Archive for the 'web' Category

Adventures with NAB Internet Banking

March 17th, 2012 | Category: australia,internet,technology,thoughts,web

For the most part I’m usually happy with NAB Internet Banking. They have a reasonably nice web interface and it also scales down reasonably well onto a mobile device. Functionality wise it has a lot of capabilities including some I wished Wells Fargo had (international transfer being the primary one) and I’m yet to find myself wanting from it. However there are some quirks and it seems just recently, I hit all of them.
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Month in review: January

January for me was an interesting and varied month. Here is a quick look back at what I got up to in the month.
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Your user knows where they live

January 23rd, 2011 | Category: web

Lately I’ve come across this curious trend of web sites that try to second guess where I live. As someone who has moved into a new unit in a new suburb I get interesting suggestions to say the least.
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Location services gone wrong

January 23rd, 2011 | Category: web

So in the last two days I’ve ventured onto the websites of Bunnings and Harvey Norman. Both sites use location services to help you to vary degrees but both really suck at it.
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Joomla! 1.6 and WebPI

September 19th, 2010 | Category: joomla,microsoft,web,windows

Over this weekend (Friday evening and Saturday) while watching the AFL Finals I got to work building a script to convert the standard Joomla! 1.6 beta packages into a format that would work with Microsoft’s Web Package Installer (WebPI). Early Sunday morning I managed to get everything done to the point that a Joomla! 1.6 package is automatically converted, stripping out the install and sample data scripts on the fly and reprocessing them as well as updating a WebPI feed XML file that you can use.

The long and the short is if you want to test out the latest Joomla! 1.6 beta release (beta 9 at the moment), all you have to do is add our own custom feed to the Web Platform Installer!
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Pine Tree – a cut down Joomla!

August 01st, 2010 | Category: joomla,technology,web

The other day someone was talking to me about building a version of Joomla! that is effectively just a simple blog platform. I figured that this wouldn’t be too hard to achieve – just need to pull stuff out. So that’s what I did. This is somewhat similar to another journey I took though in this one I’m not adding anything new.
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Free Git/SVN hosting providers

December 09th, 2009 | Category: development,joomla,opensource,web

During my recent presentation at the Joomla! Developers Conference in New York, I emphasised the importance of using a version control system (in particular SVN) to maintain copies of everything. From PSD versions of designs and templates to more traditional items like source code, some form of a version control system is what you need to do. If you’re working in an organisation where you need to collaborate with more than one person then version control tools provide valuable collaboration and consistency controls. Another interesting aspect of hosted repositories is backups – not only do these systems keep different versions of your data but if you use them properly you’ve also got a backup for if your machine gets toasted. During my presentation I used CVSDude as an example. CVSDude is a local Australian company run out of Brisbane which is why they stick in mind but there are other tools.

Firstly I’ll do a quick overview of the two main systems being promoted: Git and SVN. SVN, or Subversion, was developed as a newer version of CVS. Subversion has been referred as a “code wiki” which I feel is a great explanation. It keeps versions of files around for you and ensures you’ve got everything in hand. Subversion is a centralised source control system, so you need a central server to run it on for different people (you can also run it on your own machine as well but there is only one point of truth). Git is a distributed version control system where basically every working copy has a full copy of the tree. This is great for pure source projects and a few other sorts where having everything on disk isn’t too bad but doesn’t work well when you have larger repositories and files that you might want to share. Git doesn’t permit partial checkouts as well so you get the entire repository or nothing. This can work in your favour (you can do stuff like commits locally and do history checking locally) or against you (it might be a chunky repository). Git repositories typically are more compressed and smaller than SVN however Git’s Windows tools leave a lot to be desired. If you’re working with people who aren’t technical, Git can be painful and I’d suggest Subversion. Both are a learning curve but Subverion’s is easier and the centralised control is useful for most projects.

Provider A: GitHub
GitHub are one of the most popular Git hosting sites out there for open source projects as well as being a commercial hosting provider with “private” repositories. For people who are doing open source projects and interested in using Git, GitHub with its 300MB disk space (expandable for open source projects) and unlimited public repositories and collaborators is perhaps the most powerful option in the Git sphere. It is also all backed up as well, like most of the options, so you’ve got some peace of mind there. GitHub have personal and business branches offering different “private” hosting options starting at five private repositories consuming 600MB with one additional collaborator for $7 per month. The plans go somewhat incrementally up from there adding disk space, private repositories and private collaborators. GitHub has a wiki as an option as some point as well as a private/public pastebin service.

Check out GitHub’s pricing at

Provider B: Unfuddle
Unfuddle is something I’ve just come across after my presentation on a recommendation from someone at the conference. Unfuddle offers both Git and SVN support as well as a form of a wiki in what appears to be “Notebook pages”. It limits you to one active project but features RSS and iCal support as well as bug tracking, milestones and in the free version support for two people to collaborate. The free version offers 200MB and more expensive versions have file attachments, SSL and time tracking as well as more disk space, active and archived projects, people and unlimited “notebook pages”.

Check out Unfuddle’s pricing at

Provider C: CVSDude
CVSDude are a much older group who offered initially CVS hosting but recently handle Subversion. They support Trac which a popular development support tool that integrates with Subversion providing milestone support, issue tracking and integration (e.g. you can close tickets from SVN) and a wiki. CVSDude appears to be slightly below par with GitHub with their cheapest plan offering 500MB of storage, one project and two users (as opposed to five projects and 600MB from GitHub). They also appear to offer Bugzilla, a popular bug tracking software (perhaps they didn’t like Trac’s version or have disabled it?) as well as DAV storage whatever that means. CVSDude does emphasise that they have better backup facilities than others offer plus the Trac/Bugzilla instance provides more functionality than GitHub does. CVSDude annoyingly hides a lot of information behind marketing so you need to do a lot of reading to work out what they’re really selling for each option.

Their overview page serves as an entry point for finding more information, check it out at

Provider D: GForge Group (and JoomlaCode)
GForge Group appear to offer free one project per person hosting on their stack with a 75MB space offering. You can add up to five people to the project and it is a private project. GForge offers a wiki, mailing lists, forum, file release system, tracker and a few other tools as well. It has the interesting caveat that if you don’t log in for 30 days your project will be permanently deleted. GForge are selling a stand-alone product more than anything so they’re encouraging you to head that way with that however as an item it is an interesting. It looks like you can add to it however their store link didn’t appear to be working properly. JoomlaCode is powered by GForge AS and offers many of the same features (version control currently limited to SVN though GForge AS supports CVS and GIT amongst other things). JoomlaCode’s hosting is free for GPL non-commercial Joomla! related projects and is offered as a service to the community.

Check out for more details.

Provider E: PixelNovel
PixelNovel is another host I’ve just seen today that offer a tool for Adobe Photoshop that integrates Subversion straight into the tool. This means that you don’t need to jump out of the system to handle it and it also does previews of the Photoshop files for you for when you’re going back in time. The standalone Photoshop plugin will work with seemingly any Subversion repository and costs around $60 per licence though it would appear you can pick up a free copy with a PixelNovel account which offers 100MB for nothing and goes up from there.

Check out their pricing and plans at

As with everything before you hand over cash, code or templates read the fine print. Though it doesn’t say it outright, PixelNovel for example will delete your account after two months of inactivity or lack of bill payment and GForge have similar albeit much more upfront text. Some services offer SLA’s on performance and uptime guarantees where as others don’t whilst some mention backups in a very definite time frame (I think CVSDude offers 10 minute backups) and others mention that they do it without many details. Some also offer more tools than the others and PixelNovel has some specialised tools targeted at designers particularly. As with everything the devil is in the detail so good luck checking things out and make a decision based on your own personal needs.


ePrints Author ID

August 28th, 2009 | Category: eprints,opensource,programming,university,web

One of the things I’ve been working on over the last month is the ability to create distinct and unique author identifiers for ePrints. ePrint’s is a really awesome Perl based repository that the University uses to handle its research papers but whilst it is great at handling ePrints, documents, users and a whole host of other things it really falls over when you try to treat authors as individuals.

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“Write a blog post about your upgrade”

August 08th, 2009 | Category: retrospective,technology,web

So today I upgraded WordPress to its latest security release. I would have liked to use the automatic tool but somehow it forces me to use FTP for some reason unknown to me. So I did it the hard way and unlike Joomla! it asks you to delete files, copy things, make sure you don’t accidentally delete something and check that you included everything right. I always find it annoying how WordPress works however that’s the price that I pay for trying out something interesting. In other news my iBook G4 is in piece on my kitchen table whilst I try to work out how to fix it again.

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Browser Story

June 20th, 2009 | Category: internet,technology,web

I was sitting in Joomla! Bug Squad today chatting about browsers. Firefox 3.5 is almost ready (I’m typing on a release candidate with it, I’ve been using it since beta, I used 3.0 when it was still ‘Minefield’) and Safari 4 has been recently released (another one that I used throughout beta). Each offer improvements in speed over their predecessor which got me thinking about the progression of different browsers.

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