Simon Willison’s Weblog

Items tagged webdevelopment in Nov

Filters: Month: Nov × webdevelopment ×


I’ve been working alone for about a year, how do I get out of this feeling of loneliness because no one is around me?

This is why co-working spaces exist. I don’t know which country you are based in but here in the UK most cities and many larger towns now have at least one tech-focused co-working space where you can rent a desk on a month-to-month basis and have a work environment outside your home with other freelancers with whom you can socialize.

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How log in my e-mail and send sms via php?

If you want to send SMS via PHP I suggest taking a look at www.twilio.com—they are pretty inexpensive and ridiculously easy to get started with.

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What’s involved in making a site like JibJab go from conception to reality?

I’m afraid you don’t get to create a hit website just by having an idea: You have to have the skills and focus to actually make it happen.

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Why doesn’t Google use their resources to improve coding languages?

Google invest vast resources in to language improvements, and have been doing so for over a decade now. Just off the top of my head...

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What would be a good web application framework to use for running a small online retail business?

I’d look at hosted SaaS solutions rather than running your own. I haven’t tried it myself but I’ve heard excellent things about www.shopify.com

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PostgreSQL: How can I store images in a database? What existing products makes it easy for a user to upload photos into a general database?

As a general rule, it’s a bad idea to store images in a database. This is due to the large amount of space they take up, which can affect database read performance and will greatly increases the size of your backups, making them both take longer and cost more to store.

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What are some ways that brought your proficiency of CSS to another level?

An exercise I found useful when I first learned CSS was to implement CSS versions of the designs of popular sites. This was back when most sites still used tables for layout.

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Why can’t I do style=“padding: 20px” and a border in the same div?

You can’t have two style attributes on the same element—but you can have two styles rules inside the same attribute. Try this instead:

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What are tips for keeping website up on Black Friday? (due to large number of hits)

Serve as much of your site as possible using Varnish, and/or consider a dynamic content CDN such as www.fastly.com

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What’s best the site to visit to START building a website?

There are two ways to approach this: you can try and learn HTML yourself, or you can use tools that will help you build websites quickly without needing to code.

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Wrapping block elements in anchor tags? I know this wasn’t valid markup in HTML4 but has this changed or is the only option through JS?

This is a new thing in HTML5: “Block-level” links in HTML5

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Can you recommend a few video lectures on web application design with Redis?

We have a collection of 27 videos of conference talks that cover Redis on Lanyrd, gathered by our community: Redis Videos | Lanyrd

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What are some apps, problems you would suggest to solve a new python developer?

The best way to learn python in my opinion is using the interactive prompt. Install ipython (a massive improvement on the standard python shell) and use it to interactively solve some simple tasks—things like downloading a CSV file from the web using the urllib library, parsing it with the csv module, then poking around in the data using python list comprehensions and saving some of the results out to a JSON file.

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What’s the best way to keep a list of online users in a web application?

It depends on your definition of “online”—for this answer, let’s count anyone who has visited a page within the last 5 minutes.

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What are the tradeoffs (e.g. development speed, performance, scalability) between using various php frameworks, ruby/rails, or python/django?  Is there any reason to choose one overwhelmingly over another?

At this point, I’d argue that the decision between them comes down to programming language rather than framework—the frameworks have mostly converged on a very similar set of features.

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How do you work with front-end developers?

Build them a virtual machine image using VMware or similar that includes ALL of the server stack that they need, pre-installed—then give them detailed written instructions on how to run it and pull the latest versions of the codebase.

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