As you may or may not be aware digital:pardoe has, for the past 4 years, been running atop a custom blogging engine that I developed as way to learn Ruby on Rails. Whilst the system has (nearly) always been stable and (nearly) always fast I felt it was time to retire it, from everyday use at least.
When using the digital:pardoe blogging engine the ‘blogging’ always felt secondary to the actual development of the blog, I was always found myself doing far more of the ‘adding new features’ than the ‘adding new posts’ which, at least in recent months, is not what I intended to happen.
Unfortunately, the loss of my bespoke blogging engine also means a loss of some of the bespoke features I added to the website. The downloads (previously ‘software’) area is now very cut down – everything is still available as before though. The ‘photo’ section has now disappeared completely, if you want to see my photographs you’ll have to visit my Flickr account instead. I’ve made every effort to redirect old pages to their new location but if you find a page that is missing please contact me so I can fix the problem.
In the near future I intend to release the digital:pardoe blogging engine source code (once I’ve cleaned it up of course) as it may be a useful reference to other new RoR developers. Don’t expect the default Typo theme to stick around for long either, I’m currently in the process of porting a digital:pardoe theme to Typo.
And, if you hadn’t guessed already, digital:pardoe is now Typo powered.
As you may have noticed, it’s been a long time since my last post. There isn’t really any good reason for this. Plenty has happened, I just haven’t got round to writing any of it down.
First off I’d like to mention the website, it went through a fairly radical redesign a few months ago and I mentioned nothing about it. For some reason it’s not in my nature to be happy with what I make hence the many faces and iterations of the website. This website, whilst being my home on the internet, is also the test bed for my RoR programming, you may get tired of hearing about its re-designs and re-codes but that’s part of the reason I created it. Anyway, another re-design is coming, this time it’s not visual but all back end, the main difference you will notice is that I am doing away with user accounts and having a more open comment system (I could be shooting myself in the foot with this decision, we’ll have to see how the spam bots take it). To the people that have commented on the blog already, your comments will be preserved and, when I roll out the changes, I intend to reply to all the comments I haven’t yet replied to.
The second thing I wanted to mention, again website related, is my hosting. A good proportion of my posts seem to be apologizing for the downtime of the website. I was actually getting pretty bored of this so decided to, quite literally, take matters into my own hands. The website is now hosted on a virtual private server set up and maintained by me. This again, may be a case where I’ve shot myself in the foot. For those of you interested, the VPS is provided by the wonderful folks at Bytemark Hosting.
Number three. Many of the posts of my website relate to the use of the ‘rflickr’ RubyGem. Development of this gem seems to have been at a stand still for a good while now, I’ve therefore taken the decision to clone it and try to continue development in my spare time. More on this in a later post.
Four. Any of you interested in my photography will have noticed a lack of it over the past few months, it’s not that I haven’t been taking any photographs, it’s just that I’ve not published any. To try and remedy this I uploaded a batch of photos today that have been sitting on my computer for a while. You can take a look at them on the photo page of the website or on my Flickr page.
Apologies to anyone that has visited the website in the last couple of days, it would appear that there has been a fairly large amount of downtime. Everything is back up and operational again. I will be keeping a closer eye on the status of the website from now on to try and prevent this type of situation arising again. Thanks for your understanding.
Check back soon.
Update: It would also appear that the category browsing is currently broken, I am working on a fix and will push it out shortly.
It’s been almost a month since my last post and a lot has happened since then so I thought I’d bring any readers of my blog up to date.
If you are a frequent visitor to the website you may have noticed the new layout (implemented about 20 days ago now). The layout is much simplified over the old layout. It makes use of a single column layout with items from the old sidebar in the top corners. For now the advertising and Last.fm widgets have been removed whilst I decide if they should make an appearance in the new website. The visual changes comes with a fairly comprehensive code re-write that should drastically improve the performance and security of the website, the changes come thanks to a series of Rails podcasts I have discovered, you can find them here.
A quick list of the main changes to the website are as follows; the removal of all AJAX & AJAX-like functionality (other than Lightbox), everything now works statically for increased accessibility, the blog can now be browsed by category. More user feedback has been introduced. The appearance of forms has been improved and the website now makes sole us of PNG and JPEG images for transparency and quality.
The secondary reason for this post is to officially announce the availability of iSyncIt 1.5, you can download it here. This release, whilst not been too far detached visually from version 1.3.1 comes with a boat load of code improvements. The main changes are as follows; a new preferences system, doesn’t look any different but it’s easier for me to manage. The move to Leopard only. A fix for the problems that were caused in version 1.3 by Growl notifications. You can now enable & disable the login item from within the application. Updates to Sparkle & Growl. Menus now update properly. Scheduling now functions better and the control of bluetooth is improved.
Finally, an unfortunate side-effect of the iSyncIt re-write is the loss of German localization. I will be getting in touch with my friendly volunteer translator shortly to see if he will be willing to re-localize the application for me.
Due to a massive oversight on my part at the point I implemented a user groups system on the website it would appear, for standard users at least, that the comments system has not been functioning correctly. The problem has now been solved and the comments system should be working correctly. Apologies to anyone that have ever tried to post a comment on the website for it not to work.
It’s been well over a month since I managed to write a post now so I thought it was about time I started the cogs whirring again, especially as all my assignments are now finished and handed in.
Even though there has been a lack of posts in the recent month there hasn’t been a lack of feverish activity. First on the books was the release of Set Icon 0.2, this release just bought basic bug fixes and a much improved authentication system. This was followed in recent weeks by the release of Set Icon 0.3, in this release I fixed yet more bugs and introduce an option to remove a custom icon from a hard drive. You can, as always, download Set Icon from its download page.
On a more website orientated note, I have moved the website to new servers. Prime Hosting weren’t terribly Ruby on Rails centric in the end, hence the continual website downtime. The website is now hosted with media72. They have proven themselves over the last month to be far more reliable hosts than Prime, even though I am hosted on their beta testing server.
Along with the change of host I have modified the way in which the website is run, updates to the website are now performed via Capistrano, I hope to write a little more on this system in a later post to explain how it can help improve your Ruby on Rails development.
Don’t expect too many posts or software updates over the next two weeks, unfortunately I have a series of exams that require some serious revision, however, if I get really bored of revising you might see some posts / software appearing.
I’ve also recently acquired a new lens for my camera, a Tokina 12-24mm f/4. As part of my endeavor to expand what I write about I will hopefully (assuming I remember) write a small review about the lens as it took me a long time to find any concrete opinions on it before I purchased it.
That’s all I can think of to write for now, no doubt I will think of something else eventually.
Rails 2.0 has been out for a couple of months now, I had refrained from upgrading to it because I wasn’t sure what it would break. After putting the website under version control I decided it was too easy not to upgrade to Rails 2.0, so here it is, a website that looks and runs exactly like it did and only a few problems to be found.
To go along with the upgrade I have also added a couple of new features to the website, the photography page now links to my Flickr photostream so if you want to post comments on my photos, feel free. I have also added the ability for me to add images from other sources to the blog, not that important but no doubt you’ll notice the change. The largest change at the moment is the addition of social networking sites on the sidebar. If you like what you read to can add the page to Delicious, Digg, reddit or StumbleUpon.
Mainly to test the upgrade, you can admire one of my flickr photos, the most popular of my photos, or check back soon.
Update: Oops, no image. Remember, if you update something to allow longer links, update the database too.
Update: Generally a broken site is a sign of bad testing, that’s true in this case, the archives were broken, now they’re fixed.
Something has changed with my hosts configuration, they won’t tell me what and I can’t work out what. However it has meant that the website has been down for a day and a half. I have managed to get it back online by reverting from Mongrel to Apache served and running the website on CGI instead of FastCGI. For all the non-techies out there this means the website may respond more slowly than normal, although the caches should keep it moving for the most part and my host may shout at me for increasing the server load. These issues also mean that the uptime of the website is currently unknown, hopefully it will stick around long enough for my host to sort the problem or for me to get a new host.
Check back soon (just to see if I’m still online).
A little bit of coding. That’s right I’m re-writing parts of the website yet again, I just can’t seem to keep away from my text editor. The main changes that will be coming are more personalization of the website to give you a feel for who I am. I bet you don’t even know my name, unless that is, you know me in real life.
The first changes will be the introduction of an ‘About’ page. I have already introduced a ‘Blog Roll’ into the sidebar, I also intend to improve the photography page, introduce a ‘Tutorials’ page and improve the general functionality of the rest of the website.
These changes will be implemented over the next few weeks so, check back soon.
I have just received an email from my hosting company stating that one of their servers is suffering from problems with faulty hardware. You’ll never guess which server it is, the one that my website is hosted on. They are replacing the hardware tomorrow at midday. Hopefully everything will be stable after this point, but we’ll see how it goes. Please bear with me whilst I sort the website out (in theory it will only be offline for an hour).
Update: I have just received an email stating that the hardware that my website is hosted on has been replaced and should now be stable, as a result of this my website should spend a lot longer online than offline.