Creating a New SourceForge SVN Repository

I recently started a new project on SourceForge, attempting to open the source of the content management system I’ve been developing for my current employer over the last few years. Unfortunately, the whole process of creating a new project on SourceForge caused more frustration than developing the CMS in the first place. While creating a new project is extremely simple, and uploading a packaged archive of your project’s files is easy, attempting to set up a new SVN repository so that you can begin versioning your application is beyond difficult (especially for a complete newbie to version control systems like me).

There are tutorials all over the Web that give you pieces of the information that you need, but I couldn’t really find any that gave me step-by-step instructions explaining how to turn the batch of source files I had on my hard drive to having a fully functional SVN repository containing those files on the SourceForge server.

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Adobe Limiting Free ConnectNow Accounts Even More

A few years ago, I signed up for one of Adobe’s free “ConnectNow” accounts when they launched acrobat.com. I was extremely impressed with the quality of the interface and the amount of features included with the free account. From the time the service launched, Adobe has always allowed up to three participants in a free ConnectNow meeting room at a time. ConnectNow proved a great resource to use when training clients how to use their new content management systems, holding meetings with small groups of people and more.

Unfortunately, though, Adobe sent out a notice yesterday informing all of its ConnectNow customers (the free accounts, at least) that they are changing things. The main change is that, as of Nov. 4, they will only allow two people in the meeting room at a time.

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Installing WordPress Through SSH

While it is possible to download a ZIP file with the source files for WordPress, unzip it on your computer and then upload the individual files to a client’s Web server, it is generally much easier (assuming the client’s Web server has SSH capabilities) to perform all of those tasks directly on the server. Following are instructions explaining how to do so. The first few steps of these instructions are written assuming that you are using a Windows computer, but the actions after connecting to SSH will be the same no matter which system you are using.

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Are Your Websites Color-Accessible?

Contrast-A Screen ShotAs many of you already know, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) recommend a specific amount of contrast between backgrounds and text on your websites. Unfortunately, very few people probably actually test their websites to ensure that they meet those guidelines. As a color-blind person, I find a lot of websites that are extremely difficult to read because of poor contrast between backgrounds and text.

I’m honestly not sure why many of us (including myself, on many occasions) don’t check the color contrast on our websites. While it’s difficult to measure and quantify the contrast through conventional means, there are quite a few really nice tools that make it a snap.

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Google Hosted Apps Update

This afternoon, I was in the process of trying to set up a new Google Hosted Apps account when I discovered something had changed. Apparently, Google is selecting people at random to try out a new verification method. In the past, your choices were:

  • Add a new CNAME record to your DNS zone file
  • Upload an HTML file to your server
  • Add a meta tag to your home page and/or site template
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The VirginMobile MiFi 2200 – A Month Later

Virgin Mobile MiFi 2200It’s been a little over a month since I first started using the Virgin Mobile MiFi 2200 wifi hotspot. I used it almost exclusively as my Internet provider for most of the month of September, and I have to say I continued to be impressed by it throughout the month.

There were a handful of times that I had to reset the device because it stopped responding; and there were one or two instances when I actually had to reactivate it. Other than that, I very rarely had any issues with it at all.

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Get Information About Top-Level Pages in WordPress

About a week ago, someone commented on my post about styling top-level pages differently in WordPress, asking how to get the slug for a top-level page while one of its descendant pages is being viewed.

It just so happened that I was in the process of working on a WordPress theme that needed to display the title of the top-level page on all of its descendants. As part of that process, I wrote a quick function that retrieves the top-level parent of any page on a WordPress site as a WordPress post object.

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WebShell Hack – An Update

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the fact that one of my website’s was hacked and exploited by a script apparently known as “WebShell by oRB”. At the time, I was hoping that the issue had been fixed, but I quickly learned that it hadn’t. At least once each day, the hack re-appeared on our website in different ways through different files.

After a bit more research into the matter, I found that the issue seems to be related to a vulnerability in phpThumb, a widely-used PHP script that dynamically resizes and manipulates images. The vulnerability was identified as early as 5 years ago according to some reports. Unfortunately, the developers of phpThumb have yet to do anything about it.

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WordPress: Creating Custom Permalinks for Plug-Ins

Over the last week or so, I’ve been working to develop a new WordPress plug-in that sets up bi-monthly archives (to be generated for the first and fifteenth of the month by default). As part of that process, I needed to create custom permalinks to display these new archives. Unfortunately, the amount of information available on this matter is fairly limited. I had to gather information from a few different places and then use some of my own experience to finalize the process.

It’s entirely possible that there’s a better way to handle this situation, but this is what I was able to do.

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Free HTML5 Mobile Training From O’Reilly

Beginning on October 6, 2010, O’Reilly will offer a free 10-week HTML5 mobile course. The live sessions will be held each Tuesday at 3PM Pacific Time. It appears you can download the sessions at a later point but there will be a fee for the download.

Here’s an overview of what the instructor notes you will learn during the course:

  • Discover what’s new in HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript for mobile development
  • Build your own Twitter App with these technologies
  • Create apps that detect the orientation of mobile devices
  • Use geolocation and maps in a location-based app
  • Enable mobile users to use your app offline
  • Use HTML5 web forms to create an address book app
  • Create drawings and animation with JavaScript and HTML5’s canvas element
  • Use HTML5’s audio and video elements to build a movie trailer app

You should have some basic knowledge of CSS and HTML for the course. They also recommend that you are on a Mac but you can participate if you use a PC or Linux.

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