcoming with support requests. Sometimes programmers put the documentation inside the code itself and solely rely on things like javadocs. This is nice that they wrote something, but digging through javadocs can be a pain because it is often hard to piece together how the classes interact.

Community Activity
The project community is another great place to get support. I look for projects that have active communities with participants outside the sponsoring company. If the community is just full of employees from the sponsoring company, I worry that the project has not been picked up by a lot of people. But a vibrant community is a great thing because people outside the company start to take ownership of the project.

Project Lifetime & Release Cycle
Look at how long the project has been around and how often it releases code. A project that has been around a few years with regular releases is probably solid. A project that hasn’t released in five years is probably dead. I don’t mind using really new projects, you just have to be careful with them. For new projects, I put a more emphasis on the project momentum.

Project Momentum
Project momentum is probably the most important factor for me. I want to use an open source project that will be active throughout the life cycle of my development project. Otherwise you start to have the situation of supporting legacy code that no-one is familiar with. Momentum is tricky and you have to take into account the overall open source atmosphere. What trends is the industry following? What types of technologies are now hot?

A good example of this is Struts. Struts became the standard for java MVC programming a long time ago. There are a ton of projects and programmers that use Struts. But Struts is now on the way out. People have figured out ways to design frameworks that extend the functionality of struts. Would I choose Struts for a new project? No. I feel that a safer bet would be to use a newer, more up and coming framework like Spring MVC.
So evaluting your open source options is not a fixed science and involves some fuzzy math. In the end, choose a library that you are comfortable with and you think will have a longevity in the industry.

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