Whipping those Grots

Permalink 11:31:55 pm, Categories: Programming, 236 words  

Or "How I Got Speed Increases In My CMS"

I've just updated the Skins@HWT CMS (known as Grots) with some speed increases that I've been working on. Although timings can still be variable (due to other things running on the server) the front page generation time is now down from averaging between 0.0075 and 0.0085 to averaging between 0.0065 and 0.0075. This doesn't sound like much, but in reality it's one thousandth of a second on a load time of around eight thousandths of a second - so it's about an eighth!

The main improvement is to use static files for the HTML skinning functions and language strings instead of pulling them out of the database each time. I can now generate the static files through my admin control panel (as long as I manually temporarily set the permissions on the parent folder to 777 when I first create the files!). I've also made some minor tweaks to stop it performing excessive checks such as strpos() in some situations, caching the result instead.

One very useful feature that I found for the skinning (since they are functions of a class) is that PHP classes can actually be "extended" like real object-oriented classes. All this time I've been using PHP4 classes, and I just thought that they were ways of grouping functions and variables while not being fully object orientated!

Now, I wonder if I can squeeze any more out of it...


Features added to Magic

Permalink 08:38:34 pm, Categories: Programming, 130 words  

Some new features have just been added to Magic, the CMS that runs the Perfect Imagination website.

The changes add features required for the pending affiliation with Fiction Alley. Also added is extra security in the Beta Reader Accreditation section that will make it even more difficult for someone to get away with impersonating an accredited beta reader.

In the pipeline are some speed improvements. Following recent problems on the server caused by spammers abusing resources, I gained a sudden interest in improving the performance and reducing the load of Grots and Magic. To do this, I have added XDebug into the PHP installation on my Linux FC3 development machine. Hopefully this will help me find out the slowest parts of my code and improve my coding standards and conventions.


The power of YUM

Permalink 02:24:56 pm, Categories: General, 276 words  

Just a slightly off-topic blog entry because I'm finding it so useful recently, but I definately do like YUM.

For those who don't know, I have a laptop with Fedora Core Linux installed on it that I do all of my PHP programming on (I wouldn't trust Windows to be a good and reasonable web server for PHP). Before that I had Redhat 9 and before that was Redhat 7.3. Both of these had an "up2date" service to allow you to update packages, but I didn't use it for installing much. Now, Fedora Core has a package manager called YUM and I'm really liking it.

OK, so like much of Linux it's still command line based, but I'm sure someone has probably made a GUI for it. What I really like is how simple it is to use, how powerful it is and how it resolves dependancies for me. Installing individual packages was always a pain because you'd download something, find it needed something else that you didn't have and go and hunt that other thing down. Once you'd hunted it down, the new thing could end up having something else as a dependancy, and you'd be forced to hunt again. YUM resolves all of those dependencies for you and just asks "do you want to download this and all of it's dependancies at X many MB?"

Even more useful at this very moment is that you can query it for "what provides file Y?" and it'll tell you the package and then you can install it if it's listed.

Now, back to improving the usability of my laptop through the use of Widgets/applets and Mac-styling!


IBBoard.com selling for $1,000

Permalink 12:00:17 pm, Categories: General, 148 words  

Slightly crazy, and not entirely web-dev/Dawn of War related, but I just checked up on the IBBoard.com domain (after I saw a new bulletin board software's "coming soon" message there several months ago, and the WhoIs.sc report said that it was on sale.

Obviously, like so many projects, the IBBoard forum software ground to a halt and now they want rid of the domain. They're selling it on Sedo.com (sounds suspiciously like "seedy" to me!) for $1000! I was thinking of buying the domain when it ran out, just so that I am IBBoard on the net, but that price is just rediculous! This domain (IBBoard.co.uk) only cost me a tiny amount over £3 per year!

Oh well, such is the stupidity of Capitalism and domain names! Looks like I'll have to stick with only having .co.uk and .com for Hive World Terra.


Blog version updated

Permalink 05:28:09 pm, Categories: General, 86 words  

Well, that was a little too much work for what it did! phpBB give you 'diff' files to show you the changes, b2evo goes from a 0.9.0 build to a 0.9.1 build (not exactly a huge leap) and says that they don't promise anything if you don't delete _all_ of your files first and effectively install from scratch!

Oh well, the Blog should be faster now, and possibly more secure. It might have a few new features as well, but I didn't pay much attention to those!