Simon Willison’s Weblog


Saturday, 9th November 2002


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.

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.

The case against

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

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.

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

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

2002 » November