What's been on my mind

phpMyAdmin "Save as file" file name template

Submitted by Charles on Wed, 08/15/2007 - 15:35
When using phpMyadmin to backup a MySQL database, there is an option near the bottom to save as a file. When you use this option, you can make your life easier by using a file name template that automatically names the backup file for you. By default it is the database name, but I find it useful to put a timestamp on it as well. To do that, use the following in the file name template field: %Y%m%d%H%M%S-__DB__ This will save your files in the following format: 20070815152612-databasename.sql

Google reader shortcuts

Submitted by Charles on Wed, 08/15/2007 - 13:47
I was looking for a shortcut to share an item in google reader, and came across a good list of shortcuts here. Ones that I use regularly: Shift S : To share an item S : To star an item J : Selects Next Item in list K : Selects Previous Item in list Space : Page Down Shift Space : Page Up

Web application page hierarchy podcast and slides

Submitted by Charles on Tue, 07/31/2007 - 16:49
Listened to a great podcast on web page hierarchy, that gives insight into how to use hierarchy on a web page to increase usability, prioritise content, and to ultimately help attain whatever goals you've set for your website. He also presents a number of case studies, slides of which you will find in his presentation pdf. So much good stuff here, like how users actually read a webpage (we don't - we just scan), and what tools to use to create hierarchy (contrast).

Change TinyMCE background colour in drupal from grey to white

Submitted by Charles on Wed, 06/13/2007 - 16:37
Found that by default the background colour for tinymce textareas was grey with my newest drupal 5 installation. Found this node which shows which style to add to your stylesheet to change the background colour to white. Add the following to your theme's style.css: body.mceContentBody { background: #fff; color: #000; }

Funny, strange, weird borders in drupal template (in firefox and not ie)?

Submitted by Charles on Tue, 06/12/2007 - 13:06
Took me forever to figure out that this was due to a tbody style in system.css. This border only showed up in firefox and not in internet explorer. The system style is: tbody { border-top: 1px solid #ccc;} I added this to my theme stylesheet: tbody { border: none;} Not sure if I'm missing something here, but this worked for me.

How to get the path to your theme in your drupal template

Submitted by Charles on Tue, 06/12/2007 - 12:52
Instead of hard coding your theme path into your drupal theme templates, it's better to use some built in drupal functions or template variables:
  • Use the $directory variable which will be available in your .tpl.php files
  • Use the path_to_theme() function - this provides the same output as the $directory variable
  • Use the base_path() function which will give you the url to the root of your site.
I always use absolute references, for example:

Podcast on virtualisation

Submitted by Charles on Sun, 05/13/2007 - 09:53
Virtualisation is going to be big! Apart from the benefits for businesses in server consolidation, virtualisation also is promising for software developers in utilising virtual appliances: "preconfigured, pre-installed virtual machine that includes the operating system and the application, all encapsulated in a virtual machine so that people can take a virtual appliance and install it", with out installing the operating system, configuring the operating system and the application". Check out the podcast on IT Conversations.

Adobe Kuler for colour ideas and cool colour functions in Adobe Illustrator CS3

Submitted by Charles on Sun, 05/13/2007 - 09:36
If you are looking for design ideas for colour schemes, check out Kuler (http://kuler.adobe.com). This is a site set up by Adobe which allows users to post colour schemes, and there's some great stuff there. Also, if you're an Adobe Illustrator user, check out this video on illustrator cs3 - there's some pretty amazing stuff you can do with colours...

Open docx and xlsx files in older versions of word and excel

Submitted by Charles on Mon, 03/05/2007 - 11:47
I've received a couple of files in the new microsoft office 2007 file formats, and as I have as yet not upgraded, was not able to open them. There is now a compatability pack that's been released that will allow you to open new files in older versions of office: download it here. Read the overview and system requirements first!

Drupal node insert error related to the sequences table

Submitted by Charles on Fri, 02/09/2007 - 12:53

I recently added a lot of data to a drupal site by running some scripts that I'd created in php. This was to save me the time of manually capturing the content. After successfully adding the content, when I tried to add a new content item, I got the following error: Warning: Duplicate entry '503-503' for key 1 query: INSERT INTO node (nid, vid, title, type, uid, status, created, changed, comment, promote, moderate, sticky) VALUES (503, 503, 'World Bank ', 'content_organisation', 1, 1, 1171017191, 1171017191, 2, 1, 0, 0) in It turns out that Drupal uses the sequences table to keep track of what the highest id in certain tables is. I had forgotten to update this table with the id of the most recent node that I'd added.