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Further Adventures as a Student: MST121, MS221 and M255

Back in September of last year, I started studying part-time, for a BSc in Maths, with some computing thrown in. It's now six months since I made that first post, and this is a really, really busy phase of the degree course, so I thought it might be time for an update.

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Posted on Monday, the 23rd of March, 2009 | permalink | comments (3)

Command-Line Subversion Tutorial, Part 1: The Basics

I'm constantly surprised by how many experienced developers are completely unfamiliar with using version control - such as Subversion or CVS - from the command line, instead preferring to rely on graphical clients such as TortoiseSVN.

Don't get me wrong - Tortoise has its uses - but I strongly recommend that any professional developer familiarise themselves with command-line version control. It's simpler, quicker and a thousand times more powerful.

In this post I'd like to help those developers out by covering the basics of command-line Subversion usage, via the svn command. I've optimistically named the post "Part 1" in the hope that I'll manage a follow-up post one day, covering more advanced issues such as merging and resolving conflicts. For now though, let's have a look at the basics.

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Posted on Friday, the 20th of March, 2009 | permalink | comments (17)

Adding a Doctype Declaration to a DOMDocument in PHP

I've recently been spending quite a lot of time with PHP's DOM extension, which is extremely useful for both generating and parsing XML.

In this particular case, I'm generating XML, and it's imperative that the XML markup which the code is generating should contain a Doctype declaration (DTD). It isn't hard to do that using DOM, but it did take a little bit of hunting around in the manual and online, so here's a quick overview of how to add a Doctype declaration to a DOMDocument.

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Posted on Monday, the 9th of March, 2009 | permalink | comments (9)

The Many Ways in Which the Yammer API Sucks

A lot of the guys out in our San José office have been using Yammer recently. For the uninitiated, Yammer is a lot like Twitter, but with access controls, making it more suitable for communication within a company.

Yammer exposes an API for developers to hook into, so I thought it would make for a fun Sunday afternoon project to see if I could put together an Opera Panel interface, which - if done right - might double as a mobile Web interface. Unfortunately the Yammer API is awful, so awful that it's basically futile to try to work with it. Here are some of the ways in which the Yammer API sucks.

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Posted on Sunday, the 1st of March, 2009 | permalink | comments (9)

The End of a Successful Week in California

Last night, my colleague/manager and I returned from a week at PlayPhone's head office in sunny San José, California. I figured I should try to put together a bit of a writeup whilst it's all still fresh in my mind, but I'm still somewhat running on Pacific Time so this will probably be a bit garbled.

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Posted on Sunday, the 1st of March, 2009 | permalink | comments (3)