Jim Roepcke's weblog have browser, will travel (est. 1999)

4Mar/02Off

Frontier, Radio, ODBC, and me

Stephen Tallent: Stephen Tallent's Radio Weblog

"I can see several situations where it would be quite nice to retrieve info from an Oracle or MS SqlServer database at publish time."

Waaay back in 1998 (you know, the stone ages), I was redesigning the CEISS web site. The site's pages were ASP pages so that certain parts of the layout could be dynamic. The ASP pages were actually generated dynamically from a Frontier's Content Management suite (which still lives on inside Radio... more on that soon from UserLand it appears). The source of the pages (and the templates, logic, etc) lived in Frontier's Object Database (ODB).

When the ASP pages were rendered on the NT Server running IIS, they didn't have access to the ODB, so we had to have the ASP pages connect to an ODBC datasource (an Access 97 database in this case) that contained the data.

The cool thing was, people didn't have to enter that data into the database. They entered the data into the Frontier source for the web page, and it was automatically pushed into the Access database through Stephen Tallent and Henri Asseily's ODBC extension for Frontier.

The Access database contained "see-also" information. Here's how it was entered, in the top section of the document which contained the "directives" (page settings):

#metaKeywords "jim, roepcke, webobjects, canada"

A filter script I wrote in the ODB would be called automatically by Frontier when a page was generated. That script parsed the #metaKeywords directive and pushed the keywords into the Access database, relating each keyword with the page's title and the page's URL on the web server.

The ASP page knew its URL, and could use that to find the keywords stored in the Access database accociated with itself, and display them in the page along with links to the "see-also" pages which would display the list of other pages that also had that same keyword.

This isn't really all that fancy, nowadays, but it was in 1997. It was pretty hard to convince a lot of the other developers at CEISS (including Alex) that Frontier's page generation system was worth the effort to learn and use. Once we iterated over a site design a dozen times and was able to regenerate the entire staging site with one click after editing the template, it was pretty clear to everyone that major time was being recouped.

I look forward to watching more people discover Frontier's page generation system (known as the "HTML suite" by old-timers, and "Website Framework" by slightly less-old-timers) through Radio UserLand.

Keep your eye on that essay-in-progress.

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4Mar/02Off

Macromedia … Backs Mac

OsOpinion: Macromedia Unveils Flash MX, Backs Mac

"Wittman told NewsFactor that an important part of making Flash MX a multiplatform-compliant, feature-rich release was eliminating the legacy code base."

"[In] this release, we found that supporting the newest versions of OS 9 and OS X [was] extremely important to our customers. Therefore, we were able to remove legacy boundaries and significantly improve our code base to better support the enhancements in the more modern operating systems," Wittman said. "Our entire engineering team spent five months re-architecting the Macintosh authoring tool."

You have no idea how much it pisses me off to read that. And you have to imagine the folks at Apple are ready to throw punches too.

Adobe, Macromedia, Quark and Microsoft all bitched and moaned about Rhapsody, because they'd have to rearchitect their apps to use the YellowBox (now called Cocoa). Now, after all the work to make Carbon and the years of delays it caused for OSX, they're throwing away their code-bases anyway. And why? Because they sucked to begin with.

Grrr. Now we're stuck with Carbon for god knows how long. (Stomping and whining) And YellowBox would have had their apps running on Windows and Rhapsody for Intel on the same fucking codebase.

..|..

4Mar/02Off

The History of Flash

Untold History : The History of Flash - "The story of Flash as told by its inventor Jonathan Gay. Unedited"

4Mar/02Off

Flash MX is announced

Robert and Robb shed some light on the Flash MX announcement this morning.

CNET has a story about it... Flash: More than just eye candy

Robert's take on Bump was very interesting to me, I didn't know anything about the ColdFusion integration. It's obvious if you think about it for even 5 seconds, but I hadn't, because I haven't had much interest in either Flash or ColdFusion. But now I do.

For a long time I've mostly ignored Flash... thinking it was bad for the web. Whether that's true or not is not the point anymore... the point is, in my position, I'm in no position to put my head in the sand and just pretend it doesn't exist. Time to get up to speed, evaluate things with open eyes.

Thankfully, my new boss is a dynamic Flash expert. This will help.

4Mar/02Off

Another Google/Weblogs story

This is a follow up from the same folks that brought us the Google Loves Weblogs story I linked to yesterday.

Google Time Bomb - Will Weblogs blow up the world's favorite search engine?

If weblogs really take off... I mean, 1,000x more weblogs than there are now in 5 years, this effect will be flattened. The issue is, right now, weblogs are a small group, tight knit and self-referential, and just large enough to be statistically significant in Google's eyes.

I wouldn't worry about it long term.