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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Website Update & Announcement

If you’re reading this on the actual blog website and not through RSS or similar, then you might have already noticed, that I’ve changed the WordPress design. Although I really liked the old one, it has some troubles with the titles and lacked a clean separation between the posts. The current theme ‘Emire’ hasn’t been modified in any way, but I might add a custom header in the future.

In addition to the new theme I’ve also added a new plugin, which allows you to share my posts with the two-step share buttons. So you won’t get tracked by Google or Facebook, but still got the ability to share it directly from my posts. Strange enough the buttons don’t appear always (like when I’m logged in), so I’m not sure if everyone will be able to see them.

As for the announcement part, I’ll be starting a series of posts related to various computer science topics. There isn’t a fixed plan or any greater goal, but I just want to recycle the stuff I’m learning at the university and having to rephrase everything in my own words, seems like a good way to let it sink in and got the additional benefit of sharing knowledge with others. If you’re interested in a specific topic, let me know in the comments/e-mail/Twitter and I’ll see what I can do about it.

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?

SFMLUploads.org – Relaunch

So I’ve taken ownership of the project SFMLUploads.org which is basically a file and image hoster made specially for developers who are using the SFMLibrary. Below you’ll find the announcement text I wrote for the official SFML forum.

After quite a few ups and even more downs SFMLUploads is finally back online!
SFMLUploads.org was originally created by the user Haikarainen back in May 2011 but due to server issues the project had experienced some hiccups in the early days and then went offline in July 2012. As quite a few things have been uploaded to that site and linked to in this forum, I felt it was wrong to lead the project drop dead, thus I contacted Haikarainen and convinced him to let me host and maintain the website. So here we are with the relaunch of SFMLUploads!

All the files and user accounts have been successfully transferred over to the new host, thus you’ll be able to log into your old account again to get access to your files. If you don’t remember your password you can contact me and I’ll give you the opportunity to re-register.

SFMLUploads logo

SFMLUploads is aimed at developers using the SFML library, and it’s main purpose is to serve those users with bandwidth for:

  • Project archives, allowed extensions are: .rar, .zip, .tar, .tar.gz, .tgz, .deb, .rpm, .7z, .xz, and .ace.
  • Code-snippets, syntax-highlighted code with support for 100+ languages, "fork"-able, meaning users can create other versions of it. Useful with debugging etc. Kind of like Pastebin.
  • Screenshots/images, allowed extensions are .jpg, .jpeg and .png. Primarily for screenshots, but other picture are allowed as well.

The main rule is: It HAS to have something to do with SFML, either if it’s for a forum post where you seek help for debugging a problem related to/which uses SFML, or if it’s download links for your awesome game on your personal blog or something, etc. You can read the full terms here.

I hope you like it – signup and enjoy! 🙂

PS: This service is 100% free, if you feel like donating for the hosting cost then you can do this here. Thanks!