Kirby CMS & Plugins

For many years I’ve been playing around with various PHP-based content management systems (CMS). From self-made to well-known ones like Drupal, I’ve seen quite a range and yet they all never really could provide enough flexibility for the developer and easy of use for the website maintainer at the same time. I don’t want to go into much details here, but the goal should simply be, that as a developer you want to create a site and as a website maintainer you want to edit all parts of the websites without developer involvement. Getting to that goal while not having to invest huge amounts of time into learning all ins and outs of a CMS is hard to reach.

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What I’ve been up to

Where are the SFML News? Where are the Nightlybuilds? Where is eXpl0it3r? Those or other question might some have asked themselves or even me. Of course all the awesome people at the SFML IRC channel know that I never left. There have been quite a few changes in my personal life as well as in my “digital” one. After failing the base exam for computer science at the well-known ETH Zürich, I’m currently aiming for a more practical university, but to get in, I’m doing an internship at the moment. Luckily I’m able to do the internship for a company as a programmer, unfortunately it’s web development thus no C++. With that change my focus in programming shifted slightly away from SFML and C++ itself and I started to dig deeper into the world of PHP. Yes, I can hear all you all scream back there, but I’ve never been an anti-PHP guy and while I see the flaws, it’s still a simple and effective language to work with. I won’t go further into detail what I’m currently working on for my internship, but many things that do there, start to bubble up in other web projects that finally get some more attention (again).

SFML Projects

Some might know that there has already been attempts on this in the past and as a fact, the domain itself has been registered over a year now. I’m talking about this domain: http://sfmlprojects.org/
Currently there’s not much to see, but I’ve decided to go the open source way and not try to hide as much as possible. I’ve already gotten a bit of help by zsbzsb and a few pointers by veltas, other than that the project is still in my hands. The only thing I can do, is to encourage people to look at the current development state and open tickets as well as creating pull requests on the official GitHub repository.

For those that still haven’t look at it: The main idea behind it came from the fact, that there are so many nice projects that simply die in the depth of the SFML forum project section and if that happens, chances are high that the linked binaries will sooner or later get lost as well. To prevent all of this, SFML Projects should enable users to create projects and add various types of content that won’t get taken down after a few days. Next to that the site will automatically promote SFML itself, by showcasing what people have created already with it.

It is and will the longer the more be an interesting journey, thus if you like to help in anyway, don’t hesitate to contact me or tweet us @SFMLProjects.

Kohana & Modules

For the things at work and for SFML Projects, I’m currently using the very light PHP framework called Kohana. Coming from some rather basic PHP background, all this new stuff was and still is slightly overwhelming, but it’s slowly starting to grow on me. Kohana if I remember correctly was originally a clone or rewrite of CodeIgniter and when looking at the basics, the similarities reveal themselves rather quickly.

While starting a few times over with the whole project, I noticed, that it would be easier to create a repository with all the “normal” and boring setup things included and thus KOstart was born. KOstart is basically Kohana with only the needed and additional modules and already includes Bootstrap.

Since the latest Kohana version lacks a non-ORM auth driver, I’ve started to write one and create a module repository just today, which you can find on my GitHub page as well. It currently misses role management, but that should get added pretty soon.

Firefall & RAWR

Quite a big chunk of my free-time, I’ve spent with an MMO FPS called Firefall, which is currently still in its Beta phase. The game is awesome and pulls you in quickly, unfortunately recent changes to the basic systems in combination with the lack of new content, made it a bit less fun for me.

After some ups and downs I’ve been “elected” as the commander of the RAWR army, for which I’ve been creating and maintaining the Live Resource Feed. For RAWR I’m currently also working on a fresh website, but it’s based on Drupal for simplicity reasons. Things are still in development and I feel a bit bad to not having worked on for a while now.

Firefall is not only fun, because of the game content, but because their whole UI is written in Lua and thus moddable. Thus I ended up combining the game with my C++ knowledge and we ended up with SecondaryMap, which as its name says, is a map for your secondary monitor, so you can keep track of your own position and the position of events around you. It’s pretty awesome that this small application uses SFML, Thor and SFNUL – all very nice projects.

SFML Game Jam 2

Before I close this blog post, I just want to mention that the second SFML Game Jam has been held a few weeks ago and as last time, we’ve gotten quite a few awesome games. Originally Jebbs wanted to create a website, but then he had some time issues and zsbzsb took over that burden and create this awesome little site where you can also find all the games of the jam.

Also don’t forget to checkout the game A Temporary Outbreak Nexus and I did for the jam, while both being on quite some time constraint.

Final Thoughts

With that said, I hope to be post a bit more here once again, but if you want to stay updated more often, you might want to follow my Twitter account @DarkCisum. Ever since Grimshaw created that one forum thread, Twitter started to be a very interesting place for getting information. I hope to get some more time at some point for all the nice things like SFML News, but currently I’m just too busy with all my other projects. However as always, don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

SFML News – Week 38-40 (2013)

And I’m back with my weekly based SFML News! Given that it’s just a bit more than two weeks, there thankfully isn’t as much content as for my last entry, but it’s also not like, nothing had been going on.

Projects

Dead or Run

seobyeongky has created a small network racing game and by racing I mean running, not driving cars. It looks interesting and the sound effects are taken from various places, thus it’s kind of fun if you recognize them. I’m not sure if there’s a hidden executable somewhere, but I couldn’t see one on the forum. You can however still enjoy the video below or if you understand Korean, you could also take a look at the source code.

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Personal SFML Website Updated

A bit late, but better late than never: Happy New Year to everyone!

So the past few days I’ve been working on a new front- and back-end for my small personal website, targeted towards anything related to SFML. Active SFML developers and/or SFML forum readers might already know that I’ve been providing SFML Nightly Builds for a handful of compiler, up to now the downloads were provided through a small self written PHP file and linked in the static HTML download section. Now they’ve got a dedicated place and user-friendlier URLs.

Now let me talk a bit about the two frameworks, which currently power the new website. Both of them were fairly new to me and thus I had a lot to learn and read.

As for the front-end I used Twitter Bootstrap, the evermore popular collection of CSS and JavaScript assets, that give your site with a very simple HTML skeleton a somewhat standardized look and feel, which a many find quite intuitive and appealing to work with. The small SFML website wasn’t the first project with which I got myself introduced to Twitter Bootstrap, but it had recently refactored an older database-project, I had made for a friend of mine a few years back. The simplicity and powerfulness of the framework really surprised me and with the help of the online documentation working on a nice HTML site is a very easy task.

The decision for a proper back-end was a bit harder, since there are so many different ones and each of them provide again different features, which might sound genius, but can have a huge learning-curve, so you’d end up digging through tutorials and documentations for hours. The first framework I’ve had in mind was Symfony 2. It is a well-known and respected PHP framework and one can do any kind of web application with it. But because it’s so loosely coupled and generalized the learning curve is quite big. Although they provide some nice introduction tutorials, I’ve never gotten a good overview and never really understood how one would get to write a simple application with it.
In the search for something less clumsy and complex I went to Wikipedia’s web framework list and clicked me through one after the other, until I reached CodeIgniter. Looking at the short feature list on their website, I was immediately hooked and was pleasantly surprised as I switched to the documentation, which is structured cleanly and lets you choose on how deep you want to go, but builds up your knowledge about the basics step by step. Within a few minutes I had a running back-end with custom URL routing. The only problem I ran into was the correct mod_rewrite routing and I could only resolve it with some googling. So in case someone would by accident find my blog, here’s the correct routing I use to abstract the index.php away:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond $1 !^(index.php|img|css|js|robots.txt)
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /index.php?/$1 [L,QSA]

That way one gets a nice URL like https://my-gate.net/about/ which will get redirected automatically to the index.php.

Anyways I’m quite happy with the combination of Twitter Bootstrap and CodeIgniter and will most certainly use them further for different projects. I’m here specially thinking about SFMLUploads, which has as back-end only a few very hackish PHP files and thus is constantly failing and very hard to maintain.

Do you have any experience with CodeIgniter, Boostrap or any other framework you want to drop a line in the comment section?