Simon Willison’s Weblog


Saturday, 9th November 2002

More geek books

A £5 Amazon gift voucher combined with offering free shipping on orders over £39 has lead me to order 3 more books: Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, Don’t Make Me Think! and The Elements of Style. They should arrive on Monday. I wonder if All Consuming can pick up on links to

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PHP tips and tricks from Rasmus

Rasmus Lerdorf has published a PHP Tips and Tricks PDF based on a presentation given at the recent PHPCon2002. The file is a veritable goldmine of useful information, covering topics including optimisation, sessions, security, dynamic image/flash/PDF generation and using Squid and MySQL replication to increase the performance of a high traffic site. Spotted on

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PHP4 and Apache 2 on Windows

I’m now running PHP 4.3.0pre2 and Apache 2 on my Win98 machine, thanks mainly to this excellent tutorial on installing PHP and Apache 2 on Windows. The PHP manual’s Servers-Apache page also has a bunch of useful installation advice for Apache 2 in the user comments.

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The case against

What’s So Bad About Microsoft?—a nice reference point for all us dissidents :)

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Standards compliant Flash

And here it is: Flash Satay—Embedding Flash while Supporting Standards. It involves jumping througg a few hoops but the end result is a nice chunk of standards compliant code that can be used to embed flash movies without invalidating the markup of a page. The article also includes a nice example of how to use the object tag to serve up alternative content—by nesting an image (or other HTML) inside the tag browsers that do not support content with a mime-type of application/x-shockwave-flash will have something to display in place of the Flash file.

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Dspace (via Swannie) is an open source platform that helps institutions archive, manage and distribute “digital works” over the long term. It appears to be a variant on the idea of a content management system, but with a heavy emphasis on academic works and multiple formats. The system is implemented in Java (with a JSP front end) and uses a PostgreSQL for the metadata (based on Dublin Core) and relataional information. The assets can be stored in a variety of ways (filesystems, WebDAV, database BLOBS are all mentioned) via an abstraction layer known as a “bitstream”. The system was developed by MIT and HP and has gone live for use by MIT’s academic departments. Interesting stuff.

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2002 » November